Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Infiniti Essence Concept still has chances to be produced

The response to Infiniti’s Essence Concept at this year’s Geneva Motor Show has been nothing short of “phenomenal,” according to Infiniti exec Ben Poore who spoke to Motor Trend recently.

The elation wasn’t long-lasting however, since the audience at Geneva was told at the unveiling that the vehicle was only intended to be a concept. Nonetheless, there is a glimmer of hope since Infiniti has said that its stunning design will soon influence future vehicles. Poore had told Motor Trend that the concept, a twin-turbo V6 hybrid coupe capable of a combined 592 brake horsepower, is “only a show piece… for now.” We would be one of those who would be ecstatic to see a production car that will boast a twin-turbo 3.7-liter V6 with a lithium-ion backed disc-shaped electric motor.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The truth about Audi e-Tron’s 3319 lb-ft of torque

There was a time when people can’t seem to contain themselves when talking about Audi’s e-Tron Concept. But now that its claim to have 3319 lb-ft of torque has been explored, the enthusiasm for the concept, which is currently on display at the 2009 L.A. Motor Show, has waned quite a bit.

At the recently held Frankfurt Auto Show, the electric sports car was applauded for its 3319 lb-ft of torque, which is roughly ten times what most other cars have. Now that the e-Tron makes its North American debut in L.A., the excitement has been lessened somewhat due to the discovery that the E-tron’s real torque output is much closer to 300 lb-ft than 3000 lb-ft.

Audi wasn’t exactly lying; it was that it had used a different way of measuring torque. Audi measures the e-Tron’s 3319 lb-ft of torque at the wheels while other firms report peak torque at the output shaft of a motor or engine. The difference between torque at the wheels and at the powerplant is typically about ten-fold due to the torque multiplication effect of transmission and final drive gears. Having said that, Audi hasn’t revealed how much torque the e-Tron actually produces from its four electric motors. The E-tron has 19-inch wheels wrapped in 235/35 rubber.

The car is believed to have a top speed of 125 mph. Assuming that top speed is at the motors’ redline of 14,000 rpm, this would make it similar to the electric motor in the Tesla Roadster. From this, we can compare the rotational speed of the tires to that of the engine and then the gear ratio can be estimated. With a ratio of 13.2:1 for the e-Tron, the result is a total torque output at the motors of 252 lb-ft. This is still very impressive but far from the 3319 lb-ft boasted by the company. If you compare the E-tron to a Tesla Roadster that makes 273 lb-ft of torque with a V-8 R8 that produces 317 lb-ft, it really remains to be an awesome piece of work. An electric sports car that does 0-62 mph in 4.8 seconds is quite an achievement. And it disappoints no one that the e-Tron is headed for production.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Capstone CMT 380

One of the cars that stood out at the LA Auto Show was the Capstone CMT 380, a hybrid supercar with electric power from 96 lithium ion batteries and assistance from a 30 kw bio diesel powered micro turbine. Or what is essentially a jet engine. Designed by video game producer Richard Hilleman, the car is capable of an electronically limited 150mph top speed.

It is capable of accelerating to 60mph in 3.9 seconds. If in purely electric mode, it can go 80 miles but this extends to 500 miles when the turbine is brought into play. No figures are available for emissions but they are described to be “ultra-low.” Capstone is set to raise production next year, with 10 to 15 cars to be sold at £171,000, most likely in kit form. Potential UK customers shouldn’t be dismayed though since company boss Jim Crause considers it a simple process to convert the CMT 380 to a right-hand drive and eventually make it to the UK.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Infiniti FX Millionaire Edition to debut at 2009 Amsterdam RAI

Infiniti announced today that a special limited edition of the FX 37/ FX 50 called Millionaire. This new edition which will be produced in just 100 units, will be revealed on December 14 at the Amsterdam RAI.

Priced at €95.450, the new Infiniti FX 37/ FX 50 Millionaire Edition will feature a dark graphite finish, roof rails, grille and air intakes covered the same color while inside we will find a very elegant Alcantara trim with brown stitching, center console and various panels made of carbon fiber, a Connectiviti + satellite navigation with 10 GB of extra memory for storing music, a new Around View Monitor which allows the drivers to see around the car and a new Bose Sound System.