Concept of the Day: Icona Neo

June 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

icona neo shanghaiOne that slipped through the net at the Shanghai Auto Show but which has just come to my attention: the Neo “sets out to explore the inspirations and daily challenges of life in a busy metropolis such as Shanghai,” says Icona, an Italian design studio/consultancy based in the city. Shades of Lexus LF-SA in this tiddler, I think, in some of its geometric lines, though it adds an asymmetric door layout (rear-seat passenger access only from the right side, which also lacks a B-pillar).

Anyway, it’s a four-seater, 1.5m-long EV, designed as such ground-up, featuring a 21kW in-wheel motor. It weighs just 720kg in total, and is said to have a range of 150km during city driving, plus a 120kph top speed. This is none too hypothetical, either: Neo has been developed by Icona’s Italian technical partners, Actua and Italtecnica, and it turns out that other divisions in the firm’s Italian parent company worked on development and build of the Bollore Bluecar (of Paris Autolib’, and soon London, EV-share, fame).

  • Six rather nice ideas here from design students, shortlisted entries in a DHL-sponsored competition: I’m liking the ‘water strider’ – a solar panel-driven small cargo boat which could help switch freight off roads, ‘London’s urban vehicle of 2065’, a modular autonomous pod, and the neat ‘Light commercial vehicle’ with four in-wheel motors and large cargo bay. Winner to be announced tomorrow as part of the Formula E festivities.
  • Some stats and feedback from the My Electric Avenue project, presented yesterday at the LowCVP conference in London. In less than 18 months, the Nissan Leafs involved (100+ in ten ‘clusters’, trialling their effects on local electricity networks, plus 100 more on other trials) have driven over 2.7million km and have been charged for 94million hours; there’s 20,000 hours-worth of data recorded by the Esprit tech (which controls EV charging if the grid becomes overloaded); Esprit has curtailed charging 17,000 times (5.2% of the total recorded charging time).
  • Possible applications for V2X tech include ‘wrong way warnings’ for drivers and other road users, report the conclusions of the CONVERGE project, as well as intelligent and efficient routing of freight transport. CONVERGE has aimed to develop a secure, decentralised and scalable systems architecture which enables communication between different network operators, agencies, service providers and other stakeholders. Handy summary here.
  • Road noise: linked to cardiovascular problems, stroke, and ‘all-cause’ mortality, in a study in London; noise in decibels was linked in a separate correlation from air pollution by researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Reported here.
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