Print 62 comment(s) - last by Hyperion1400.. on Feb 29 at 3:58 PM

Infiniti wows with its latest electric car concept

If you build it, they will come. Infiniti was hoping to save the official unveil of its Emerg-E concept car until next week's Geneva auto show, but the company has been kneecapped twice by leaks.
Nearly two weeks ago, the design of the vehicle was leaked via design patent drawings submitted to The Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market (OHIM). This weekend, however, The Full Monty was released in the form of official photos of the vehicle.
There isn't much to say about the official specs of the vehicle as we're still a week away from its official unveil, but it is known the that Emerg-E is a range-extended electric vehicle with a mid-mounted 1.2-liter gasoline engine to charge its batteries. Think of it as a Chevrolet Volt without the dumpy looks.
As for the styling of the Emerg-E, some say that it has a bit of Ferrari 458 Italia in its side profile and a bit of Lexus’ new “Predator” grille up front. However, the overall design of the vehicle should give the designers of the Acura NSX remake some sleepless nights.
For now, you can just ogle the pictures of Infiniti's supercar concept:

Source: CarScoop

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RE: I like it
By lagomorpha on 2/26/2012 8:07:49 PM , Rating: 2
Commercial aircraft don't use turbines for their power density, they use them because having few moving parts means their maintenance intervals are much longer. Constantly rebuilding the multiple big 36 cylinder radial engines it would take to keep a jumbo jet in the sky to FAA specifications would get prohibitively expensive. The problems that come from props that approach the sound barrier limiting flight speed don't hurt the case for turbines, but that first point alone makes turbines better for large passenger aircraft.

While you make a good point about the lower thermal efficiency of the microturbine, if the car is running off electricity it got from the wall 80% of the time is the extra cost of an almost 50% thermal efficiency direct-injection diesel justified? Probably not because the more of the energy is coming from charging the batteries off the grid the less important the combustion engine's efficiency is. Better to stick in whatever is cheapest to manufacture because it's not being used the whole time anyway.

RE: I like it
By Mint on 2/26/2012 9:26:39 PM , Rating: 2
I thought I mentioned reliability as well, but I clearly I didn't. You're absolutely right. Still, for a PHEV that uses that engine only 20% of the time, greater reliability over an ICE (which already last 300k+ miles) isn't much of a factor.

You're also right about efficiency not really mattering there, but when you look at the shit that the Fisker Karma takes for its 20MPG rating in range-extended mode, it's clearly something you don't want on your car's sticker in the showroom. This looks like it'll be a fairly pricey car, too, so you don't want to cut corners on something that will undermine the green image its going for.

FYI, I wasn't talking about a diesel, but rather a Prius-esque Atkinson-cycle engine.

RE: I like it
By lagomorpha on 2/26/2012 9:52:32 PM , Rating: 2
Oh by all means implement a Prius-style Atkinson-cycle emulation. The cost of implementation is almost nothing. The point was increasing the manufacturing cost in order to increase the efficiency of an engine that's only operating 20% of the time isn't terribly cost effective.

Now if a microturbine really didn't add much to the cost and it could be sufficiently sealed against moisture and only operated 20% of the time so that the oil change interval was 100,000 miles... well for your average American who changes oil less frequently than they change significant other it might be a boon. We are not quite there yet.

RE: I like it
By Calin on 2/27/2012 3:20:30 AM , Rating: 2
As I understand, turbine engines have to be maintained more often than piston engines - but they break much less often. One of the last passenger plane with 4 piston engines was commonly known as "the most reliable trimotor"

RE: I like it
By erple2 on 2/28/2012 2:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think that's quite right. Maintenance on a turbine is easier and cheaper than on a piston engine craft. That's at least true with larger aircraft - the maintenance on a 737's engines is vastly simpler and cheaper than, say, a Constellation (another plane of approximately the same size). There may be a point where there isn't so much extra complexity for the piston engine (vastly more moving parts for larger engines), that normal maintenance isn't an issue.

Also, being the "most reliable trimotor" is like saying that "My Yugo was the most reliable Yugo" - ie comparing it against not particularly reliable pool doesn't mean much in an absolute sense.

RE: I like it
By lagomorpha on 2/28/2012 10:40:24 PM , Rating: 2
It helps that with the 737 you only have 4 big turbines to maintain. A Constellation has 144 valves between 72 cylinders and 4 superchargers split between 4 engines. I don't imagine rebuilding an 18 cylinder radial engine is an easy feat either, with pushrods going in every direction and a separate head for each cylinder.

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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