Toyota’s hydrogen concept car will make its European debut at the Paris motor show later this month; it previews Toyota’s vision for the future of FCVs
The FCV Plus previews Toyota’s vision of the future of the car, using compressed hydrogen as its fuel source. When the car isn’t in use for transport, it can be used as a generator to make electricity for the driver’s home; it can also be used away from the home, and when not in use, it puts energy back into the grid.
The car’s overriding ethos, according to Toyota, is “how future hydrogen cars can make a positive contribution to society”.
There’s a motor for each wheel on the FCV Plus, with the fuel cell stack between the front wheels and the hydrogen tank between the back wheels. Toyota says the car won’t reach production for at least 15 years. By the time the FCV Plus does reach production, Toyota expects the hydrogen powertrain to be around half the size of that currently used in the Mirai FCV.
At 3800mm long, the FCV Plus is slightly smaller than a Yaris, but bigger than an Aygo. It’s a little wider and taller than both of these models, at 1750mm across and 1540mm tall. The design is as advanced as you’d expect, with a blue glasshouse dominating the exterior and white bodywork covering the lower third of the car, as well as some of the roof. In true concept car fashion, the rear wheels are covered over.
Inside, there’s seating for four in a thoroughly futuristic cabin that features a honeycomb-design structure with no dashboard; there’s simply a minimalist steering wheel rising on a tall stalk from the front of the car.
The FCV Plus was first shown to the public at the Tokyo motor show last year, alongside the S-FR compact sports car.
Next-gen American sports car looks set to move its engine rearwards and gain turbo power; this prototype shows its extended rear
Previous mules have been spotted wearing a cut-up Holden Ute body, but this car looks to be wearing an adapted Corvette C7 exterior.
The mule has gained a pair of rear buttresses and flat centre section, hinting at its mid-engine layout and supporting information that the drastically different next-gen model is back on the cards.
Previous attempts at launching a mid-engined Corvette were reportedly shelved due to the 2008 credit crunch, but insiders say Chevrolet is now keen to finally put the model into production.
Sources think the car will use a turbocharged V6 engine in order to boost efficiency and enable it to fall under increasingly stringent CO2 emission limits. A flat-plane crank V8 engine could be offered as a range-topping model in certain markets.
The C8 is also expected to use more aluminium in its construction to save weight.
As this latest mule shows, the Corvette C8 is still at an early stage in its development process. The finished car isn’t expected to arrive before 2018, with most sources predicting a debut at the 2018 North American International Auto Show before the first cars arrive on the road in 2019.
American company Proterra has revealed its latest all-electric bus, which it calls ‘the highest-performing bus on the road’
The Proterra E2 electric bus has been revealed, with a 660kWh battery pack that gives it a claimed range of up to 350 miles.
Proterra’s latest bus, which follows in the footsteps of its lighter-duty electric buses, is dubbed ‘the highest-performing bus on the road’ by the American manufacturer, which has built and sold more than 300 vehicles across North America.
The bold tagline alludes to the bus’s range, which Proterra claims is around 350 miles, although under testing the bus did achieve a range of more than 600 miles.
The bus’s biggest available battery pack, at 660kWh, is more than six times that of the flagship Tesla Model S P100D, although the bus takes a leisurely 6.8sec to reach 20mph, as opposed to the Tesla’s 2.5sec 0-60mph time.
This is most likely due to the bus’s kerb weight of just under 15 tonnes, which is kept to a minimum through the bus’s construction – it has a carbonfibre reinforced composite body. A top speed of 65mph is quoted by Proterra.
Charging time for the bus in its highest 660kWh E2 max specification is five hours from a 120kW charge point, while overhead, on-the-go charging is an optional extra.
At almost 13 metres long, the Proterra E2 max has seating for 40, and at full capacity will weigh almost 18 tonnes.
The wingless Aero-P is slipperier than regular Atoms
Aero-P Atom concept car, or the Aerodynamic Efficiency Requirements & Optimisation Project, produces downforce when stationary by using electrically-powered fans
Ariel has revealed a new concept car, the Aero-P Atom, which has been developed to use ground-effect technology and a hybrid powertrain, suggesting future Ariel production models may be electrically assisted and produce significantly more downforce.
The concept, whose full name is Aerodynamic Efficiency Requirements & Optimisation Project, has been produced in collaboration with TotalSim and Delta Motorsport.
Ariel says it features aerodynamics that have been designed to minimise drag while producing downforce from stationary.
The Aero-P Atom prototype uses both passive and active aerodynamics to achieve this, designed using computer fluid dynamics (CFD). It has also been developed to improve engine-cooling efficiency for both internal combustion engines and hybrid electric motors.
Ariel has chosen to use ground-effect downforce in order to address the negatives of using only passive parts. The British car maker says the drag created by fixed aerofoils reduces top speed, increases fuel consumption and therefore also emissions. Ariel also says that Atoms running fixed wings suffer as much as 15% extra drag.
The Aero-P Atom does away with wings and fixed aerodynamic parts, reducing drag and therefore improving straight-line performance. The concept produces downforce using two high-speed fans mounted under the car and rubber skirt that seal the ground under its floor.
The fans are powered by a standalone battery pack, enabling them to be controlled separately from the drivetrain, either manually or automatically. When left to run automatically, they only run when downforce is needed, for example during heavy braking, acceleration or cornering. Ariel says that during operation, the car can be seen to visibly squat down to the ground.
“We’re moving towards the point where traction and therefore acceleration, particularly from standstill, are limited by mechanical grip, so were trying to come up with ways of overcoming this,” explained Ariel boss Simon Saunders. “One of our targets was to minimise or remove the need for aerofoils and have downforce when stationary”.
Saunders said the inspiration for the ground-effect solution came from banned racing cars such as Jim Hall’s 1970 Chaparral 2J Indy Car and the Gordon Murray-designed Brabham BT46B F1 ‘Fan Car’ of 1978. “The Atom test car has been already been nicknamed The Vacuum Cleaner and hopefully it follows in the tradition of these two great cars,” Saunders added.
Ariel said the Aero-P won’t directly influence a production car and exists purely as a testbed for development, but the project does support previous reports from Autocar that revealed Ariel could soon create hybrid versions of the Atom.
Those reports suggested the hybrid system would be part of the drivetrain, but the Aero-P’s system also hints at more complex uses for electrification.
The prototype will be shown to the public at this month’s LCV 2016 (Low Carbon Vehicle Show) at Millbrook Proving Ground on the 14 and 15 September.