Paris prototypes and exotica, more plug-in car news…

October 6, 2014 § Leave a comment

vw xl sportSome handpicked snippets from the Paris Motor Show and a few other random bits ‘n’ pieces to follow… A show concept to catch my eye – Volkswagen XL Sport, featuring the Ducati Superleggera ‘twin’ V2 engine (200hp). This sports coupe (pictured), good for 270kmph,0-62mph in 5.7seconds and revs up to 11,000rpm, is developed from the XL1 and just 500 will be made. OK, it’s not necessarily a planet-saver, and it’s not electrified – but an indicator that the next generation of sports cars need not be about brute power? There’s got to be some trickle-down tech from this in terms of lightweighting, materials and aerodynamics, too. (On a different note, we have the Lamborghini Asterion LPI910-4, a plug-in hybrid ‘technology demonstrator’ with three motors supplementing its 5.2 V10 and a 31-mile electric-only range. Which just leaves me slightly bemused). Similarly exclusive and even more exotic in its own way – the Venturi America EV, a two-seater, 400bhp beach buggy costing some £290,000 (yes, really). Just 25 of these will be made, perhaps for a handful of Monaco’s wealthy to nip between mansion and yacht. The Toyota CH-R concept – an Auris-derived hybrid sports crossover – looks a bit more useful in terms of a vehicle for the masses, however. Phew.

  • Hyundai: its 48-volt i40 Hybrid shows the advent of ‘mild’ hybridisation in the passenger car market. Its belt-driven starter-generator system (in place of a conventional alternator) gives stop-start, a short low-speed and cruising electric-only mode, plus 1okW to boost engine power; CO2 emissions are down by up to 20% and power up 15% in combination with the 1.7-litre diesel engine to give a total 155hp/360Nm, but the cost of the system is said to be a quarter that of a full hybrid. Energy from regenerative braking and deceleration is stored in the lead-carbon battery pack, no external charging needed. Hyundai also showed a 1.4 T-GDI i30 CNG (with new seven-speed dual-clutch transmission), the ix35 and Intrado fuel cell vehicles, and its new three-cylinder 1.0 T-GDI petrol engine (in the latest i20).
  • Here’s an interesting claim: that car-makers (and the Danish government) want transport to be included in the European emissions-trading system, because they think it’ll weaken or even lead to the abolition of fuel economy standards. Lowdown here
  • Catching up with some news from Flanders’ Drive: a two-and-a-half year wireless EV-charging trial with 9 companies and 2 universities concluded induction charging was safe, efficient and user-friendly. Static and dynamic charging of a passenger car (Volvo C30 Electric) and Van Hool buses – both fitted with the Bombardier PRIMOVE tech – were tested in Lommel. More detail here.
  • Plug-in cars could create a new business model for the energy supply industry, reports The Economist (October 4th), which also notes research finding that 32% of plug-in drivers in the US (southern states) have rooftop solar panels.
  • EVs now account for 0.5% of the French car market, and France is aiming for 7million charging points (including private and workplace!) by 2030, according to the latest report from ADEME, the country’s Agency for the Environment.
  • Electrification in the camper van sector: a Derby converter is to show a sleep-in Nissan e-NV200 at an event at the NEC next week, reports the Birmingham Mail. It’s only got a 106-mile range, so it might be best-suited to staycations as yet, but an interesting point is made about the need for campsites/caravan parks to start including EV-charging in their electricity hook-up provision.
  • Nice story at Wired about the Wrightspeed-converted FedEx trucks, whose electric powertrains are supplemented by a diesel turbine range-extender.
  • 83% current owners of hybrid vehicles (1000 surveyed) plan to own another hybrid as their next car; a third of these are planning to buy a plug-in next time, and of those who aren’t planning to buy a hybrid, 3% are going to go for an all-EV instead, according to research by Sivak & Schoettle (UMTRI). And of 1000 non-hybrid owners questioned, 31% planned to buy a hybrid next time around, and more than half of those not thinking about hybrids would reconsider if prices came down. More here.
  • Researchers at Ohio State University have come up with a solar-assisted non-aqueous lithium-air battery; the solar voltage mitigates against the formation of lithium peroxides on the electrode, a problem with Li-O2, and ‘overpotential’ inefficiencies. More, including academic citations, here.
  • Gnewt Cargo is doubling its fleet of EVs and expanding across the UK, reports EV Fleet World: it is operating 55 Renault Kangoo ZEs and now doing 5000 deliveries a day under contract for myHermes.
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