At last week's Vienna Motor Symposium, FEV was on hand showing off its LiiOn-drive Fiat 500 for ride and drives. We first saw this range extended electric vehicle last year at the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit.
What sets this particular RE-EV apart, is the range extender itself. Instead of a piston engine, FEV opted for a Wankel rotary. Wankels are not known for being particularly fuel efficient (actually quite the contrary) but they are very power dense. Wankels, by their nature, are also very smooth running with virtually no vibration. This makes them well suited to a range-extending application since the noise difference between electric drive and charge-sustaining modes would be greatly reduced. For an application like this, a Wankel could be optimized to maximize efficiency at specific engine speeds that would be used to drive the generator.
In this test car, the lithium battery provides 50 miles of electric range and the 3.2 gallon gas tank provides another 190 miles of driving. Those that sampled the car were apparently impressed with what they experienced. FEV provides powertrain engineering consulting services, so this car is purely a concept at this point. No manufacturer has come forward with plans to build such a powertrain.
FEV LiiOn Vehicle With Wankel Range Extender Makes Global Impression at the Vienna Motor Symposium
Aachen, 5 May, 2010 FEV Motorentechnik GmbH (FEV) announced today that its LiiON Drive with Wankel Range Extender Vehicle Ride & Drive was one of the most popular Ride & Drive events at this year's Vienna Motor Symposium, one of the world's most important Powertrain events. The Symposium took place on 29, 30 April, 2010, and was attended by leading Powertrain engineers from around the world.
The FEV vehicle was driven by many of the over one thousand delegates attending the symposium, providing a chance for delegates to test the vehicle under real driving conditions in the Vienna city centre. The two-day driving marathon was easily completed by participants due to the Wankel Ranger Extender, providing up to 190 miles of extended range. According to FEV, drivers commented favourably regarding the excellent NVH characteristics of the Wankel powertrain in particular, as well as the overall concept of the electric vehicle with its 4 seats and full-size trunk. The positive response to the FEV concept, which, was chosen for the first E-Car Tech Award in 2009, provides further validation among the international powertrain community of the vehicle's potential.
According to FEV, participants were most interested in the vehicle's range, clearly illustrating the unconscious fear that exists with consumers that the car will abruptly run out of power. Since the Range Extender allows a driving range that is virtually independent of the battery, those fears will be alleviated, leading to wider acceptance of electric mobility by the end customer.
FEV developed the Wankel Range Extender in cooperation with the Wankel engine production supplier AIXRO. The basic powertrain has been comprehensively revised for automotive use. Modern engine management with electronic throttle, inlet pipe injection and three-way catalyst ensure that the exhaust gas emission limits will be met. The heating and temperature preservation strategy of the catalyst has been specifically adapted.
While the vehicle is presented as a concept, the electric vehicle LiiON Drive with Wankel Range Extender is licensed for public road traffic. Urban use of the vehicle results in an almost emission-free operation with a range of 50 miles. Longer daily driving distances and the use of the Wankel Range Extender produce only 80 g/mile of CO2 emissions.
The partially encapsulated Wankel Range Extender was mounted in the position of the fuel tank, which had been reduced to a capacity of 12L. The engine, which is inertia force-free by design, together with careful tuning of the thermodynamics, yields an excellent, previously unparalleled NVH behavior. All test drivers acknowledged this feature specifically.
FEV Motorentechnik GmbH is an independent, globally acting engineering company with more than 1,800 employees and headquarters in Aachen, Germany. The company specialises in strictly confidential high tech developments in all areas of powertrain systems and vehicle technology.