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Electric Vehicle News

Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo: From the PlayStation to the race track
Posted on Monday April 09, 2018

With the fully electric “Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo” concept car Audi is now turning electric mobility into a tangible experience in a unique way. Originally developed exclusively for virtual races on PlayStation 4, Audi is making the new race car reality in conjunction with Formula E. Starting with the race in Rome on Saturday, April 14, the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo will be deployed as a race taxi.

“E-Mobility is rapidly gaining importance,” says Peter Mertens, Member of the Board of Management, Technical Development, AUDI AG. “That is why in 2017 Audi was the first German manufacturer to enter Formula E with a factory-backed commitment. In our development laboratory motorsport, we are continuously expanding our expertise in e-mobility and gathering valuable experience also in extremely demanding conditions. With the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo race taxi we are turning electric mobility into a tangible experience for our customers and guests as part of the Formula E races – in the middle of the world’s metropolises.”

The customers and guests of the brand with the four rings will be able to experience Formula E’s city circuits as passengers in the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo starting at the race in Rome (April 14). Employees at Audi’s pre-production center developed and produced this one-of-a-kind car within the space of just eleven months based on the example of the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo from the “Gran Turismo” PlayStation game. The million-selling “Gran Turismo” game has long acquired cult status with gamers around the globe. Audi has been working together with Sony and Polyphony Digital – the creators of “Gran Turismo” – for nearly 20 years. Audi designers created the Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo for the “Vision Gran Turismo” competition that was launched on the market on the occasion of the popular game’s 15th anniversary. Numerous automobile manufacturers developed virtual race cars for the contest.

Many of these concept cars were subsequently built as full-scale models as well and presented at trade shows. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo, however, is the first concept car of this range to be deployed to real-world race tracks as a fully functional vehicle. “This is what we are particularly proud of,” says Audi’s chief designer Marc Lichte. “Although the design of a virtual vehicle allows much greater freedom and the creation of concepts which are only hard to implement in reality, we did not want to put a purely fictitious concept on wheels. Our aim was a fully functional car. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo shows that electric mobility at Audi is very emotive. This car incorporates numerous elements of our new design language such as the inverted single frame in the vehicle’s color that will be typical for our new e-tron models.”

Audi has deliberately taken up design elements and the color of the legendary Audi 90 quattro IMSA GTO with which the company in 1989 thrilled motorsport fans in the North American IMSA-GTO racing series with drivers like Hans-Joachim Stuck, Walter Röhrl, Hurley Haywood and Scott Goodyear. Featuring a combination of systematic lightweight design and quattro drive paired with a powerful five-cylinder turbo engine, the car was far ahead of its time back then.

The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo has permanent all-wheel drive as well, the fully electric e-tron quattro all-wheel drive with variable power distribution. Three electric motors, each with output of 200 kW, propel the concept car. Two electric motors drive the rear axle and the third one the front axle, using individual components from the future Audi e-tron. System output is 600 kW (815 hp). With a curb weight of 1,450 kilograms the electric race car has a power to weight ratio of 1.78 kilo­grams per horsepower with ideal 50:50 percent weight distribution between the front and the rear axle. The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 2.5 seconds.

The futuristic race taxi will be deployed at all European Formula E races and numerous other events in 2018. At the wheel will be former DTM driver Rahel Frey from Switzerland or Le Mans winner Dindo Capello from Italy.

Electric planes to race from London to Darwin in 2019
Posted on Wednesday March 28, 2018

Electric aircraft will race from London to Darwin next year to mark the centenary of the Great Air Race.

The race and a series of other events in the Top End will celebrate 100 years since Captain Ross Smith, Lieutenant Keith Smith and Sergeants Wally Shiers and Jim Bennett won the first event.

"The 1919 Great Air Race captured the imagination of people across the globe," Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner said on Saturday.

"Under the command of Captain Ross Smith, the journey has been described as the flight that changed the world and paved the way for national and international air travel."

The 2019 event, to be known as the Centenary E-Race, will start in London late next year and stop over in at least 15 countries before making its way to Darwin.

It is hoped that world-leading technology companies including Tesla, NASA, Airbus, Virgin and Boeing will enter in celebration of a century of aviation innovation and achievement by engineers, designers and aircraft constructors.

The advantages of electric aircraft are huge, however, achieving long distance flight in an electric aircraft is still the greatest challenge. There are currently three approaches to tackling this problem, battery electric, hydrogen fuel-cell electric, and hybrid combustion-engine electric.

Captain Smith and his colleagues flew a Vickers Vimy Biplane more than 18,000km in 28 days in 1919, with the race acting as a catalyst for international travel and improved communications.

John Storey, an expert in battery and solar technology, said the 2019 race would fast-track renewable flight technology by years and contribute to improving the e-aviation industry.

"The event is technically feasible, however, completing the route in an electric aircraft is by no means a foregone conclusion," Professor Storey said.

"That makes 2019 the right time to stage it. In 2009 it would have been impossible, in 2029 it will be routine."

The program of celebrations in Darwin will include an air show, centenary ball, commemorative ceremonies and education programs for schools.

The Ross Smith Memorial at Fannie Bay will also undergo significant conservation work.

