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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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Volvo developing new battery concept

Volvo has developed a new concept for lightweight structural energy storage components that could improve the energy usage of future electrified vehicles. According to the OEM, the material, consisting of carbon fibers, nanostructured batteries and supercapacitors, offers lighter energy storage that requires less space in the car, cost effective structure options and is eco-friendly.
The EU-funded research project, which took place over three and a half years, identified a feasible solution to the heavy weight, large size and high costs associated with the batteries seen in hybrids and electric cars today, whilst maintaining the efficient capacity of power and performance. The findings of which are now realized in the form of car panels within a Volvo S80 experimental car.
The combination of carbon fibers and a polymer resin has created a very advanced nanomaterial and structural supercapacitors. The reinforced carbon fibers sandwich the new battery and are molded and formed to fit around the car’s frame, such as the door panels, the boot lid and wheel bowl. The carbon fiber laminate is first layered, shaped and then cured in an oven to set and harden. The supercapacitors are integrated within the component skin. This material can then be used around the vehicle, replacing existing components, to store and charge energy.
The material is recharged and energized by the use of brake energy regeneration in the car or by plugging into a mains electrical grid. It then transfers the energy to the electric motor, which is discharged as it is used around the car.
The research showed that the material not only charges and stores faster than conventional batteries can, but that it is also strong and pliant. Volvo has evaluated the technology by creating two components for testing and development. These are a boot lid and a plenum cover, tested within the Volvo S80.
The boot lid is a functioning electrically powered storage component and, says Volvo, has the potential to replace the standard batteries seen in today’s cars. The company claims “it is lighter than a standard boot lid, saving on both volume and weight”, while “the new plenum demonstrates that it can also replace both the rally bar, a strong structural piece that stabilizes the car in the front, and the start-stop battery, saving more than 50% in weight and is powerful enough to supply energy to the car’s 12 Volt system”.
It is believed that the complete substitution of an electric car’s existing components with the new material could cut the overall weight by more than 15%.

18 October 2013


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