Aussies update their hybrid-electric car
The Australian car industry has come up with a new version of its low emission, hybrid-electric car.
The aXcessaustralia Low Emission Vehicle, has an electric motor to drive the vehicle and a fuel-efficient motor to drive the generator that charges the batteries. It was put together using technology developed by more than 80 Australian component manufacturers.
The Low Emission Vehicle Project builds on the success of the first aXcessaustralia car unveiled in 1998 (see related story). “This car, partly funded by the Australian government, helped Australian component manufacturers achieve more than $730 million in new export business,” says David Lamb, director of Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation’s (CSIRO) Australian Automotive Technology Centre (AATC).
Australia is one of only 10 countries in the world that can style, design, engineer and manufacture almost every component of the modern car, CSIRO says. The second aXcessaustralia car will reduce fuel consumption by half and lead to a 90% reduction in vehicle pollution.
Features of the aXcessaustralia car include:
- an electric traction motor that delivers constant power over a wide speed range. This means the car can use a lighter and cheaper gearbox. The motor also acts as a generator during braking, helping charge the batteries
- lead acid batteries optimised for use in a hybrid vehicle
- a surge power unit or supercapacitor that enables the car to accelerate rapidly. Supercapacitors have never been used before in electric vehicles and these have been developed to work with the electric traction motor
The car’s engine was developed by the Australian company CMC Power Systems. The engine only operates when the batteries need to be topped up or during hard acceleration.
Combining these technologies gives the aXcessaustralia car the range and power of conventional vehicles, but with lower fuel costs and emissions.
The car is also capable of running for around 20 minutes under electric power alone. This zero emission mode is designed for use in environmentally sensitive areas like city centres and underground carparks.
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