Source: Great Air Race

Volkswagen reveal ID-R all-electric prototype Pikes Peak racer
Posted on Monday March 19, 2018

Volkswagen has named its latest motorsport project the I.D. R Pikes Peak. This all-electric prototype racing car will compete in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on 24 June in Colorado.

The four-wheel-drive racing car points to the sporting potential of the I.D. family of all-electric vehicles and is also the first step towards a closer relationship between Volkswagen R and Volkswagen Motorsport.

The Volkswagen brand plans to offer more than 20 fully-electric cars by 2025. Manufacture of the first production model of the I.D. family is scheduled to start at the end of 2019 in Zwickau, Germany.

"We want to be at the forefront of electro-mobility with Volkswagen and the I.D. family. Competing in the most famous hillclimb in the world with the I.D. R Pikes Peak is a valuable test for the general development of electric cars."
—Dr. Frank Welsch, Volkswagen Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Development

The international Pikes Peak Hill Climb, also known as the “Race to the Clouds”, has been held since 1916 near Colorado Springs in the Rocky Mountains. The 12.4-mile route starts at just above 9,000 feet and climbs to the summit at 14,115 feet above sea level.

Volkswagen last entered the Pikes Peak hillclimb in 1987 with a spectacular dual-engine Golf, which generated 652 horsepower. However, Volkswagen did not win.

"It is about time we settled the score. The I.D. R Pikes Peak represents an extremely exciting challenge for us, to show what is possible in motorsport with an electric drivetrain. The entire team behind our driver Romain Dumas is highly motivated to set a new record for electric cars."
—Volkswagen Motorsport Director, Sven Smeets

The record in the electric prototype class currently stands at 8:57.118 minutes, set in 2016 by New Zealand’s Rhys Millen.

World Rallycross Championship all-electric in 2020
Posted on Sunday February 11, 2018

Volkswagen's efforts to push for the development of an all-electric rallycross supercar were revealed by EV News in March 2016 with plans for electric cars to be introduced into the World RX structure announced in August of last year, but a source has now indicated that electric cars will take the place of conventional internal combustion engine Supercars in the headline category after next year.

“Electric cars will be the world championship. They absolutely, categorically will be the world championship,” the source told Autosport.

“Fifteen cars are required to begin in 2020. Nine different manufacturers have been engaged in the discussions and negotiations so far, but the ability to buy the required components and build a car has to be open to privateer teams if they want to go that way too.”

It’s understood that the new electric cars will be based on a common carbon monocoque tub and safety structure that will be supplied as part of a chassis kit, expected to also include suspension and braking systems.

The FIA is expected to issue an invite to tender for the chassis kit in the coming weeks, with an additional invite to tender for batteries.

It’s believed that motors won’t be from a single supplier and neither will the composite body shells that will sit on top of the carbon chassis’, allowing for different models of cars to be used.

An open eMotor formula will spur competitive development of anything from dual, triple and quad-motor all-wheel-drive torque vectoring electric powertrains which could provide the missing link between electric motorsport and road-car technology.

Volkswagen have made clear that its electric Pikes Peak programme is designed as a learning project towards a future factory electric RX entry.

Magna To Unveil etelligent Drive Systems @ CES 2018
Posted on Sunday December 17, 2017

Magna’s etelligentDrive systems will be on display at CES 2018. The company’s e1 concept vehicle will be used to demonstrate different electric-drive (e-drive) concepts and systems, as well as demonstrate Magna’s vehicle integration capabilities. The e1 system consists of one highly integrated e-drive system on the front axle and one on the rear axle with two electric motors (e-motors).

Magna says the demo car achieves superior longitudinal and lateral dynamics combined with excellent vehicle stability for more safety. Each e-drive system in the demo vehicle uses 3x 140-kilowatt AC induction motors, adding up to an overall performance of 420-kilowatt peak (560 hp)

The Tesla Model S based e1 concept vehicle demonstrates improved stability and handling with electronic torque vectoring (eTV). The powertrain features an integrated eDrive 140 kW peak AC induction on the front axle while the rear axle has an integrated eDrive with 2 x 140 kW AC induction motors connected to a summation gearbox and axle lock clutch operated by the eTV control system to provide torque vectoring.

Triple electric motor all-wheel-drive powertrains offering dynamic yaw control via torque vectoring represent the next generation in high performance EVs with Honda, Audi, Mitsubishi and most recently Tesla's 2020 Roadster all either in production (Honda NSX, RLX SH-AWD) or soon to be. The ultimate in torque vectoring requires a quad electric motor AWD powertrain but at this time the only OEM known to be considering such a system for volume production is Honda with their next generation NSX due in 2023.

Magna is responsible for providing the e-motor, electronic control module/inverter and the transmission for the Ford Focus BEV and Magna has supplied Volvo with the electrified rear axle drive system (eRAD) featured on the Volvo V60 and S60 plug-in hybrid models. Magna’s eRAD system offers multiple hybrid driving modes while also adding electric all-wheel-drive capability.

More recently, the company announced a joint venture partnership with Hasco in China to produce a high volume e-drive system for a German automaker.