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Mercedes-Benz unveils its revamped G-Class


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


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? 


Conti unveils EV safety sensor

Engineers at Continental have developed a sensor for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that will immediately shut off the high-voltage battery in the event of a collision while the vehicle is in charge mode. This means that emergency service personnel can recover vehicles without running the risk of suffering an electric shock.

"The evSAT ['Satellite for Electric Vehicles] acceleration sensor is active in charge mode; it detects an accident and passes this information on to the battery management system which then shuts off the high-voltage battery", explained Dr. Axel Gesell, senior manager for platform development sensors and satellites, in the passive safety business unit of Continental's chassis and safety division. "The major benefit of our product is that it prevents fire and rescue service personnel sustaining high-voltage injuries when coming into contact with vehicle metal parts, or if they have to cut through the vehicle to recover accident victims," Gesell added. Conti has confirmed that evSAT sensor will go into series production with a major German vehicle manufacturer in 2012.

The innovative safety device essentially consists of an independent, triaxial sensor with a CAN interface. During the charge phase, the other vehicle electronics, including the airbag system are not operational. So as to avoid the considerable expense of adapting the airbag system to meet new requirements, Continental has developed evSAT for the vehicle's charge mode. The accelerator sensor employs an algorithm to detect a frontal, rear or side collision with another vehicle and immediately transmits a signal via the CAN interface to the battery management system which then switches off the battery within half a second. evSAT reacts in the same way if it detects a rollover in driving mode. In this case, the battery is deactivated within four seconds at most. In the event of other types of driving accident, evSAT remains inactive. In such cases, the airbag system assumes the task of cutting off the battery. If the electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle has been switched off and is not being charged, the evSAT moves to a standby mode to prevent the battery discharging. As such, evSAT represents an additional passive safety system function for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Most high-voltage batteries in electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles generate a voltage of 400 volts, twice as great as the standard domestic plug socket and potentially fatal. Already, in the USA, there is a legal requirement for the vehicle power supply voltage to fall to below 60 volts within five seconds of an accident occurring. But at present, no such laws exist yet in Germany. "As electromobility continues to develop, the safety of electric vehicles will assume an increasingly important role. The need for technologies to meet future challenges is already demonstrated by the additional demand for evSAT from numerous other vehicle manufacturers", said Telmo Glaser, Continental's evSAT project manager.

Conti says that evSAT can be installed in a number of different places in the vehicle, but it should, however, be placed sufficiently well inside the vehicle (beneath the front passenger seat, for example) to avoid being damaged in an accident. The advantages of using evSAT are that there is no need for the conventionally powered vehicle variants within a model series to be modified. evSAT can be integrated into the existing systems of electrically powered vehicle variants without redesign work. Such a benefit also increases flexibility as regards installation space, customer-specific requirements and development time. Savings can be made due to lower system development costs and by avoiding placing greater demands on the airbag system



23 March 2011


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