Concept of the Day: Lutz Pathfinder

February 11, 2015 § Leave a comment

lutz podDriverless cars (well, electric golf cart-type vehicles) have hit the streets of Greenwich this week in the UK Autodrive trial, which will see investigation of public attitudes, legislative changes and protocols as well as technology tests. The Transport Systems Catapult also unveiled these Lutz Pathfinder ‘pods’, which will go into action in Milton Keynes and Coventry later this year, as well as the BAE Wildcat jeeps in Bristol. More detail here. (and here). The Lutz two-seaters are built by the RDM Group, with sensors and navigation tech from the Oxford University Mobile Navigation Group, and are designed with pedestrianised areas in mind, whereas the Greenwich golf carts are larger shuttles.

  • Lichtenstein-based nanoFlowCell is to show an update on last year’s Quant E-Sportlimousine concept at the Geneva Motor Show next month: the Quant F promises a 30% increase in range (to 800km) over last year’s prototype, as well as an all-new two-speed auto transmission, a 1075hp peak output and 186mph top speed, plus some small design tweaks. More details here.  Its flow cell batteries – using charged electrolytes – need a fluid-swap rather than conventional charging.
  •  Electric supercar story #2: a Finnish start-up is to unveil a 1 mega-watt monster called the Toroidion 1MW (of course) at the Top Marques show in Monaco in April, reports AutoblogGreen.
  • Pacific Gas & Electric is planning to build and provide 25,000 new EV-chargers in northern and central California, to be located in places including apartment buildings, retail centres and offices; it’s looking for third-party hosts. Release posted here.
  • Paper (Melanie Swan, Kingston University) on the application of so-called ‘quantified self’ technology – biometric measurements – in the automotive world, i.e. implications for fatigue detection, stress management, personal identification for security, and vehicle interventions, here. Conclusion is that this could be a factor – alongside other innovations such as 3D printing, other models of transport service delivery, energy sector reforms, autonomous driving – in a large-scale reconfiguration of cars, driving and personal transportation.
  • “Electric cars are good but connected electric cars are better”, said Bosch CEO Dr Volkmar Denner, speaking this week at the Car Symposium in Bochum. Bosch is aiming to offer integrated mobility solutions – combining automation, electrification and connectivity; other comments and predictions from this Tier One supplier include the idea that 15% of new cars will have some form of electrified powertrain (from hybrid onwards) by 2025; electrification is picking up pace unhindered by low oil prices; EV batteries will offer twice the energy density at half the price by 2020; hybrid powertrain will become standard-issue in the SUV sector; apps for battery-charging and payment for EV-charging will better-enable electromobility; and the success of e-bikes points to the fun factor of e-mobility.
  • France is to introduce a diesel scrappage scheme offering grants of up to 10,000 euros for people trading in diesels over 13 years old (in selected areas of  poor air quality) for plug-in hybrids or EVs,. Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Segolene Royal told Le Parisien this week that the measures will be introduced in April. This encompasses existing incentives and discounts. Meanwhile, the Bollore Group has just confirmed 150million euros-worth government funding for it to build a 16,000-strong network of fast-chargers across France; more here.
  • A not-yet-famous Belgian: designer Xavier van der Stappen is looking for funding to put his E-Car 333 into production, reports Sustainable Mobility. As its name hints, the E-Car (unveiled at the Brussels Auto Show this week) has three wheels, carries three people – and has a claimed range of 300km. It’s a kind of scooter/microcar hybrid with a chassis (recycled steel) that could accommodate different bodystyles; and interestingly, its panels are made from a flax-fibre laminated material (see previous post).
  • Registration figures from ACEA for last year: 75,331 plug-in vehicles registered in the EU, up 37% on 2013’s figures but still representing just 0.6% of the total market (12.6million cars of all types last year, up 5.7% on 2013).
  • Car-dependency in Washington DC vs similarly-populated Stuttgart: some nice number-crunching reported here. Similar trends in their suburbs, surprisingly.



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