Thursday, 19 April 2007

Near future of automotive propulsion:

Lecture this evening by a guy from PML about their electric BMW Mini QED (quad electric drive):
0-60mph < 5 seconds
65-80 mpg with approx 600 mile range
zero emmissions for short to medium travel

Wheel hub motors (4 of): 750Nm, 15kg, 480A, 450V, 1800rpm.
Brushless permanent magnets, constant torque at all speeds.
Integrated inverter circuitry: 24 Phase sine wave (IGBT), water cooled.
Regenerative braking, dump resistors for excess energy.
No friction brakes!

Battery: 300V, 70Amp hour, Lithium Polymer (700A peak).
Therefore: 21kW hour, 75600000J=75.6MJ
(typical lightning bolt ~500MJ; thinking about accidents)
100 mile battery range @ 70mph

Ultra Capacitors: 350V, 11 Farad, 700A limited (3850 Coulombs)
Therefore: 0.67MJ

Generator: 250cc, 2 stroke gasoline, 15kW (at it's 7000rpm).
Power required to cruise at 70mph

Energy re-circulator: 1400A IGBT distributer.

Indipendent traction control via torque adjustment, yada, yada...

Thier inovation is in the compactness of the motor (their speciality) and the efficiency of the motor drive electronics (IGBT). The generator could be a fuel cell, or any other portable source, but battery/capacitor advancements look set to make everything else obsolete.

It's basically the prototype of the type of car comming off the line in the film Minority Report (i believe Tom Cruise gets trapped/built into a chasis during a fight, then escapes by driving it away!): Basically, new cars in the next couple of years (PML claim to be working with 3 large scale automotive manufacturers to bring out full products by the beginning of next year) will be the prototypes of car perfection: chasis with 4 integrated motor/wheels and a really big capacitor. They'll be charged up at home, in car parks, at *power* stations, probably by inductive coils (or wireless power transmission, when that technology properly comes of age) so u'll probly forget about this strange concept of fuel (!?) altogether...

All that's left is for the cars to drive themselves, then u have the perfect private/public transport system. Public transport with a driverless, pollution neutral fleet of vehicals of any size. Providing door to door, personalisal transport and dynamically reroutable busses for the busiest routes (to avoid rush hour/end of night, taxi rank style queues).

Can't wait to see if stanley pulls off safe town driving during the next grand challenge installment this November. But in a way i'd rather the problem wasn't solved too quickly, so that i personally have some time to work on solving it. Naturally there's always room for improvements.

I'd say this will all be realised in well under 20 years (for post industrial regions). Maybe that sounds too good to be true? Well, u'd better get used to lots of stuff sounding like that and then *actually* happening; it's the Singularity baby! Though i need not preach to a public that take for granted mobile phones and internet access, u now couldn't live without, when u hadn't even heard of such things 20 years ago!

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