May 17th, 2012 by Karen Joy Provo
The Porsche 918 Spyder is on the road. Porsche has taken the driving trials of the super sports car of the future a step further with completion of the initial prototypes. The 918 Spyder will go into production at the end of September 2013 as planned, with the first customers receiving their vehicles before 2013 is out. “What we are doing with the 918 Spyder is redefining driving fun, efficiency and performance,” said Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board Research and Development of Porsche AG.
The prototypes, their camouflage harking back to historical Porsche 917 racing cars, signal the final touches to the 918 Spyder. The focus is on the interplay between the highly sophisticated individual drive components. The combination of combustion engine and two independent electric motors – one on the front axle and one in the drive line, acting on the rear wheels – poses completely new demands on the development of the operating strategies. “They are therefore a critical component in this vehicle into which we have put all of our expertise and capacity for innovation,” said Wolfgang Hatz. These operating strategies and the development of the software to go with them are one of Porsche’s core competences. Both of them have a major influence on the extreme driving fun to be had with the 918 Spyder and they make possible a unique combination of minimal fuel consumption and maximum performance. The initial results of the driving trials are in line with the high expectations placed on the 918 Spyder.
The super sports car is designed as a plug-in hybrid vehicle combining a high-performance combustion engine with cutting-edge electric motors for extraordinary performance: on the one hand, the dynamics of a racing machine boasting more than 770hp, on the other hand, fuel consumption in the region of three litres per 100 kilometres. Moreover, Porsche is breaking yet more new ground with the technology demonstrator with spectacular solutions such as the full carbon fibre reinforced plastic (CFRP) monocoque with unit carrier, fully adaptive aerodynamics, adaptive rear-axle steering and the upward-venting “top pipes” exhaust system. In the process, the 918 Spyder is offering a glimpse of what Porsche Intelligent Performance may be capable of in future.
November 11th, 2011 by Car and SUV
The hard working crew at Nissan UK are pushing on with building the Juke-R prototype and have revealed their latest video.
Fitting the mechanical bits from Nissan’s GT-R supercar into the tiny Juke crossover has proved understandably tricky. But as seen in previous videos, the team has got the engine and drivetrain in place and it’s time to start re-fitting the interior.
Just throw in a couple of buckets and some gauges right? Nah it’s not that easy. With the large GT-R engine pushed back into what was the Juke’s cabin, the builder’s needed to rework almost everything to make sure the controls were accessible to whatever brave soul is going to pilot this unnatural beast.
To see how the Juke-R team got on watch the video below. Read the rest of this entry »
November 10th, 2011 by Car and SUV
The Tokyo Motor Show has become well known for having its share of wacky futuristic concepts and Nissan are making sure this reputation is upheld.
Nissan is taking its PIVO concept to the 2011 show in its third concept form. The first PIVO 1 was unveiled in 2005, the PIVO 2 in 2007 and now the PIVO 3.
The PIVO 3 is sticking to the same three-seat layout and central driving position as its predecessors but its styling has moved towards a more production-ready concept.
Francois Bancon, Nissan deputy divisional GM for product strategy, has said that Nissan is considering pushing ahead with the PIVO. “There is no decision to do this. We are now considering the next step of the EV after LEAF and Infiniti EV and an LCV EV. We are going to have many ways to propose to the market what seems radically different, it must be an EV signature [model], if you will.” Read the rest of this entry »
October 13th, 2011 by Car and SUV
Nissan’s UK arm recently undertook an ambitious project when it decided to drop the running gear of a GT-R supercar into the body of its Juke crossover.
Building the Juke-R means taking the 390kW GT-R’s 3.8-litre twin-turbo V6 motor and creating space for it in the compact crossover’s engine bay. That alone would be tricky enough but the Juke-R will also be fitted with the full all-wheel-drive system, the GT-R’s electronics and complete drivetrain. Not exactly something you’d knock together in your garage with a few mates.
All sorts of issues have already arisen for the engineers of the manic Juke including shortening the wheelbase of the standard GT-R and adapting the Juke dashboard to fit the GT-R display screen. Read the rest of this entry »
June 30th, 2011 by Car and SUV
Gordon Murray became famous for his design of the now iconic McLaren’s F1, and even before that he was well known for his radical ideas in Formula 1 teams such as Brabham. Now, Murray is lending his skills to much greener projects and the latest is a unique city car.
