The E-Crossbike is an off-road prototype electric motorbike developed by the automotive engineering company IAV Group in Northville, Mich. The electric motor is a permanent-magnet synchronous design that IAV itself devised. The idea was to mimic the performance of the stock ICE-based bike upon which the e-bike is based.
SAE's Mobility History Committee had a display featuring a Lotus Elite owned by Tim Covert. The Elite was in production from 1957 to 1963. The original car carried a 75 bhp aluminum engine that got 35 mpg and could hit about 112 mph. The engine in Covert's car develops 115 bhp and was built by Sasco.
Part of Chrysler's booth hosts a few entries from last year's FIRST robotics competition for high school students. A number of Chrysler employees are FIRST mentors and the automaker sponsors 22 FIRST teams, several of which got into the finals this year, according to the FIRST mentor I spoke with. Last year's task was to toss basketballs into targets of various heights and also involved some other gymnastics on the part of the robots.
A flocked VW is not something you see everyday. This one was at the Mexican pavillion in the booth of the Global Flock Group. It turns out flocking is increasingly in vogue as an aftermarket treatment for dashboards and door panels.
Visitors to the Ford booth got to try their hand at piloting a simulator that mimicked the experience of several Ford vehicles.
Hyundai was at the show with its ix35 fuel cell to prove it is serious about fielding fuel cell electric vehicles which run on hydrogen.
The patent on friction-stir welding ran out last year, which opened the door to a wider use of the technique. Kuka showed the technique on one of its Scara arms. This is less expensive than the more traditional positioning platforms such as gantries and tripods that have carried it in the past. Kuka says it made use of some development work by the European space agency ESE which created a special shoulder for the FS weld implement that promotes welding in crevices and corners. But there's really not much to see when the robot is welding; no sparks or fireworks, just two pieces of metal being melted together.
You might say about this display that half a Lotus is better than no Lotus at all. The cutaway is of the Lotus true hybrid wherein the ICE acts strictly as a generator for the two electric motors, unlike in the Chevy Volt where the ICE sometimes drives the wheels directly. Only two of the complete vehicles have been built, so, with this cutaway, total production is 2.5 vehicles.
Mich. Tech. students had their Baja Blizzard car at the show, notable for its use of a parallel hydraulic assist system. When the ICE idles, it can store energy in a hydraulic accumulator. The accumulator can release energy in situations as when the car corners to give an extra boost. The hydraulic system drives off the main gearbox. Visible in the photo is the hydraulic valves and manifold and drive chain (the axle has been removed in this shot). Another innovation: a quick-change gas tank that lets students swap in a full tank quickly.
Kienle+Spiess GmbH came up with a way of improving the efficiency of permanent magnet motors by creating armature laminations that need only be glued together. Other motor makers typically have to stake the laminations together somehow, and the attachment points interrupt the motor magnetic field. The innovation, says a Spiess engineer, is good for several percent more efficiency than in PM motors containing staked laminations.
Spal Automotive USA showed fan motors sealed so well they can operate submerged. Spal representatives say the motor, a brushless dc design that Spal created, is sealed with O rings. The fan motors are typically found in automotive applications.
ZHmag is a Chinese company that has come up with a way to reduce the amount of neodymium material in NdFeB magnets and still get the same coercivity. Basically they add a step of infusing dysprosium into the magnet in a furnace, something that has been pretty hard to do effectively until now, they say. They expect to be up and running for production in June.
A walk through this year's SAE show revealed flocked VWs, friction-stir welding robots, innovative electric motor technology, and a lot more. Here are a few of the developments on display.
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