Concept of the Day: Volkswagen Twin-Up

November 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

volkswagen-twin-up-6To debut at the Tokyo Motor Show, the Twin-Up is a diesel-electric plug-in hybrid version of the Up! city car. Using a powertrain adapted from that of the XL1 prototype, which combines a two-cylinder 800cc diesel engine with seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox, electric motor and lithium-ion batteries, it’s said to be good for 1.1l/km (257mpg) and 50km/30 miles in all-electric mode. More details in this Autocar story. Looks as if it is an (early-stage) contender for production, too.

And other news, snippets and thoughts for the day:

  • Fuel savings of 27% were noted in a connected-cars study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and Chosun University, South Korea. This research tested an ‘ecolane’ concept on an interstate highway, with radar-controlled vehicle distances averaging 47m. More, incl. citations, at Green Car Congress.
  • And here’s some more driverless car research, about modelling autonomous connected-cars traffic systems involving non-identical vehicles.
  • Some interesting research from MIT and UC, Berkeley on commuting patterns around Boston: a small number of drivers, from a small number of neighbourhoods, were responsible for most of the congestion, whilst even in rush hour, 98% of roads were below-capacity. Cellphone data was used to track the journeys and build up a very detailed map; full lowdown and references at the Boston Globe. HuMnet – Human Mobility and Networks Lab, MIT – has done similar modelling and visualisation exercises in Bay Area, SF.
  • And some disheartening figures from the Department for Transport’s National Transport Model – a 43% rise in car use is predicted in the UK by 2040, with corresponding fall in cycling, if no new policies announced hereon in. Report, analysis at CTC.
  • But the above – whether you believe these figures (and subscribe to the ‘peak car’ argument) or not – does show the need for cleaner cars, ‘cos there’ll still be plenty of driving in the coming decades. To that end, the government’s announced a £75million fund for developing new automotive technologies, mostly at the Advanced Propulsion Centre, though £1.5mill’s going to the driverless ‘pod’ car project in Milton Keynes. More on all this, including some nice renderings of the MK scheme, from BIS.
  • A culture shock for many public servants, I suspect: the US federal government (General Services Administration) is getting into car-sharing, with pilot trials in Chicago, Washington DC, Boston and New York City. With a view to cost-cutting in the main, but fuel/carbon savings are going to be a helpful by-product as the GSA cuts fleets and mileages and gets those who still have to drive into more efficient vehicles not of their own choosing. More at Detroit News.
  • Here’s a very good-looking e-bike: the Icon E-Flyer, both retro chic and mean-machine. Brings a whole new degree of (limited-edition, pricey) desirability to the pedelec party…
  • Output of the EU-funded EFUTURE project includes a “virtual range extender” – EV software incorporating driver-assistance systems, autonomous speed controls and eco-driving information. More here.
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