Where Are They Now? Part Two

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This blog has been following two intrepid groups exploring new geographical and technical terrain.  Both have been slowed by mechanical difficulties and sometime bureaucratic entanglements, but are making up for lost time. London’s Imperial College Racing Green Endurance (RGE) team is driving an electric supercar from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska to Ushuaia, the world’s most southernmost city.  Their trek down the Pan-American Highway is about 70-percent done and mobile again following their recent enforced layover in Quito, Ecuador.  They have been stopped 29 times by police in North, Central, and South America, with many stops more to satisfy the curiosity of the local gendarmes than to enforce repentance of  negligence toward the traffic code.  Their Thunder Sky batteries and EVO motors have been …

Two Great (Mostly) Gasless Road Trips

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A group of Italian engineers is embarking on a 13,000 kilometer (8,000 mile) road trip from Italy to Shanghai, China, retracing Marco Polo’s route.  The vehicles are central to this adventure, though – two pairs of bright orange Piaggio Porter vans, (mostly) driverless and running on stored electricity and sunlight.  With sensors and cameras nestled under their solar panel roof racks and control by a Vislab system, the two pairs of vehicles will be as autonomous as possible, even though a human will be in the driver’s seat to take over in an emergency and another technician will be on board to help with repairs.   Another pair of guide vehicles will lead the way for each pair of autonomous vehicles, and several other support …

Twice Around London – Without Recharging

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On May 27, Imperial College students driving their electric race car around the M25 orbital road that cirles London looked more like ninja thieves (because of headgear that protected them from early morning breezes) headed toward a convenience store than serious test drivers, but their mission was far more benign than their appearance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-MkZlb29ge8 Their mount, a white and green two-seater that looks more destined for LeMans fame than for ecological breakthroughs, was the RGE (Racing Green Endurance) based on a Radical Sportscars SR8 chassis. Its power comes from two Evo-Electric motors each with a motor controller, propelled by a Thunder Sky 56 kWh battery pack and monitored by a National Instruments CompactRio unit which combines management of the motor control …