Green Machines Peugeot

Peugeot EX1 sets new electric record at the Ring

Peugeot EX1

This crazy looking electric powered Peugeot EX1, complete with 250kW, has set a new lap record on the Nürburgring Nordschleife for an electric powered car. It didn’t hang about, either, posting time of 9:01.338—oh so close to breaking the 9 minute barrier—at an average speed of just over 138km/h for those slow with their calculators.

Stéphane Caillet, from Peugeot’s Research & Development Centre, was the man behind the wheel and we reckon he deserves a big pat on the back. He knocked some 50 seconds off the lap record, previously held by the MINI E.

The official word from Peugeot, plus a brief video clip, can be seen after the break.

Green Machines Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG E-Cell

Mercedes-Benz, or more specifically, AMG is the latest manufacturer to throw its hat into the mean green hypercar segment. The SLS AMG E-Cell is powered by four electric motors offering a total power output of 392kW, with maximum torque of 880Nm. It can accelerate to 100km/h in four seconds flat; just 0.2 seconds slower than the conventionally powered SLS AMG. The E-Cell does this without emitting any CO2 emissions, of course.

In order to achieve optimum weight distribution the four motors are placed low on the chassis, as near as possible to the four wheels. This gives the car a low centre of gravity; by not placing the motors in the wheels unsprung weight is also minimised. Four engines mean all-wheel drive, too, further enhancing traction. Pretty important when pretty much all 880Nm of torque is available from standstill.

With so many new and non-traditional components under the skin the front suspension had to be completely rethought compared to the petrol powered SLS. As a result an independent multilink suspension was designed featuring horizontal dampers. It’s a bit similar to the set ups you see on open wheel racecars.

The E-Cell has a few minor external differences as well. And not just the bright “AMG lumilectric magno” paint. The front end now has a moveable front splitter which lowers itself by 7cm at speeds over 120km/h. Similarly the rear spoiler alters its position as speed increases. The lack of an exhaust system has enabled a rear diffuser to be designed with fewer compromises resulting in improved downforce.

Also seen on the outside is a new, more efficient, all LED-lighting system. Lightweight 10-spoke alloys are fitted; 19” at the front and 20” at the rear.

Inside, the centre console and instrument displays have been completely redesigned. The key feature is a 25cm touchscreen in the centre console that can be easily operated by the driver and passenger.

At this stage the E-Cell is little more than a concept car, which might explain why vital information like the time to re-charge the batteries and expected distance that can be travelled has not been mentioned. However, the official blurb below does state the E-Cell “offers the prospect of a possible small series production run”.

There’s lots more after the break, including a detailed press release explaining more about the E-Cell’s inner gadgets.

Green Machines MINI

You and the MINI E – together in electric dreams

MINI E - The electric, zero emissions MINI

An electric MINI—with 150kW—pretty cool hey! Welcome to the MINI E, a lithium-ion battery powered zero emissions MINI with a top speed of 152km/h (limited). The car is capable of reaching 100km/h in 8.5 seconds, although repeated efforts will no doubt affect the car’s 240 kilometre range. The MINI E’s peak power is 22kW higher than a petrol powered Cooper S and the torque figure, too, is impressive at 220Nm—although slightly less than the Cooper S number of 240Nm (one may expect an electric powered car would have more torque than that?). Further comparison to the Cooper S shows that the petrol car is 1.4 seconds quicker in the 0-100 dash, however, battery power is not light and that explains the slower time for the MINI E. Tipping the scales at 1465kg the MINI E is some 260kg heavier than a standard Cooper S.

MINI will launch the MINI E as a 500-car pilot program available to private customers in three US states—California, New York and New Jersey. Customers will liaise with MINI giving reports on the car’s performance. Like the hydrogen powered Honda FCX Clarity, the MINI E will only be available on a lease and MINI will be restricting the lease period to 12 months, although an extension option will be available. Lease repayments will cover all maintenance costs, of course, the cost of recharging the car will be the owner’s responsibility. Recharging the car can be done using regular power sockets. Use of a specially designed wallbox, that allows higher amperage, can see the MINI E recharged from empty to full in just two and half hours. Every MINI E will be supplied with a wallbox, intended to be installed by MINI into owner’s garages.

There is a price to pay for your zero emissions lifestyle, and in the MINI E, that is the back seat. So this climate friendly commuter can only carry two people, and you could probably squeeze your dog in the boot. The electric motor is in the traditional position under the bonnet, with the battery in the back seats. The Dynamic Stability Control system and suspension have been tuned to suit the unique characteristics of the battery powered MINI. By using the motor as a generator the bulk of the car’s braking can be done by simply lifting off the accelerator pedal (quaintly referred to as the “gas pedal” in MINI’s press release).

The MINI E presents a great test bed for all electric powered cars. Sure, there are some compromises, but the 500 strong fleet should enable BMW to collect some fascinating and valuable data to aid their future development of battery powered technology.

MINI’s full release along with more images can be seen after the jump.


MINI pedals zero emissions vehicle around Beijing

MINI Clubman Rickshaw

MINI has just launched a limited release zero emissions Clubman Rickshaw model on the streets of Beijing. At a time when the 2008 Olympic Games in China are under the spotlight due to the host city’s pollution this pedal powered MINI is just what the doctor ordered. The mobile Clubman is able to power through Beijing’s contested city streets like few other vehicles can.

Indeed the PR blurb states, “the MINI Rickshaw perfectly captures Beijing’s dynamic combination of tradition and progress, coupled with a touch of fantasy and individuality—as only MINI can do. The real Chinese lucky charms and talismen on the bicycle and in the inside of the vehicle are intended not only to bring the passenger luck, but also, of course, to release positive energy for the entire Olympic Games.”

If you’re on your way to the Chinese capital you’ll find the MINI Clubman Rickshaw in trendy club and scene districts such as the old Beijing quarter of Hu Tong.