Design Concept of the Day: MILA Blue

February 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

mila blueNatural gas: simply a substitution of one fossil fuel for another, or a practical use of an existing energy source/technology? Magna International is showing a hybrid-drive gas-powered city car concept called MILA Blue at the Geneva Motor Show next week, said to emit less than 49g/km of carbon dioxide – or less than 36g/km if running on biogas. It features an automated-manual transmission with stop-start and can cruise short distances in all-electric mode, at up to 30kph.

Li’l MILA is said to be 300kg-odd lighter than current A-sector tiddlers, thanks to the construction and architecture technologies it also showcases; downsized components, aluminium, magnesium and composite materials; and suitably-decorated structural parts in place of extra interior trim. More from Magna here.

More on this at Geneva next week, and I’m currently working on a project which involves looking into the eco-claims for natural gas, so will report back on this at a later point.

  • Speaking of biofuels… 16% of fuel used on European roads could come from waste material, claims a new report (outlined here at Guardian Sustainable Business). That’s waste from forestry, industry, agriculture and households, so no competition with food crops (as with, for example, corn-derived ethanol), and life-cycle carbon emissions are thought to be 60-85% lower than for comparative fossil fuels.
  • Detroit News is looking at ‘peak car’ this week (aren’t we all?); some figures from forecasters IHS Automotive, suggesting that global sales will top out at 100 million in the next decade, plus some good quotes, i.e.: “The key question is: Do you sell cars or do you sell mobility?” says Tim Ryan, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. “If you ignore these megatrends, you run the risk of becoming irrelevant.”
  • Tesla. Gigafactory. News well-covered elsewhere, but basic details are a $4-5billion investment by 2020, when it’ll be making enough batteries for 500,000 Tesla vehicles a year, reports Forbes. Note that this is for half a million Tesla vehicles, not just batteries to supply to other manufacturers; to include the upcoming Model X and ‘entry-level’ Model E, due 2015. The factory’s to cover every stage of production, including reassembly using cells from recycled battery packs, more from Tesla here.
  • Torotrak and Lotus Cars are getting £4.3million from the Technology Strategy Board to develop the FLYBRID KERS tech (flywheel kinetic energy recovery) for a manual gearbox. The 24-month programme will see it fitted into a Lotus road car. More here.
  • Report by Susan Shaheen and Matthew Christensen (UC Berkeley) for the New Cities Foundation (@newcitiesfound) asks “Is the future of urban mobility multi-modal and digitized transport access?” (answer = yes). Apps “are on the forefront of digitized transportation access and will play a growing role in urban mobility in the future”, along with RFID tech; but creation of a single platform covering multi-mode transport “would exponentially increase the value of sustainable transportation modes through ease of use, accountability, and by creating virtual and physical connection points”.
  • London: £300million to transform the city’s most dangerous junctions and make ’em more cycle-friendly. More here. (And some feedback on the benefits of separating cyclists – and pedestrians – from cars here). Debate open on the segregation thing…
  • And Obama’s proposing a four-year transport plan to modernise the USA’s infrastructure: $600million up for grabs for innovative projects.
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