At the beginning of 2012 Volkswagen's latest efficiency technology, cylinder shut-off, will debut in the new 1.4 TSI engine. This is another large step for Volkswagen in terms of saving fuel in its models.
Volkswagen is the first manufacturer to implement cylinder shut-off on a four-cylinder TSI engine in high-volume production. The primary goal of the high-tech system is to significantly reduce fuel consumption by temporarily shutting off two of the four cylinders during low to mid loads. In fact, cylinder shut-off reduces fuel consumption of the 1.4 TSI by 0.4 litre per 100 km in the NEDC driving cycle. When the Stop/Start functionality is integrated, which deactivates the engine in neutral gear, the savings effect adds up to about 0.6 litre per 100 km.
The greatest benefits of the cutting edge technology are realised while driving at constant moderate speeds. At 50 km/h, in third or fourth gear, savings amount to nearly one litre per 100 km. This new fuel efficient TSI will therefore also fulfil the future EU6 emissions standard effortlessly. High efficiency does not exclude driving comfort: even when running on just two cylinders, the 1.4 TSI – with its excellent engine balance – is still very quiet and low in vibration.
Cylinder shut-off is active whenever the engine speed of the 1.4 TSI is between 1,400 and 4,000 rpm and its torque is between 25 and 75 Nm. This applies to nearly 70 per cent of the driving distance in the EU fuel economy driving cycle. As soon as the driver presses the accelerator pedal sufficiently hard, cylinders 2 and 3 are reactivated unnoticed. Volkswagen utilises information from the gas pedal sensor to detect the driver's mode of driving. If the driving exhibits a nonuniform pattern – e.g. while driving in roundabout traffic or in a sporty style on a country road – shut-off functionality is suppressed.
Electric cars are an excellent choice for everyday use, in particular for daily trips in the city is the conclusion of user analyses in two recent German projects.
The two projects analysed by Siemens were an internal 4-Sustainelectromobility (4-S) project involving 20 moveE cars and the external "Electromobility Model RegionMunich - Drive eCharged" project involving 40 BMW MINI E cars. The latter is a joint project with BMW Group and Stadtwerke München, Munich's municipal utility.
The overwhelming majority of users confirmed that the BMW MINI E is suitable for everyday use. They attested to the fact that the little 200-HP electric speedster is a lot of fun to drive. Private and commercial users drove 40 MINI E cars on Munich streets over a period of ten months. During the model trial the electric vehicles were driven 300,000 km, with zero emissions. Siemens developed the technology for charging.
The scientific survey revealed that the range of the MINI E was sufficient for 89% of the private users in day-to-day use. 88% of the private users found charging the cars at a charging station (at home or at work) to be more pleasant than driving to a gas station, while 79% of the private users said that environmental friendliness and zero-emissions driving were important advantages of the electric car. And 59%of the private users would like electric cars to be charged exclusively with electricity from renewable energy sources.
The test drivers of the movE cars had similar positive experiences. In the 4-S project, which is funded by the German Ministry for the Environment, Siemens employees in Munich and Erlangen have been testing 20 electric cars based on the Suzuki Splash since November 2010. On weekdays, the test drivers drove an average of only 40 km, which means that the range of approximately 100 km was fully adequate. The cars are charged at charging stations in specially marked parking lots at the Siemens locations where the test drivers work and at home charging stations in their garages (so-called wall boxes).
Thus, the drivers usually have sufficient opportunity to recharge the batteries during the day. The usage as second cars for driving to work or for shopping imposes almost no restrictions on mobility. In the meantime the electric cars were equipped with high-speed charging systems with 11 kilowatts, meaning that the batteries can now be charged within a period of two hours. In the near future, Siemens departments in Berlin will have the opportunity to test car sharing with a fleet of 13 electric vehicles.
Now more Americans than ever will be able to "drive on sunshine", by charging their electric cars with solar power, and save up to 77% on fuel costs.
SolarCity has partnered with ClipperCreek to provide electric vehicle (EV) chargers compatible with all new EVs. SolarCity will initially install EV chargers through its 24 operations centres nationwide, making it the largest single provider of EV, solar and energy efficiency services in the USA.
Electric vehicles produce zero emissions at the exhaust pipe, but more often than not there are emissions at the power plant. The only way to have a truly zero-emissions EV is to have it powered up from a renewable source like the sun.
"Electric cars are already among the cleanest-running vehicles on the road - charging them on solar makes them that much better. Tens of thousands of electric cars will be delivered over the next year alone, with hundreds of thousands expected over the next five years. We're making it easier to power them with carbon-free electricity for zero emissions, and to dramatically reduce the cost of driving," said Lyndon Rive, CEO of SolarCity.
Powering an EV with electricity generated from a home solar system can be 77% less expensive than powering a car with gas.
ClipperCreek pioneered EV charger safety features in the mid-1990s that have become the industry standard. Its UL-listed chargers are designed for use with the Chevy Volt, Ford Transit Connect, Nissan Leaf, Tesla Roadster and all SAE-compatible plug-In vehicles that are soon to be released from major and most new car companies.
"We are pleased to partner with SolarCity to help increase the number of homes and businesses that can run electric cars on renewable energy," said Dave Packard, President of ClipperCreek, Inc. "Roughly 40% of residential EV owners have solar and we expect these environmental and economic benefits to expand with the coming proliferation of electric cars and increasing use of solar power."
SolarCity installed the world's first solar-powered enhanced electric car charging corridor, between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in 2009.
Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the AUDI AG Board of Management, was presented with AUTO TEST’s e-Car award as “Personality of the Year”.
The jury acknowledged Stadler’s goal to make Audi the leading manufacturer of electric cars by 2020. In the “Concept Car” category, readers of the car magazine AUTO TEST voted the Audi A1 e-tron into second place.
“This award is a great honor for me and for everyone who works for Audi,” Stadler announced at the ceremony. “Audi is giving top priority to the electric mobility topic. We are pursuing our target of occupying the leading image position in the premium segment with great determination.”
The strategic path toward electric mobility that Audi has adopted is clearly defined: systematic development of hybrid versions of various model lines and the short production run of the Audi R8 e-tron that will begin in 2012.
AUTO TEST editor-in-chief Olaf Schilling presented the award to Stadler in Ingolstadt Germany. This is the second year that the car magazine has presented an e-Car Award with four categories in the electric mobility topic area. Audi recorded a further success in the “Concept Car” category: 11,412 readers voted the Audi A1 e-tron into second place.
The EU has published new data showing a decline in the average CO2 emissions of new cars in 2010 of 3.7%. But the data also shows that the average weight of cars has risen by 28kg or 2% as carmakers increasingly market SUVs and so-called crossover vehicles.
Had weight not increased, the CO2 reduction would have been 5%, or one third better say Transport & Environment (T&E), the EU sustainable transport campaigners.
Heavier cars require more energy to move so burn more fuel. Fuel use and CO2 emissions are directly linked.
Arne Richters, programme manager for clean cars at T&E said: "This report shows that cars are getting heavier again. After a drop in average weight linked to government subsidies which favoured cheaper, smaller cars, the SUVisation of the EU fleet is back. And that is no surprise as EU rules favour heavier cars by allowing them to emit more CO2. That needs to change. The EU should be favouring more efficient saloons, estates and hatchbacks rather than encouraging gas guzzling, tall and heavy SUVs. Promoting heavier cars is holding back CO2 reductions."
20 Battery Switch Stations to be deployed over the next nine months.
In preparation for commercial launch later this year, Better Place has unveiled its first Battery Switch station in Europe in Gladsaxe, just outside Copenhagen.
Californian company Better Place offers an electric car network that makes driving more affordable, convenient and sustainable through a revolutionary switchable battery model. The Better Place network addresses historical limitations to adoption by providing unlimited driving range in a convenient and accessible manner. The company works with all parts of the transportation ecosystem, including automakers, battery suppliers, energy companies, and the public sector, to create a compelling solution.
The battery switch experience is a simple, fully-automated process that together with the Renault Fluence Z.E. in Denmark gives drivers the autonomy of unlimited range. Customers simply swipe their membership card, which authenticates the car and subscription via the Operations Centere to activate the switch. The rest of the process is automated, similar to going through a car wash, so the driver never has to leave the car. In just a few minutes, a robotic arm removes the depleted battery and replaces it with a full one and the driver is back on the road.
"This marks a significant milestone for the partnership between Better Place and Renault", said Henrik Bang of Renault Denmark.
"Together we are unlocking the full potential of electric cars, giving them virtually unlimited range because they no longer have to wait hours to charge. Danish consumers are poised to lead the transition to a more sustainable transportation model."
The station is the first of 20 Battery Switch Stations to be deployed across the country over the next nine months as part of the company's nationwide network of charging infrastructure.
"The Better Place solution offers a great driving experience, improves air quality and increases the share of renewable energy in the electric grid – all of this at a more affordable cost of ownership than comparable conventional cars," said Johnny Hansen, CEO of Better Place Denmark.
"I am convinced that with the Battery Switch model we have overcome the last barrier to the electric car's commercial breakthrough: range, and based on the interest we have received so far, I expect this to be the top selling car in Denmark in just a few years."
