Electric cars and the energy gap

Jason Ford

News Editor

This week’s Briefing kicks off in Germany with some good news about an all electric vehicle breaking a speed record.

Toyota Motorsport (TMG) made Nürburgring history yesterday by setting a new electric vehicle (EV) lap record of 7min 47secs on the 20.832km Nordschleife race track.

To achieve this TMG’s electric powertrain used two electric motors to deliver peak power of 280kW and a top speed of 260km/h.

The two-seater car, weighing in at 970kg, significantly improved on the former lap EV record of 9min 1.338secs set by the Peugeot EX1 earlier in the year.

TMG says it will begin commercial sales of its electric powertrain technology in 2012.

TMG’s two-seater electric car achieved a speed of 260km/hr

Still with EVs, and news of a lecture that is to be held in Birmingham on 30th August exploring the issues that need to be met concerning wider electric vehicle adoption and plugging a perceived energy gap.

The lecture, organised by the IET, is part of the 14th European Conference on Power Electronics and Applications.

The talk, part of a series of lectures entitled ‘Electric Vehicles – the journey from power station to wheel’, will also cover the need for significant investment to meet the gap between needs and capability.

In publicity material, Dr. Tony Whitehead, director of policy at the IET, said, ‘Government and industry are driving adoption of low carbon transportation, which is a huge step in the right direction, however, discussions on the electric power generation capability are vital if the UK is to meet the new environmentally friendly behaviours that are being encouraged.’

Sheffield Hallam University is this week offering a glimpse at the future of robotics.

According to the event’s blurb, the Towards Automatic Robotics Systems (TAROS) conference will point to a future where automated devices can help in a variety of domestic and professional scenarios.

Jointly organised by Sheffield Hallam University and Sheffield University, it will take place between Wednesday, August 31 and Friday, September 2, at Sheffield Hallam’s Furnival Building.

This year’s TAROS conference will see experts discuss how the 21st century will see sweeping social and economic changes due to the advance of robotic technologies such as animal-like robots, self-driving cars, assistive robots for children and adults with special needs and robots for farms.

A robotic exhibition takes place in the Furnival Gallery on Thursday 1 September from 3.30pm to 5.30pm to be followed by a public lecture.

The exhibition will feature robotics from industry and from University laboratories including Shrewbot, which can seek out and identify objects using its artificial whiskers using a new technology that was developed jointly by the Active Touch Laboratory at the University of Sheffield at Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

Finally, HM Chief Inspector of Nuclear Installations Mike Weightman is expected this week to publish his final report this month into the implications for the UK nuclear industry of the 11 March earthquake and tsunami in Japan, which badly damaged the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power station.

Energy and Climate Change Sec Chris Huhne asked Weightman on 12 March to report on the issue and an interim report was released in May, which outlined 26 recommendations to improve safety in the UK nuclear industry.