Daniel Kim is a dreamer. Like all dreamers, he has an idea for a product he thinks the world could use. His dream is a self balancing, enclosed electric motorcycle that would serve as a safe, efficient transportation pod for urban dwellers.
Lit Motors says more than a thousand people have reserved one of its auto balancing electric vehicles (AEVs). When will they receive them? “The AEV’s development timeline and delivery date are dependent on several factors: engineering development & testing, design freeze, supply chain, assembly line development, and financing,” the company says. In other words, your machine may be ready in time for Christmas, just not this Christmas.
The Nissan IDS Concept, a four-seat hatchback that hints strongly at the styling of the next-generation Leaf, has been revealed at the Tokyo motor show.
It has two different cabin configurations depending on whether the driver selects the conventional manual driving mode, or the ‘piloted’ mode built in via its on-board artificial intelligence.
“It’s like relaxing in a living room,” says design director Mitsunori Morita, who defines the trust-based communication that needs to exist between driver and autonomous-driving car with the phrase “Together, we ride”. Even in manual mode the intelligent drive system is poised to assist if needed, providing greater control in braking and cornering.
The IDS Concept has a low roof height (1380mm) to reduce frontal area and improve aerodynamics, and runs on thin, big-diameter, aerodynamically designed wheels with 175 section tyres to minimise both air and rolling resistance. Its carbonfibre body makes it unusually light for a battery car.
Nissan’s engineers say they have improved all aspects of IDS Concept’s electric powertrain: motors, batteries and inverters. The combination of aerodynamics, lightness and a new, high-capacity 60kWh battery will allow the IDS Concept to “drive long distances”, according to Nissan.
The IDS concept, and the Leaf it will morph into, will pioneer Nissan Intelligent Drive, according to Nissan’s boss Carlos Ghosn. It will be switchable between Pilot and Manual modes, and Pilot does everything, seeing traffic and connecting to other connected cars. Manual gives you control but maintains the surveillance of the Pilot technology in the background for safety.
Nissan plans to roll out self-driving technology across ‘multiple vehicles’ by 2020, and the IDS gives a look at how this could work. It is capable of imitating the driver’s own driving style while in autonomous mode, reflecting cornering, braking and accelerating styles.
While it is in Manual mode, it monitors the road and aims to assist the driver if evasive action is necessary.
In Piloted mode, the car aims to make the atmosphere more relaxed in the cabin. The steering wheel recedes into the centre of the instrument panel and a flat screen comes out. All the seats turn slightly towards one another, too, to make conversation that bit easier.
For the concept, designers have used a series of lights, including a silver side body line called the Intention Indicator, to signal the car’s intentions to nearby pedestrians or cyclists. When a pedestrian is near, the strip turns red to indicate the car’s awareness. Another display, which faces outward from the instrument panel, can flash messages such as ‘After you’ to pedestrians. It’s all part of their determination, say Nissan, to achieve zero emissions and zero fatalities to help create ‘a sustainable, car-based society’.
As well as showing off the future of technology, insiders also suggest the Tokyo car’s styling points to the next generation of Leaf, which is due by 2017. Nissan is considering expanding the Leaf sub-brand to include more models and body styles, according to the firm’s executive vice-president Trevor Mann – but the core of the range is still expected to be a five-door hatchback.
The IDS concept will not turn into the new Leaf completely, but many of its shapes and concepts will be used – the window lines, low roof, the aerodynamic approach, skinny tyres and low-drag wheels, and the careful design of underbody. We won’t see pillarless doors or some of the radical, clearance-limiting stuff along body sides, though.
Mercedes has revealed images and details of its C 350 Plug-in Hybrid, which aims to help the manufacturer meet stringent EU emissions targets across the range.
The C 350 is the second hybrid in the C-Class range following on from the C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, which was shortlisted for our best hybrid car award in 2014. The model will be available as both a saloon and an estate, and hopes to become one of the most efficient cars in its class.
Based on appearances, there is little to tell the Plug-in Hybrid apart from regular C-Class variants: the same smart styling remains inside and out. The only subtle tweaks come courtesy of some Hybrid badging and an updated instrument cluster inside.
So the powertrain is the interesting part then?
Yes, there’s a whole heap of clever stuff going on under the skin. Power comes courtesy of a 211hp, 2.1-litre turbocharged petrol engine complimented by a 60kW electric motor. In total, this endows the C 350 with a total output of 279hp and 443lb ft. The car can run on electric power alone for up to 19 miles, which with the help of a special wall box or a public charging point, can be recharged in about 1 hour 45 minutes.
Additional mileage is eked out thanks to regenerative braking, which uses wasted energy from braking and coasting to top up the batteries. This is achieved by the electric motor replacing the brakes during gentle deceleration.
The C 350 features an interesting piece of tech to help the driver to get the most out of the efficient drivetrain. The throttle pedal features haptic feedback, which sends a pulse through the pedal when it suggests you can back off the power to increase economy. It even combines with the radar-guided cruise control to allow you to come to halt in traffic in the most efficient way. Four separate driving modes can be selected for the drivetrain to make the best use of the battery’s charge in a variety of situations.