Denmark's adaptability in terms of new climate friendly technology, a strong commitment to renewable energy, largely powered by wind and political leadership that has set ambitious carbon reduction targets makes it the perfect match for Better Place and the Renault Fluence Z.E.
"Denmark is leading the global transition from oil based transportation to electric. Over the next nine months, the solution you see here will be replicated across the country – giving drivers the confidence and freedom to drive zero emission, zero oil cars with the same convenience they enjoy with today's gas cars," Hansen concluded.
Two hydropower plants in São Paulo will cover 40% of the company's power demand.
Volkswagen Brazil is investing EUR 120 million in the construction of two hydropower plants. The two plants will have a total rating of 48.3 megawatts and will supply almost 40% of the electric power required by the company. Volkswagen is the first automaker in Brazil to invest in the generation of clean power from renewable sources.
One of the two power plants has already been in operation since March 2010 and the second plant is due to be completed in 2013. Both facilities are located in the federal state of São Paulo, where Volkswagen Brazil operates three of its four plants. In the course of construction work, some 500 new jobs will be created in the region.
The expansion of power generation from renewable sources at Volkswagen Brazil will be accompanied by a large number of nature preservation projects in the region. For example, Volkswagen has established a green belt with a length of 5.8 kilometres around the power plant reservoir. The woodlands form part of a reforestation program for 100 indigenous tree species with a total area of 116.5 hectares. To protect animal species in the area, the Fauna Monitoring and Preservation Program has also been launched.
The Volkswagen Group is paying increasing attention to the conservation of resources at its 62 production facilities throughout the world and has set itself the target of reducing CO2 emissions from production by 40% by 2020.
Your next new car hopefully won't be a lemon. But it could contain parts provided by a pineapple or a banana.
This is because scientists in Brazil have developed a more effective way to use fibres from these and other plants in a new generation of automotive plastics that are stronger, lighter, and more eco-friendly than plastics now in use. They described the work, which could lead to stronger, lighter, and more sustainable materials for cars and other products, at a recent meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).
Study leader Alcides Leão, from Sao Paulo State University Brazil, said the fibres used to reinforce the new plastics may come from delicate fruits like bananas and pineapples, but they are super strong. Some of these so-called nano-cellulose fibres are almost as stiff as Kevlar, the renowned super-strong material used in armor and bulletproof vests. Unlike Kevlar and other traditional plastics, which are made from petroleum or natural gas, nano-cellulose fibres are completely renewable.
"The properties of these plastics are incredible," Leão said, "They are light, but very strong - 30% lighter and 3-to-4 times stronger. We believe that a lot of car parts, including dashboards, bumpers, side panels, will be made of nano-sized fruit fibres in the future. For one thing, they will help reduce the weight of cars and that will improve fuel economy."
Besides weight reduction, nano-cellulose reinforced plastics have mechanical advantages over conventional automotive plastics, Leão added. These include greater resistance to damage from heat, spilled gasoline, water, and oxygen. With automobile manufacturers already testing nano-cellulose-reinforced plastics, with promising results, he predicted they would be used within two years.
To prepare the nano-fibress, the scientists insert the leaves and stems of pineapples or other plants into a device similar to a pressure cooker. They then add certain chemicals to the plants and heat the mixture over several cycles, producing a fine material that resembles talcum powder. The process is costly, but it takes just one pound of nano-cellulose to produce 100 pounds of super-strong, lightweight plastic, the scientists said.
"So far, we're focusing on replacing automotive plastics," said Leão. "But in the future, we may be able to replace steel and aluminum automotive parts using these plant-based nanocellulose materials."
Similar plastics also show promise for future use in medical applications, such as replacement materials for artificial heart valves, artificial ligaments, and hip joints, Leão and colleagues said.
The not-even-launched yet Porsche Panamera S Hybrid has shown its colours by winning an award at an international sustainability forum in Germany.
Shortly before its launch, the new Porsche Panamera S Hybrid has already scored a sensational success according to its makers. With its parallel full hybrid drive it has won the Intercity Rally at the eleventh Michelin Challenge Bibendum – an international forum for sustainable mobility which was staged this year in Berlin. Second place was taken by a 911 Carrera with a conventional combustion engine. Porsche see both successes as good market feedback that their models are "fundamentally very efficient vehicles".
The two Porsche models were competing against 14 other contestants in the combustion engine driven production vehicle category of the 300 km Intercity Rally. This category judges both vehicles with conventional diesel and petrol engines as well as hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Acceleration and lap time on a handling course were measured as well as fuel consumption. There were also a number of regularity tests carried out during the rally that took place south west of Berlin.
With CO2 emissions of 159 g/km the 380 hp (279 kW) Panamera S Hybrid boasts the lowest emissions of any model in the entire Porsche range. That equates to fuel consumption of 6.8 l/100 km (41.5 mpg imp.) based on the NEDC. These values are achieved with optimised rolling resistance Michelin tyres, available as an option. But even with the standard tyres, the new Porsche hybrid model's fuel consumption is at an unprecedentedly low level in this class at 7.1 l/100 km (39.8 mpg imp.) based on the NEDC – which equates to 167 g/km CO2.
Thanks to close cooperation with the city, VW will launch new mobility concept – with up to 100 locations planned - this autumn with 200 VW Golf BlueMotion.
Volkswagen intends to mobilize Hanover. With its "Quicar – Share a Volkswagen" idea, the Group is launching a new car sharing concept in the Lower Saxony capital this autumn.
The city of Hanover and Europe's largest automaker signed a letter of intent to this effect. "Highlights of the project featuring our particularly efficient models include high vehicle availability and excellent functionality of the overall concept. And we are integrating private customers, students and authorities as well as commercial users," Christian Klingler, Board Member for Sales and Marketing for the Volkswagen Passenger Cars brand, commented.
Volkswagen is cooperating closely with the city on this project. Stephan Weil, Mayor of Hanover, explained: "Innovative traffic concepts are always very interesting for our city. We are delighted that Volkswagen is launching a car sharing project here. Hanover has a population of some 520,000 and is a major industrial powerhouse, trade fair venue and service location, a university city and, not least, the capital of Lower Saxony – so it is the ideal setting for such a project."
The first model in the fleet will be the VW Golf BlueMotion. Its 1.6 TDI diesel engine has an average fuel consumption of a mere 3.8 litres per 100 km, corresponding to CO2 emissions of only 99 grams per km. A start-stop system and recuperation (brake energy regeneration) are standard features and make sure the Volkswagen fleet in Hanover ranks among the most efficient car sharing service providers. In the medium term, other models such as the VW Caddy or the newly launched VW Beetle will be added to the fleet.
To start there will be some 50 pick-up and drop-off locations dotted all over the city. In the medium term, this number could reach 100. It is easy for customers to collect and return their cars to these stations. The advantage of this system is its very high availability. Customers interested in car sharing will be able to register and find out more at shops located across the city.
The principle of the concept is very user-friendly. Once customers have registered they can book a Golf BlueMotion via the Internet, a special app or a call centre up to five minutes before the car is needed. Collecting the vehicle only takes a few seconds. The customer holds a chip card or a chip fixed to the driver license over a reader fitted to the car and the vehicle is unlocked. The ignition key is located inside and the driver completes the authorization process by entering a PIN using the touch screen.
A completely new telematics and software solution for bookings, reservations and vehicle management has been developed for the car sharing fleet. In addition, all the vehicles are fitted with navigation and entertainment systems. Customers are issued with an additional SD memory card for this equipment, allowing them to save individual destinations or routes. And there is plenty of room for storing music, too.
The first all-electric Audi will be built at the Neckarsulm site, with a small production run of the R8 e-tron sports car to hit the roads in late 2012.
Quattro GmbH is currently building the first technology platform for the electric model at the Neckarsulm plant's satellite site in Heilbronn-Biberach. Specially qualified employees are borrowing from the series production of the successful Audi R8 mid-engine sports car as they assemble the R8 e-tron at the development workshop.
"With the R8 e-tron, we are showing how inspiring electric mobility can be. Every system in this car has been tuned for maximum performance and range," says Franciscus van Meel, Head of Electric Mobility Strategy at AUDI AG. "The R8 e-tron is a very important project for Audi because the competence and experience we glean from it will later flow into the large volume production of electric automobiles."
The expectation is that e-tron will become a synonym for advanced electric mobility, just as the term "quattro" today stands for pioneering all-wheel drive. "We want to be the leading premium manufacturer of electric vehicles by 2020," says van Meel.
Systematic lightweight construction is one of the key preconditions for efficiency and range in electric vehicles. The Audi development engineers are therefore drawing on one of the company's core competences for the R8 e-tron: The body is aluminum; thanks to Audi Space Frame technology (ASF), it weighs barely more than 200 kg (441 lb). The lightweight body is an important reason why the R8 e-tron weighs in at just 1,600 kg (3,527 lb).
"The development workshop staff are specially qualified for high-voltage vehicles," explains Andreas Heine, quattro GmbH project manager for the body of the R8 e-tron. They are trained in three stages – depending on their function and technical training – to work with the high-voltage technology. The basic level is sensitization for driving and working on high-voltage vehicles. The training then builds on this to qualify the workers as electronics experts for defined activities. Finally, the extended training as Certified Electronics Specialists for Automotive Technology provides the employees with the expertise required to perform the complete range of activities associated with high-voltage models.
