The lead designer and head engineer of the Cadillac ELR stop by Jay Leno’s garage to show him the new car. The ELR is GM taking the technology Volt and moving it into a premium market. The powertrain is based off of the one in the Volt but is recalibrated for a little more performance. Most importantly, the chassis of the ELR is larger and is no longer an obvious tie-in to the Chevy Cruze like the Volt is. Cadillac’s very successful angular design language is also present on the ELR. I find it interesting that the car technically didn’t need a front grill but they added one purely to keep the styling coherent. I think the ELR is a very encouraging sign for the electric vehicle market. It’s a start to shedding some of the styling, luxury and performance compromises that people are not willing to make to drive EV’s.
The podium for the 2013 Isle of Man TT Zero electric motorcycle time trial looks a lot like the 2012 podium. MotoCzysz took the top place with their E1PC and Mugen/Honda came in second with their revised Shinden Ni (the Japanese god of lightning). The Isle of Man TT YouTube channel released some on-board footage from both bikes that should dispel a lot of notions about electric vehicles being slow and not sounding very cool.
Here’s Michael Rutter on the MotoCzysz E1PC:
This is Isle of Man TT Master John McGuiness on the Mugen Shinden Ni:
Mercedes AMG recently set the first sub-8 minute production electric vehicle lap time around the Nurburgring with their SLS Electric Drive. Check out Chris Harris’s review for all the details on the car. This is the on-board footage of the lap. It’s interesting to note that the gauge on the right side is not a tachometer. The electric motors only have one gear so you can tell how fast their spinning based on the car’s speed displayed in the left gauge. The other gauge displays power output in what I’m guessing is percentage. 100% probably marks the maximum continuous output with the ability to burst above that for a little while. The power gauge also has a negative section going counter-clockwise from 9 o’clock to 6 o’clock to represent power recovered by regenerative braking. The regenerative portion of the gauge is definitely in a different scale because if they were getting 50% of the max output during regeneration it would make the car lurch a lot more than it is. You can also see that the regeneration gets maxed out when the driver lets off the “throttle” without hitting the brakes. The regeneration torque was probably set up to mimic engine braking torque of a combustion engine.
Car and Driver sits down the the Large Project Leader for the upcoming new Acura NSX, Ted Klaus. They talk about how an American engineer came to be a project lead as well as some of the heritage of the old NSX. The interview really puts me at ease because it seems like Klaus really gets what made the original NSX such a classic driver’s car. Even though many things will be changing in terms of vehicle architecture (the new NSX is a hybrid with three electric motors) and technology, they are making a very real effort to make sure the new car has the same soul as the original. They’re even going as far as to interview owners of the old NSX to see what it is they think is special about their cars. It also makes me really happy to know that a lot of the high-end performance cars currently in development are embracing hybrid technology both for performance and the perception that green technology is the latest and greatest for the industry.
Bradley Hasemeyer of Translogic is the latest member of the press to take a spin on the Brammo Empulse R electric motorcycle. So far the Empulse R seems to be the leading contender for an electric motorcycle that is a direct replacement for a gasoline powered motorcycle experience. A lot of that has to do with Brammo’s exclusively licensed 6-speed transmission that is built strong enough to hold the constant torque of the brushless DC electric motor. The transmission improves the Empulse R’s acceleration and range but most importantly it is a more satisfying riding experience for veteran motorcycle riders and that’s what’s winning people over. I like the story Translogic put together because they toured the factory and got the scoop on how Brammo got started and their highly successful TTXGP racing program. It turns out the guy who started Brammo is also responsible for bringing the Ariel Atom to the US.