World Solar Challenge completed; Friday newsbriefs

October 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

Yes, this is basically a solar array on wheels – it’s the winning entry in the 2011 Veolia World Solar Challenge, a 3000km rally through (sunny) Australia from Darwin to Adelaide. A team from Tokai University, Japan, finished the four-day run just 30 minutes ahead of the second-placed Nuon team (Netherlands) and 100km ahead of the third-placed University of Michigan. The teams had to content with bushfires, cloudy skies as they came into Adelaide and, in the case of a Filipino entry, exploding batteries; they were allowed to start with 5kWhr of stored energy but from that point, had to proceed under their self-generated power, either from solar capture or energy regeneration systems. The Tokai car reached a top speed of 160kmph and cruised at 90kmph.

  • Chrysler is testing a US-market Fiat 500 EV, reports Edmunds AutoObserver, which has spy shots of this tiddler. To hit the market late 2012; no word yet on European activity, but it’s a likely prospect.
  • Mitsubishi has announced a new 1.8-litre petrol engine (139hp) with its latest variable valve timing lift tech, and a new-generation stop-start system. The engine will appear in the RVR/ASX/Outlander Sport and Galant Fortis/Lancer saloon and hatch; fuel economy improvements of 12% are promised. The stop-start system works with this engine plus a CVT gearbox.
  • Check out Morgenstadt, the city of tomorrow: this vision for the future, a low-energy city with electromobility and intelligent transport infrastructures, is on display at the UrbanTec trade fair in Cologne next week. It’s another project from the Fraunhofer Institutes.

Tuesday newsbriefs

November 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

The 2010 RAC Future Car Challenge (see earlier posts) has been judged a jolly good success all round. Most energy-efficient car of the event was judged to be the all-electricVolkswagen Golf blue-e-motion driven by What Car? ed Jim Holder; other individual efficiency prize-winners in their respective categories were the Tata Indica Vista Electric, the Gordon Murray T.25 City Car, one of the Toyota Auris Hybrids, the BMW 320d, the Lotus Elise S1 Electric, a Honda CR-Z, the Zytek Mercedes-Benz eVito taxi, the Nicholson McLaren Citroen Nemo Van Electric, the Ford Fiesta Van 1.6TDCi ECOnetic, the Proton Exora Extended-Range EV, and the Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell. The Vauxhall Ampera was judged ‘best public choice’ and ‘best private entry’ was Russ Sciville’s Lotus Elise S1 Electric. 64 vehicles took part in total.

  • Fiat is to put the 500 EV into production in Toluca, Mexico (a Chrysler facility) in 2012. Its lithium-ion batteries are to be supplied by SB LiMotive Co., a joint venture between Bosch and Samsung SDI Co (Autobeat).
  • London mayor Boris Johnson wants 1300 EV charging points across the city by 2013. He’s setting up a new programme called Source London. But didn’t he promise 25,000 by 2015? Some way to go, then (Autocar).
  • BMW’s expanding its Leipzig plant and investing $560million to build EVs: the 1-Series ActiveE in 2011 and the little Megacity in 2013.
  • First deliveries of the Volkswagen Up! (replacement for the Lupo city car) next year, prices from E10,000. Electric e-Up! comes 2013.
  • The Powertrain & Vehicle Research Centre at the University of Bath is getting £590,000 from the Technology Strategy Board to develop its downsized engine concept. Its high-torque petrol unit is said to promise performance of a 5.0-litre V8 with less than half the capacity. Partners in the project include Jaguar Land Rover, Lotus Engineering, the University of Leeds and Imperial College London.

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