AUDI is investing more than EUR 5 billion in its German sites at Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt between 2011 and 2015. A majority of this investment will flow into the development of new products and into future technologies such as electric and hybrid drive systems.
To experience driving the revolutionary 70 g/km CO2 emission Porsche 918 Spyder in 2013, you would need to order it now.
The 918 Spyder super sports car with its innovative plug-in hybrid drive is now on sale. Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2010, outstanding customer response to this concept car kept its production development apace to its popularity.
Its unique hybrid technology, allows the 918 Spyder to consume a estimated mere three litres of fuel per 100 km (94 mpg imp.) Its V8 engine delivers more than 368 kW (500 hp), assisted by two electric motors with a total of at least 160 kW (218 hp).
The 918 Spyder can be purchased for around Euro 645,000 (subject to VAT and country-specific charges).
To ensure a 918 Spyder's exclusivity, the two-seater is limited to no more than 918 units. The earlier a customer orders his vehicle, the earlier it will be delivered, as production is being initialised in the same sequence in which orders are received.
Production of the 918 Spyder is scheduled to commence on 18 September 2013 at Porsche's main plant in Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen. Delivery of the initial vehicles will commence in November 2013.
The design's DNA is derived from the Carrera GT and Porsche 917 sports car as well as the RS Spyder and is very closely modelled on the 2010 concept car. Unlike the concept car, however, the production version of the two-seater, based on a carbon fibre-reinforced plastic monocoque, features a manual roof system with removable roof panels that can be stowed in the front luggage compartment.
The 918 Spyder is driven by a unique type of plug-in hybrid system. It comprises a high-revving V8 engine with a displacement exceeding four litres and output of more than 368 kW (500 hp). The mid-engine power unit is based on the racing engine of the successful Porsche RS Spyder, which provided impressive proof of its efficiency with its multiple victories in the Michelin Green X Challenge in the American Le Mans Series, the Le Mans Series and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Power transmission to the rear wheels is by means of a compact, seven gear Porsche-Doppelkupplungsgetriebe (PDK).
This is complemented by two electric motors – one each on the front and rear axle – with a joint mechanical output of at least 160 kW (218 hp). This configuration offers an innovative, variable all-wheel drive with independent control of the propulsion force on both axles. The energy storage unit is a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that can be charged from a conventional domestic power socket, delivering a range in excess of 25 km (16 miles) in the NEDC on purely electric power. The charging time depends on the country-specific mains network, being approximately three hours in Germany, for example. A quick charging option is planned to reduce charging time yet further.
The 918 Spyder's combined total fuel consumption in the NEDC (ECE-R 101) is anticipated to be 3.0 l/100 km (94 mpg imp.), equating to CO2 emissions of 70 g/km (112 g/mile). Despite that, the super sports car offers performance of the highest order. It accelerates from a standing start to 100 km/h (62 mph) in a maximum of 3.2 seconds and has a top speed of more than 320 km/h (199 mph). That means the Spyder will be able to manage a lap of the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than seven minutes and 30 seconds – trumping the Porsche Carrera GT, which needs seven minutes and 32 seconds. The top speed on purely electric power is 150 km/h (94 mph).
Every time a car brakes, energy is generated. At present this energy is not used, but new research shows that it is perfectly possible to save it for later use in the form of compressed air. It can then provide extra power to the engine when the car is started and save fuel by avoiding idle operation when the car is at a standstill.
Air hybrids, or pneumatic hybrids as they are also known, are not yet in production. Nonetheless, electric cars and electric hybrid cars already make use of the brake energy to power a generator that charges the batteries.
According to Per Tunestål, a researcher in Combustion Engines at Lund University in Sweden, air hybrids would be much cheaper to manufacture than the electric ones on offer today. The step to commercialization, he believes, would not be a large one.
"The technology is fully realistic. I was recently contacted by a vehicle manufacturer in India which wanted to start making air hybrids", he says.
The technology is particularly attractive for jerky and slow driving, for example for buses in urban traffic.
"My simulations show that buses in cities could reduce their fuel consumption by 60%", says Sasa Trajkovic, a doctoral student in Combustion Engines at Lund University who recently defended a thesis on the subject.
Sasa Trajkovic also calculated that 48% of the brake energy, which is compressed and saved in a small air tank connected to the engine, could be reused later. This means that the degree of reuse for air hybrids could match that of today's electric hybrids. The engine does not require any expensive materials and is therefore cheap to manufacture. What is more, it takes up much less space than an electric hybrid engine. The method works with petrol, natural gas and diesel.
For this research the Lund researchers have worked with the Swedish company Cargine, which supplies valve control systems.
The idea of air hybrids was initially hit upon by Ford in the 1990s, but the American car company quickly shelved the plans because it lacked the necessary technology to move forward with the project. Today, research on air hybrids is conducted at ETH in Switzerland, Orléans in France and Lund University in Sweden. One company that intends to invest in engines with air hybrid technology is the American Scuderi. However, their only results so far have been from simulations, not from experiments.
"This is the first time anyone has done experiments in an actual engine. The research so far has only been theoretical. In addition, we have used data that means we get credible driving cycle results, for example data from the driving patterns of buses in New York", says Sasa Trajkovic.
The researchers in Lund hope that the next step will be to convert their research results from a single cylinder to a complete, multi-cylinder engine. They would thus be able to move the concept one step closer to a real vehicle.
The 81st Geneva International Motor Show (3 – 13 March) is surprising the world with the most "world premieres" of new cars ever to be seen. Some 40 of these 170 premieres will feature some sort of green technology.
At the show, BMW will introduce the BMW i, a subbrand consisting of electric-power vehicles.
Toyota, Honda and Nissan will be showing more of their electric-car concepts, the most intriguing of which may be the Nissan Esflow, a rear-drive electric sports car.
Two high-performance mainstays, Porsche and Ferrari, will show models that once would have seemed unthinkable for their genres. Porsche has developed a hybrid version of its Panamera sedan, and the FF prototype is the first Ferrari with all-wheel drive featuring a production version with electric motors driving its front wheels and a hybrid-style regenerative braking system.
Even Rolls-Royce has taken a dip in the green pool with an electrically driven prototype, the 102EX, based on the Phantom.
Some 700,000 visitors are expected during the 11 days of the Show.
With a promise of using just 1 litre of petrol for every 100 km (235 mpg), VW's prototype two-seater car is sure to be an attraction at the upcoming Geneva motor show.
Future mobility is one of the most stimulating topics of our time. And a key question on this topic is: Just how much could the energy consumption of cars be reduced if all the stops were pulled out for efficiency?
There is now an answer to this question, and Volkswagen is delivering it in the form of the new XL1.
Combined fuel consumption: 0.9 l/100 km. No other hybrid car powered by an electric motor / internal combustion engine combination is more fuel efficient.
The new Volkswagen XL1 attains a CO2 emissions value of 24 g/km, thanks to a combination of lightweight construction (monocoque and add-on parts made of carbon fibre), very low aerodynamic drag (Cd 0.186) and a plug-in hybrid system - consisting of a two cylinder TDI engine (35 kW / 48 PS), E-motor (20 kW / 27 PS), 7-speed dual-clutch transmission (DSG) and lithium-ion battery.
Since it is designed as a plug-in hybrid, the XL1 prototype can also be driven for up to 35 kilometres in pure electric mode, i.e. with zero emissions at point of use. The battery can be charged from a conventional household electric outlet.
Naturally, battery regeneration is also employed to recover energy while slowing down and store as much of it as possible in the battery for re-use. In this case, the electric motor acts as an electric generator.
The car works in two ways: eco and sport. In the eco mode, the engine develops 27 hp/4.000 rpm and in the sport mode it develops 39 hp. The car is able to reach a top speed of about 160 km/h.
The reduced consumption is also explained by the car's very light weight of 380 kg, this is due to the body being made of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP).
The new L1 concept car will enter production in 2013 and will probably cost somewhere around EUR 20,000.
BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën create joint venture to enhance cooperation on hybrid technologies.
The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën have decided to enter into a new phase of their collaboration, by signing an agreement to set up a 50-50 equity joint venture named BMW Peugeot Citroën Electrification. This is a step on from the Memorandum of Understanding designed to expand their existing cooperation to hybrid systems signed in October 2010.
BMW Peugeot Citroën Electrification will focus on developing and producing hybrid components, including battery packs, E-machines, generators, power electronics and chargers, while also developing software for hybrid systems. Joint research and development, production and component purchasing will leverage significant economies of scale for both companies.
First and foremost, this initiative of BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën aims to develop standard hybrid components for the electrification of their vehicle ranges. Its goal is also to create an open European platform on those technologies that will help the European industry to structure itself in the field of hybridization. To that extent, the joint venture will both integrate suppliers by outsourcing development work and could sell hybrid components to other companies beside its two shareholders.
Subject to approval by the relevant competition authorities, the joint venture is expected to launch its operations in the second quarter of 2011. The new hybrid components will equip both partners' vehicles from 2014 onwards.
