Geneva Motor Show plays host to a knee-trembling debut

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Jason Ford

News editor

Wind turbines and renewable fuels are off the agenda this week as we look first to Switzerland and the 82nd Geneva Motor Show.

The burgeoning AFV market will be well represented, with the Green Pavilion playing host to ecological transportation, propulsion technologies and renewable fuel sources but first we look at a knee-trembling debut from Ferrari.

The company is set to debut the F12 Berlinetta, a car described by Maranello’s world-famous marque as the most powerful road car it has ever launched, with advanced vehicle architecture, aerodynamics, components and electronic controls.

A key aspect of the F12 Berlinetta is the aero bridge, a feature that Ferrari says uses the hood surface and a floating front fender to generate downforce. It does this by channelling air away from the upper part of the car to its flanks where it interacts with the wake from the wheel wells to decrease drag.

Further drag reductions have been achieved via the use of active brake cooling, which reportedly opens guide vanes to the brake cooling ducts only at high operating temperatures. Downforce is said to be increased by 76 per cent (123kg at 200km/h) and drag reduced, with a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.299. All this adds up to a top speed of more than 340km/h.

Another world debut comes from Toyota, which will reveal its FT-Bh concept, an ultra-lightweight, full-hybrid city car designed to achieve low emissions within an economically viable production framework.

Toyota says the team that produced FT-Bh purposely avoided expensive materials and complex manufacturing processes, working instead only with those that are already commonplace in the automotive industry.

Two electric vehicle debuts next from Nissan and its luxury car division, Infiniti.

The Nissan e-NV200 Concept is claimed to combine a driving range similar to the Nissan LEAF, with payload and cargo space similar to the current NV200. The production version would be targeted mainly at businesses, but also at private users and families.

Infiniti is set to unveil the Emerg-E, an electric drive advanced sports car with range extender. Details about the car’s specifications are in short supply but the car is set to be revealed to the press tomorrow at around 1115 (GMT). Those of you not in Geneva for the unveiling can watch it happen here.

Still with automotive concepts of sorts and news that GrabCAD, an online community of more than 100,000 mechanical engineers, has launched a design challenge tasking members to design a supercar body. 

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GrabCAD, working with 500 Group (an intellectual property company that engineers, patents and licenses new technologies) is offering designers the chance to design the body of a supercar currently undergoing testing in the UK and scheduled for a 2013 launch.

Developed under a General Motors’ special-projects supply agreement, the cars use all GM performance parts hardware and feature the GM V8 line of E-Rod LS3, LS7 and 638hp supercharged LS9 engines.

The competition begins on 1 March and will close on 26 March 2012. Click here for more information.

An event taking place this week hopes to stimulate young minds in such a way that they might one day end up being automotive designers themselves.

This year’s National Science and Engineering Week — which takes place from 9–18 March — has the theme of ‘Our World In Motion’, looking at the Earth, its inhabitants and societies, human bodies, fast machines, and tiny molecules.

Events are taking place nationwide and in South Yorkshire, Sheffield Hallam University’s Dr Karen Venron-Parry will talk about the chemical elements found in electronic devices and some of the sustainability issues that arise from our love of such devices.

Inventor Duncan Miller will demonstrate the practical science behind some of most important technology of the last 200 years, at Sheffield Hallam’s Peak Lecture Theatre.

Finally, tomorrow sees business leaders gather in London for the EEF National Manufacturing Conference.

The organisers say the event will explore global competitiveness and urge government to use its spring Budget to spur industrial-led growth. 

They add that manufacturers can direct their messages to chancellor George Osborne, who is guest speaker at the biennial EEF Manufacturers’ Dinner. Business secretary Vince Cable and Labour leader Ed Miliband are also confirmed as keynote conference speakers.