Extreme temperatures can seriously compromise the performance of lithium batteries. We've seen a number of developments promising to reduce the risk of them overheating and catching fire, but at the other end of the scale, freezing temperatures aren't too friendly either, often leading to substantial power loss. In an advance that could have ramifications for everything from electric vehicles to space exploration, researchers have built a lithium battery that warms itself up to battle the winter chill.
Chevrolet has revealed more details about the production Bolt EV at the Detroit Auto Show, having whipped the covers off the car in Las Vegas last week. As well as talking about range and cost, GM CEO Mary Barra and Executive Vice President of Global Product Development Mark Reuss used NAIAS to shed light on the Bolt's slimline battery, power output and punchy performance.
As well as displaying its BUDD-e concept at CES, Volkswagen has unveiled a new version of its e-Golf electric compact. VW says the e-Golf Touch is one of the world's first compact cars with gesture control. It also offers wireless charging, electronic voice amplification and personalization options.
What may either be a UFO or the latest take on high-performance electric automotive technology has landed at CES in Las Vegas, with Faraday Future unveiling its single-seater FFZERO1 Concept vehicle. Billed as a test-bed for the company's future range of electric vehicles, the track car incorporates a new chassis design and claims to have a "sixth sense" that adapts to the driver's intentions and needs while providing real-time data and images.
The continued minituarization of electronics, advances in materials technology, a growing emphasis on clean, sustainable modes of transport and imaginative thinkers with out-of-the-box ideas have converged to give us some truly audacious vehicle designs over the past 12 months. Some are certainly more practical than others, but from personal tricopters to amphibious motorcycles this new breed of personal mobility solutions offers a tantalizing glimpse into how we might be getting from A to B in the future. As we head into a new year with new possibilities, let's take a look at some that could have a role to play in shaping the future of transport.
Having an electric car is no good if there's nowhere to charge it. BMW and Nissan are on the case, having partnered to roll out a network of new electric vehicle (EV) fast charging points across the US. There are 120 locations in total, across 19 states.
After starting up in 2012, Zelectric Motors has quickly made a business out of retrofitting electric powertrains to classic Volkswagen Beetles. The San Diego-based shop also performs its electric magic on other classic cars, including Porsches and Manxes, and recently completed what we'd call its coolest conversion yet: a 1964 Volkswagen Type 2, complete with signature first-generation split windshield, sunroof and sliding door. It's a beautiful example of iconic 20th century automotive design updated with 21st century drive technology, or as Zelectric likes to say, "retro future."
There's not another automaker out there that has the cojones to bring quirky concept cars to life like Citroën does. In the French automaker's own words, it aspires to bring to market "cheery, optimistic vehicles that are different from the rest." The all-new E-Mehari fits that description to a T, as an all-electric crossover cabriolet based on the recent Cactus M concept and inspired by the classic Méhari.
Electric skateboard design has come a long way in the last 12 months. We're seeing manufacturers get creative in concealing batteries inside decks and motors within wheels, all in the hopes of offering something approaching the look and feel of a traditional skateboard. With its Micro Slim, Metroboard has stuck to the battery-under-the-board design, which means squeezing the gigawatts into a compact electric skateboard that is not as nicely packaged as some, but is powerful off the mark without weighing a ton. Join Gizmag, as we take one to the streets.
Hyundai has issued a teaser for an upcoming production model set to debut in 2016, that will be three cars in one build. The Ioinq will be available with a choice of one of three electrified powertrains: a battery-electric, a plug-in gasoline-electric hybrid, or a gasoline-electric hybrid.