The joint venture's management, as well as the rest of its workforce, will be drawn from employees of both companies. Additional external staff will also be hired. The key management positions will be equally shared among the two companies. Wolfgang Güllich, currently responsible for BMW Group's Purchasing Strategy, will be appointed Chief Executive Officer of BMW Peugeot Citroën Electrification, and Jean Leflour, currently Director Customer Satisfaction and Quality Planning at PSA Peugeot Citroën, will be appointed Managing Director.
"This cooperative venture will enable us to achieve significant economies of scale in the field of electrification. It also represents an important step on the road to sustainable mobility," said Norbert Reithofer. "With this joint venture, we are sure to develop and expand our expertise and to build a European leader in the field of automotive hybrid innovation," noted Philippe Varin.
The BMW Group and PSA Peugeot Citroën have been successfully cooperating on engines for several years, building together more than 1.8 million units from 2006 to 2010. In February 2010, the two companies agreed to develop the next generation of their jointly designed 4-cylinder petrol engine, which will also meet EU 6 requirements. The joint engine is currently built into a number of MINI, Peugeot and Citroën brand models.
London and Hamburg introduce buses that combine a diesel engine with electric motors, reducing fuel requirements by a third and creating a quieter ride.
Around half of all local public transit trips in Germany are by bus. Like other heavy vehicles, however, buses are loud and produce emissions that are harmful to humans and the climate. The long-term solution is to use an all-electric drive. The problem is that today's battery technology is relatively expensive. Although in China, for example, there are already several buses powered by innovative lithium ion batteries. City buses make frequent stops for traffic lights and passengers, so they are well suited for use with a hybrid drive. This system marks an intermediate step on the road toward zero-emission buses powered either by batteries alone or a combination of batteries and a fuel cell system.
Rather than powering the rear axle via an automatic transmission, as is usual, the diesel engine in the Elfa system drives a generator that uses power electronics to supply electricity to one or more drive motors. The electric motors also act as generators during braking and thus feed electricity back into the batteries. This power can then be subsequently used to drive the vehicle, which means at times the bus can run fully electrically and without producing any emissions.
In combination with a clever power management system, Elfa not only reduces fuel consumption but also noise, since the diesel engine doesn't provide acceleration and therefore operates only at quiet and economical engine speeds. As a result, fuel consumption falls by around one-third. On the basis of 60,000 kilometres a year, that corresponds to savings of around 10,000 litres of diesel, depending on the type of route driven.
Buses with Elfa drives are now being used in a number of cities worldwide, including a test fleet of double-deckers in London. Hamburg, meanwhile, is planning to introduce buses with an Elfa hybrid drive equipped with a fuel cell system rather than a diesel engine. This new drive technology is also ideal for other commercial vehicles that make frequent stops, such as garbage trucks or light delivery trucks.
The Elfa system forms part of the Siemens environmental portfolio, which generated around EUR 28 billion in sales for the company in 2010.
To reduce fuel consumption, researchers at the New York State University have developed a new type of shock absorber. The dampers are designed to produce electricity while they do their job of absorbing shocks and transmit this in order to recharge the battery. For this purpose, they are equipped with an induction coil, which releases power at each vibration. The efficiency of a car can be increased this way by 2 to 10 per cent, say the researchers. The worse the road, the greater the fuel savings.
The silent running of electric cars could put an end to noise pollution from busy city roads but could also present dangerous consequences.
Between 0 – 25 km/h (15.53 mph) electric cars are virtually silent as they glide through the streets. Noise from the rolling of the tires and from the slipstream comes to the forefront above this speed, at which point an electric car is no longer significantly more quiet than a conventional vehicle.
The fact that this new form of transportation is particularly quiet is, of course, another factor of its success. After all, environment-friendly automobiles should not only reduce emissions, but also noise pollution. However, speed without the typical road noises that serve as a signal harbours risks: The sense of hearing allows participants in traffic to monitor all 360 degrees of their surroundings, whereas the eyes only cover a limited angle. People with poorer vision or who are distracted can easily overlook a car.
Organizations for the blind worldwide therefore advocate giving quiet cars a unique sound; specifications or laws to this effect are already in place in the USA and Japan.
Safe sounds systems have been developed by companies world-wide which would be transmitted through speakers geared to the outside of the car. These "intelligent sound" systems are named for what they are. When moving forwards under 30 km per hour, the sounds are released through the forward speakers, during reversing a special reversing sound can be played. Some systems allow drivers to choose the "vehicle" sound they want transmitted so allowing e-cars further personalization.
Car manufacturers have a different idea on how to tackle this safety issue. They are interested in giving their make of car a distinctive "brand" safe sound.
Dr Ralf Kunkel, Head of Acoustics at Audi said: "The Audi RSQ from the Hollywood film I, Robot gives an indication of how an Audi might sound in the future."
However, as reported in The New York Times, every new development has its opponents.
"The advantage of hybrid and electric vehicles is that they're quiet," said Richard Tur, the founder of NoiseOff.org, which he describes as a coalition working to reduce noise pollution. "There's a lot of scaremongering in the media portraying e-cars as some kind of shark in the water, but I don't see people getting run over left and right by them."
Mr Tur said that one proposed alternative to car-generated sounds is a device to be worn by blind people and other pedestrians that could receive signals generated by electric and hybrid cars and generate a warning.
Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, said that "technology can fail - maybe the battery would go dead. Blind people would rather rely on our own senses and judgment than depending on a piece of technology."
Two new A4 models go on sale in Germany featuring less fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions.
Two new versions of the best-selling A4 that consume less fuel than ever go on sale in Germany. The sedan consumes just 4.4 litres of diesel per 100 km (53.46 US mpg) on average, with CO2 emissions of 115 grams per km (185.07 g/mile). These same figures for the A4 Avant are 4.6 litres (51.13 US mpg) and 120 grams (193.12). CO2 emissions have been reduced by four and nine grams, respectively, compared with the previous models.
The two new A4 models use the technologies from Audi's modular efficiency platform. All the gear ratios of their six-speed manual transmissions were lengthened slightly, and the forged 16-inch alloy wheels are shod with 206/60 tires that have been optimized with respect to rolling resistance.
Aerodynamic tweaks to the body and a lower ride height improves the drag coefficient, while the on-board computer with efficiency program gives the driver tips about when to shift and on fuel-efficient driving.
VW Passat BlueMotion sets new world record.
A Volkswagen Passat BlueMotion driven by journalist Gavin Conway of The Sunday Times has set a new Guinness World Record for the distance travelled by a production passenger car on a single tank of fuel.
In setting the record the Passat BlueMotion travelled a distance of 1,531-miles, the equivalent of driving from London to Malaga, without needing to refuel.
Powered by a Volkswagen 1.6-litre common rail TDI engine developing 105 PS, the Passat BlueMotion used for the record attempt was a standard production model. In common with the Polo and Golf BlueMotion models, the Passat is fitted with aerodynamic modifications to the bodywork, a lower ride height, Stop-Start, programmed battery charging, longer gearing and low rolling resistance tyres. The result is a vehicle that is completely conventional to drive, service and maintain yet among the most efficient vehicles on the road today.
The record breaking feat was monitored throughout by independent representatives on behalf of the Guinness World Records organisation. The amount of fuel used was accurately measured at 77.25 litres resulting in an overall fuel consumption of 90.0 miles per gallon, substantially exceeding the claimed combined figure of 64.2 mpg.
Car manufacturers support integrated standard for a modular connector system for electric vehicle charging.
Car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Porsche and Volkswagen commonly support a modular connector system for electric vehicle charging. A globally integrated standard is to ensure that customers always have direct and easy access to the energy grid, independent of vehicle brand and supplier of electric energy.
The vehicle connector system was developed by reputable plug connector producers in close collaboration with the automotive industry, and will be employed on both the vehicle-side and the charging infrastructure.
The modular connector system consisting of core and extension is applicable to all standard charging scenarios. The performance spectrum of the basic configuration ranges from single-phase charging at a regular domestic socket outlet to three-phase charging at private and public vehicle charging stations, which are currently being rolled-out. The extension can be used for charging at direct current charging stations, similar to already existing Japanese systems. Thus, the system is prepared for all future direct current charging categories up to fast charging and provides the opportunity for communication over CAN or PLC.
The safety of the system is guaranteed even in case of dirt and adverse weather conditions. A mechanical locking mechanism effectively prevents unintentional interruption of the charging process.
Charging at DC charging stations is a challenge for all national and international suppliers of electric energy and committees to also make a sustainable step towards a customer-oriented offering in this context. With DC charging the technical complexity within the car and the charging time can be reduced to an optimum level.
Comparable to the standard established for gasoline dispensers and compatible filler necks, a common, worldwide used charging connector and the appropriate data interface are an important milestone on the journey to a ubiquitous e-mobility. This is the only way customers receive the opportunity along the lines of the existing gas station network to "refuel" energy for their cars everywhere without additional adapters. Therefore, the setup of a functioning infrastructure is an essential requirement for the customer-friendly individual mobility of the future.
A small Winterthur firm wins a USD 2.5 million X Prize for its revolutionary E-Tracer vehicle.
The X PRIZE was launched in 2008 to inspire a new generation of viable, safe and super fuel-efficient vehicles capable of achieving 100 miles per gallon or the energy equivalent (MPGe).
