Tag Archives: plug-in

Axon Automotive

Axon Automotive, a new company from the UK, introducing hybrid cars plug-in compact-sized hatchback. Unfortunately, this car dimensions are not specified. Only, explained that he could be boarded by two adults with room to taste the goods.

Characteristic of this hybrid car is a body made from recycled carbon fiber and lightweight, and the seat of the jeans that can be recycled.

With the combination of the aerodynamic body and light weight, fuel consumption in the mixed conditions (electrical and conventional engine) targeted 35 km / liter. The carbon dioxide emissions of 50 g / km.

Special small-capacity petrol engine, this car is also designed to use bioethanol. Capacity must not be explained. For the electric drive, a pair of motors will be used. “With the light weight and good aerodynamics, emissions will fall drastically,” said Dr Steve Cousins, Managing Director of Axon.

Hopefully, this car could be sold in 2011 and reproduced in full in 2012. The plan, cars assembled in a small company in the UK and mainland Europe, such as Spanish, French, Irish, Danish, and Dutch.

“As a hybrid plug-in, no mileage restrictions on cars. However, we will maximize the use of electrical energy. Way, using a small battery at lower prices, “said Steve Cousins.

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New Astra to Become a Buick? Managing Brand Isn’t Getting Any Easier

DETROIT – Our European correspondent, Paul Horrell calls the 2010 Opel Astra “one of the best compact hatches the world has to offer.” His story asks; will it come here? The answer is “yes,” in a way. Buick’s 2012 Cruze-based compact (on the Delta platform), designed to anchor the lower end of its New GM lineup, will wear the sheetmetal of the notchback sedan version of the Astra, a source close to matter tells me. I don’t know what it will be called. We haven’t seen the conventional sedan version of the new Astra yet. We can guess it will be very similar to the hatchback, retaining its “sweeping” look, with the sculpted blade in the bodyside and the strong shoulders.The new Astra hatchback’s wheelbase is three inches longer than the old Astra’s, and it’s 174 inches overall, though the version with the trunk may be closer to the Cruze’s 181-inch overall length. The old Opel/Vauxhall Astra hatchback served as the Saturn Astra, a model that sold so poorly here that Saturn didn’t import any for the 2009 model year. While Saturn was designated as GM’s import-fighter, and thus was briefly the portal for Opel designs, that brand now is headed for Penske Automotive. Anyway, GM recognized that the Opel Insignia’s design and the premium level of its interior better fit its intended direction for Buick. GM wants to return both Opel and Buick to their old positions as sub-luxury premium brands. It’s similar, but not the same as Ford Motor Company’s Mercury division, which is about to transform from badge-engineered Fords to European models. Does the new Opel Astra fit? Horrell reports the car “derives much of its upscale feel and design from the Insignia.” I don’t know whether the Buick version will get the Astra’s suspension upgrades over the Chevrolet Cruze, but it should. The Opel’s front suspension has supplementary rebound springs to take the load off the front anti-roll bar, and reduce understeer, and a Watts linkage supplements the torsion beam rear axle for better axle articulation than from a cheaper Panhard rod. “This design allows the bushings that take the lateral loads to be separated from those that take the longitudinal,” Horrell explains. “The former are stiff — for handling finesse — while the latter are soft for ride comfort.”Opels are tuned typically for European roads, which means the new Astra’s suspension may prove too stiff for a traditional Buick ride. We’ll have to wait and see whether GM engineers will even try to get the right compromise from this setup. If GM is serious about revitalizing the core differences between Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac models, though, it had better figure out a way to make the Buick compact different from the Chevy Cruze beneath the skin.I’m not quite as confident about GM’s announcement at the Center for Automotive Research’s Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, that Buick will have an also-unnamed 2012 plug-in hybrid model in showrooms in ’11. The compact crossover, which makes its debut next year as an ’11 model with conventional engines, is the current Saturn Vue with some new sheetmetal. GM engineers were hard at work to introduce the plug-in hybrid powertrain for that model when the company gave up on the brand. The gas engines will be the direct-injection 2.4-liter four and 3.0-liter V-6 now proliferating through GM’s small and midsize lineup, and the plug-in hybrid will feature LG Chem lithium ion batteries and the 3.6-liter gas direct-injection V-6.I have no argument against Buick getting a plug-in hybrid. In fact, it probably can better absorb the system’s cost with a higher price than GM could charge for a Chevy or GMC model. The problem is that the rest of GM has moved on, with the 2010 Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain (replacing the Pontiac Torrent) reviewed as being far superior to their predecessors. The Saturn Vue/new Buick is another version of those predecessors. These days, though, GM can’t afford to throw away any well-developed technology. Technologies being developed for eight brands must find their way into the surviving four. And the plug-in Vue was well on its way. Perhaps the Buick crossover should be sold as plug-in only. This Buick will share showrooms with the dynamically superior (though design-challenged) GMC Terrain. And with Buick’s own Enclave. That large crossover re-established the Buick brand as a legitimate premium nameplate. Let’s hope the new smaller crossover and the Astra-based compact don’t damage the progress the Enclave has made.
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6540547/car-news/new-astra-to-become-a-buick-managing-brand-isnt-getting-any-easier/index.html

