Volkswagen Unveils Super Efficient Vehicle

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volkswagen logo

After years of development and previous designs, Volkswagen unveiled its contribution to the green revolution. The vehicle is called the Volkswagen XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle and was unveiled at the Qatar Motor Show.

The vehicle is the cutting edge construction technology of the German automaker. It features an advanced hybrid plug-in drive train in an all-modern body that allows the vehicle to have a mileage of 313 miles to the gallon and producing only 24 g/km of CO2 during its full travel.

Central to this vehicle is the compact 800 cc turbo diesel injected (TDI) two cylinder common rail engine fueled by diesel allowing it to produce 48 PS. Aside from the main engine, it has an electric model able to produce only 75 PS. These two engines are able to provide the proper power to propel the vehicle weighing only at 795 kg.

The TDI engine is joined to the electric motor with a seven-speed DSG gearbox mounted on an automatic clutch attached to each unit. This system allows for the two engines to work together when accelerating or independent of the TDI engine. When run on pure electric motor, the XL1 can run up to 35 kilometers before the diesel engine takes over. Acceleration from zero to sixty-two miles per hour can be achieved in 11.9 seconds and its top speed is 99 mph.

The XL1’s seating is the driver side beside the passenger seat in a body shell composed of advanced new materials providing low weight to strength ratio. The whole body weighs a mere 230 kgs. The material is Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer construction shaped into the car through a process called Resin Transfer Moulding.

Aside from the body weight, the drive train weighs in at 227 kg, the running gears at 153 kg, the bucket seats and the interior at 80 kg and the electrical system coming in at 105 kgs. The total weight is 795 kg where only 23.2 per cent made out of steel or iron. Other weight saving materials includes magnesium on the wheels, ceramics on the brake discs and aluminum for dampers, steering system and brake calipers.

Entry into the car’s cockpit is done through elegant scissor doors hinged on the car’s A-pillar and to lessen the car’s drag, wind tunnel tests were used making the drag coefficient only to 0.186. The length is 3,970 mm and width is 1,682 mm quite near the measurements to the Volkswagen Polo but the height is only 1,184 mm near the measurements of a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

The Volkswagen XL1 remains to be a concept car for the company but it is the precursor of a new class of cars aptly named Super Efficient Vehicles.

Toyota Forges Partnerships

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toyotaLOGO

BMW announced that it has entered into a partnership with Toyota Motor Corporation as to the supply of diesel engines and the joint development of car batteries.

This comprehensive technology alliance was announced as part of the Tokyo Motor Show where the importance of green technologies is underscored. This would also properly manage the costs in the development of power trains depending on customer preferences of a varied market.

Toyota has sustained its gasoline-electric hybrid core business while keeping its top spot in the Japanese auto market. The company though has struggled in Europe where diesel power has lead fuel efficiency and compliance with new stringent environmental rules. On the other hand, BMW has great experience in the European diesel market yet has lagged behind in terms of hybrid systems and lithium ion technologies.

The partnership would entail BMW supplying Toyota with 1.6 liter and 2.0-liter engines for its European models starting in 2014. The companies would also start research and development of the next-generation lithium-ion batteries used in electric cars.

According to Klaus Draeger, member of the BMW Board of Management said, “Toyota and BMW are perfect partners. By carrying out basic research together, we want to speed up development of battery-powered technology. Whoever has the best batteries in terms of cost and function will win more customers.”

For Toyota’s part, Didier Leroy, CEO of Toyota Motor Europe said the alliance would bolster both companies efficiency, improve economies of scale, lower development costs and deliver cars to the European market more quickly. The particular provisions of the equity partnership were not made public.

This partnership came three months after Toyota announced its agreement with Ford Motor Company to collaborate on hybrid powertrain development. Toyota has kept its leadership in hybrid sales, refusing to go into production for an all-electric car citing efficiency, infrastructure and range issues. The Ford-Toyota partnership though did not discuss the inclusion on the development of battery technologies.

Toyota’s move of entering into multiple partnerships is no surprise in light of the ever-increasing fuel efficiency standards worldwide as well as the driving need to reduce the overall developmental costs of hybrids and all-electric vehicles. Particular interest is the development of battery technology as it is the most problematic of all the new vehicle technologies.

According to Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s Executive Vice President said “We think that this collaboration will allow for development of next-generation batteries to be done faster and at a higher level,” referring to the partnerships with BMW and Ford.