Some 111 teams and 136 vehicles from all around the world have been in the running for this innovative technologies prize, which is sponsored by the US government and Progressive Insurance. It took 30 months for the teams to carry out the road and laboratory tests needed to ascertain the winners.
Peraves from Winterthur won the Alternative Tandem Class category of the X PRIZE, while two American companies took away the prizes for the Mainstream Class (Edison2 Very Light Car No 98) and the Side-by-Side Class (Li-ion Motors Corp Wave II).
The E-Tracer is a two-seat vehicle which the competition judges believe "combines the best of motorcycles and automobiles. This clever design has two extra outrigger wheels that deploy at low speed to stabilize the vehicle. At 1436 pounds, the E-Tracer is able to deliver over 100 miles in range, led the competition with over 200 MPGe in combined on-track and laboratory fuel efficiency and achieved a zero-to- 60 mph acceleration time of just 6.6 seconds."
Along with the monetary award, Peraves will be included in a US Department of Energy programme designed to help boost the sales of green vehicles.
"It's a great honour, especially because we were never allowed to compete in regular competition before as the Tracer is neither a car nor a motorcycle," Roger Riedener, driver of the Tracer and CEO of Peraves told swissinfo in an interview.
Peraves, though based in Switzerland, employs only eight people in Winterthur (these are involved in administration and engineering), the rest of its 56 staff are based in the US (assembly and distribution) and the Czech Republic (body work).
One of the reasons for this is production costs.
"Labour costs in the US are much lower than in Switzerland" commented Riedener.
Despite such attempts at cost-saving, the most basic version of the E-Tracer costs USD 99,000. However, this is still less than some of its co-competitors for the X PRIZE. The American Tesla, for example, goes on sale for USD 120,000.
There is a market for the vehicles with 36 E-Tracers been sold this year. "2010 is the first year we've made money," said Riedener in the same interview.
Before journeying home, the E-Tracer will go on show at one of the US's major Alternative Car Expos in California.
Now that the government's car scrapping scheme is over, the Germans go back to buying bigger and faster cars.
Between January and July this year, new cars bought in Germany featured on average a horsepower of 129.8, as calculated by expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer from the Centre for Automotive Research (CAR), at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
When the government's car scrapping scheme was in place, the average horsepower of new cars sold fell for the first time in more than 15 years. However, as the scheme met its end, the lust for power took over consumers again with the hp of new cars bought rising from 118 to 131.1 hp.
The German car scrapping scheme allowed vehicle owners to receive state money to trade in their old vehicles for new, more efficient ones.
The underlying agenda of such schemes is straightforward: they are introduced to protect the economy of major car producing countries. In Germany, the annual turnover of the car industry (close to EUR 300 billion) accounts for about 10 per cent of the country's GDP, employing almost 800,000 people and representing about 2 per cent of the working population.
The officially stated policy objectives of the German car-scrapping schemes was to aid in the "reduction of pollution".
It now looks as though the car scrapping scheme, which ran from January to December 2009, only aided the environment during its active phase and has not changed the mentality of the Germans, the majority of whom would rather have a big, powerful car than help the environment in the long term.
Audi announce that electromobility is on the way to market maturity as pilot project starts in Munich model region.
Project partners Audi, E.ON, the Munich municipal utility company Stadtwerke München (SWM) and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) today sounded the starting gun for a fleet trial with electric cars in the Munich model region.
By the middle of next year, 20 Audi A1 e-tron models will successively take to the region's roads and around 200 new charging stations will be installed. The "eflott" project is part of the "Model Region Electromobility Munich" sponsored by the German Federal Ministry of Transport. It will address a number of issues from the data transfer between the driver, vehicle and electric filling station to the power grid. It will also include a test of smartphones as the central interface for the driver.
The Audi A1 e-tron is an innovative Mega City Vehicle (MCV) with an electric drive. It has a range of more than 50 kilometers in city traffic and a peak power output of 75 kW (102 hp). A compact internal combustion engine recharges the battery when its energy is depleted. Top speed is 130 km/h (80.78 mph). The compact MCV is a zero-emissions vehicle for the first 50 kilometers (31.07 miles) that it is underway, such as in city traffic. The battery comprises a package of lithium-ion modules mounted in the floor assembly in front of the rear axle.
A small, single-rotor Wankel engine in this near-series vehicle increases the range in exceptional circumstances. This "range extender" powers a generator that produces 15 kW of charging power. If the range extender is used to recharge the battery, the A1 e-tron can cover an additional 200 kilometers (124.27 miles) of range. According to a draft standard for the computation of fuel consumption for range extender vehicles, this represents a fuel consumption of 1.9 l/100 km (123.80 mpg) – a CO2 equivalent of only 45 g/km (72.42 g/mile).
E.ON and SWM are installing the necessary charging infrastructure; E.ON primarily in the outlying areas and SWM in the Bavarian state capital. The two utility companies are initially installing a total of 100 "electric filling stations" each as part of a variety of projects. All of the charging stations are supplied with electricity generated from renewable energies.
The Technical University of Munich is responsible for comprehensive data collection and evaluation of mobility behavior. How heavily and in which situation is the electric car being used? And what influence does this option have on the use of other means of transportation? To answer these questions, the Department of Vehicle Engineering has developed a mobile application that will be provided on a smartphone to all participants of the fleet trial. The device will thoroughly document their mobility behaviour – from their use of bicycles to electric cars and from conventional cars to buses and trains. To ensure that the participants always use the smartphone, the Department of Ergonomics made sure that the application features an easy-to-use design that encourages use over the long-term. At the same time, the Department of Marketing is conducting a study to discover which billing models for the electricity used for e-mobility meet with the greatest acceptance.
The fleet trial is being supported by the German Federal Ministry of Transport as part of a publically-funded project.
"Electromobility is not an abstract technology issue. At its core is the question of how the transportation systems of the future should look. We are therefore funding electromobility under real-world conditions in our model regions – a large field test, so to speak. Projects like these provide us with important insight into how to make electromobility a success, both in the city and in rural areas. In the Munich model region, we are providing approximately EUR 10 million in funding for electromobility. This money is a smart investment in the future. Our goal is clear: We want to make Germany the lead market for electromobility and put at least one million electric vehicles on German roads by 2020," says Federal Transport Minister Peter Ramsauer.
The State of California awards a USD 2 million research programme to Lotus Engineering for a study into efficient, lightweight cars of the future.
Lotus Engineering has been commissioned by the Air Resources Board of California to undertake the second stage of a study investigating efficient, lightweight vehicles manufactured using lighter, stronger materials.
Lotus Engineering will conduct a detailed structural design and analysis of the prototype vehicle from an earlier study to demonstrate it meets the stringent safety requirements for vehicles sold in the US.
Lotus Engineering concluded the first part of the study in April this year, which suggested that a reduction in vehicle mass of 38% can be achieved for medium volume vehicles (around 50,000 units a year) with just an increase in 3% in vehicle cost, thus giving a 23% reduction in fuel consumption.
It is widely recognised in the automotive industry that a reduction in vehicle mass produces more efficient vehicles and,with the global drive to reduce emissions, manufacturers are working hard to make their cars lighter.
Lightweight vehicles have additional benefits in terms of performance, agility and cornering, (the lighter the car, the less power it needs to propel it along the road for the same performance as a heavier car).
For 62 years Lotus has been leading the car world with their philosophy "performance through lightweight" engineering. "Strict adherence to this philosophy has enabled Lotus to develop some of the finest sports cars of all time, such as the Lotus Elite, Elan and Esprit in Lotus' peerless past and the Elise, Exige and Evora from our current line up – all of which are the lightest cars in their class. But it is not just sportscars; Lotus' consultancy division, Lotus Engineering, has been applying its light weight principles behind the scenes for other car makers for years on many types of vehicles, both low volume and mass production", said a spokesman for the group.
This study will be led by Lotus Engineering's Michigan US office with completion in April 2011. The vehicle design will use a mixture of materials best suited to its application including aluminium, magnesium, composites, high strength lightweight steel and plastics.
Scroll down in archive to read previous auto news on Lotus and its light car philosophy
In-car air conditioning systems do not run "free of charge". In fact in the hot parts of the world they can account for up to thirty per cent of fuel consumption.
Even in Switzerland, with its temperate climate, the use of air conditioning systems is responsible for about five per cent of total fuel usage, rising to around ten per cent in urban traffic, as shown by a new study. Furthermore, two thirds of the additional fuel usage could be saved if air conditioning systems were simply turned off when the air temperature falls below 18 degrees Celsius.
Car air conditioning systems require energy to compress the cooling agent, and the greater the degree of cooling required the more energy (i.e. fuel) they use. Little known, however, is the fact that these systems also use fuel when the outside air temperature is cooler than in the vehicle. For this reason the Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) gave the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) the task of investigating in detail the fuel consumption of six modern cars – both diesel and petrol models – with their air conditioning systems switched on and off under varying ambient temperatures and humidities.