Driving the Future: Nissan’s All New Electric Vehicle

Since April, we’ve been continually updating you on the progress of Nissan’s electric vehicle (EV) program with up to the minute news bulletins like this one.And this one.This one over here.And, yup, this one. Well today, Nissan essentially stuffed all of this information into one giant EV gyoza and reheated it for us at the automaker’s Advanced Technology Briefing at the Oppama Grandrive test track in Yokosuka, Japan.Was it fresh? Admittedly, no. None of what we saw today was groundbreaking stuff, but it certainly was nutritious — especially once we chewed on it for a while and digested all the details.The real purpose of this heaping helping of electrifying info is to build a buzz about Nissan’s latest EV — which happens to be making its debut this Sunday at the company’s new headquarters in Yokohama. Unlike previous concept vehicles and test mules, Nissan’s newest EV will not be a Frankenstein’d mashup of an existing platform and all electric power train. This as yet unnamed EV will be based on an all new, purpose built front wheel drive platform with a plug-in rechargeable electric motor up front and batteries slung low under the belly of the car.Nissan is not using cylindrical cell type batteries like many other electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturers opting instead for flat lithium ion (LiOn) laminate cells that look a bit like giant Pop Tarts. These batteries, developed in partnership with Japanese electronics manufacturer NEC, uses manganese as the positive electrode, instead of metals like nickel or cobalt. Manganese is relatively inexpensive and abundant in comparison to those other metals, and when oriented in Nissan/NEC’s special spinel structure (think Lego blocks) versus the standard sandwich orientation, the result is a battery that Nissan claims is more stable, reliable, and cost efficient than the competition’s. The flat shape and large surface area of the batteries  also makes for easier packaging (in stacks) and cooling. It also means the batteries use fewer components than cylindrical type cells, which also keeps cost down. In Nissan’s EV program, these laminate cells, about the size and thickness of a magazine are stacked four to a module. Forty-eight modules and a management system, packaged as a single lumpy unit and enclosed in a metal frame, comprise the EV’s battery pack. The idea here is that this battery pack could then be bolted up into an EV on an assembly line – as car makers do with various subassemblies. Supplying these battery packs is Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), a company co-developed by Nissan and Renault. The battery pack slots in underneath the car, between the wheels, where you would traditionally find a driveshaft or exhaust pipes running the length of the vehicle. Some of the modules in the pack are stacked horizontally and vertically to create the base for the front and rear seats in this 5 passenger car. Others lie flat in the battery pack and compose rear seat foot well. Nissan calls the arrangement high-low-high. Though heavy (each of the 48 modules weighs roughly 7.7 lbs), the battery pack’s ground hugging orientation should provide for a low center of gravity and good handling.So will the 80KW electric motor that sits up front in the chassis. While the inverter sits relatively high in the engine bay – about the normal height of an internal combustion engine’s cylinder head – to facilitate access to the charging ports, the electric motor sits very low, between the front wheels and far beneath the strut towers – about where you’d expect to find the oil pan of a traditional engine.Overall, Nissan’s layout is impressive because of its elegance and simplicity. EV powertrain aside, the cutaway model reveals what is essentially a blank canvas.  With the front engine/front wheel drive configuration and all of the batteries low and out of the way, the cargo and passenger area looked like they could be configured in number of ways, without sacrifices to either. Almost any type of body style could be designed on top this platform as well.  And theoretically, you could even make this a rear or all wheel drive vehicle by beefing up the rear suspension and stuffing another electric motor in the back, low and behind the battery pack. Such speculation is all fine and good, but how does it drive?Quite well actually. We had but the briefest taste of the EV’s performance – one lap around the Grandrive test track in a Versa-based test mule – but it made a compelling case.Acceleration is surprisingly brisk; the 80 kW electric motor doles out all of its 207 lb ft of torque in less than 100 milleseconds once you hit the throttle, providing the sensation of instant response. Nissan engineers claim it accelerates better than an Infiniti G35 by leaving the line quicker and getting up to speed more smoothly. Its top speed of only 87 mph is quite a bit off the pace of the G. On the other hand, it’s much quieter than that car or any for that matter. The electric motor and single speed gearbox mean it’s nothing but quiet thrust when you put your foot down. The only sounds come from the tires as they hum over the pavement and the greenhouse as the wind rushes over and across it. As for the rest of the ride, well, Nissan’s EV mule drives pretty much like a standard issue Versa.  