Concept of the Day: ACCIONA Dakar Rally racer

December 5, 2014 § Leave a comment

noticia_prensa1It’s the first all-electric Dakar rally contender: developed by Spanish engineering/construction corporation ACCIONA, this off-roading buggy features solar panels, four swappable lithium-ion battery packs (giving 140kWhr) and a 300hp/700Nm motor (more spec here) and it’s built around a lightweight chrome-moly tubular frame with carbonfibre composite body-panels. It’s said to have a range of 350km in race conditions, which should prove sufficient for the stages. Its progress in the event, which kicks off this year from Buenos Aires on 4th January and covers 9000km through Argentina, Bolivia and Chile, can be followed here. Drivers are Albert Bosch and Agustín Payá. I wouldn’t normally support charging around Patagonia and other sensitive ecosystems etc in fast cars, but at least this lot shouldn’t have offensive numberplates…

  • The driverless vehicle research team leading road-test projects in Milton Keynes and Coventry is to be called UK Autodrive; the project will be led by Arup, and besides the driverless ‘pods’ in Milton Keynes – L-SATS (Low-Speed Autonomous Transport System), for areas including otherwise pedestrianised zones, as ‘last-mile’ solutions – a semi-autonomous Range Rover research vehicle will also hit the road. The testing is to develop in-car, V2V and V2X (vehicle-to-infrastructure) tech, as well as legal and insurance protocols, and studying of social and economic implications. It’s funded by Innovate UK to the tune of £10million, with consortium members upping the budget to £19.2m for the three-year programme. Jaguar Land Rover is to look at human-machine interfaces both for the Range Rover research car and for the pods.
  • Plus: TRL (Transport Research Laboratory) is leading an £8million project to test driverless cars in Greenwich, E London. This will involve fully automated shuttles (out on the Peninsula to the O2 centre/ExCel?), automated valet parking, with attention to integration into the wider multi-modal network in the area. Responses from the general public are to be monitored on social media as part of the research. More here.
  • BMW’s launched its DriveNow car-share in London: 210 BMW 1-Series and Mini Countrymans (Countrymen?) available initially, with 30 i3s joining the fleet next spring and 300 cars on-street by the end of 2015. It’ll only operate in Islington, Haringey and Hackney initially, but plans are for later expansion; charges are 39p a minute, with an hourly cap of £20, but packages including £35/three hours (with 40 free miles) and £120/24 hours (125 free miles) are on offer. There’s a one-off registration fee of £29. More here.
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