The study, the results of which have just been published in the scientific journal "Environmental Science and Technology", shows that the fuel consumption of the test vehicles with air conditioning systems in operation increases with rising ambient air temperature and humidity, reaching a value of some 18 per cent on a typical Swiss summer day with an air temperature of 27 degrees and relative humidity of 60 per cent. In addition, the researchers noted that the air conditioning systems in cars with automatic transmissions (which today are the most widely sold models) only turn themselves off when the external temperature drops below 5 degrees, when the cooling system could ice-up.
This occurs because air conditioning systems not only cool the air before blowing it into the vehicle interior but also dry it, so as to avoid causing condensation on the front windscreen when it rains, among other reasons. This is of course perfectly sensible and important for safe driving, but only when the air humidity is high, and not all the time.
Swiss study calculates ecological footprint of the battery used to power most electric cars.
Battery powered electric cars are often promoted as the ideal solution to the challenges of future mobility, since they produce no exhaust gases in operation. Lithion-ion (Li-ion) batteries have established themselves over competing lead-acid and nickel metal-hydride (NiMH) types because they are lighter and can store more energy. Li-ion batteries are also basically maintenance-free, display no memory effect (loss of capacity when repeatedly charged after partial discharge), have a low self-discharge rate and are regarded as safe and long-lived. For these reasons they find use in many products such as laptop computers. But are they also environmentally friendly?
Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (EMPA) decided to find out for sure. They calculated the ecological footprints of electric cars fitted with Li-ion batteries, taking into account all possible relevant factors, from those associated with the production of individual parts all the way through to the scrapping of the vehicle and the disposal of the remains, including the operation of the vehicle during its lifetime. Data with which to evaluate the rechargeable batteries was not available and had to be obtained specifically for this purpose. The electric vehicles evaluated were equivalent in size and performance to a VW Golf, and the power used to charge the batteries was assumed to be derived from sources representing an average European electricity mix.
A new petrol-engined car, meeting the Euro 5 emission regulations, was used for comparison. It consumes on average 5.2 liter per 100 kilometers when put through the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), a value significantly lower than the European average. In this respect, therefore, the conventional vehicle belongs to the best of its class on the market.
The study shows that the electric car's Li-ion battery drive is in fact only a moderate environmental burden. At most only 15 per cent of the total burden can be ascribed to the battery (including its manufacture, maintenance and disposal). Half of this figure, that is about 7.5 per cent of the total environmental burden, occurs during the refining and manufacture of the battery's raw materials, copper and aluminium. The production of the lithium, in the other hand, is responsible for only 2.3 per cent of the total. "Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries are not as bad as previously assumed," according to Dominic Notter, coauthor of the study which has been published in the scientific journal "Environmental Science & Technology".
The outlook is not as rosy when one looks at the operation of an electric vehicle over an expected lifetime of 150'000 kilometers. The greatest ecological impact is caused by the regular recharging of the battery, that is, the "fuel" of the e-car. "Refueling" with electricity sourced from a mixture of atomic, coal-fired and hydroelectric power stations, as is usual in Europe, results in three times as much pollution as from the Li-ion battery alone. It is therefore worth considering alternative power sources: If the electricity is generated exclusively by coal-fired power stations, the ecobalance worsens by another 13 per cent. If, on the other hand, the power is purely hydroelectric, then this figure improves by no less than 40 per cent.
The conclusion drawn by the Empa team: a petrol-engined car must consume between three and four liters per 100 kilometers (or about 70 mpg) in order to be as environmentally friendly as the e-car studied, powered with Li-ion batteries and charged with a typical European electricity mix.
The German government wants to bring one million e-vehicles onto its streets by 2020. But does the world have enough copper available to make this a reality?
Copper plays a special role in the production of electric cars, because it is needed to create the connection between drive motors and accumulators.
The German government wants to bring one million e-vehicles onto the market by 2020 and this will increase the demand for certain commodities, including copper, nickel and neodymium. The Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI) was called in to analyze whether the geological availability of copper will be sufficient to allow the desired expansion of electrical mobility, via a project entitled "System Research Fraunhofer Electric Mobility (FSEM)".
Their investigations show that there is a sufficient copper supply worldwide.
"Our conclusion is that copper demand will only slightly be affected by the development of electric vehicles. Even if we aim for electric vehicles to make up 85% of autos on the road in 2050, this will still not exceed more than 21% of the entire global copper demand," concludes Professor Martin Wietschel who worked on the study.
However, the need for more copper will affect the copper industry says Dr. Gerhard Angerer, one of the authors of the resulting study based on the project. "The development of new mines must be planned in the next 10 to 15 years to ensure a continuous supply of copper." And upping the recycling of copper already in use would be a useful complement to new mining.
Audi becomes the first carmaker to use green electricity to transport its cars for shipment.
Audi is using trains powered by green electricity to transport its cars from Ingolstadt in Germany to the North Sea loading port of Emden, making it the first company in Germany to use green electricity in this way. This innovative logistics concept is a trailblazing step for the car industry and an important element of Audi's strategy of ensuring that production is sustainable in all areas.
"CO2-free rail transport is an important element of our environmental efforts and is of great interest to us," said Ernst-Hermann Krog, Head of Audi Brand Logistics. Beginning August 1, 2010, the carmaker is operating its transport trains on the Ingolstadt – Emden route with electricity from renewable energy sources. This allows Audi to eliminate the emission of around 5,250 tons of CO2 per year, more than 35 kilograms (77 lb) per car transported. The line to the North Sea loading port, the hub for overseas exports, is the brand's most important transport route. Three trains loaded with Audi models travel this route each day and carry roughly 150,000 cars a year.
The CO2-free rail freight transport concept Eco Plus is a new offer from DB Schenker, the logistics area of German railway operator Deutsche Bahn. For transport within the domestic rail network, the energy required is replaced entirely by renewable energy from Germany. The electricity is bought in additionally by Deutsche Bahn, meaning that emissions are avoided right from the start. Eco Plus from DB Schenker and the energy supply are approved by TÜV SÜD.
The additional costs incurred compared to conventional electricity are borne by Audi. "The switch to CO2-free transport underscores our progressive character and sustainable mindset," added Ernst-Hermann Krog.
The Supervisory Board of Porsche have given the green light for series development of the Porsche 918 Spyder.
Reflecting the overwhelming response from the public and customers to the Concept Study, the Supervisory Board gave Porsche's Board of Management the mission to develop a production model based on the car already presented. This concept version of an ultra-high-performance mid-engined sports car with plug-in hybrid technology made its debut at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show and at Auto China in Bejing, hitting the headlines worldwide.
Michael Macht, President and Chairman of the Board of Management of Porsche AG commented: "Production of the 918 Spyder in a limited series proves that we are taking the right approach with Porsche Intelligent Performance featuring the combination of supreme performance and efficient drivetrain concepts. We will develop the 918 Spyder in Weissach and assemble it in Zuffenhausen. This is also a very important commitment to Germany as a manufacturing base."
The Concept Study of the 918 Spyder allows CO2 emissions of just 70g/km, corresponding to fuel consumption of 3.0 litre/100 km (94.1 mpg imp) on the one hand, and the performance of a super-sports car, on the other. This extremely efficient drivetrain technology then forms a symbiosis in the 918 Spyder with truly outstanding design and high-tech motorsport achievements.
Around 100 employees are working on the cars of tomorrow at the ERL in California USA, the largest research institution of the Volkswagen Group outside of its headquarters in Wolfsburg Germany.
Alongside the development of driver assistance systems, the focus is on electric mobility.
"In the future, the heart of Volkswagen will also beat with electricity, and our engineers in America, Europe and Asia are laying the foundations for that in the research alliance," said Chairman of the Board of Management, Dr. Martin Winterkorn.
VW's plans are to follow up the Touareg Hybrid, launched this year, by a Jetta Hybrid in 2012 and, the year after that, by the E-Up! and the Golf blue-e-motion, one of which will become the first full-electric vehicle VW will offer in the US. Dr Winterkorn said his aim is for "Volkswagen to be the automaker that will offer the electric car attainable for every customer."
Volkswagen is also examining various storage concepts. In the field of lithium-ion technology (li-ion), this means competition between specially developed battery cells and the so-called consumer cells found in notebooks and other devices, also called 18650 cells. The ERL in Silicon Valley has been especially assigned the task of examining the battery compound of consumer cells in order to find the ideal packet assembling of battery cells for VW that will offer intelligent controls (power electronics) of the stored energy, ensuring that cruising ranges are as wide as possible.
For the advance development for future e-models of the Volkswagen Group, every single demand made on batteries is being ascertained: This includes their lifetime and corresponding costs, reliability as well as the cruising range and safety of the battery.
E-mobility is a thriving part of VW's overall research and development (R & D) investment of over five billion Euros a year. Some 23,000 of its employees are active in R & D worldwide.
Each year the TCS (Touring Clubs Schweiz) produces a free Consumption Catalogue (available in German, French and Italian) listing useful information such as fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and efficiency category for a wide range of cars in use in Switzerland. This year the catalogue contains details of some 4553 different listed models. The 2010 Catalogue (Der Verbrauchskatalog des Touring Clubs Schweiz) is available free at garages or from the TCS itself, or can be accessed via this link.
The TCS is a Swiss motoring association offering services for owners of private vehicles – cars, mobile homes, motorbikes – from insurance, breakdown cover through to holidays and much more.
The experimental electrical quattro took on all terrains in this gruelling three-stage race including ten time trials.
