We often hear how an electric vehicle powertrain architecture allows vehicle designers much more freedom than a traditional ICE powertrain does. With differently shaped battery modules and small electric motors, there are lots of way to put the pieces together. With today's plug-in hybrid technology, engineers still need to put a decent-sized ICE somewhere, but new technology from Toyota could free up the gas-electric vehicle designers of the future.
At the SAE World Congress in Detroit last week, FEV showed off what it calls an "innovative" new plug-in hybrid transmission. The reason for that moniker is that the system does away with the need for a torque converter while offering two speeds, which makes it particularly good during launch. If the electric motor is used to get going, once up to speed, the engine kicks in for "efficient highway driving" and the system is capable of both electronic boost as well as capturing regenerative brakin
Things are running a little bit behind on Hyundai's hydrogen-powered Tucson Fuel Cell CUV program in the US. The last time we checked in with the South Korean automaker's H2 project, we heard that the first deliveries were supposed to happen by the end of March. Speaking with Hyundai's Kevin Lee at the Hyundai booth at the SAE World Congress this week, we learned that deliveries are now going to happen closer to a month from now.
We've often heard that hitting higher fuel economy targets (like, say, the 54.5 miles per gallon CAFE requirement for 2025 in the US) will need not a silver bullet but something more like silver buckshot. In other words, the industry is going to try lots of different ways to make cars burn less fuel as they drive down the road.
Like the Volar-E and E-Born3 concepts before it, the new iShare EV from Applus IDIADA makes you stop and look twice. Looking like the strange child of a Smart Fortwo and a flat-nose semi tractor, the iShare is a purpose-designed little car (technically, a heavy quadricycle) that Applus has prepped for carsharing duty in European cities. There are no key holes in the doors, but the designers didn't forget them. Instead, they rethought how a car like this should be locked and unlocked.
At the SAE World Congress in Detroit this week, Nissan brought the guts of its new Pure Drive Hybrid System, a four-cylinder gas engine and 15-kW electric motor that has two clutches. The clutches on either side of the motor allows the system to use the motor for propulsion or regeneration and also result in a compact size, about the same as a conventional CVT, we were told. The system also uses a 144-volt lithium-ion battery.
As fuel economy regulations tighten all around the world, each part of the automobile is getting a second (and third and fourth ...) look to see if there is any way to squeeze out a few more yards per gallon. At the SAE World Congress in Detroit this week, Lacks Enterprises was showing off its contribution to the get-every-efficiency debate: Evolve Hybrid Wheels.
On the floor at the SAE World Congress at Cobo Hall this week sits a 2.0-liter Tigershark engine. Parts have been cut away and there are pretty colored lights inside, but the cool part – if you're interested in biofuels, anyway – is how the engine has been modified to turn the Dodge Dart into an E85-capable machine.
Sometimes, a little suggestion goes a long, long way. Speaking at the SAE World Congress in Detroit today, Bob Lutz took a proposal from the conference organizers to frame his speech around the idea that he was king of the auto industry for a week and ran with it. He said he'd need to rule over the entire US to get his ideas enacted, oh, and be an all-encompassing emperor instead of a mere king. In other words, Maximum Bob remains as big as ever, attacking the "religion" of climate change, point
Kept under a glass case like a ship in a bottle, the E-Born3 from Applus Idiada at the 2012 SAE World Congress was never meant to roam free. Instead, this clever concept exists mostly to show off the engineering and design skills that Idiada can offer to automakers. But, hidden in the protective covering lies a model that puts various electric drive technologies together in an interesting way.
Flex4 may sound like something sold during the 3 a.m. hour on advertorial television, but it's really Magna's part-time all-wheel drive system that offers the benefits of AWD with lower emissions than standard AWD. How? Because Flex4 can disengage the power going to the rear wheels when it determines that it isn't needed, changing the vehicle to a more-efficient two-wheel-drive ride. The AWD is also engaged every time the vehicle stops and, most of the time, when the vehicle goes above 30 miles
The Honda CR-Z Racer is not a new car – a version of it took to Le Mans last summer – but we got to see it for the first time at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit and realized this thing is indeed ready for the track.
Protean is back at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress at Cobo Hall this year with a new car showcasing the company's in-wheel motors: a modified Mercedes-Benz E-Class. The car was first seen in Frankfurt last year, and is making its North American debut this week in Detroit.
First displayed at CES earlier this year, GM brought its 4G LTE Chevrolet Volt demonstration vehicle to the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit this week. The car marries GM's OnStar telematics system with Verizon's 4G LTE data network to answer one question, according to OnStar's Dave Cheney: "If you had a high-bandwidth connection in a car at all times, what would you do with it?"