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KERS

VW's electric E-Bugster in Detroit

Volkswagen will this week unveil its two-seater E-Bugster concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. There are no prizes, I'm afraid, for deducing from the entomological etymology that this is an all-electric variant of the classic VW Beetle. Kudos, though, if you identified that the name betrays the E-Bugster's shared DNA with the Ragster, VW's 2005 concept which itself informed the conventional Beetle of today. But enough on the name, let's take a look at the specs.  Read More

The C-1 is a proposed fully-electric and fully-enclosed self-balancing motorcycle

As any avid biker will tell you, motorcycles have a lot of advantages over cars - they use less fuel, accelerate faster, are more maneuverable, can be parked in more places, and don't incorporate the weight of extra seating for passengers who are non-existent on solo commutes. As many other people will tell you, however, motorcycles also leave their occupants open to the rain and cold, and can potentially tip over and scatter those occupants across the road. That's where Lit Motors' C-1 comes into the picture. It's a proposed fully-enclosed two-passenger electric motorbike that uses an electronically-controlled gyroscopic stabilizing system to stay upright when stopped, or even when struck from the side in an accident.  Read More

Thrustcycle has unveiled a new version of its self-balancing inline-wheeled prototype elec...

Back in August, we heard about a self-balancing prototype vehicle known as the Thrustcycle SRT. Utilizing a flywheel-based gyroscopic stabilizing system, the electric vehicle was able to remain upright on its three inline wheels, even when standing still. The flywheel also served as a kinetic energy recovery system, helping to extend the vehicle’s range by storing energy that would otherwise be lost when braking. Now, four months later, Thrustcycle Enterprises has contacted us with information about the latest version of the EV, and provided some video of it being driven around ... and getting the crap kicked out of it.  Read More

Mazda claims its new i-ELOOP system is the first passenger vehicle regenerative braking sy...

While Toyota took out the Tokachi 24-Hour Race in 2007 with a Supra HV-R hybrid race car featuring a quick-charging supercapacitor-based regenerative braking system, battery storage has so far been the norm for these systems in production vehicles. Now Mazda is charging things up with its new "i-ELOOP" system intended for internal combustion engine-powered vehicles. The i-ELOOP is billed as the world's first passenger vehicle regenerative braking system that uses a capacitor in place of rechargeable batteries to temporarily store energy captured from braking.  Read More

The Flybus consortium is set to start testing its prototype flywheel hybrid bus

Gas/electric hybrid vehicles tend to be pricier than their conventional counterparts, and many people still worry about the limited range of all-electrics. If you want to move away from purely petrol-powered vehicles, though, is there any alternative? The four-company Flybus consortium would definitely say there is. It recently rigged up a bus with a prototype flywheel-based energy recover system, that stores the energy that would be wasted when the vehicle brakes, then returns that energy to the drivetrain when the bus accelerates. The researchers claim that it could deliver hybrid-like fuel economy, at a fraction of the price.  Read More

The FIA published their revised technical regulations for 2014 Formula One season last wee...

The FIA (Fédération International de l'Automobile) published its revised technical regulations for 2014 Formula One season last week. Having caused uproar amongst the engine manufacturers and F1 fans with a proposal for replacing the naturally aspirated V8s of today with turbo-charged 4-cylinder engines, an agreement was finally reached amongst the various interested parties to introduce turbo-charged V6s of 1.6 liter displacement. The continuing effort by the the FIA to "green" the sport and push development still provided a number of surprises in the published regulations, however.  Read More

The official Volvo illustration of the KERS system does not reference Torotrak or Flybrid ...

Volvo indulged in some odd behaviour overnight when it made a curious omission from a publicity release promoting the Kinetic Energy Recovery System development for which it has just received a US$1,000,000 grant from the Swedish Energy Agency. It named its partners in the project being Volvo Powertrain and SKF, but somehow managed to leave out the fact that the core technologies described in the press release and portrayed in the diagrams it released alongside the press release were Torotrak's variable drive technology and Flybrid Systems (UK) flywheel KERS technology originally developed for Honda F1 and set to debut in the Le Mans 24 Hour Race next week. Torotrak immediately issued its own press release setting the record straight, but it's hard to see any motive for Volvo's omission other than to mislead the public as to its progress and expertise in the field.  Read More

The air hybrid engine used in the Lund University study

The most commonly used form of regenerative braking is where a vehicle’s electric motor is used as an electric generator to capture the vehicle’s kinetic energy, which is otherwise lost as heat when braking. The generator converts the kinetic energy into electricity that is then fed back into the vehicle’s battery pack where it is stored for later use. New research suggests that pneumatic or air hybrids that instead store the energy as compressed air would be much cheaper to produce than the current crop of EVs and battery-electric hybrids and could halve the fuel consumption of ICE powered vehicles.  Read More

Ferrari unveils 2011 F150 Formula One car with hydraulically controlled rear wing and KERS...

More than two million people witnessed the live presentation of the Ferrari F150 2011 F1 car on friday when the first F1 contender of 2011 was presented live on the internet. The most innovative aspects of the new car have been largely dictated by changes to the regulations. The double diffuser and the blown rear wing are banned, as is the use of apertures in the front part of the floor, while the use of an hydraulically adjustable rear wing has been introduced and KERS is back. Though engine performance has been regulated to be the same as 2010, the wing and KERS are effectively two new power sources with approximately an extra 82 BHP from the KERS and 60 BHP from the rear wing. Controlling the use of these additional technological parameters will tax the concentration of drivers but it is hoped that overtaking might happen occasionally during 2011 as a result.  Read More

The 1988 McLaren MP4 was the most successful F1 car in history, winning 15 of 16 races.

The world's most watched sporting series, Formula One, is set to announce a new greener formula later this week, which will take effect in 2013. The rule changes are expected to see the introduction of 1.6 liter turbo engines with more powerful energy recovery systems, reduced maximum rpm (from 18,000 rpm to 10,000 rpm) and fuel (flow and capacity) restrictions, and can be expected to further the sport's objective of encouraging R&D relevant to road cars. While the targeted 30% initial improvement in gas mileage will only improve the current obscenely wasteful 3 mpg to 4 mpg (approx 70 liters/100 km) in 2013, it will enroll the brightest automotive technicians on the planet in a quest for greater efficiency from our automobiles and that's a wonderful outcome.  Read More

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