Shrunken joystick shifter and tab style parking brake lever aside, the rest of this test mule’s controls feel the same as a standard Versa. Same goes for the ride and handling; the cars pushes back if you ask it to corner too fast, but it does feel more planted and less tippy as it turns. Perhaps the battery placement providing the extra stability.With a range of 100 miles on a full charge, Nissan claims its EV will suit the average commuting needs of approximately 80% of Americans. What happens when the battery runs down?  Well Nissan has clearly thought a lot about that as well; they not only have a plan for how you can charge the car at your house at night, but how you’ll manage during a
busy workweek or weekend.Nissan’s EV battery pack can be charged in a number of ways.  A home recharging kit allows you to power up the EV from standard 110V or 220V outlets. Simply connect an SAE standardized pistol-like charger to the port at the nose of the car and wait. Charge times at 110V are claimed to be approximately 8 hours; half that for 220V.  Nissan has also developed special three phase, 200V quick charging stations can deliver 80% battery charge in 30 minutes – though it requires a larger, specially shaped charger and receiver port.To reduce any anxiety associated with the limited 100 mile range and long recharging times, Nissan has also given its EV a special monitoring system they call EV-IT. This system monitors the battery level and provides range information on a navigation screen, so users will never have to wonder how far they can go or where they can juice up.  Nissan claims EV-IT will also provide a whole host of smart features to the EV driving experience and set up an animated clip to showcase what living with its EV might be like:You wake up to find an email on your smartphone from your Nissan EV providing a update on the battery charge – a benefit of the networked EV-IT system. Assuming you’ve had it plugged in for 8hours at 110V or 4 hours at 220V, your car should be fully charged. At this point, you can remotely turn the A/C on (and in the future, and engine oil warmer) to get the car up to suitable operating temperature while it is still plugged in.  This conserves energy for your morning commute.While you recoup some of the power on the way to work via regenerative braking, the bulk of recharging takes place at work – via the 110V/220V system, or a quick charger. After a long day of work, you pull into your garage, click her off and plug her in. But you don’t start charging right away. Via your smartphone, you program a start time for the charging cycle; late in the night when demand and electricity rates are lowest. For longer weekend trips, EV-IT will help you plan your route, by keeping up to date on your remaining battery power and driving range and locating charging stations nearby. In Nissan’s future, shopping centers and restaurants along your route will have quick charging stations, so you can continually keep your EV’s batteries charged with minimal disruption to your journey. Further off are plans for non contact charging via electromagnetic induction. Imagine being able to top off your car’s batteries by simply pulling your EV over a special recharging pad built into the ground. Whether you’re parked for hours at the local mega mall or for just a minute at a red light, the battery charge goes up.Sound too good to be true? Perhaps. This Sunday, (Saturday for America), Nissan will unveil the first step towards this future, when it reveals its as yet unnamed, zero emissions electric vehicle at its new headquarters in Yokohama.  We’ll be there for a complete update, so stay tuned. 
Source : blogs.motortrend.com/6564081/green/driving-the-future-nissans-all-new-electric-vehicle/index.html

Plug-in cars don’t come cheap

Congress encourages Detroit to focus on electric models, even though they’re not yet profitable.
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Fisker Karma will get GM’s 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder

Posted on 11.22.2008 12:30
by
Simona AlinaFiled under:
Fisker | sedan | hybrid cars | fisker karmaFisker's Karma is planned as a plug-in hybrid that can have its batteries recharged through a gas-powered engine – much like the Chevrolet Volt. Now Fisker is getting closer to the Volt by using a General Motors engine for recharges. But unlike the Volt, which has a 1.4-liter unit planned, Fisker will use a much more powerful 2.0-liter turbocharged unit. The Karma is out to give itself a performance image with GM's 2.0 direct injection, turbo 4-cylinder Ecotec gasoline engine that (…)
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