Monday 5th March 2018. Coming up on the show today, Europe is flush with ultra fast chargers and Nissan win with range extenders, but first:
ELECTRIC HYPERCARS THE FINAL FRONTIER
- On the podcast recently we were talking about supercar maker Koenigsegg and how the founder of the company was thinking about how to electrify their cars, following his experience of how impressive the instant torque of an electric motor is.
- And now, maker of the exotic cars like Zonda, supercar maker Pagani is getting involved, or perhaps I should say hypercar maker, as that’s what we seem to be up to now.
- They have a separate team of EV specialists working in their first electric car, however don’t start saving just yet, it’s due 2025.
- This was revealed in an interview with Argentinian TV channel El Tres, when Horacio Pagani talked about their forthcoming electric car. Of course their competitors like Rimac and McLaren are well ahead if Pagani are 7 years away.
- He also gave his opinion of autonomous driving and said it will never be part of a Pagani as his cars were built to be driven.
- With makers like Pagani moving electric there’s really no other segment left standing, or hanging onto combustion engines, everyone is investing in the electrified transport.
KEEP ON RUNNING
- The Global Times is reporting that China’s First solar-powered super highway is expected to have EVs running on it within the next 4 years. It’s a six-lane motorway or highway which will be made from solar panels that charge electric vehicles as they pass over it.
- Immediate thoughts turn to autonomous driving and ride sharing, both sectors getting huge investment in China, as it would rule out having to plug in a car which doesn’t have a driver.
- The road will be a smart expressway which they say will use an adaptive road environment for automatic driving which should reduce damage from traffic accidents.
- China’s first solar motorway was opened for testing in December 2017, however at only 1km long it’s only being used as a test case.
- One of the early teething issues with the solar road was vandalism as people stole bits of it just days after it opened.
MAZDAS WANKEL FUTURE
- For the purposes of this podcast let’s call Mazda’s legendary high revving engine the rotary engine, although if we’re being historically correct, it’s the Wankel Rotary engine.
- Last seen in a Mazda RX-8 in 2012, it’s coming back thanks to electric cars.
- Mazda’s Vice President of Sales and Customer Service for Europe, Martijn ten Brink, confirmed the rotary’s return but said that it would be a single-disc engine that will be tasked with being a generator, or range extender.
- It is said to be “as big as a shoe box” and, just like the batteries in EVs, will be down low. One of the benefits of the rotary engine is the lack of vibrations so it will suit an EV.
- Mazda’s new electric car and rotary generator are all part of Mazda’s new Zoom-Zoom 2030 plan. The rotary engine will be optional as a range extender and is being offered only to ease customer concern over range.
- Brink says the range extender isn’t necessary “because the average buyer travels an average of 37 miles (60 kilometres) per day from home to work and back again.”
- So just like Toyota who have committed to a combustion engine future, fellow Japanese Mazda see a long future for burning fossil fuels.
NISSAN’S E-POWER SOLUTION
- And coincidentally on the subject of range-extender systems Nissan have their e-Power system, introduced last week in their people carriers for the Japanese market, after first being seen in the Note in 2016.
- Nissan’s global chief planning officer, Philippe Klein, told Automotive News that e-Power will be coming to the USA as an optional extra.
- The Infiniti premium cars will also have e-Power soon.
- The e-Power combines engine, inverter and electric motor all together.
- Nissan’s e-Power is similar to the Chevrolet Volt. It’s a small combustion engine which works as a generator that charges a lithium ion battery. The battery then powers an electric motor, which directly turns the wheels.
- Unlike the Volt, however, the Nissan e-Power systems at the moment can’t be plugged in.
- The Serena can travel 1.7 miles in Electric mode only, and although you’re still burning fossil fuels, it means the engine can operate at it’s most efficient range.
- The 1.7kWh battery is not a patch on the LEAF 40-kWh power pack and 110-kilowatt motor, but it’s also far cheaper.
- 65 percent of all Note buyers are opting for the e-Power package according to Nissan.
BYD BATTERY PLANS
- One of China’s leading EV makers BYD has plans not only for the cars, but also for batteries and the associated energy storage solutions.
- At the Battery Japan 2018, BYD Battery Group’s managing director of Overseas Sales Division, Tom Zhao, said: “We are pouring billions into creating the cleanest possible product because it’s essential for us to live and breathe better,”
- Last year in BYD sold around 130,000 units of new energy vehicles, ranking number one in global new energy vehicle sales for the third consecutive year.
- Their battery plans include second life applications in storage, but BYD also want to take a lead in decommissioning used EV batteries in automated factories and using the parts.
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