Concept of the Day: Twizy Renault Sport F1

April 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

renault-twizy-f1-2Well, Concept of the Day has to be Renault’s Twizy Renault Sport F1. It is, admittedly, pretty silly (especially since its top speed is still only 68mph), but it does showcase a fair amount of interesting F1-developed tech. The race car wheels, front splitter, wing, diffuser, LED lights and all the body kit aren’t really the story: more interestingly, this concept features KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System, capturing heat energy otherwise lost under braking), giving a transient power-boost to 97bhp (an extra 80!) and 0-62mph in six seconds – a savvy way to supplement performance in an EV with little weight/range penalty. The selectable two-mode (recovery/boost) KERS – comprising a dynamo-style electric motor-generator unit linked to the driveshaft, specific lithium-ion batteries and a control unit – is bolted in behind the driver in place of the rear seat. It’s just a demo and a consciousness-raiser at the moment, but it’s all feasible…

  • And more KERS: Volvo has finished testing its kinetic flywheel tech, and confirms that it’s light, financially viable and efficient – in combination with a four-cylinder turbo engine it can reduce fuel consumption by up to 25% compared to a six-cylinder turbo engine giving similar performance (0-62 in 5.5 seconds, in the experimental S60). It adds a transient 80bhp through a flywheel spinning at the rear axle, allowing for switch-off of the ICE up front under braking; indeed, the ICE could be off for around half the driving time, and Volvo claims that fuel savings will be the greatest in stop-start urban traffic and during “active driving” (whatever that might mean: I’m guessing aggressive throttle-brake action). Volvo is now evaluating the production prospects.
  • So now we know who Detroit Electric’s partner is: Geely Automobile Group of China (which owns Volvo, incidentally, not that we’re playing The Chain here). The pair have “entered into strategic partnership to co-develop pure electric vehicles and related electric drive systems for the Chinese market”, and the first models – all-electric – will go on sale in China next year. First up is an EV based on Geely’s Emgrand EC7 saloon, logically called EC7-EV, which will be co-branded ‘Detroit Electric – Technology’. It’ll initially go to business users and public sector organisations, with sales of 3,000 expected in the first year but 30,000 a year in three years’ time; range is 165km (with a 258km extra-cost upgrade), and the EC7-EV is said to be good for 200kmph and 0-100km in less than eight seconds. Tech includes the twin-speed gearbox as in the SP:01; a JV is being formed to make the EV powertrain and its components near to Geely’s HQ in Hangzhou, Zheijang province.
  • London, and the congestion charge: threshold for exemption is lowered to 75g/km as of 1st July, leaving only the EVs, range-extenders and plug-in hybrids to go free. As it should be, I reckon. There’s a three-year grace period for cars already registered for the exemption, however, to mollify the people who just bought a small diesel specifically to drive it into the centre of the city.
  • Meanwhile, the European parliament has approved an average 95g/km target for car-makers for 2020 – more here.
  • Leading by example: the Obama administration is supporting the purchase of 10,000 hybrids for government agencies, reports Detroit News.
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