It gets even cleverer. To make the best use of the batteries, the C 350 can anticipate how to best use the energy systems over a given route, as long as your journey has first been programmed into the satellite navigation system.
The headline figures for all this wizardry? A claimed fuel consumption of 134.5mpg, with CO2 emissions of just 48g/km (49 grams for the estate version). Despite this economy, the saloon can still sprint from 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds, while the estate is 0.3 seconds behind. That’s the future right there.
Anything else I should know?
Mercedes say the batteries add around 100 kilograms to the overall weight. More of a concern for buyers is likely to be that they rob the C-Class of boot space. The saloon has had boot volume reduced to 335 litres and the estate is barely any better at 350. At least you’ll always be comfortable once inside. Thanks to Pre-Entry climate control, the C 350’s interior temperature can be pre-set before you get in via an internet-based system. Meanwhile, the standard air suspension should keep the ride nice and smooth for driver and passengers.
How much will it cost?
The exact prices and specifications have yet to be announced, while order books are due to open in summer 2016. A bit of a wait, but it should be worth it for what promises to be a swift, economical and beautifully made car.
Yesterday, we unveiled the world’s first dual electric motor production car and announced that new safety and autopilot hardware is standard on every new Model S.
Conventional all wheel drive vehicles distribute power to the wheels from a single engine driving a complex mechanical transmission system. By contrast, Dual Motor Model S has a motor on each axle, digitally and independently controlling torque to the front and rear wheels. The result is unparalleled control of traction, with instantaneous response to the motors giving drivers precisely controlled performance in all conditions. With its digital torque controls and low center of gravity, Dual Motor Model S has the most capable road holding and handling of any vehicle ever produced.
Where gasoline-powered all wheel drive cars sacrifice efficiency in return for all weather traction, Tesla’s Dual Motor propulsion system actually increases efficiency while delivering exceptional traction and control in slippery conditions. By precisely splitting the delivery of current from the battery to each motor, the Model S 85D actually gains an additional 10 miles of highway driving range compared to its rear motor Model S counterpart.» Read the rest of this entry «
The UK is once again at the heart of an exciting motoring development – as Drive System Design reveals it is developing an electric car powertrain that could expand the range of electric vehicles by 10-15 per cent.
Offering an alternative approach to power shifting, without torque interruptions, the powertrain is based on an axial flux from YASA Motor with a multi-speed transmission that simplifies the motor cooling system as well as the powertrain control and the electrical architecture.
Few things already frustrate me. And this prompted to “earlier-than-usual” “first throughts” post.
Here we go:
4 seats? Not 5? In car this size? Really? LEAF has more!
Reverse parking camera is not accurate… The “reverse assistant” lays boundaries impossible to meet. Basically nearly caused me to scratch anyone##Q##s car. Close call. Better check mirrors.
However, the proximity warning beeper is completely out of control when I have anyone parked close to my front bumper (thanks tesco shoppers) – beeping its little head off – despite me actually reversing back out-away… From whoever got THAT close to me.
Parking is the same story, proximity sensor – audible and annoying-so “aide” – beeps away while I##Q##m mere another meter to go to the object behind me, in any reverse parking situations. And goes “red – alert” on me when I still have 50+ cm to go.
Quite unnerving and gives rise to notion “under-refined”.
There is simply no other way I would put it.
Some of the more tech heavy cars available today are capable of parking themselves automatically, but these vehicles require that the driver stay behind the wheel as the car parks itself. At this year’s 2011 International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Valeo, maker of the popular Park4U system, unveiled a new iPhone app. This app lets drivers get out of their car and, with the push of a button, lets the carpark itself.
Valeo demonstrated the Park4U technology using a Volkswagen Sharan. During the demonstration, a Valeo representative first used a remote control to park the Sharan, and then repeated the process using their iPhone app. The car parked itself flawlessly both times.
Imagine circling a crowded parkinglot trying to find a place to park. You finally see someone about to pull out, but the spot looks a little tight. Your car should be able to fit, but you may not have enough room to get out.
When the Park4U app becomes available, drivers will be able to get out of their cars and, with the push of a button, their cars will park themselves automatically while they stand comfortably outside. Of course, these cars will have to be equipped with the Park4U system. Currently, Park4U requires at least 22 inches around the vehicle in order to parallel park. In the future, the company hopes to reduce this distance to only 16 inches.
The standard version of the Park4U auto parkingsystem is currently available for Lincoln, Ford, Audi and Volkswagen. Valeo has not yet stated when the Park4U iPhone app will be available to the public, but hopefully they won’t wait too long to release it.
2016: “The government’s current air quality plan with respect to London is based on the very limited ambition of the previous mayor to tackle air pollution and isn’t enough to protect Londoners health,” said Khan. “I know from personal experience that the city’s air is damaging people’s health as I suffer from adult-onset asthma myself.”
Khan’s first major policy announcement after winning the mayoral election for Labour were new plans to tackle the capital’s air pollution. These include more than doubling the size of the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone.