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At last week's Vienna Motor Symposium, FEV was on hand showing off its LiiOn-drive Fiat 500 for ride and drives. We first saw this range extended electric vehicle last year at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit.

What sets this particular RE-EV apart, is the range extender itself. Instead of a piston engine, FEV opted for a Wankel rotary. Wankels are not known for being particularly fuel efficient (actually quite the contrary) but they are very power dense. Wankels, by their nature, are also very smooth running with virtually no vibration. This makes them well suited to a range-extending application since the noise difference between electric drive and charge-sustaining modes would be greatly reduced. For an application like this, a Wankel could be optimized to maximize efficiency at specific engine speeds that would be used to drive the generator.

In this test car, the lithium battery provides 50 miles of electric range and the 3.2 gallon gas tank provides another 190 miles of driving. Those that sampled the car were apparently impressed with what they experienced. FEV provides powertrain engineering consulting services, so this car is purely a concept at this point. No manufacturer has come forward with plans to build such a powertrain.

[Source: FEV]

PRESS RELEASE

FEV LiiOn Vehicle With Wankel Range Extender Makes Global Impression at the Vienna Motor Symposium

5/5/2010


Aachen, 5 May, 2010 FEV Motorentechnik GmbH (FEV) announced today that its LiiON Drive with Wankel Range Extender Vehicle Ride & Drive was one of the most popular Ride & Drive events at this year's Vienna Motor Symposium, one of the world's most important Powertrain events. The Symposium took place on 29, 30 April, 2010, and was attended by leading Powertrain engineers from around the world.

The FEV vehicle was driven by many of the over one thousand delegates attending the symposium, providing a chance for delegates to test the vehicle under real driving conditions in the Vienna city centre. The two-day driving marathon was easily completed by participants due to the Wankel Ranger Extender, providing up to 190 miles of extended range. According to FEV, drivers commented favourably regarding the excellent NVH characteristics of the Wankel powertrain in particular, as well as the overall concept of the electric vehicle with its 4 seats and full-size trunk. The positive response to the FEV concept, which, was chosen for the first E-Car Tech Award in 2009, provides further validation among the international powertrain community of the vehicle's potential.

According to FEV, participants were most interested in the vehicle's range, clearly illustrating the unconscious fear that exists with consumers that the car will abruptly run out of power. Since the Range Extender allows a driving range that is virtually independent of the battery, those fears will be alleviated, leading to wider acceptance of electric mobility by the end customer.

FEV developed the Wankel Range Extender in cooperation with the Wankel engine production supplier AIXRO. The basic powertrain has been comprehensively revised for automotive use. Modern engine management with electronic throttle, inlet pipe injection and three-way catalyst ensure that the exhaust gas emission limits will be met. The heating and temperature preservation strategy of the catalyst has been specifically adapted.

While the vehicle is presented as a concept, the electric vehicle LiiON Drive with Wankel Range Extender is licensed for public road traffic. Urban use of the vehicle results in an almost emission-free operation with a range of 50 miles. Longer daily driving distances and the use of the Wankel Range Extender produce only 80 g/mile of CO2 emissions.

The partially encapsulated Wankel Range Extender was mounted in the position of the fuel tank, which had been reduced to a capacity of 12L. The engine, which is inertia force-free by design, together with careful tuning of the thermodynamics, yields an excellent, previously unparalleled NVH behavior. All test drivers acknowledged this feature specifically.

FEV Motorentechnik GmbH is an independent, globally acting engineering company with more than 1,800 employees and headquarters in Aachen, Germany. The company specialises in strictly confidential high tech developments in all areas of powertrain systems and vehicle technology.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 60 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Actually Audi have demonstrated just such a drivetrain for the A1, so the last statement isn't entirely correct.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Audi is simply another attempt to kill hybirds.
        They have given it just a 15kw wankel engine instead of the 20 kw on the smaller Fiat so as to ensure lousy performance, limited all electric range to around 31 miles, and limited the TOTAL range to 155miles!
      • 5 Years Ago
      And here, of course, is another engine that is being worked on for
      a range extender, in case you missed it; as reported by ABG:

      http://tinyurl.com/27nqon7
        • 5 Years Ago
        I usually do. This one was rather long.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Larzen,
        Many people won't click on a tiny url - I don't myself and I am curious about some of the things you are linking to!
        If the main url doesn't work to post here you can always type it in using dot and at etc.
        • 5 Years Ago
        David... go to tinyurl.com (the main page) and click the link on the left to turn on your "preview".

        What it does is put a cookie in your browser so that for every tinyurl link you click on, it will not redirect you automatically, but show you the real link behind it. And you can click on that if you still want to proceed.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is the link that brings you to the selection
        http://tinyurl.com/preview.php

        And this one turns the preview cookie on and off:
        http://tinyurl.com/preview.php?enable=1
        http://tinyurl.com/preview.php?disable=1
        • 5 Years Ago
        Joe, they must have altered the preview function.
        I could not spot a link on the left, you now add an = sign to preview, which is fine if you are creating a link.
        I suppose I could cut and paste, but its' a lot of bother.

        Why am I reluctant to click on a link and arrive I don't know where?
        You can end up with all sorts of bugs on your computer.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Dave

        True enough about computer bugs.
        But I think you could skew slightly more toward anarchy and still be very safe.

