Archive for September, 2009

Need some form inspiration?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 26, 2009 by edwinconan

TOCA ME on the Behance Network

the amazing organic type in motion by Alex Trochut.

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The Honda electric Unicycle U3-X

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25, 2009 by edwinconan

Honda Develops New Personal Mobility Device

Honda U3-X Personal Mobility Device

Honda has unveiled a new personal mobility concept called the U3-X.

Essentially a fancy Segway unicycle, the U3-X features the world’s first omni-directional driving wheel system (dubbed Honda Omni Traction Drive System). Combined with Honda’s balance control technology, the device promises to be safe and user friendly.

The U3-X “fits comfortably between the rider’s legs” (it has a seat), and allows them to move forward, backward, side-to-side, and diagonally. To speed up, slow down, stop, or change directions, riders simply shift their upper body weight in the direction they want to go.

Weighing less than 10kg (22 lbs), the device is powered by a small lithium-ion battery that provides one hour of operation.

While the U3-X is just a concept, Honda says they will conduct real-world testing to verify the practicality of the device.

Very Interesing wheel design concept.

Why Car Names Really Matter

Posted in Car of The Future Project on September 24, 2009 by edwinconan

Autoblog — We Obsessively Cover The Auto Industry

Why Car Names Really Matter

What’s in a name? Does it really matter what you call a car, or will a car sell well as long as it’s well designed?

As an enthusiast, I always felt that the name of a car never really mattered all that much. I was always more interested in the design and the mechanical aspects of the machine rather than the badge. If it had a cool sounding name, sure, that was good. But to me a great car was a great car no matter what they called it.

Now I’m not so sure.

John McElroy is host of the TV program “Autoline Detroit” and daily web video “Autoline Daily”. Every week he brings his unique insights as an auto industry insider to Autoblog readers.

How can we “refuel” electric vehicles today and tomorrow?

Posted in Car of The Future Project, Car of The Future Project Research on September 18, 2009 by edwinconan

Greenlings: How can we “refuel” electric vehicles today and tomorrow? — Autoblog Green


Among the many claimed advantages of electric vehicles are the ability to “refuel” your vehicles at home, never visiting a gas station again. In principle, the only thing you need to “fuel” an EV is a working plug. However, in life, few things ever turn out to be as simple as they might appear on the surface. For example think about your cell phone. If, like most of us here at ABG, you have had multiple different phones over the years, you have of course noted that every one of them seems to have a different and unique charging adapter along with a completely different battery.

In a small hand-held, pocketable device like a phone, it would seem that standardizing batteries and chargers would be a relatively simple thing to do and yet it has only been relatively recently that most phones have begun converging on mini-USB connector standard. Batteries, of course, are an entirely different matter. Now imagine expanding these problems by several orders of magnitude and applying electrification to a car. Cars live in a greater variety of environments and are expected to last a lot longer than the typical consumer electronics device (do you still have your phone from six years ago?). Read on after the jump to learn more about how the problem of charging is being addressed.

The first and most important element is the charging plug. Most EVs of the recent past, including most home-built conversions, have utilized standard household plugs. While this may seem an easy solution, it is actually quite complex. Most conversions are designed to charge at 110V, which is fine for cars that have limited capacity and lead acid batteries. As lithium batteries with higher capacities become more prevalent, they will need faster charging. As MINI E drivers learned earlier this year, 110V just isn’t going to cut it.

All this means we need a charging solution that can handle 220V or more. There are multiple types of standard 220V plugs for devices like dryers, stoves, etc. None of these are designed for high numbers of insertion cycles. We’ve all experienced 110V devices like vacuum cleaners where the pins get bent and sockets get loose over time. This is not acceptable on a car where the car will typically be plugged and unplugged daily and often several times a day. The plug has to be able to withstand thousands of insertion cycles. Given that cars have to operate everywhere from deserts to extreme winter and jungles, environmental sealing is critical as well.

When GM built the EV1 in the 1990s it tried to address these issues by using a paddle with induction charging capability. For reasons that we will get to shortly, that approach is not being used for the new era of EVs. Instead, automakers have collaborated with suppliers through a Society of Automotive Engineers task force to produce a common connector under the J1772 standard (above).

This plug is designed to withstand at least 10,000 insertions/removals with seals that survive the life of the car. It also supports single phase charging at up to 240 V and 70 A. Perhaps most importantly, it also has support for vehicle to infrastructure communications. This is something that no previous connectors, including the EV1 paddle, supported.

Since affordable electric vehicles will have limited operating ranges for the foreseeable future, they are seen as being most useful in urban environments. The problem is that many people who live in urban environments don’t necessarily have garages to park and plug in to. For that reason, many local governments – e.g., London, Santa Monica– are looking at building or already have built networks of curb-side charging stations. While cities can afford to offer some free charging today to EV drivers because they are few and far between, this situation won’t continue. If EVs become prevalent, drivers will have to pay for electricity.

That’s where the communication link comes into play. The comms link will allow the car to identify itself to the charger/grid so that the driver can be billed. Some companies, like Coulomb Technologies, are working on networks of charging stations and plan to offer subscription plans similar to mobile phone service to pay for charging. The communications system will facilitate this. Even when people are charging at home, the link will allow future smart meters to manage when a car is being charged so that drivers can get the lowest cost during off peak hours.

