electric drive motors

Washington, D.C., circa 1906. Senator George P. Wetmore, Rhode Island, with his wife in a Krieger electric landaulet.

Louis Antoine Krieger (1868-1951) started making electric horseless carriages in Paris in 1894. The Krieger electric landaulet had a drive motor in each front wheel with a second set of parallel windings (bifilar coil) for regenerative braking. Regenerative braking is used to recoup some of the energy lost during stopping. This energy is saved in a storage battery and used later to power the motor. Some vehicles driven by electric motors use the motor as a generator during braking and its output is supplied to an electrical load; the transfer of energy to the load provides the braking effect.

Volkswagen Bus to be revived as an electric vehicle - cancelled in 2013, the classic Volkswagen Camper may find a new lease on life as an eco-friendly EV. The iconic “hippie wagon” may soon see a very apropos resurrection from the dead. Speaking at the New York Auto Show, Volkswagen board member Dr Heinz-Jakob Neusser announced that the German auto company was working on a brand new camper concept - one that would run on batteries, rather than petrol, powering an electric motor driving the front wheels. Dr Neusser said that the new car would maintain 3 iconic design principles of the original Type 2 microbus, first introduced in Germany in 1950. “First the wide, solid, D-Pillar, second the boxy design of the center section; and, third, the front end must have a very short overhang.” In 2011, the company took a stab at an electric concept it called the Bulli, clearly inspired by the Type 2, but closer to a small van, with 4 hinged doors and 1 bench seat in the front and another in the rear that could be folded flat to make a sort of bed. The Camper, in comparison, contains a small mobile home with optional kitchen equipment and detachable canvas tents and awnings; seats that could be folded out into beds; a folding table, and a small refrigeration unit. Production on all VW Type 2 units, incl. the Camper, ceased in 2013. Production had been outsourced to Brazil after safety regulations introduced in the 70s in Germany meant that it could no longer be made there. In 2012, Brazil introduced legislation that went into effect on Jan 1, 2014, dictating that all cars made in the country must have ABS and airbags on both driver and passenger sides. VW decided that, rather than make a completely new vehicle, it was more cost effective to simply say goodbye to the Type 2 after 63 years of production. However, Dr Neusser now said that if the cost of production on the new electric Camper was feasible, the car could make it to market. The VW team continues to work on the concept.


First Look: The Mercedes-Benz Concept EQA 

The Concept EQA is Mercedes-Benz’s first all-electric EQ concept vehicle in the compact segment.

Innovative light technology: When it comes to the lights, Mercedes-Benz has opted for laser fibers. The spiral-shaped light signet underlines the electric concept, its design evoking the copper windings of an electric motor and the animation visualizing electrical impulses.

Powerful electric drive: Two electric motors, with a system output that can be increased to over 200 kW thanks to scalable battery components, and permanent all-wheel drive deliver impressive dynamic performance. The two drive programs offer a choice of individual drive characteristics.

Real-world range: In combination with the intelligent Mercedes-Benz operating strategy, the Concept EQA achieves a range of around 400 kilometers, depending on the battery capacity installed.

Convenient charging: The Concept EQA can be charged via induction or wallbox and is also ready for rapid charging. The vision for using public charging stations is “seamless charging”: this Mercedes me-based service makes it easy for the customer to charge and pay at different charging stations.

Electric aesthetic: The Concept EQA is another example of the logical evolution of the Sensual Purity design idiom: sharp edges and lines have been significantly reduced. The black panel at the front acts as a virtual radiator grille whose look changes according to the drive program.


     X-4 Bantam 46-676 was viewed by some as the black sheep of the X Plane family because she was so small and flew relatively slowly. The first of two X-4 aircraft, she was built to explore the transonic speed regime, as were many research aircraft of the day. However, this was different; she lacked a horizontal stabilizer. Engineers thought that removing the conventional horizontal surface from the tail might solve the problem of shock stall and drastically reduce parasite drag. They were wrong. Northrop did (accidentally) discover some important aeronautic properties during later X-4 flight test. To control pitch, elevons on the wings replaced the missing elevators, which would conventionally be housed on the (missing) horizontal stabilizer. These elevons could split upward and downward into speedbrakes/flaps. This design was trusted to Northrop because of their work on a series of tailless flying wing aircraft including the YB-49.

     Some folks saw a black sheep, but when Northrop Test Pilot Charles Tucker first laid eyes on the aircraft while it was being built, he thought it was beautiful. This initial impression would be spoiled as he watched engineers build flaws into the aircraft. To control the elevons, the X-4 contained the same hydraulic actuator system used in the enormous YB-49 bomber. The system was not optimized for a small research aircraft and caused huge amounts of stick friction which made fine control of the aircraft completely impossible. These fine stick movements would be essential on the first flight, because Northrop engineers unknowingly misplaced the center of gravity (CG) of the aircraft; they forgot to account for the weight of fuel and crew. This flaw created an enormous longitudinal instability which would cause the aircraft to pitch wildly. Of course, this was all unknown to Charles Tucker, who was slated to conduct the first flight. He was preoccupied by another engineering problem that cropped up during taxi tests. Northrop used an electric motor to drive the rudder, which responded far too slowly for decent yaw control at low speed. Tucker was forced to use the differential wheel brakes to keep the aircraft running in a straight line on the ground. If he tried to use this crippled rudder to steer the aircraft, he would end up in a slow oscillation back and forth, swerving as the control surface tried to keep up with his corrective inputs.