In the "Silvretta E-Auto Rally Montafon 2010", the 230 kW (313 hp) R8 e-tron technology demonstrator had to show what it was capable of over three stages and ten time trials. The two-seater was pitted against 23 other electric cars over three days of racing, clinching victory in the overall standings by more than half a second. This rally was not just about speed. The vehicles had to achieve specific target times in the time trials.
The biggest challenge for the Audi team came on the second day's racing in the famous Silvretta mountain and valley time trials. In the fourth time trial, the Audi R8 e-tron had to drive up the Silvretta High Alpine Road and handle an altitude difference of 1,000 meters (3,280.84 ft) over the mountain road's 15 kilometers (9.32 miles). Audi works driver Lucas Luhr nevertheless managed to finish third in the R8 e-tron. The Audi team even managed to advance to second place in the overall standings for the second day. Upon reaching the finishing line in Partenen at the end of the third stage,
Development Chief Dick was able to celebrate overall victory for Audi. The Audi drive concept was particularly impressive. Four motors – two on the front and two on the rear axle – drive the wheels of the Audi R8 e-tron, making this experimental vehicle a genuine quattro.
Volkswagen affirms its strategy of sustainable growth at the German pavilion of the Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China.
Prof. Winfried Vahland, President & CEO of Volkswagen Group China, confirmed at the Expo: "We fulfilled our target this year of reducing energy consumption of our vehicles sold in China by 20%, compared to 2005. Long-term growth can be feasible only with a concurrent preservation of resources."
VW also presented a vista on the future in Shanghai, with its pure electrically driven prototype of the Volkswagen Lavida which has been specially developed for the Chinese market.
"The Lavida blue-e-motion not only stands for an innovative electric drive technology but for an intensive exchange in vehicle development between the engineers here in China and in Germany as well," said Jörn Hasenfuss, Deputy Managing Director of Shanghai Volkswagen.
VW say there is always an international team standing behind the innovations at Volkswagen. And that is why it plans to mass-produce the first pure electrically powered vehicles not just in Europe but also in China in 2013.
Audi electric sports car entered in Silvretta E-Auto Rally with Audi Board Member and a factory driver at the wheel.
Audi has entered an e-tron technology platform wrapped in the skin of an R8 in the Silvretta E-Auto Rally Montafon 2010 taking place this weekend. Michael Dick, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Technical Development, and factory driver Lukas Luhr will pilot the electric sports car along the 167.5 kilometer (104.08 miles) route through the Austrian state of Vorarlberg. After debuting with a demonstration run at "Le Mans vers le futur" as part of the 24-hour race, the Audi R8 e-tron will now be competing in different stages of the upcoming race.
"We already received very good feedback on the Audi R8 e-tron in Le Mans," says Michael Dick. "In Montafon, the e-tron will put its potential to the test in 10 different mountain, valley and timed special stages. This is a good opportunity to showcase Audi's integrated approach and to experience the fascination of electromobility in a sports car on the road."
Four motors – two each on the front and rear axles – power the wheels of the Audi R8 e-tron, making this test vehicle a true quattro. With 230 kW (313 hp) and 4,500 Nm (3,319.03 lb-ft) of torque, the two-seater accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h (62.14 mph) in 4.8 seconds. The technology platform is designed for a top speed of 200 kilometer per hour (124.27 mph).
The technology platform vehicle wrapped in the skin of an R8 demonstrates that the Audi e-tron belongs in the major leagues of electric sports cars. The package does justice to all of the specific realities of an electric vehicle: The water-cooled, lithium-ion battery is located directly behind the passenger cabin for an optimal center of gravity and axial load distribution.
The battery isn't only charged when the car is stationary, but also while driving. The keyword here is recuperation. This form of energy recovery is already available today in a number of Audi production models. During braking, the alternator converts the kinetic energy into electrical energy and feeds it into the onboard electrical system. This relieves the load on the alternator during the next acceleration phase, which enhances driving dynamics and improves efficiency.
Lotus Engineering demonstrates the lightweight future of the passenger car
- Study by Lotus Engineering concludes that a vehicle mass improvement of 38% versus a conventional mainstream vehicle can be achieved at only 3% cost.
- Efficient design and lightweight materials significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
Lotus Engineering has conducted a study to develop a commercially viable mass reduction strategy for mainstream passenger vehicles. This study, released by the International Council on Clean Transportation, focused on the use of lightweight materials and efficient design and demonstrated substantial mass savings. When compared with a benchmark Toyota Venza crossover utility vehicle, a 38% reduction in vehicle mass, excluding powertrain, can be achieved for only a 3% increase in component costs using engineering techniques and technologies viable for mainstream production programmes by 2020. The 2020 vehicle architecture utilises a mix of stronger and lighter weight materials, a high degree of component integration and advanced joining and assembly methodologies.
Based on U.S. Department of Energy estimates, a total vehicle mass reduction of 33% including powertrain, as demonstrated on the 2020 passenger car model, results in a 23% reduction in fuel consumption. This study highlights how automotive manufacturers can adopt the Lotus philosophy of performance through light weight.
Dr Robert Hentschel, Director of Lotus Engineering said: "Lighter vehicles are cleaner and more efficient. That philosophy has always been core to Lotus' approach to vehicle engineering and is now more relevant than ever. Lightweight Architectures and Efficient Performance are just two of our core competencies and we are delighted to have completed this study with input from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to provide direction for future CO2 reductions. We believe that this approach will be commonplace in the industry for the future design of vehicles."
The study investigated scenarios for two distinct vehicle architectures appropriate for production in 2017 and 2020. The near-term scenario is based on applying industry leading mass reducing technologies, improved materials and component integration and would be assembled using existing facilities. The mass reduction for this nearer term vehicle, excluding powertrain, is 21% with an estimated cost saving of 2%.
A benchmark Toyota Venza was disassembled, analysed and weighed to develop a bill of materials and understand component masses. In developing the two low mass concepts, Lotus Engineering employed a total vehicle mass reduction strategy utilising efficient design, component integration, materials selection, manufacturing and assembly. All key interior and exterior dimensions and volumes were retained for both models and the vehicles were packaged to accommodate key safety and structural dimensional and quality targets. The new vehicles retain the vision, sight line, comfort and occupant package of the benchmarked Toyota Venza.
Darren Somerset, Chief Executive Officer of Lotus Engineering Incorporated, Lotus' North American engineering division which led the study, said "A highly efficient total vehicle system level architecture was achieved by developing well integrated sub-systems and components, innovative use of materials and process and the application of advanced analytical techniques. Lotus Engineering is at the forefront of the automotive industry's drive for the reduction in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions and this study showcases Lotus Engineering's expertise and outlines a clear roadmap to cost effective mass efficient vehicle technologies."
The full report, entitled 'An Assessment of Mass Reduction Opportunities for a 2017 – 2020 Model Year Vehicle Program' can be found at the following link:
The 2020 Passenger Car Technical Detail
The body includes the floor and underbody, dash panel assembly, front structure, body sides and roof assembly. The baseline Toyota Venza body-in-white contained over 400 parts and the revised 2020 model reduced that part count to 211. The body-in-white materials used in the baseline Venza were 100% steel, while the 2020 model used 37% aluminium, 30% magnesium, 21% composites and 7% high strength steel. This reduces the structure mass by 42% from 382 kg to 221 kg.
The low mass 2020 body-in-white would be constructed using a low energy joining process proven on high speed trains; this process is already used on some low volume automotive applications. This low energy, low heat friction stir welding process would be used in combination with adhesive bonding, a technique already proven on Lotus production sports cars. In this instance, the robotically controlled welding and adhesive bonding process would be combined with programmable robotic fixturing, a versatile process which can be used to construct small and large vehicles using the same equipment.
The closures include all hinged exterior elements, for example, the front and rear doors and the rear liftgate. One alternative approach included fixing the primary boot section to improve the structure, reduce masses and limit exposure to high voltage systems. A lightweight access door was provided for checking and replacing fluids.
The closures on the baseline Toyota Venza were made up of 100% steel. The low mass Venza closures/fenders would be made up of 33% magnesium, 21% plastic, 18% steel, 6% aluminium with the other 22% consisting of multiple materials. The mass savings are 41%, a reduction from 143 kg to 84 kg.
The interior systems consist of the instrument panel, seats, soft and hard trim, carpeting, climate control hardware, audio, navigation and communication electronics, vehicle control elements and restraint systems. There is a high level of component integration and electronic interfaces replace mechanical controls on the low mass model. For the 2020 model the instrument panel is eliminated replaced by driver and passenger side modules containing all key functional and safety hardware. A low mass trim panel made from a high quality aerated plastic closes out the two modules. The air conditioning module is incorporated into the console eliminating the need for close out trim panels; heated and cooled cupholders are integrated into the HVA/C module. The audio/HVA/C/Navigation touch screen contains the shifter and parking brake functions and interfaces with small electric solenoids. This eliminates conventional steel parking brake and shifter controls and cables as well as freeing up interior space.
