At the North American International Auto Show, Gizmag’s Noel McKeegan got the lowdown on the Venturi Volage concept electric sportscar from Venturi’s Clement Dorance. Venturi is the company responsible for the world’s first production electric sportscar, the Fetish
, and its latest electric sportscar is the result of collaboration between Venturi and Michelin. It is one of the first applications of the Michelin Active Wheel System
that replaces a vehicle’s traditional engine with eight electric motors located within the wheels. Each wheel contains two motors - one responsible for the propulsion and the other taking care of the suspension. As Clement explains this innovative design not only gives the Volage four-wheel-drive and active suspension, but also provides a low center of gravity to further enhance the maneuverability and overall performance of the vehicle.
Electric carmaker Tesla Motors
and electronics giant Panasonic
have announced that they will be collaborating on development of next-generation battery cells for electric vehicles. Tesla Chief Technology Officer JB Straubel says “Combining Tesla’s rigorous cell testing and understanding of EV requirements with Panasonic’s cutting-edge battery technology will result in custom cells optimized for use in EVs.” Panasonic’s nickel-based lithium-ion battery cells will be included in Tesla’s newest battery packs, due to their high capacity, light weight, durability and long life. According to Panasonic, they are the highest energy density battery cells currently in production.
As the electric/hybrid auto revolution gathers speed, it’s becoming more and more apparent that green vehicles don’t need to be slow. First, of course, came the Tesla Roadster
. Then, just this month, Revenge Design Inc unveiled their Verde
. Now, or at least not long from now, you can add another green dream to your list: The Future Vehicle Technologies eVaro
. The Canadian-made hybrid gets up to 275mpg, has a top speed of 135mph, and can go from 0 to 60 in a butt-clenching five seconds.
In addition to its recent 7-year / 150,000km warranty announcement
, Kia has created further interest with the showing of its UVO in-car voice and touch activated communication and entertainment system. Developed in collaboration with Microsoft
, the system offers users an easy to use interactive hands-free alternative that uses speech recognition for making and taking calls, sending text messages and managing in-car music. Featuring a 4.3” full color touchscreen display and built-in 1GB storage with the ability to rip CD’s and MP3’s onto the system’s “Jukebox”, the open platform UVO system also doubles as a rear view camera when the vehicle is in reverse.
At last year’s North American International Auto Show, Chinese carmaker BYD
introduced itself to the US with plans of selling cars there by 2011. Now they’re back at this year’s show, and have unveiled their new pure-electric car, the e6. Unlike some other electric vehicle manufacturers, BYD has actually been selling cars to real, live consumers for the past two years. In 2009, BYD sold 450,000 units in China, and expects to sell around 800,000 this year. The big news, however, is that they plan to start selling the e6 in North America in 2010 - a full year ahead of schedule.
As we forecast back in December
, BMW delivered the electric car everyone knew was coming today at the NAIAS. The BMW ActiveE Concept is an all-electric vehicle powered by liquid-cooled Li-ion batteries and is based on a 1 Series Coupe. It has rear wheel drive and is expected to boast a range of roughly 160 kilometers (100 miles) on a single charge, while BMW's ConnectedDrive allows control of the heating and AC system using a mobile phone, which can also be used to access battery information or locate charging stations.
Picture it: You’re zipping down the road in a sleek, exotic vehicle that looks like it came straight out of Blade Runner. You pull up at a red light, and a gawking onlooker asks what sort of an engine it has. To their amazement, you open the top to reveal that it’s propelled by nothing but the superhuman power of your own body. Well, that fantasy can become a reality if you’re willing to spend several thousand dollars on a velomobile. There are a number of such vehicles being produced, but perhaps none are more lusted-after than the German Beyss Go-One3. That model may soon be upstaged, however, as Beyss is set to release their latest creation, the Go-One Evolution.
Capstone Turbine Corporation has shown off its high performance hybrid electric car, the CMT-380, at the LA Auto Show. The car features a 30kW microturbine that extends the range of its traditional EV batteries, and which the company likens to having an ultra-clean and quiet jet engine under the hood. Capstone
adds that the supercar, still in its test phase, reaches 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds, has a top speed of 150mph, and a range of up to 500 miles on a single tank of fuel - all with ultra-low exhaust emissions that rival any hybrid on the market today.
With the variety of different engine technologies emerging to replace the traditional internal combustion engine, Honda has taken a very smart approach with its Personal-Neo Urban Transport (P-NUT) ultra-compact vehicle. The concept car features a modular rear engine bay designed to accommodate a wide variety of potential powertrain technologies including a conventional small internal combustion engine, a hybrid system, or a battery-electric drivetrain.
When the promoters of the HH2 Hydrogen Generator Clean Air Combustion System made an appearance at last year’s LA Auto Show they attracted their fair share of skepticism. Hardly surprising given their claims of boosting the horsepower, performance, and mileage of existing vehicles through the addition of an aftermarket device that mixes hydrogen and oxygen extracted from water with existing fuel. But the naysayers haven’t discouraged the system’s developers as they are fronting up to the LA Auto Show again this year with even loftier claims thanks to improvements to their system.