Earlier this week Gordon Murray Design pulled the covers off its very compact city car, named the T.27. The project for this micro machine was seen from concept to prototype in just 17 months. What’s even more impressive is that time frame included the design of a new electric powertain by Zytek Automotive Ltd. The project cost an estimated £9 million, with half of the funding coming from the UK government-backed Technology Strategy Board.
Murray’s aim for the car was ambitious: to create a completely new kind of vehicle, one that would address the problems of CO2 emissions, city congestion, parking and be sold at a low cost.
The T.27 weighs just 680kg including the battery and is 2.5m in length, 1.3 in width and has a height of 1.6m. Top speed is rated at 105kph and it can sprint to 100km/h from standing in under 15 seconds. It’s range is between 160km and 210km on a full charge.
Murray had this to say about the project’s focus, “lightweight is the most powerful tool we have in our armory in the fight against emissions and fuel consumption. This is true of all cars, especially electric vehicles, since a lightweight car means a lightweight battery, increasing the levels of safety and reducing the retail price dramatically”. Read the rest of this entry »
June 23rd, 2011 by Car and SUV
Toyota got import car fans excited at last year’s Tokyo Auto Salon when it unveiled a hybrid-power MR2 roadster-based concept car that was developed in partnership with Japan’s Gazoo Racing.
Now, over a year later Toyota is following up on that concept machine with its successor the GRMN Sports Hybrid Concept II. The new hybird sports car will receive its official unveiling and on track debut this weekend at the 39th Nürburgring 24-hour endurance race.
The name “GRMN” has special meaning for the Japanese brand and stands for Gazoo Racing tuned by Meister of Nürburgring. The car has been named in honour of the late Hiromu Naruse (1944-2010), Toyota’s chief test driver and head of the Gazoo Racing team who died in an accident last year driving a prototype of the Lexus LFA Nurburgring Edition in Germany (read news).
The car is an evolution of the earlier concept and features a mid-mounted 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine that puts 183kW of power to the rear wheels. The car is also equipped with an electric motor that adds another 37kW and runs the front wheels, giving the hybrid concept all-wheel-drive handling capability. Total power output is rated at 220kW. Read the rest of this entry »
May 25th, 2011 by Car and SUV
Earlier this year, Porsche announced that it would be taking it would be developing three pure-electric prototypes based on its Boxster roadster. Few further details were released at that stage but now, after the first demonstration of the new Boxster E in Berlin, more info has been released.
The electric-powered Boxster prototypes will be used in a German government-funded trial called “Model Region Electro-Mobility Stuttgart” which will study the practicality of fully-electric vehicles. Three Boxster E prototypes will take part, two are rear-wheel drive and one is all-wheel drive.
Propulsion is provided on the AWD Boxter by two independent electric motors with constant mesh gearboxes that act on the front and rear axles. The rear drive unit comprising motor and transmission, together with the power electronics for controlling the electric motor is located where the manual transmission and exhaust system are accommodated in the conventional Boxster. In the front, the space vacated by the 64-litre fuel tank, now redundant, is occupied by the second drive unit. The power electronics unit in the adjacent luggage compartment serves the front axle electric motor. The Boxster E thereby features all-wheel drive without mechanical transmission of power. Combined output from the electric motors is 180 kW with a maximum total torque of 540 Nm at approximately 12,000 rpm.
Porsche claims the AWD Boxster E can complete the 0-100km/h sprint in 5.5 seconds and reach a limited top speed of 200 km/h. Read the rest of this entry »
May 5th, 2011 by Car and SUV
According to unconfirmed reports Porsche is planning an all-new flagship model that will sit above the 911 in its growing range. This next-generation model will apparently come with a V8 engine and possibly use the 961 nameplate.
This 961 will feature a mid-mounted V8 engine powering the rear axle. An all-wheel drive hybrid variant with an electric-powered front axle may also see production. It would use a set up similar to the KERS system seen in the 918 RSR Coupe (pictured) which debuted in Detroit earlier this year.
The 961′s design will also be largely inspired by the 918 RSR Coupe. Power output will be around the 441 kW mark like the RSR Coupe prototype. Expect a price tag upwards of €200,000 and if it does make it to production sales won’t start before late 2013.