Most of the major automakers have committed to using the J1772 connector for charging (More info: how GM will use J1772 with the Chevy Volt). One thing these connectors don’t support is 480 V charging. This higher voltage system is being proposed for quick charges with some types of batteries. To support this Nissan will actually equip its upcoming LEAF EV with two connectors, the J1772 and second one for 480V charging. However, before anyone can use this, special quick charge stations will have to be installed at places like businesses and, perhaps, existing gas stations.

The final possibility for the near- to mid-term is battery swapping. There are a variety of problems with this idea that will limit its utility any time soon. First is one of the same issues facing phones: proprietary battery packs. Because battery packs for cars are so large, automakers have to work hard to package them in a vehicle to limit intrusion on passenger space. They are often being incorporated into the structure of the car, making swapping them impossible. Finally, there is the same issue of the connectors that faces charging coupler. The battery connection, is designed for relatively few insertions.

All of these limit the utility of quick battery changing systems. So far, Better Place is the only company proposing such systems and Nissan-Renault is the only automaker that has shown any interest in supporting battery swapping. Other automakers cite the fact that battery technology is still evolving too quickly to commit to standard battery pack form factors along with the previously mentioned issues.

Looking farther out, researchers are still looking at inductive charging as well as mechanisms to recharge vehicles on the go, perhaps from cables or slots embedded in roadways. This however would require huge infrastructure investments and would create many new technical problems. Solar is another possibility, but it wouldn’t be useful at night. Even during the day, solar cells don’t have enough conversion efficiency to power a car with a panel small enough to fit on a car.

Any way you look at it, it appears we will be living in interesting times in the coming years.

HSV Encore on Ecofriend

Posted in HSV Encore 2020 Concept Car on September 12, 2009 by edwinconan

Eco Cars: HSV Encore 2020 Brings Much Needed Muscle In A Sustainable Package – Ecofriend

hsv encore_1

Eco Factor: Concept hybrid for the year 2020 gets powered by hydrogen and ethanol.

Does our need to go green mean that in the future we will be driving cars that don’t have much under the name of performance? Industrial designer Edwin Yi Yuan thinks that muscle cars can be powered by green fuels, and the HSV Encore 2020 will make Edwin’s dreams come true.

Green Speed Motorcycle on EcoFriend

Posted in Uncategorized on September 10, 2009 by edwinconan

Eco Bikes: Green Speed Air-powered Motorcycle Aims To Smash Land Speed Record – Ecofriend
green speed_1

Industrial designer Edwin Yi Yuan is hinting toward a future where compressed air would be used as a primary fuel in vehicles such as motorcycles and bikes. The air-powered engine has been lurking around for years with Zero Pollution Motors working to launch air-powered cars soon. The idea does seem fantastic, as air-powered vehicles don’t harm the environment with greenhouse gas emissions and above all, air is cheap and readily available. However, most air-powered engines fail in two ways – either the operating range is no long enough or the speed of the vehicle is too low.

Edwin, accompanied by a team of student designers and their lecturer, has designed a concept air-fueled bike that possibly removes all obstacles associated with air-fueled vehicles. The motorcycle, known as Green Speed Air Powered Motorcycle, is based on an old Suzuki GP100 from the 1970s. The designers removed pretty much everything on the original bike, the petrol tank, the engine, gear box, etc., and just used the frame of the bike, its wheels and brakes.

The engine that used is a rotary air engine. It is the invention of the Melbourne engineer Angelo Di Pietro. The engine is compact, lightweight and powerful and runs on compressed air from two compressed air tanks on the bike. It revs up to 10,000 RPM, and because of this the inventors didn’t need any gear box on the bike. There is only one gear, which is just a sprocket bolted directly to the axis of the engine and chained to the rear wheel.

Compressed air is stored in the bike’s on-board carbon fiber tanks. Once mass produced, the bike will have solar panels that will generate enough energy to compress air and store it in the bike’s tanks, which will increase its range indefinitely.

As the bike was designed as a speed record setter, there is no headlight, brake light or indicator lights on the bike. Instead, there were three little cameras fitted at the front and tail on the bike that are used to record the run. The body works were designed to be aerodynamic and lightweight, and it will be made of fiber glass or carbon fiber.

New Audi Logo

Posted in Car of The Future Project on September 4, 2009 by edwinconan

New Audi Logo Debuts at Frankfurt Motor Show – Worldcarfans

Audi has announced plans to unveil their updated logo internationally for the first time during the Frankfurt Motor Show. The redesigned logo already made an initial debut at the Audi brand’s 100th anniversary celebrations.

Deemed to be “more progressive and contemporary than its predecessor”, the modernized logo stresses “Vorsprung durch Technik” (Advancement through Technology). According to Peter Schwarzenbauer, a Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales for Audi, “Vorsprung durch Technik is a clear promise to our customers – and an obligation for all Audi employees to render our design even more innovative, our drive systems even more efficient and our product range even more emotion-packed.”

The new logo features a bolder version of Audi’s trademark four rings. Audi made minor modifications to enhance their size, color, and overall appearance to represent “technical innovative power and lightweight design.”