Auto IQ weekly news, including Nissan, Hitachi, Yamaha, Formula E and VW
We know that the carmakers are scrambling to get the electrification programs on the road.
Emissions regulations, and the cost of the fines incurred if these are not adhered to, are proving to be quite the incentive to fast-track EV development. But while the market is about to be flooded with electric vehicles, will anyone want to buy or lease them?
That is the topic of our latest Industry Spotlight column, where we look at the remaining barriers to consumer adoption, consumer appetite for SUVs, and more.
Here’s a couple of other stories that caught our eye this week:
Nissan takes on tough UK-based autonomous challenge
A self-driving Nissan Leaf has successfully completed a 230-mile self-navigated journey on UK roads. The drive was the culmination of a British-based research project into the latest autonomous vehicle technologies, and saw the Leaf drive itself from Cranfield, Bedfordshire, up north to Sunderland.
The 30-month, £13.5m project, called HumanDrive, was jointly funded by the UK government's Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK, and nine other consortium partners. These included Nissan, which lead the autonomous vehicle (AV) development; Hitachi, which contributed its artificial intelligence (AI) tech; and Cranfield University, which provided test facilities and supported AV demonstrations.
The Nissan Leaf that completed the drive on November 28 last year featured GPS, radar, LIDAR and camera technologies, plus new AI developments that will find their way into the next generation of Nissan's autonomous vehicles.
Yamaha debuts new EV motor prototype
Although perhaps more famous for its motorcycles, musical instruments and more, Yamaha has a pretty strong record when it comes to developing engines. From the Toyota 2000GT, to the Lexus LFA via the Volvo XC90 V8, the firm’s expertise in ICE development stretches back over 50 years.
But now that knowledge is being brought right up to date with a new EV motor prototype being developed for multiple automotive uses and now available to order. Currently being tested in an Alfa Romeo 4C, the motor comes in varying power outputs of 35kW to 200kW, and gives what the firm claims is industry-leading power density.
For us, the idea of a flexible, drop-in motor solution is exciting for the automotive aftermarket too – showing how eMotors can augment or replace high-performance engines in modified cars, just as engine swaps have been the case for years as a simple upgrade.
E-Motorsport takes its next steps
Various moves have been made in the world of electric motorsport in the past week, not least with the unveiling of the latest Formula E racer. Set to take to the tracks later this year as Formula E begins its seventh season, the Formula E Gen2 Evo will make its public debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month.
Also making its arrival is VW’s e-racing test bed in the form of a modified Golf TCR racer. The eR1 car was used to test the four-wheel drive twin-motor electric drivetrain of the VW ID R hillclimb record setter, a second-generation version of which is currently being developed to take on the F1 lap record at the Sonoma Raceway in the US.
The eR1 has been described as “an ambassador for future performance cars for Volkswagen R” although the firm stopped short of confirming whether the Golf features the same 670hp output as the ID R.