July 28, 2008 03:20 PM PDT
An interview with George Parker of Fuel Vapor Technology, conducted on March 22nd, 2008 at the New York Auto Show. Notes:
- team of half a dozen people
- thought AXP was a great match with their existing efforts
- tandem seat discussion
- 3-wheel discussion
- wants to be in the same class as "any car"
- idea for this car has been a long, rough road - since he was 17!
- he worked in the aircraft industry, knows aerodynamics
- market niche = high efficiency, fun commuter car
- being part of the Automotive X Prize has given them a lot of exposure
- friends and family provided initial investment
- they have 3 cars, shop, equipment, rent covered, all by a small group of investors
- looking for investor with deeper pockets, integrity, passion (they are picky)
- thousands of inquiries to buy their car
- plan to sell when they achieve 100 MPG
- working on a series hybrid version, as well as the fuel vapor technology
- praises organizers of the AXP for how well it's going
For more information, please visit X Prize Cars
May 06, 2008 03:09 PM PDT
An interview with Terence Davidovits of Cornell AXP, conducted on March 21st 2008 at the New York Auto Show.
Cornell AXP is the student team from Cornell University. Notes:
- 70 students on the team, ~half are getting class credit!
- 2 faculty advisers manage the "lab class"
- mostly mechanical engineering and electrical engineering student, some architects, design students, business students, economics majors
- team was started by a student
- targeting a mainstream PHEV
- mule car is a 1991 Geo Metro
- media sponsor is Popular Mechanics
- they have financial/equipment sponsors already, including GE, Tektronic, Toyota, NI
- plan to make public the design of the car, although honestly it doesn't look like they have given the end state much thought yet
Please visit Automotive X Prize Cars for more information.
May 02, 2008 03:05 PM PDT
Interview with Ingo Valentin of Valentin Technologies, conducted on March 21st 2008 at the New York Auto Show. Notes:
- he is the only member of the team so far
- has patents on hydraulic drive train
- has done detailed simulations and models to prove the efficiency of his concept
- efficiency comes from: i) small, constant speed/power ICE, ii) very efficient hydrostatic drive train with 100% regenerative braking, iii) low weight, iv) improved aerodynamics due to less need for cooling
- mainstream class, 4 wheels 5 seats, totally new car (not retrofit), but he plans to outsource the coach part
- found some funding from Switzerland for simulation, but needs $5-6M more for the whole project. Want to find five $1M angel investors.
Please visit Automotive X Prize Cars for more information.
April 24, 2008 10:58 AM PDT
Interview with Jim Stansbury of Physics Lab of Lake Havatsu (AXP blurb), conducted on March 21st, 2008 at the New York Auto Show.
- he is an anesthesiologist from Arizona, with a life long interest in automotive technlogies
- many affiliated people/teams from around town
- batteries will go under the vehicle, which is lifted so there is room
- dune buggy suspension team which hopes to scavenge energy
- carbon fiber wing on the roof - look like a roof rack, but houses solar PV system and provides lift to the vehicle
- he read about the Automotive X Prize in a magazine, compares it to an Olympics for creative engineers and scientists
- thinking about a solar thermal / steam system, but steam turbine is very very heavy
- also a small internal combustion engine
- thinks that interest in funding and help for the team will pick up now that the prize is real - a legitimate contest
- call for sponsors, with a shout out to some favorite rockstars
See also a -prize-contender-will-add-solar-thermal-collector/">good interview by Autoblog Green, which was conducted at the Detroit Auto Show in January. (19 minutes; download MP3)
For more information, please visit Automotive X Prize Cars
April 17, 2008 02:57 PM PDT
I conducted this interview with Wolf Herf, of Herf Duo, on March 21st, 2008 at the New York Auto Show. We spoke of a wide variety of things, including:
- his team, his background
- his car has an electric drive train, with a highly efficient ICE (>50%, but he doesn't say how)
- energy storage is not batteries - they are easy, but pricey and heavy
- he has a better solution, but again won't say what it is, although it does use capacitors for rapid power release (e.g. acceleration). It's not hydraulics, compressed air, flywheels, or even spring energy, but he claims it's so "obvious" we will all groan when we learn what it is.
- "key is cooling of engine" - if we can reduce the need for that, efficiency will automatically improve
- Amory Lovins concept is weight reduction
- Herf's idea is a "different issue": energy management.
- He's been working on this idea for 20 years, and even shut it down last February, only to restart it when he heard of the AXP.
- Plans both a mainstream and an alternative class entry
- Mainstream: normal vehicle, probably an SUV retrofit, to prove that it doesn't have to be a special vehicle. Maybe Audi A4, or perhaps BMW Highland. They are building prototypes of the engine and energy storage devices.
- Alternative: Designs are finished. Body construction underway, but he's not tipping his hand.
- fuel vapor and water cooling / steam cycle discussion: but how do you put all that into one device. Also, burning natural gas, hydrogen in the same engine.
- plans to use active suspension to maintain comfort and handling
- the AXP has allowed him to get investors interested again, and even to access the marketing budgets of sponsors for technology investments
- wants $20/gallon gas in the US, to match the $3/litre in Europe
- steel stamping discussion (why do we build cars of solid materials?)
- regulation - still make fly/drive by wire illegal, require glass in rear view mirrors, etc.
For more information, please visit X Prize Cars.
April 14, 2008 02:39 PM PDT
An interview with Neal Anderson, Senior Director of the Automotive X Prize, conducted at the New York Auto Show, March 21st, 2008. We spoke of many things, including:
- who they talked to to educate themselves and develop the rules
- why is the auto industry "stuck"
- Partnership for Next Generation Vehicle (PNGV) - what did you learn from that?
- Alternative Class - why is it necessary?
- Project Better Place - AXP relationship with them?
- Roane Tri-track question - "existing infrastructure" question
- Progressive Insurance
- his personal involvement with this project has been a dream come true
Please visit X Prize Cars.
April 11, 2008 03:09 PM PDT
Interview with Greg Belloso, of Belloso Motor Company, at the New York Auto Show on March 21st, 2008. We talked about his technology, his team, and how he discovered the Automotive X Prize. For more information, please visit X Prize Cars
April 07, 2008 02:01 PM PDT
I interviewed John Robitaille of Psycho-Active, an Automotive X Prize "letter of intent" team. We talked about his team, technology, business plan, and the Automotive X Prize.
April 03, 2008 01:25 PM PDT
I interviewed John Shore, senior director of the Automotive X Prize. We had a rather long discussion in multiple parts, which I have edited together here for your listening pleasure. Briefly, here are the things we discussed:
- what he does for the team
- alternate rules they considered
- sales race
- "cradle to cradle" contest
- major automakers joining the prize
- progressive and other potential sponsors
- they are seeking more money for the prize - where would they put it?
- production intent category to reward vehicles which will be produced
- alternative class and two wheel vehicles
- towable trailers / roof racks with generators
For more information, check out my website, X Prize Cars.
March 29, 2008 07:16 PM PDT
In this episode I interview Ulrik Poulsen and Sandu Pescaru of Alpha Core / Poulsen Hybrid. We talk about their technology for retrofitting vehicles with external electric motors and batteries in the trunk. They aim to retrofit a mainstream class vehicle and race it for the Automotive X Prize. For more information, check out X Prize Cars.