Concept of the Day: Audi A7 Sportback h-tron

November 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

audi a7 sportback htronAnd following Toyota and Honda, Audi’s showing a hydrogen-fuelled fuel cell car at the LA Show this week – but this one’s got a plug as well. The A7 Sportback h-tron concept is a plug-in hybrid hydrogen fuel cell, with an 8.8kW battery and a 50km/31-mile all-electric range in addition to the 500km/310miles it can do on a tank of H2; recharging takes two to four hours depending on power source. Electric motors – one up front, another at the rear – electronically drive each axle with no mechanical connection in the ‘e-quattro’ layout, giving 170kW, and it’s said to be capable of 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds. It uses around 1kg of hydrogen per 100km, said to be the energy equivalent of 3.7l/km of petrol (76.4mpg). This powertrain is ready for production “as soon as the market and infrastructure are ready”, said Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi head of technical development. Full tech lowdown here. Sharing the tech, minus plug-in element, are the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen HyMotion and Passat HyMotion.

  • The Aachen University-based StreetScooter team has been turning out its lightweight modular-construction, purpose-designed EVs for clients including Deutsche Post DHL for a while now, but it’s now come up with a new short-distance, even lighter-weight model – and this one can be printed. All its exterior plastic parts can be produced by a 3D printer, using a Stratsys system, for build quality to match those conventionally-manufactured as well as speeded-up development – the StreetScooter C16 programme took just 12 months to produce a fully-functioning prototype. The 450kg C16 has an 80-mile range and can do 60mph; other upcoming models and variants on the theme include the Compact, a two/three-seater microcar, said to be currently in its prototype phase.
  • Mini’s doing the e-scooter thing – the Citysurfer concept, seen at the LA Auto Show this week, is an electrically-charged push-along which folds up and fits into the boot of a Mini hatch. It’ll do 15mph and has a range of 10-15 miles, more than enough for city-scooting on to a final destination. More here.
  • Citylab’s crunching some numbers to find out why Millennials are driving less – most likely due to their increasingly living a metropolitan life, they conclude. Debts, income, living arrangements (i.e. still with parents), later marriage/children etc. and other factors discussed, point made that if they end up following similar lifestyle patterns as older generations, just a bit later in life, their driving habits may not be different in the end – but if they don’t follow a traditional route to 2.2 kids in the suburbs, they could remain lower-mileage.
  • Some data from KPMG Automotive Network (via AutoblogGreen): though 57% of American households (115million of them) have two or more cars, this figure is dropping below 50% in some cities. Not just New York, but also auto-oriented cities like Los Angeles and Houston; this is down to operating costs in times of recession, and on-demand car-sharing services will see “proliferation” as an alternative to that second car, they say.
  • Rotary engine news: latest contender is the 70cc spark-ignition (diesel) X Mini, developing 5bhp at 15,000rpm. It’s intended for power tools and the like at the moment, but potential for scaling-up of the tech?
  • Software solutions provider Route Monkey is aiming to tap into integration of the transport and energy sectors and is expanding its EV-related team; current projects include working with Energy Saving Trust to map out the optimal locations for fast-chargers in London, reports EV Fleet World.
  • And of course, we can’t overlook the sewage-fuelled Bio-Bus, which is now up and running on the route (yes, the number 2) between Bath and Bristol Airport. Britain’s first poo-powered bus on public service, it’s running on biogas generated by Wessex Water from locally-produced human waste. More here




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