Design Concept of the Day: Aston University Team Shelly fuel cell car

July 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Just found this: a team of engineering and design undergraduates from Aston University, Birmingham, won the Eco-Design Award at the Shell Eco-marathon Europe in Rotterdam recently. The competition requires teams to travel as far as they can on one litre of fuel; the Team Shelly Aston car, competing in the ‘UrbanConcept’ class, featured a Nexa Ballard fuel cell, a cardboard/plywood chassis and bioresin-infused hessian-fibre body panels. More at the team’s blog.

Winners of the UrbanConcept class, however, were Team Electricar Solution (France), achieving 262.2km per kWhr and setting a new record for battery-electric vehicles; DTU Roadrunners (Denmark Technical University) achieved 611.1km per litre, improving their record from last year and taking the fuelled-car title.  The winning Prototype car came from the GTL-powered Dutch MAC Eco Team (416.3km per litre), and overall winner was the French Team Microjoule-La Joliverie, achieving a petrol-driven 2832.8km per litre. More at the Eco-marathon site.

  • Mazda is to fit regenerative braking to its new Mazda6 next year. The i-Eloop system stores kinetic energy otherwise lost under braking in a capacitor, for use to power the air conditioning, headlights, audio system and other electrical/electronic functions. It’s said to boost fuel economy by 5-10%, reports Autoweek.
  • Mitsubishi intends to offer plug-in hybrid and all-electric versions in all of its new model-line-ups, reports Autocar. After the Outlander PHV which comes next year, the ASX crossover, Mirage city car, next-generation Lancer small family car and even the L200 pick-up are likely candidates for electrification.
  • BMW is investing 125million euros in its factories at Dingolfing and Landshut, which will make components for the upcoming i3 (2013) and i8 (2014). The first assembly line to make batteries for the i-cars has gone into operation at the Dingolfing plant, which will also make the i3’s aluminium chassis structure and its running gear, plus the front axle and front/rear chassis modules for the i8. Landshut is to make the electric motors and range-extenders, high-voltage battery and motor gear units, and CFRP (carbon-fibre reinforced plastic) body panels (Green Car Congress).
  • China’s State Council has announced that it wants 500,000 domestically-built EVs and plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015, and for the country to produce 2million plug-in vehicles a year by 2020. By the end of the decade, it wants 5million such vehicles in operation, and for all new passenger vehicles to emit an average 47mpg (34mpg by 2015). The state plan includes research into fuel cell technology as well as development of batteries, lightweight materials and energy-efficient transmissions, reports AutoTech Daily.
  • Protean Electric, which develops and makes in-wheel e-drive systems, is to build a production plant in China (further to the above). It has received $84million in new funding from GSR Ventures, which has bases in Silicon Valley and Beijing.
  • BMW is recalling the small number of ActiveE EVs which have gone out on trial leases, to address potential issues with their electric power steering.

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