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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class

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The all-new G-Class makes its public debut at the Detroit auto show in G550 form. Completely redeveloped and fitted with a 4.0-liter V8 biturbo gasoline engine offering 427ps and 450 lb-ft of torque at 2,000rpm to 4,750rpm, despite near-identical looks to its predecessor plenty has changed for the Mercedes-Benz SUV.


Ford’s F150 pickup gets its first diesel motor

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Developed by the powertrain team behind the 6.7-liter Power Stroke engine for super duty trucks, the all-new 3.0-liter V6 Power Stroke unit promises 250ps, 440 lb-ft of torque, and an anticipated 5175kg of towing capacity.


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In light of Fisker's solid-state battery breakthrough and claims of a one minute charge time, will this electric vehicle technology development kick-start mass BEV uptake? 

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Flywheel hybrid system unveiled

A consortium of automotive companies has showcased a prototype flywheel hybrid system for premium vehicles at the Low Carbon Vehicle event, which is taking place at Millbrook this week.

The system, called (FHSPV) adds up to 82ps (60kW) of recovered energy and is predicted to demonstrate fuel economy gains of 20% relative to the current production model. Testing work is already underway.

Compared to conventional hybrid systems, flywheel hybrids reduce the number of energy conversions onboard the vehicle, therefore improving the efficiency of the regenerative braking system. Instead of converting kinetic energy into electricity for storage in a battery, a small CVT connected to the car’s rear differential transfers the energy directly into a compact, high-speed flywheel. When the driver reapplies the accelerator, the CVT smoothly transfers the energy back to the wheels.

The FHSPV project brings together some of the UK’s most respected names in automotive engineering to determine the viability of flywheel hybrids for production and cost-effective modular application. Part-funded by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, FHSPV’s industrial partners include Jaguar Land Rover, Flybrid Systems, Ford, engineering consultancies Prodrive and Ricardo, and transmission experts Torotrak and Xtrac.

“The UK’s automotive industry is playing a central role in the development of low-carbon technologies,” said Pete Richings, chief engineer at Jaguar Land Rover. “This research project explores the potential for more efficient and cost-competitive hybrid drivetrains that improve fuel economy while enhancing standards of vehicle refinement and performance. We have investigated the base technology, built the prototype and will be testing it in the next few months to see if it lives up to its potential.”

The flywheel-CVT system uses a flywheel developed by Flybrid Systems. Spinning at speeds of up to 60,000rpm enables the flywheel to achieve a high energy density, making it smaller and easier to package. The CVT, which manages the flywheel’s speed and the flow of kinetic energy, has been built by motorsport firm Xtrac using Torotrak’s innovative traction drive technology.

Automotive consultancy Prodrive is responsible for the system’s configuration and integration into the vehicle. The company is also developing the system’s sophisticated control software and electronics. Ricardo is providing independent analysis on the potential for alternative technologies within the system. Ford Motor Company is examining the potential for secondary applications for flywheel-CVT systems. 

16 September 2010


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