Concept of the Day: Rinspeed Σtos
October 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Rinspeed’s next concept is to be shown at CES in Las Vegas next year: the Swiss consultancy’s latest creation is a hybrid sportster called Σtos, complete with ‘learning’ autopilot function, an adaptive interior with a steering wheel that folds away and retracts into the dashboard in autonomous-driving mode, two curved info screens, a full suite of connected-car tech from Harman – plus an accessory drone with landing pad on the car’s tail end. So far, so Rinspeed, but note the departure from the firm’s usual protocol of a local reveal at the Geneva show. Canny Frank M. Rinderkneckt says: “The major and especially the disruptive innovations in future automotive engineering will come from the digital realm. That is why all major manufacturers and suppliers are now present at the CES Consumer Electronic Show.” Indeed.
- The Transport Systems Catapult’s Intelligent Mobility: Traveller Needs and UK Capability study reports: 75% of journeys have ‘pain points’, 57% of travellers are always looking to optimise journeys; ‘start-stop’ traffic and parking are biggest pain points for drivers (12% each); multi-modal journeys are particularly painful; 31% of journeys wouldn’t have been made if virtual mobility had been possible. This involved 10,000 online questionnaire respondents, 50 company interviews, 100 expert interviews. Their answer? It’s in the emerging intelligent mobility industry, using tech incl autonomous vehicles (39% indicating they’d consider them), exploiting mobile data for user-focused integrated, efficient, sustainable transport systems. 4 transformational themes for roadmaps have been identified – Access, Automation, Demand and Supply, Integration: each could revolutionise travel (people and goods) but greater step change is possible if they’re combined, it concludes.
- In the week Tesla took the headlines for its autonomous-features introduction, and Toyota formally launched its Mirai fuel cell car (fleets to go to Transport for London, private hire firm Green Tomato Cars and hydrogen co ITM, in the UK), Swiss (again) start-up nanoFlowcell AG updated us on progress on its Quant F super-coupe (heading towards European Type Approval and small-series production) and its embarking next year on construction of ‘Quant City’, 25,000sq-m R&D centre in Tenero, Switzerland. This is where its flow cell batteries (salt-water electrolyte, to be ‘swapped’) and the car itself will be developed and built. Expect also for the batteries to be promoted for use in energy systems for buildings as well as “applications in shipping, aerospace and rail traffic.”
- EVs and PHEVs could account for 30% of vehicle sales in Europe by 2030, according to a study ‘Scenarios for the Electrification of Transport’, published by the ScelecTRA (Scenarios for the Electrification of Transport) project, reported here. ScelecTRA is one of the EU-funded Electromobility Plus programmes.
- Aiding the above, Volvo’s announced plans to put a PHEV version in each of its model-ranges, as well as to “develop an entirely new range of electrified smaller cars and build a fully electric car for sale by 2019.” Medium-term forecasts – two years’ time – are for electrified vehicles to account for up to 10% of its sales. First up will come PHEV versions of its ’90-series’ and ’60-series’ vehicles, with the XC90 T8 Twin Engine PHEV already on sale; S90 PHEV is upcoming, as well as front-wheel-drive PHEVs. The anticipated 40-series small cars are based on Volvo’s new architecture said to have “been designed from the outset for electrification.” Interesting footnote: feedback from Twin Engine cars so far suggests that they’re driven in electric mode around 50% of the time.
- Meanwhile, also this week we’ve had promises of electric Aston Martins, as well as the electric new Volkswagen Phaeton, which goes alongside VW’s “reorientation of the diesel strategy” (ho hum) and alongside its “development of a standardised electric architecture for passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.”
- Latest registration figures from the SMMT: 20,992 people bought a plug-in car in the first nine months of this year (up 138.5% on last year’s figures). Uptake of PHEVs was biggest, though, up 226.5% to 14,041 year-to-date; this marks a 1% share of the UK car market for cars with plugs. Breakdown of YTD figures: 9,303 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs, 4,285 Nissan Leafs, 1,564 BMW i3s as the top three.
- India’s Mahindra & Mahindra plans to bring a four-door version of its E2O EV to Europe, reports electrive.com. This car will be launched next summer, and a UK distribution centre is to be set up, apparently.
- Auto Club Europe is launching a PAYG charge card for EV-owning members; this will give access to 25,000 facilities across Europe, with charging to be, er, charged according to operators’ tariffs, but there will be no admin fee. ACE is also offering a tow-to-nearest-charger service for members who run out of range (electrive.com).