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Autoblog Editor-in-Chief Sharon Carty Panels Discussion On The Future Of The Automotive Industry

How easy is it to plan for the future when you've got billions of dollars at stake and no crystal ball? A group of automotive industry leaders get together to talk it out.

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Ricardo Plc appears to be adhering to an "it takes a village" approach to ratcheting up US fleetwide fuel economy levels to the higher Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards the federal government set for 2025. Last year, the US government finalized the new CAFE standards, which call for increasing fleetwide fuel economy starting in 2017 and ending at 54.5 miles per gallon (about 40 mpg in "real world" terms) by 2025.

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A European consortium known as SmartBatt believes that something critical and essential is missing for pure electric vehicle technology – battery packs that aren't heavy and bulky. Therefore, SmarBatt's objective is to develop an innovative, multifunctional, light and safe energy storage system smartly integrated into electric cars.

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The automotive industry tends to work by certain norms and patterns. For example, by the time one model is ready to be phased out, we usually have a pretty good idea of how its replacement is shaping up and when it will appear. But Bugatti, of course, is no typical automaker.

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An undisclosed, established European automaker has enlisted the expertise of UK-based lithium-ion systems supplier Axeon, the assistance of leading UK engineering firm Ricardo and the battery know-how of A123 Systems for collaboration on an upcoming plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHEV). The trio, along with assistance from that unnamed European automaker, will develop and integrate an advanced, lightweight battery pack that utilizes nanophosphate lithium iron cells manufactured by A123 Systems into an

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Ricardo Teixei crashes at Formula Two Marrakech – Click above to watch the video after the jump

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While the search for alternatives to the internal combustion engine continues at labs across the world, work hasn't stopped on those traditional powerplants. Auto parts supplier Ricardo, for example, had just announced its HyBoost project, which aims to reduce the CO2 emissions of a " cost-effective, ultra-efficient gasoline engine in a C-segment passenger car" by something like 30-40 percent. That's pretty impressive, and will take not only Ricardo's resources but also that of the company's par

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Ricardo TaxiBot -- Click above for high-res image gallery

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All too often, government policies are set by politicians and bureaucrats based solely on ideology rather than facts. With this week's announcement that the Obama administration will impose the equivalent of the California greenhouse gas emissions rules on a national level, it's good to hear that officials at least consulted with some technical experts. In this case, experts from Ricardo worked with officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to analyze comments on last yea

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Click above for a high-res gallery of the Sentience Research Vehicle

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There isn't anything new about boosting an engine through the use of a turbocharger or supercharger, and direct injection is becoming more and more common as well. As you're surely aware by now, it's also rather common for an automaker to create engines that can run on alcohol fuels like ethanol. According to Ricardo, though, combining these technologies into one package, as it has done with its EBDI test engines, can have some highly desirable results. "The EBDI engine project is a great exampl

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This week, Ricardo officially opened its new Battery Systems Development Center in Van Buren, MI. The battery lab is claimed to be the biggest of its kind and, as a consultant, Ricardo is opening the facility to anyone developing energy storage systems for hybrid and electric vehicles. Ricardo is touting its Virtual Vehicle Development Environment. This is a simulation environment that models the entire vehicle, allowing the battery to be integrated and tested under a wide range of conditions th

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British company Ricardo, know for its efforts in cleaning up powertrains, has decided to give a boost to its hybrid developments by hiring a new Group Director. The new appointee is Dr. Roger Thornton, who has more than 25 years of experience in power electronics based systems for transportation applications. Dr. Thorton joined Ricardo in 2006 as senior hybrids manager and was responsible for hybrid programs such as the recently announced Chery A5 BSG and ISG hybrids, a fifty-vehicle fleet of wh

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As part of the Technology Strategy Board's (TSB) ongoing efforts of promoting and supporting research into environmentally friendly automotive technology, the group has given funding to Ricardo, Jaguar and Land Rover for quite a few separate projects. Five of the projects are outlined here:

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Until electric cars and their associated technologies (motors, batteries, controllers etc.) become mainstream, the internal combustion engine will need to be further refined in order to meet upcoming fuel economy requirements and current emissions regulations -- while still producing the power that consumers have come to expect. HCCI is one technology currently being developed to make these goals possible, while direct injection and turbocharging are simply becoming quite common.

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