The Tomberlin Group and Fallbrook Technologies along with TEAM Industries have announced that they will be expanding their product development efforts to include additional Tomberlin product lines. Originally focused on the Anvil, Fallbrook’s NuVinci transmission technology will now be put into other vehicles. They will also be accelerating the integration of the technology into the Anvil.
Unlike conventional gear and clutch transmissions, the NuVinci CVP uses a set of rotating and tilting balls positioned between the input and output components of the transmission that adjust to vary the speed of the transmission. Tilting the balls changes their contact diameters and varies the speed ratio. As a result, the NuVinci CVP offers a seamless and continuous transition to any ratio within its range in a compact, easy to manufacture and cost effective package that improves system performance.
Milford, Detroit Test GGT Electric LSVs – Milford, Detroit city officials have started a trial run to evaluate the use of LSVs as a replacement for some of their existing fleet. The town’s ordinance officers will use GGT Electric’s commercial truck model for several weeks to test their viability. Officials estimate that fuel costs would be $200 per year for the electric vehicle compared to $1,500 for the gas vehicle that otherwise would be used. Learn more: Hometownlife.com
Electric Car Sharing In San Diego – Car2go, a subsidiary of Daimler, is launching an electric fleet for their car sharing program in San Diego. The fleet will consist of 300 of Daimler’s Smart ForTwo Electric Drive vehicles by the end of the year. The Car2go sharing model is designed to meet the needs of urban drivers who want to make spontaneous short one-way trips. In other cities their vehicles are typically used for trips of 6 miles or less. The vehicles will be located at various designated spots around the city. Learn more: Wired.com
Last month the South Bay Cities Council of Governments released a preliminary report about their NEV demonstration project. The report was published after only 12 months of data because of “extraordinary positive results.”
The demonstration project focused on assessing the viability of NEVs on typical suburban streets in today’s development pattern. A total of 15 households were involved and 7 vehicles including a Vantage Crewcab, a Columbia Summit, two Wheego Whips, a GEM e4, a GEM e2 and a Miles sedan. The project addressed three questions:
1. Will residents regularly drive NEV/LUVs on typical suburban streets without special lanes or signage?
2. Will NEV/LUV usage produce significant environmental and economic benefits?
3. Is large-scale deployment of NEV/LUVs feasible?
The answers to the first two were a resounding ‘Yes’ and a conditional ‘Yes’ for the deployment question. Data from the project showed that “…the average percentage of all household travel (VMT) taken in an NEV/LUV was consistently 22% across all groups. In terms of vehicle trips, the NEV/LUVs mode share averaged 26% of the round trips.”
In terms of environmental impacts “…Average participating households criteria air pollutants were reduced by 26% – 33% depending on the specific pollutant being measured.”
To facilitate deployment a number of barriers need to be lessened including vehicle price, vehicle quality, consumer education and local government incentives. The authors also suggested a medium speed vehicle class would help the transition away from gas autos. The project will run a total of 18 months until October 31, 2011. Learn more: Southbaycities.org
I came across a couple of stories about the use of small, task-oriented vehicles on farms/ranches. One considered the virtues of UTVs over ATVs while the other discussed the advantages of mini-trucks over UTVs. In the former, the rancher fashioned his own fencing attachment for his UTV that would allow him to carry all the necessary tools and material for fixing fences. The story also noted that UTVs were safer and lasted longer than ATVs.
In the other story, the enclosed cab of the mini-truck in inclement weather was a big plus compared to UTVs. Also noted was the cheaper cost and higher speed for traveling long distances between fields.
While there are often concerns raised about golf car and LSV safety on public roads, there has been little hard data in the form of traffic statistics to suggest they are unsafe. There are occasionally anecdotal stories about the issue and a recent one from the Myrtle Beach area suggested that safety of the vehicles is not an issue. In Myrtle Beach and some surrounding towns golf cars are allowed on certain public roads but seat belts aren’t a requirement. Nevertheless, an increasing number of golf car owners are getting them installed. In nearby Surfside the police chief reports that only one accident in the last three years required EMS. He attributes most of the accidents to people driving while under the influence of alcohol which, of course, is not related to the type of vehicle but to the drivers themselves. Learn more: Thesunnews.com
Last week more information came out about Artic Cat’s Wildcat, an “ultra-performance” side-by-side, which is targeting the same market as the Polaris RZR XP 900. According to Arctic Cat management the vehicle is designed to exceed the performance of the Polaris offering. Some of the key features and capabilities include: