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Driving design: How DesignNobis’ V-Tent could help EVs charge themselves

V-Tent DesignNobis concept

Whether you buy into the idea that alternative fuel sources are truly viable in the years to come, one thing is for sure: All that oil is going to run out someday, which is exactly why we must look to alternatives now. A number of car manufacturers are already hard at work solving this problem, but it’s going to take more than just automakers and legislation to drive us out of the oil age.

Enter Dr. Hakan Gürsu and the team over at DesignNobis. The small Turkish firm recently developed a rather clever EV charging concept called the V-Tent. While the V-Tent was designed to shield your vehicle from the Sun’s harmful rays, it doubles as a solar-energy gathering canopy for recharging an electric vehicle’s thirsty battery. We got in touch with Dr. Gürsu  to get the lowdown on whether the V-Tent could solve some of our alternative fuel woes.

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DT: The V-Tent is certainly a captivating concept. What was the inspiration behind its design?

The idea behind the V-Tent concept goes back to the many sunny summer days along the Mediterranean. Here, it’s hard to find a shade to park your car under, so we decided to develop a tent that protects the car, and produces energy at the same time.

What is the creative process behind developing such a concept?

Typically, the process starts with observation and then defining a problem. There were some criteria we wanted to follow for the V-Tent. For example, we wanted it to be collapsible, almost transparent in a way, when not in use. We decided that it needed to allow for both individual and public use. And it should be supporting technology and user interaction as well. Since we are focusing on ecological, energy saving products, we are keenly interested in solar energy. Our research team is following state of the art technologies and data, while our product development team focuses on design and engineering. There are also a number of different software used for production, animation, and simulation.

V-Tent covered concept

Even though the V-Tent is a concept, are there parts to it that are feasible now?

Feasibility of the V-Tent correlates to the EV market. In the U.S. and Europe electric cars are becoming widespread.

Could the technology be modified to be on-board, so EVs could drive with the tents “folded” up and then deployed anywhere when a charge was necessary and sun was available?

It may decrease aerodynamics, increase weight and costs. Our aim is to solve the problem more for public use and maximum efficiency with less initial investment.

What are some advantages of the V-Tent?

There are a number of advantages: Your car is safe and protected from environmental effects, and it’s getting charged at the same time. Also, public usage enables easy access since you can charge your car where you park it. Our concept system also has a simple interface with charging time information and payment options built in.

Are you in talks with any companies to develop a working model?

The V-Tent concept has been honored with the 2012 Green Dot Award, and we plan on entering new competitions, too. There are some offers we will be discussing; however, a low-tech version can be readily built with advertisement on textile instead of solar panels. That would also work as ad income for system installation.

V-Tent not covered

Do you think electric vehicles will replace gasoline-powered cars any time soon?

Since petroleum resources are limited and already 30-35 percent is used in plastics production, and one kilogram of oil consumption has a price of 3.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide, alternative energy resources will be gaining more and more importance. We believe that vehicles with alternative energy usage will become widespread, especially with new regulations and ecologic considerations.

Where do you see the V-tent being the most effective?

It really depends on some criteria, such as environment, car usage and distances. Also government policies are important. Recently, there have been new regulations in the European Union and clean energy strategies are being developed in favor of electric cars and charging points as well.

Charging and Full Charge

How long did the entire creative process take?

It took about 12 months with changing work load.

Moving along to a slightly different topic, what is your favorite electric car at the moment?

As a group of product designers, some of us are really into cars. Tesla seems the overall favorite among our office – mostly for its design, technology, and emotional aesthetic.

What is your least favorite?

The Fisker Karma is our least favorite in terms of efficiency.

Are you working on any other automotive-related projects?

Last year we designed an electric car concept called the Phaeton, which we developed for Istanbul, especially for the old town area where streets are quite narrow and small taxis are needed for sightseeing. The Phaeton’s overall design was a response to the need of intercity, low speed cars. For classification purposes, it slots between automobiles and non-motorized vehicles, and was designed in accordance with international vehicle norms defined as weighing less than 250 kilograms and traveling no more than 40 km/h speed. It is especially suited for low speed areas such as inner-city alleys, historical or tourist areas, and university campuses, and was honored with the Silver Award in the A’ Design Award Competition held in Milan.

Thank you again for all your time and effort.

Thank you for your interest.

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Ferrari’s 2015 California will have a turbo V8 designed for cruising, not racing
2015 ferrari california coming soon 2013

A new version of the Ferrari California convertible could arrive just in time for spring.
Motor Trend reports that Ferrari will revamp the California for the 2015 model year, including giving it the company's first turbocharged engine since the F40 supercar.
There have been rumors that Ferrari would try turbocharging again as a way to improve fuel economy, but the new V8 destined for the California should improve its performance as well.
The engine will reportedly be based on Maserati's 3.8-liter twin-turbocharged V8, but with all-Ferrari components. The Maserati version already makes 523 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, which is more than the current California's 483 hp and 372 lb-ft.
The updates will also address two of the current California's weaknesses: styling and tech.
The new California is expected to get some new body panels, which will hopefully make the styling look less awkward. The current car has too many details that seem randomly inserted, without a pleasing overall shape to tie them together.
It's also known for clunky navigation and infotainment systems, which are actually shared with plebeian Chryslers. The new car may also get a repackaged Chrysler system, but it will at least be able to take advantage of the improvements that came with the latest UConnect system.
The California has always been a somewhat odd car for Ferrari. With its front-mounted V8, folding hardtop, and cushy interior, it seems to have more in common with a Mercedes-Benz SL than an F12berlinetta.
Still, Ferrari knows its customers. Specifically, it knows that most of them spend more time cruising the Pacific Coast Highway than tackling the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
So while the current California's busy styling and laid-back manner don't impress hardcore fans, there are still plenty of people willing to park this Prancing Horse in their stable.
Given its expected Spring 2014 on-sale date, the 2015 Ferrari California will likely appear at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March.

