GM EN-V goes autonomous

September 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

Chevrolet-EN-V-2.0-201-1-580x386GM CEO Mary Barra has confirmed introduction of V2v-equipped models in two years’ time, and spoken at length about connected-car technologies at the ITS World Congress – full transcript of her speech here. To underline GM’s intentions, the latest prototype version of the EN-V 2.0 two-seater micro-EV (25mph top speed, 25-mile range) is on display – featuring autonomous-driving technologies, being fully fitted out with cameras, sensors and V2X communications including pedestrian-detection and sync-ing with traffic lights. Oh, and it’s gained a Chevrolet badge.

  • Renault and Bolloré have announced their joint venture (30:70 respectively) for complete EV-sharing solutions (vehicle supply and operation) and development of a new Renault specifically for car-shares. Renault’s Dieppe factory is to start building Bollore’s Bluecar EVs from mid-2015. The existing Bollore car-share networks in Lyon and Bordeaux will gain Twizys on their fleets in addition to the Bluecar, with Renault vehicles to make up 30% of the vehicles offered ‘as quickly as possible’. The Renault under development – though still at a feasibility-survey stage – is to be a smaller, three-seat EV with Bollore’s 20kW lithium-polymer battery, smaller than the Bluecar; this could also be sold to municipalities, companies and consumers, says Renault, though its main raison d’etre is ‘to support the expansion of car-sharing initiatives’.
  • Final conclusions from the 2011-2014 e-mobility NSR (North Sea Region) research programme have been published. Main pull-outs: Electrification a dynamic process – difficult to make long-term predictions. Realisation of public charging infrastructure a prerequisite – but must look at each scale, micro to macro, sort out interoperability. Need to combine actions of all actors, consumers, energy providers, distributors – overall system efficiency – but changing individual consumer/user behaviour also important. Lack of awareness/information gap biggest problem (info centres recommended, user simulation app). EVs good for urban freight, especially last-mile deliveries. Full report for download here
  • ‘Eco-routing’ navigation cut EV energy consumption by up to 51% in a trial and subsequent simulation by UC Riverside, though there were trade-offs for distance travelled, and, especially, journey time, which were in some cases not viable. The team thinks its system and algorithm for calculating optimal routing has potential for commercialisation. More here.
  • GKN has three new technologies on display this week at the LowCVP event, Millbrook. First up, the battery-alternative Gyrodrive flywheel hybrid system for buses, said to give 20% fuel savings, be suitable for retro-fit and to last the lifespan of the bus itself; a new version of the GKN EVO e-drive system for passenger cars and delivery vehicles, integrating an axial flux motor with single-speed transmission and promising much higher torque and power density in a smaller, lighter package; and a downsized engine to act as a range-extender, incorporating the axial flux tech on its crankshaft in an integrated package. More here.
  • Ricardo is demonstrating its ADEPT (Advanced Diesel Electric Powertrain) prototype at the LowCVP event. Fitted in a Ford Focus, this comprises the CPT ‘Tigers’ (turbine integrated exhaust gas recovery) plus Speedstart belt-integrated starter-generator and a lead-carbon battery pack, with 48-volt electrics. CO2 emissions are said to be under 70g/km, but the cost of the package considerably less than a full hybrid system. More here.
  • The Mini ‘Superleggera’ electric roadster concept could be a goer for production, with a decision to be made early next year, reports Reuters.
  • A stealthily quiet patrol car: Volkswagen has developed a police-specification e-Golf, with an 81-118-mile range sufficient for urban duties. It’s to go on display at a trade fair in Leipzig shortly, reports Autoweek.
  • Electric vehicles could play a key role in a paradigm shift away from centralized electricity generation to solar microgrids, thinks Swiss bank UBS, which is advising its investors accordingly…
  • How smartphones and apps are changing our ‘spatial thinking’ in terms of the way we relate to maps and journey-making: interesting piece at Citylab.
  • “Electrifying America’s fleet of transit buses would put a far larger dent in carbon emissions than putting a few hundred thousand Teslas on the road”, argues Daniel Gross at Slate in a piece about bus-maker Proterra.
  • Verizon has developed a provider-agnostic car-sharing app which integrates a number of its services. Verizon Auto Share features ‘scan & go’ QR code tech, with cloud data storage, and can be customised by service providers or clients. More here. And Valeo has partnered with French car-share tech firm VULOG to develop a Bluetooth-based smartphone access system for car-sharers, with the aim of creating a seamless and convenient user experience – more here.
  • The EPSRC is putting up £6m-worth of funding for two low carbon vehicle projects: the ELEvate programme at Loughborough University to develop fuel cells and batteries for energy storage plus integration of grids, vehicles and devices, and the Ultra Efficient Engines and Fuels project at the University of Brighton, aiming for a one-third efficiency improvement from ICEs and near-zero emissions. More here. 

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