Concept of the Day: Peugeot VLV (1942)

January 29, 2013 § 1 Comment

peugeot vlvDid the name of the in-the-works Peugeot VELV ring a bell? Seems it’s a re-run of an earlier idea: an electric microcar developed covertly during World War II. The original Voiture Légère de Ville (‘VLV’, Light City Car) had a range of 50 miles though a top speed of just 20mph, but it had a state-of-the-art steel monococque construction plus neatly folding roof and doors; just a handful were made, according to the blurb by RM Auctions, which has one on sale next month.

The extensive collection of the Bruce Weiner Microcar Museum in Madison, Georgia, up for auction, is testimony to the fact that the microcar is by no means a modern idea. The auction catalogue lists nearly 400 tiddlers to go under the hammer, from familiar Heinkels, Messerschmidts, Goggomobils and Isettas to the rarer Voisin Biscooter, a ‘woody’ Biscuter station wagon and various Velomobile cycle-cars – it makes fascinating reading, here.

  • Smart cities: expensive, high-energy to build from scratch, say commenters in this Guardian Sustainable Business piece – retro-fitting existing urban centres may be a better strategy. Interesting snippet about Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, though – the aim there, it seems, is to keep private vehicles outside, and use an electric fleet in the centre. Details at the City’s website suggest some sort of an EV-share or short-term rental scheme – plus autonomously-guided pod-cars, which will operate in dedicated ‘tunnels’.
  • The Sixth Sense Transport project, led by Southampton University, is looking at smartphone use and ‘tagging’ of vehicle numberplates for social networking, sharing of travel information and data, and thus smarter ways of using vehicles, such as liftsharing, better connections with public transport, more energy-efficient distribution systems and fleet logistics and soforth. It’s also looking at applications in tourism, and a demo project is underway in Edinburgh whereby tourists can access information about museums and monuments whilst in tagged taxicabs. The first stages of an ‘internet of cars’, they say.
  • Daimler, Ford and Nissan have joined forces for fuel cell development in a bid to reduce R&D and engineering costs. They’re now citing 2017 as the target-date for production vehicles, a two-year push-back from earlier forecasts.
  • Researchers at Loughborough University are developing emergency ‘lane-change’ manoeuvring in autonomous vehicles, in addition to braking; more here.
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