        By that I mean - I wouldn't click on a tinyurl which professed to allow me to download adobe acrobat for free or get naked pics of megan fox....
        But the offer above seemed pretty innocuous - and indeed it was.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I've sat on a lot of tacks!
        I believe in keeping my router, firewall and VPN in operation all the time, and use Firefox for cookie control!
      • 5 Years Ago
      This works out at 60mpg (US Gallons) on the range extender.
      The packaging is incredible to get everything in such a small car.
      There is more here:
      http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/05/fev-20100512.html#more
      The only metric where the wankel range extender falls significantly behind is on fuel efficiency, but since the first 50 miles of range are petrol free favorable attributes such as cost and the compact size would seem to me more important.
      I think there are some folk here who are going to be in love!
      There is a warning though for Americans - this is a seriously small car!
      Fine in the front for most, but do consider chopping the children's legs off if you make many long journeys - they will thank you for it in the long run.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I owned a '88 Rx-7, and I loved the smothness and sound of the engine. The only down side (besides so so mpg) was it's oil appetite. Wankels use oil to lubricate the seals.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Let's not forget the tendency of your '88 RX-7 (really fun car!) to blow the seals at 65K miles, resulting in having to buy a new motor.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And burn it. Not so great for emissions.. kind of a step backwards towards 2 stoke motors -_-

        The current 1.3 motor goes so far as to inject oil into the air stream. can you believe that?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Pretty thrilled to see other automakers besides Mazda waking up to the advantages of rotaries; and from the looks of it, FEV has done a great job.

      60 mpg from a rotary doesn't sound so bad to me. And the engine's power density means that it minimizes the performance and efficiency penalties associated with having a range-extender.
      • 5 Years Ago
      0-60kph (37mph) in 6 seconds, so you won't be left behind in traffic-light starts, top speed over 75mph.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's really impressive MPG out of a wankel as a range extender.... Color me impressed!

      But that's for a tiny little Fiat. I have a feeling it would be getting more like 30-40mpg to produce enough power for a larger car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That doesn't matter too much if a lot of your driving is less than 50 miles a day, or 50 miles between recharges.
        Your mileage will be awesome in any case, but you can go on a long run if you feel like it.
        This makes hybrids OK in a very small package.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Ya know... maybe if the price is right.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I told you so, Lutz. This is better than your 4 banger. It just makes more sense.
      A smaller package, more torque, less noise, and remember: if you're a guy
      that commutes 33mi a day (except weekends), the Wankel need never come
      on.

      This is my car until something better shows up. Next I want driver reviews.

      Now, what's the price?
      • 5 Years Ago
      I am interested to buy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I somehow guessed! ;-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      Excuse my language, but thats fucking brilliant
      • 5 Years Ago
      This works out at 60mpg (US Gallons) on the range extender.
      The packaging is incredible to get everything in such a small car.
      There is more here:
      http://www.greencarcongress.com/2010/05/fev-20100512.html#more
      The only metric where the wankel range extender falls significantly behind is on fuel efficiency, but since the first 50 miles of range are petrol free favorable attributes such as cost and the compact size would seem to me more important.
      I think there are some folk here who are going to be in love!
      There is a warning though for Americans - this is a seriously small car!
      Fine in the front for most, but do consider chopping the children's legs off if you make many long journeys - they will thank you for it in the long run.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Fine in the front for most, but do consider chopping the children's legs off if you make many long journeys - they will thank you for it in the long run."

        That's very death metal. i like it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They are specifying liters, with a 12 liter tank good for 190 miles of range.
        I converted that into US gallons.
        1 US gallon is around 3.83 liters
        • 5 Years Ago
        "This works out at 60mpg (US Gallons) on the range extender."

        Where do we see their measurements are in US gallons? If they're specifying imperial gallons, it's 49.5mpg(US). That puts it in the same category as the Volt or the new Prius. This also assumes the mpg claim comes from the EPA cycle, which we know isn't the case. The Prius achieves 75mpg (62.5mpg US) on the Euro cycle.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you adjust for the US fuel cycle you might come out to something like 55mpg.
        That fuel cycle though was not designed for this sort of car.
        This is not primarily a long distance highway cruiser, it is a city car which can do a long journey occasionally without worries.
        If you are using it all the time for long journeys you have made a poor choice.
        So assuming that you are mostly pottering around in the City, your actual mileage would be phenomenal, and you would rarely need to visit the gas station.
        When you want to head off for a long distance cruise though you would be able to and still get very good mileage.
        Luggage space alone means that for families and so on going away on their holidays would be more conveniently accomplished with something else.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're correct. I missed that.

        I still have the concerns about how the measurements were arrived at.

        I don't want to knock them too much. It's an accomplishment, especially for rotary.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Found a figure for BSFC on a wankel engine

      http://www.personal.utulsa.edu/~kenneth-weston/chapter7.pdf

      The reference
      reports a best thermal efficiency of 35.8% (BSFC = 0.387 lb /BHP-hr) at 3500 rpm
      m
      and 225-horsepower output.

      It should also be possible to design a rotary engine with a larger expansion chamber (atkinson cycle) but it would be a very odd shape.

      I'm also sure with direct injection and new engine materials they could be greatly improved.
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