     The day finally came for Tucker to fly this mess; December 15, 1948. Tucker began rolling across Rogers Dry Lake at Muroc Air Force Base (now Edwards). He pulled back on the stick to lift off and the aircraft pitched up wildly, shooting up high into the air. To avoid a stall, Tucker pitched back down, but the aircraft entered a steep dive, screaming toward the ground. He recovered from the dive, only to find himself climbing again. The X-4 was extremely sensitive in pitch, which is characteristic of any aircraft with an incorrect CG. The problem was compounded by Tucker’s inability to apply fine control to the aircraft due to the extremely heavy stick friction. Tucker considered ejecting, but he was miraculously able to null this oscillation. Tucker used both hands on the stick, jamming his knees against his hands to keep the aircraft stable. Any slight movement would send the aircraft into another oscillation.

     Luckily, two elements came together to save this flight. First, Tucker was an experienced test pilot who kept his cool in the face of danger. Nobody would have criticized Tucker for bailing out of a completely unstable aircraft. Second, the test was operating over Rogers Dry Lake, which is a natural aerodrome, a safe surface for landing stretching across the ground in all directions. Tucker turned around (which took 30 minutes of intensive concentration to refrain from over-controlling this unstable bird), heading back toward Rogers Dry Lake. He reluctantly pulled one hand away from the stick to gradually reduce the throttle. The power was reduced bit by bit until the X-4 settled on the lakebed, safely back on the ground. Tucker informed the engineers that they had some work to do (this is a very diplomatic way of saying that he reamed them a new one).

     Changes were made to the aircraft including the addition of lead weights in the nose to correct the CG. The elevon control cable tension was reduced to lighten stick friction and the rudder’s electric motor was replaced with a conventional cable control system. These corrections fixed the instability, but problems cropped up in the engine and fuel system in later missions. Because of these collective issues, X-4 46-676 was permanently grounded after making only ten flights. She was used for spare parts when the second X-4 began to operate. After the program was over, she was put on display at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Because this aircraft was so small and light, students would commonly move the aircraft at night, leaving it in different areas on campus as a joke. She was stored outside for decades and the weather took its toll. In August 2012, the aircraft was restored with a fresh coat of paint. Our X-4 was transported to the Air Force Flight Test Museum on Edwards Air Force Base in California, where she stands with more dignity now, never again be tormented by engineers, maintenance problems, weather or students.


Nissan Introduces the IDS Concept

Today at the Tokyo Motor Show 2015, Nissan Motor Co. unveiled a concept vehicle that embodies Nissan’s vision of the future of autonomous driving and zero emission EVs: the Nissan IDS Concept.

Presenting at the show, Nissan president and CEO Carlos Ghosn said: “Nissan’s forthcoming technologies will revolutionise the relationship between car and driver, and future mobility.”

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This train is a great representation of the high technology that Zootopia society had achieved.

Look at the train and the rails:

  • No “3rd rail” (the power rail)
  • No overhead/catenary power lines
  • And when the train wooshes by the camera (twice in the movie) you can hear the wind noise but no Diesel (or any combustion engine) roar

Now let’s analyze the train’s performance:

  • Judy arrived at her apartment at 2:16pm (alarm clock time).
  • Assuming a 30m walk from Grand Central Station, her train arrived at 1:46.
  • Looking at the shadows of the Bunnyburrow town sign and the shadows of people in Zootopia City, she left Bunnyburrow at around 10:14. (The shadows are the same length)
  • A total train trip time of about 3.5 hours
  • Bunnyburrow – Zootopia City are 212 miles apart
  • So the train must maintain an average speed of about 60mph (= 96km/h)
  • This does not include the necessary speed up when leaving Bunnyburrow, or the slow down as it negotiated the curves entering the city, and the final slow down entering the Grand Central.
  • So during peak speed, the train probably reached speeds as high as 120mph (=192 km/h)

Ladies and gentlemammals, that is a yiffing FAST train.

I don’t think batteries will cut it.

The train probably had its own internal Fusion Reactor whose electricity output directly drives the motors.


The adventures of Tiny!Max continue

I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but I’m having a blast.
(This is all based on @youkaiyume’s art of Furiosa with a very tiny Max, as prompted by @v8roadworrier. Part one of this bit of silliness can be found here. Also on AO3 now!)

Furiosa’s plan for the day had been to do some repairs on the trading rig, but there would almost certainly be War Boys there, and she didn’t particularly feel like trying to explain to more people than she had to why Max was suddenly barely taller than her hand, and figured he didn’t either. She also wasn’t going to make him hide in her belt pouch all day, so she decided to go for doing some weapons and ammunition inventory instead. That room was usually empty unless they were preparing for a battle, and Toast would probably appreciate the help.

She counted bullets, took stock, organized the supplies. Max sat quietly, watching her work. He wished he could do something himself. He didn’t like sitting around feeling useless. Furiosa seemed to pick up on this after a while (or maybe it was the quiet sigh he let slip). She grabbed a pistol, moved over to the workbench along the wall, and stripped it, laying the pieces out neatly. Next she set Max down, handed him the proper brushes and cleaning rod, and went back to what she was doing.

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