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Volkswagen e-Golf EV makes official North American landfall
volkswagen e golf ev another california compliance car db2013au01192

This is the e-Golf – an all-electric Volkswagen that originally debuted at the Geneva Auto Show this spring. Next week, however, it'll make its North American debut at the 2013 LA Auto Show. The e-Golf based upon the all-new Golf, the Mk 7, which has yet to debut here Stateside. You can consider this unveiling, however, the beginning of the all-new Volkswagen onslaught about to head Stateside.
Before we dig under the bodywork, let's pause and enjoy the visual aesthetics of the thing. Scroll through the images above, and I think you'll agree the e-Golf is perhaps the best-looking, sub-$50,000 EV yet. As dashing as the compact EV hatch might look, however, its performance figures don’t quite match.
Volkswagen fitted the e-Golf with an electric motor that produces 115-horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. Feeding the peppy little motor is a 26.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which has been mounted under the back seat. The e-Golf, unlike its quick-footed standard Golf brother, will make a crawl from 0-62 MPH in 11.8 seconds.
Where the e-Golf lacks in get-up-and-go, it soars in emissions-free accessibility.
The e-Golf will feature three driving modes: Normal, Eco, and Range. Normal, as you might expect is the standard set up. Eco drops horsepower output to 95, which will increase driving distance. And Range takes Eco one step further and limits the e-Golf top speed to 59 mph.
In spite of its less than inspiring 0-62 time, I figure the e-Golf will be an absolute blast to drive – at least on curvy roads. With the batteries mounted low and in the middle of the car, we can only presume the e-Golf will have great handling characteristics. I drove the mk7 Golf GTI in Napa Valley this summer and the all-new MQB platform that underpins both the GTI and the e-Golf is a wondrous thing indeed. While the e-Golf might not get out of its own way very quickly, in the curvy bits of road, it'll likely be a well-planted driving dream.
The range of the e-Golf should be comparable to the Nissan LEAF around 70-80 miles. Similar, too, will be the recharge time: the five to seven hour mark on a level two 240V charging port.
What’s extra clever about the e-Golf is that although batteries have been stuffed into the compact hatch, rear cargo space has only decreased by one cubic foot. This means unlike some of its competitors – the Ford Focus Electric for example – customers won’t have to sacrifice carrying capacity in order to enjoy a zero-emissions drive.
We don't know for sure but we presume that this cute new VW EV is a compliance vehicle, much like the Honda Fit EV and the Fiat 500e. California recently passed laws stating that all automakers that wish to sell cars in the state must sell at least two-percent EVs by volume.
This means even automakers like Honda that don't believe much in EV futures must build and sell an EV - at least in California. Since VW has been dedicated to diesel technology for so many years, it would stand to reason that without this legislation, the e-Golf might never have existed.

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iZEUS, unlike namesake, will navigate efficient driving routes but won’t turn you into a turtle
get smart the opel amperas new sat nav calculates most efficient routes ampera 288498 medium

We already knew that modern cars are smarter than their drivers. But the Opel Ampera – the Euro version of the Chevy Volt – is taking things to ridiculous heights. With its new iZEUS software it can calculate navigation routes based on maximizing efficiency.
The iZEUS uses information from road conditions to temperature of the batteries to calculate the most efficient route. The purpose of which is to make the most of the Ampera’s 35 mile battery range.
This new tech is in line with what we have seen from other automakers whose transmissions are being linked to GPS. The new Rolls Royce Wraith for instance is pioneering a Satellite Aided Transmission that calculates the optimal gear based on what’s coming up on the road.
While the Ampera’s transmission isn’t yet guided by the evil robots at Skynet, it will soon be able to point you in the direction of the most panda-friendly electricity. Opel is already developing technology that points the driver to charging stations, drawing on renewable energy as part of its Meriva battery research program.
Opel eventually envisions iZEUS being a completely integrated technology that both maximizes the efficiency of plug-in hybrids and takes a holistic view towards reducing carbon emissions.
This makes me wonder why Opel named the system after a Greek God known for copulating with any mortal he found and then going into rages and turning them into animals. Not exactly the bleeding heart image, but I guess he did have lightning bolts.
As it stands, GM has no plans to bring iZEUS to the Volt. It isn’t clear why, but my guess would be that it simply doesn’t have the data infrastructure to make it work here. In any case, it is another frustrating example of the U.S. market not receiving some of the latest green tech. I guess we will just have to be satisfied with the fact that the Volt costs $15,000.00 less than the Ampera. Huzzah?

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