The front seats mount to the structural sill and tunnel structure eliminating conventional seat mounting brackets (10 kg) and the need to locally reinforce the floorpan. The composite front seat structure utilises proven foam technology; the seat mass is reduced by up to 50%. The rear seat support structure is moulded into the composite floorpan eliminating the need for a separate steel support structure. The front and rear seats use a knit to shape fabric that eliminates material scrap and offers customers the opportunity to order their favourite patterns for their new vehicle. Four removable carpet modules replace the traditional full floor carpeting; this reduces mass and allows cost effective upgrading of the carpet quality. The floorpan is grained in all visible areas. The 2017 production interior mass was reduced from 250 kg to 182 kg with projected cost savings of 3%. The 2020 production interior mass was 153 kg with projected cost savings of 4%.
The chassis and suspension system was composed of suspension support cradles, control links, springs, shock absorbers, bushings, stabilizer bars and links, steering knuckles, brakes, steering gearbox, bearings, hydraulic systems, wheels, tires, jack and steering column.
The chassis and suspension components were downsized based on the revised vehicle curb weight, maintaining the baseline carrying capacity and incorporating the mass of the hybrid drive system.
The total vehicle curb weight reduction for the 2020 vehicle was 38%, excluding the powertrain. Based on the gross vehicle weight, which includes retaining the baseline cargo capacity of 549 kg and utilising a hybrid powertrain, the chassis and the suspension components were reduced in mass by 43%, with projected cost savings of 5%.
Front and Rear Bumpers
The materials used on the front and rear bumpers were very similar to the existing model to maintain the current level of performance. One change was to replace the front steel beam with an aluminium beam which reduced mass by 11%. The use of a magnesium beam was analysed but at the current time exceeded the allowable price factor.
Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning
The air conditioning system was integrated into a passenger compartment system and an engine compartment system. This section addressed the under hood components which included the compressor, condenser and related plumbing. The under hood components were investigated for technologies and mass.
The study showed a relatively small mass difference for the underhood air conditioning components based on both vehicle mass and interior volume. Because of the highly evolved nature of these components, the requirements for equivalent air conditioning performance and the lack of a clear consensus for a future automotive refrigerant, the mass and cost of the Toyota Venza compressor, condenser and associated plumbing were left unchanged for both the 2017 and 2020 models.
The glazing of the baseline vehicle was classified into two groups: fixed and moving. The fixed glass is bonded into position using industry standard adhesives and was classified into two sub groups: wiped and non wiped.
Factors involved in making decisions about glazing materials include the level of abrasion it is likely to see during the vehicle life, the legislative requirements for light transmissibility, the legislative requirements for passenger retention and the contribution it will make to interior noise abatement.
The specific gravity of glass is 2.6 and the thickness of a windshield is usually between 4.5 mm and 5 mm, therefore the mass per square metre of 5 mm glass is approximately 13 kgs. The high mass of glass provides a strong incentive to reduce the glazed area of the body, reduce the thickness of the glass and find a suitable substitute that is lighter. Fixed glass on the side of the vehicle offers the best opportunity for mass reduction.
The mass of the baseline glazing was retained for both the 2017 and 2020 models; this was a conservative approach. It is possible that coated polycarbonate materials may become mainstream in the 2017 – 2020 timeframe for fixed applications.
The estimated mass savings for using thinwall cladding and copper clad aluminium wiring, as used on the 2017 model was 36% versus the baseline model. The lighting technologies section reviewed included diodes, xenon and halogen. The study also reviewed a variety of wireless technologies under development for non-transportation applications that could be used in this time period pending successful development for mobile applications.
Two of world's biggest car manufacturers are suffering due to the recent volcanic eruptions in Iceland.
The ash clouds formed by the eruption of the Volcano Eyjafjallajokull have affected Nissan and BMW production. Components necessary to the production line have not been delivered due to the disruption of European airspace, according to information released by both companies on 20 April.
Nissan is running out of air-pressure sensors, which were due to be delivered from Ireland (tyre pressure sensor), and were destined for use in their Cube, Murano and Rogue vehicles. Production is expected to be cut to 2000 vehicles a day on certain days this week due to this problem.
As for BMW, the disruption caused partial suspension of production in three BMW plants in Germany, given the difficulty of receiving imported electronic components. The production of some 7000 cars will be affected.
Activities at Nissan's plants were expected to be back to normal yesterday, while BMW hopes to get back to full production by the end of the week. The costs involved have not yet been released.
Paris, 9th April 2010 - Enel, Endesa and the Renault-Nissan Alliance subscribed a Memorandum of Understanding aimed at developing electric mobility across several geographical areas.
The agreement was signed yesterday evening between Fulvio Conti, CEO and General Manager of Enel, Patrick Pélata, COO of Renault Group, and Hideaki Watanabe, Alliance Managing Director of Zero Emission Business Unit, within the framework of the Fifth France-Italy governments summit led by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The agreement calls for:
* analysis of the technical integration (power interface, safety, and communications protocol) between Renault and Nissan's electric vehicles and Enel's recharging infrastructure;
* examination of the development of integrated product and service offerings for the customers of electric vehicles;
* analysis of various recharging technologies and the services associated to the charging infrastructure;
* study of the entire battery life cycle, including the possible use of the battery as an energy storage system of energy produced from renewable sources in the second part of its life cycle;
* joint evaluation for development of pilot projects in areas to be identified in Italy, Spain and Latin America.
Electric mobility has enormous potential for environmental improvement in urban transport. Replacing a conventional vehicle with an electric one not only reduces drastically noise and air pollution locally, but also cuts down CO2 emissions by up to 45% through the current average efficiency of the generation park. If power produced from renewable and nuclear energy sources only was to be used, emissions would be practically zeroed.
Renault and Nissan are strongly engaged in the development of electric vehicles and oriented towards mass commercialization of zero-emission mobility, as a sustainable mobility solution for the near future. Between 2011 and 2012, Renault will launch a complete range of 4 electric vehicles: the urban vehicle TWIZY Z.E., the compact hatchback ZOE Z.E., the family hatchback FLUENCE Z.E. and the light commercial vehicle KANGOO Z.E. In late 2010, Nissan will launch LEAF, the world's first affordable all-electric vehicle for the global mass market. Sales will begin in the US, Japan and select markets in Europe before global mass marketing in 2012.
Enel actively plays a leading role domestically and is involved in the major European boards and projects for standardization and technological development. The company is also developing its own smart recharging infrastructure system based on digital metering technology, of which it is a global leader thanks to the installation of more than 32 million smart meters in Italy. Enel is also developing additional offers and services making electric mobility increasingly practical, accessible and convenient.
Endesa is firmly committed to the development of sustainable transport model based on the electric vehicle as one of the main routes of Endesa in its combat against climate change as reflected in its Strategic Plan for Sustainability 2008-2012.
Enel is Italy's largest power company, and Europe's second listed utility by installed capacity. It is an integrated player which produces, distributes and sells electricity and gas. After the acquisition of the Spanish utility Endesa, Enel is now present in 23 countries with over 96,000 MW and serves 60.8 million power and gas customers. Listed on the Milan stock exchange since 1999, Enel is the Italian company with the highest number of shareholders, some 1.2 million retail and institutional investors, in 2008. Enel is also the second-largest Italian operator in the natural gas market, with approximately 2.7 million customers and a 10% market share in terms of volumes.
Endesa is the leading electricity company in Spain, the first private electricity company in Latin America and has a strong position in the Mediterranean basin, with a growing presence in various segments of the natural gas market in Spain and Portugal. It reaches an installed capacity of 36,640 MW, with 25 million customers and 26,300 employees. Seventh utility in the world by enterprise value, Endesa has assets valued at 60 billion euros. Endesa has opted for a model of sustainable enterprise. In Spain the company is already working in the electrical mobility deployments (Plan MOVELE) in Madrid and Barcelona, in major technology initiatives (Cenit VERDE, G4V and ELVIRE consortium, and REVE @ DER22 projects) ENDESA is also already working on projects for energy storage in batteries, through the STORE consortium.
Swiss start-up company Mindset is looking for a large electricity provider to back its new hybrid car. Alpiq, Axpo and BKW are in the company's sight.
Founder and Chairman Lorenzo Schmid must now single-handedly raise CHF 165 million before early June if production plans are to go ahead.
Mindset has been undergoing an ugly struggle for power which has resulted in the CEO, CFO, a Director and an entire team of engineers jumping ship.
Schmid is, of course, the man behind the Twike, which although still in production, never hit the mainstream as he wished. The Twike is counted these days as a hybrid "car", combining traditional electric battery power with human muscle power provided by cycling.
Schmid's hopes to raise money for his new venture now rest on his successful history in the field, the current hype around electro cars, the good reviews his prototype has received from the auto trade press and financially strong partners in the electricity and the automobile industry.
However the power companies themselves seem to remain cautious about backing his venture.
The Mindset has an electro-engine. A lithium-ion battery guarantees many kilometres of driving and can be refuelled within a couple of hours at a power socket. What makes the car different to other electro vehicles is its built in extender, through which it becomes the hybrid automobile of the plug-in generation. An optional generator can be use to continually charge the battery, resulting in longer journeys without a pit-stop.
Although fund-raising time looks short, Lorenzo Schmid is not discouraged: "I remain optimistic, because we have had some encouraging signals from the financial sector."
Read article in German at Handelszeitung.