Renault has taken a holistic approach to energy saving with its latest concept car. Based on the new Kangoo be bop, the Z.E. (Zero Emission) Concept incorporates a number of innovations across all aspects of the vehicle to ensure optimum range is achieved from the lithium-ion battery powered 70kW (95hp) electric motor. These include the use of heat-reflective paint, acid green-tinted glass and air-insulated body panels designed to reduce reliance on energy-sapping climate control systems, along with roof-mounted solar panels, extensive use of LEDs and aerodynamic enhancements like the replacement of drag-producing exterior mirrors with low-energy cameras. There's also an on-board electric scooter that uses the car's charging system and provides an even greener option for short city trips.
With soaring oil prices hitting hard at the bowser and low-emissions, energy-efficient vehicles evolving rapidly from a fringe sector to a mainstream concern, it's no surprise to learn that this year's British International Motor Show will include a pavilion devoted to the future of greener motoring.
Updated April 29, 2005 Michelin has showcased a potentially disruptive technology with significant ramifications for the future for mobility: an airless, integrated tyre and wheel combination dubbed the TWEEL (i.e. Tyre/WhEEL) . The Tweel promises performance levels beyond those possible with conventional pneumatic technology. The first commercial applications of the Tweel will be in lower-speed, lower-weight vehicles such as the iBOT mobility device and Segway's Concept Centaur. Designed by Segway-inventor Dean Kamen, the iBOT mobility device has the ability to climb stairs and navigate uneven terrain, offering mobility freedom impossible with traditional wheelchairs.
Additionally, Segway's Concept Centaur, a prototype that applies self-balancing technology to a four-wheel device, has also been equipped with Tweel to increase its performance potential.