Concept of the Day: Yamaha Motiv.e

November 20, 2013 § Leave a comment

yamaha motivIt’s the first potentially-commercial application of Gordon Murray’s simplified, low-cost iStream production process – and Yamaha looks ready to enter the four-wheeled market with this lightweight two-seat city car, a potential rival for the Smart Forwo. It’s specifically engineered for Europe, reports Autocar; design and development has been by Gordon Murray Design in partnership with Yamaha, building on the GM T25 and T27 concepts. Powertrain for this Tokyo Motor Show showcase is a Zytek battery-electric, similar to that in the T27, but there’ll also be a 1.0-litre Yamaha petrol engine option.

More news (stuff not previously previewed) from Tokyo:

  • Subaru has updated its Viziv hybrid crossover/hatch concept: Viziv Evolution has a 1.6-litre direct-injection turbo engine plus plug-in hybrid system with three motors (one assisting from axle, two driving rear wheels). Plus prototype semi-autonomous ‘auto-pilot’ tech, reports Autocar.
  • Honda has revealed a new compact ‘urban’ SUV (Nissan Juke-alike, Jazz-based), to be called Vezel in Japan; it’ll come to Europe in 2015 under a different name. There’s a hybrid version featuring a 1.5-litre direct-injection petrol engine plus motor as well as an ICE-only.
  • Volvo’s slinky Concept Coupe has a hybrid powertrain featuring a supercharged/turbocharged 2.0-litre petrol engine driving its front wheels plus electric motor to the rear; this develops some 395bhp/442lb ft and will go into various production cars. This show car – possible preview of new C70-type model – is built around Volvo’s new scalable product architecture (SPA) which has been designed with autonomous driving in mind, says Autocar.
  • That Honda Uni-Cub β personal mobility device: it’s a sort of sit-on Segway (gyroscopic controls) capable of 3mph, and Honda plans to lease it to Japanese businesses and organisations. More here. Plenty of potential applications for this.
  • Lexus has demoed two new autonomous driving technologies: Co-operative Adaptive Cruise Control and Land Trace Control. CACC (they might want to rethink the acronym for that one) is a V2V system for low-speed urban driving, intervening to prevent rear-enders, etc., and LTC is for self-steering around bends. More here.
  • Fuel cell cars are unlikely to be viable by 2020, says Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn (who has bet the farm on battery-electric). Sensible point on prohibitive cost of building the refuelling infrastructure. His Tokyo speech is reported here.

Some news from Los Angeles, Auto Show also underway this week:

  • Ford exec Jim Farley says that more collaboration is needed between car-makers and smartphone firms; “the real value for customers in the connected car is outside of our auto industry”, he said (Detroit News). Safe-to-use smartphone-delivered mapping first priority, according to a Google Maps rep. More quotes at Automotive News.

And in other news:

  • Smart tie-up between Smart and Europcar – buyers of the Fortwo and the new e-bike get a 20% discount on car/van rentals with Europcar. Idea is that the chance for the occasional discounted rental makes it easier to run a micrcar/e-bike as main daily transport. Customers can sign up for the (free) Privilege4smart clubcard which offers further benefits to members.
  • On a similar service-related note: BMW is launching a suite of offers in the US next year for its EV buyers, including installation of home charging equipment, discounts on domestic solar panels, ChargeNow cards and apps for public charging, ParkNow LongTerm to reserve facilities in city garages, Alternative Mobility (access to other vehicles for longer trips) and membership of the DriveNow EV-shares. Lowdown here.
  • Autonomous vehicles are unlikely for the foreseeable future – into the 2020s – a GM spokesman has told the US House Transportation Committee. Nissan’s a little more optimistic, hoping to have a self-driving model in production by the end of the decade. Full story on the House panel debate at Detroit News. And the NHTSA is to issue regulatory guidelines on vehicle smartphone integration next year.
  • Policy changes are under discussion in the US to allow standard car licence-holders to drive enclosed three-wheelers without a motorcycle licence: has implications for take-up of lightweight EVs. Press release from Elio Motors (very big vested interest in such a ruling) posted here.
  • The US DoE’s Berkeley lab has come up with a lithium-sulphur battery concept giving twice the specific energy of lithium-ion and 1500-plus charge/discharge cycles with minimum decay, plus cheaper manufacturing costs and greater stability: science bit at Green Car Congress. And development of lithium-iron phosphate at UC Riverside…
  • Audi’s launching its 4G LTE connect service in the US next spring in the A3: enhanced Google Earth and Streetview, plus faster downloads and video-streaming for up to eight devices. More here.
  • 69% of new cars will have V2V communications tech by 2027, suggests ABI Research, up from 11% in 2018. Lowdown here.
  • Changes to the automotive paradigm in China – large-scale and rapidly-growing car market – will influence motor industry in the rest of the world: rundown of speeches at SAE New Energy Vehicle Forum, Shanghai, at Green Car Congress. A need for NEVs, and multi-modal transportation systems.
  • CO2 reductions of up to 25% were noted in the eCoMove project (ERTICO-ITS) using v2X (vehicle-to-infrastructure) communications. More here. 10% reductions in urban networks are feasible.
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