Concept of the Day: Local Motors Ariel Cruiser

January 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

lm ariel cruiserAn e-bike theme emerging today: Local Motors is showing off the Ariel Cruiser (also available with petrol power) at CES, having recently announced a crowd-funding campaign to raise cash to build it.

Incidentally, Local Motors has popped up as an inspiration in the winter show of this year’s crop of MA students on the Automotive and Transport Design course, Coventry University. The well-thought-out flex-fuel Local Motors Canvas is the work of James Kerr, who has tapped into the Local Motors open-source/co-creation community and its focus on micro-manufacturing and customisation around a basic platform (a kind of DIY Gordon Murray ethic, maybe). The Canvas uses the Local Motors chassis with carbonfibre frame, plastic interior ‘tub’ passenger compartment and synthetic fabric exterior panels; more at his Local Motors portfolio. FormTrends is posting galleries of pictures of other Coventry students’ concepts, including Aaron McTurk’s CITY (Compact Intelligent Transport for You), a low-weight single-seater and Can Huang’s Sustainable Future Sports Car styling study. More to follow, no doubt.

  • Detailed lowdown on the Bosch-Aston Martin DB9 plug-in hybrid prototype in the latest (very good) issue of Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International; the V12 is supplemented by a pair of front-mounted electric motors plus a third on the engine belt, adds torque vectoring, and it’s quicker than the original despite the weight gain. It’s just a demo project for Bosch, however.
  • Also from Bosch: in and amongst its lengthy list of displays and activities at CES, there’s an interesting little nugget about a ‘connected city’ project in Monaco. The Monaco 3.0 pilot will initially focus on mobility, with the aim of making Monte Carlo’s urban centre highly internet-of-things enabled by 2015; first to be connected are bus networks, parking lots, paper/waste collection facilities and road-work information, with residents able to access real-time information and deal with the relevant authorities directly. Bosch promises that communication between various service providers will also be improved, and gives the example of informing maintenance-workers and users in the event of problems with the city’s many public elevators and escalators.
  • Latest forecasts from Navigant Research: there’ll be more than 700,000 plug-in EVs on the world’s roads by the end of 2014; the PEV market will grow 86% in the US with sales of over 346,000 electric vehicles this year; most growth will be in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, but in both high-end and mainstream sectors. Navigant has 10 predictions for the year: carmakers will push for changes to the Californian ZEV mandate; Tesla will have a bumpy year; it’ll be a ‘breakout year’ for e-motorcycles; EV-makers will look to alternative forms of revenue including home energy management, data-gathering, entertainment, carsharing and information services; the launch of fuel cell vehicles will spur FCV vs EV debate/hype; EVs “will play a leading role in carshare growth”; wireless charging will hit the streets; EVs will save over a million tonnes of cO2 emissions in the US; more than 2.2 e-motors will be sold (including for hybrids) in the US; vehicle-to-grid projects will expand and start to create revenue. Handy rundown at Green Car Congress.
  • At the other end of the plug-in vehicle scale, Bentley’s plug-in hybrid SUV (a Range Rover/Cayenne rival) has been confirmed for 2017. Will even come with a towbar, reports Auto Express. Which justifies its existence, obviously.
  • Ricardo is to lead a feasibility study commissioned by the DfT on platooning of heavy goods vehicles. Road trials later this year.

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