Archive for the ‘AUTOMOBILE’ category

Return of the Camaro Z/28

April 5, 2013
The Camaro Z/28 showing air intake

The Camaro Z/28 showing air intake

At this week’s New York Auto Show, Chevrolet rolled out its restyled 2014 Camaro line with the highlight being the return of the Camaro Z/28. The four-passenger, front-engine, rear-drive coupé is billed as the “most track-capable offering in Camaro’s history” and the ”most significant redesign since the introduction of the fifth-generation Camaro as a concept car in 2006.”An exercise in single-minded concentration on track performance through a new aerodynamics package and radical weight reduction, the Camaro Z/28 is the latest take on the classic racer that came out in 1967. The original was created for the Sports Car Club of America’s Trans-Am 2 class and was intended for road racing with a 302-cubic-inch V-8 and heavy-duty suspension, but lacked such amenities as an automatic transmission or air conditioning.The 2014 Camaro Z/28 isn’t intended for race competition. Instead, it’s more track minded. “We set out to make the fastest road-racing Camaro possible that was still street-legal,” said Al Oppenheiser, Camaro chief engineer. “While the Camaro ZL1 offers exceptional performance on the street, the drag strip, and the track, the Z/28 is entirely focused on the track performance. The Z/28 will be too track-focused for most drivers, but offers road-racers one of the most capable track cars ever offered from an automaker.”Part of Chevrolet’s plan to achieve this was a drastic program of weight reduction with the Camaro Z/28 tipping the scales 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than the ZL1. “We looked at every subsystem for opportunities to save weight,” said Oppenheiser. “Our goal was to get rid of everything that didn’t make the car faster, and keep only what was required by law. For example, we wanted to eliminate the audio system completely, but we had to keep a single speaker for the seat-belt chime to meet safety requirements.”

The Camaro Z/28 has a thinner rear window to save weight

Legal requirements are also the reason why the Z/28 comes with a tire-inflator kit in Rhode Island and New Hampshire, but not in other states where the law does not require it. Other weight-saving measures include removing carpeting from the boot and interior sound dampening insulation, replacement of the LN4 battery with the lighter LN3, and the rear window thickness was reduced from the standard 3.5 mm to 3.2 mm.

The Camaro Z/28's interior

“The team was so fanatical about saving weight, we even stripped the unused wiring out of the harness when we eliminated the fog lights, speakers, and air conditioning,” said Oppenheiser. “Every ounce saved contributed to making this the most track-capable Camaro we have ever built, and a worthy successor to the Z/28 name.”

Close up of the Z/28's front

With a wheelbase of 112.3 inches (2,852 mm), the Camaro Z/28 tries hard to echo the lines of the 1967 original and it does have a solid American muscle car feel to it, though with a lot of aerodynamic design thrown in for downforce and stability at track speeds. This is reflected in front with its disproportionately wide opening and the bonnet vent for cooling and aerodynamic lift reduction. Chevrolet kept the profile lines simple without being boxy, though the attempt to emulate the 1967 rear boot lid does come off as jarringly flat. Underneath, there’s a large splitter on the underbody panel and an aggressive rear spoiler helps with downforce generation.

the Z/28's 'Octane' interior

With all the weight reduction business, the interior of the Camaro Z/28 is a bit spartan with its “Octane” matte-metallic finish, but Chevrolet tries to balance this by fitting it with the ZL1 flat-bottomed steering wheel, and standard Recaro seats with microfiber suede inserts, which have only manual adjustments as another weight-saving measure. The rear seats are even more severe with nine pounds (four kilograms) shaved off by taking out the seat-back pass through and replacing the rigid seat back with high-density foam and a steel-mesh seat bottom. Even air conditioning is an optional extra.

Made with a one- and two-sided galvanized steel unitized body frame, the chassis of the Camaro Z/28 is also optimized for track performance. “We used the very best components in the industry to deliver uncompromised performance, lap after lap,” said Mark Stielow, Camaro Z/28 engineering manager. “We made nearly 200 changes to improve the track performance, which cumulatively make the Z/28 capable of 1.05 g in cornering. For perspective, with all other things, equal increasing maximum grip from 1 to 1.05 g can cut up to four seconds per lap.”

Powering the Z/28 is a naturally aspirated LS7 seven-liter V-8 with a cast aluminum block, overhead valves and sequential fuel injection punching an estimated 500 hp (373 kW) and 470 ft-lb (637 Nm) of torque. It was co-developed with Corvette Racing and boasts titanium intake valves and connecting rods, sodium-filled exhaust valves, forged-steel crankshaft and main bearing caps, a high-lift camshaft, hydroformed exhaust headers, a 10.5-quart, dry-sump oiling system with integral liquid-to-liquid cooling, and a racing-style, cold-air induction system and large K&N air filter for maximum air flow. There’s also a muffler bypass for increased torque and engine noise during acceleration.

“The LS7 is ideal for road racing because it delivers amazing performance in a compact, lightweight package,” said Jordan Lee, Small Block chief engineer and program manager. “The broad torque curve and high redline of the LS7 mean fewer shifts are required for each lap, while the lightweight design improves the front-to-rear weight balance for better handling.”

There aren’t any details on performance yet, but Chevrolet said that the Z/28 is three seconds faster per lap than the Camaro ZL1.

Trimming weight means that the Camaro Z/28 is only available with a Tremec TR6060 six-speed manual gearbox with close-ratio gearing and 3.91:1 final drive ratio. The rear-wheel drive features limited-slip differential with a helical gear set instead of traditional clutch packs. A second liquid-to-liquid system reduces differential temperatures by up to 100° F (37.7° C). According to Chevrolet, this allows for more applied power and faster cornering by adjusting the torque bias to maximize available traction and providing drivers with adjustable throttle and brake intervention.

Weight saving was a major factor in the Camaro Z/28's design

Chevrolet says that the Camaro Z/28 is one of the first production cars with spool-valve dampers that offer four-way adjustment tuning for bump and rebound settings for high-speed and low-speed wheel motions and enabling increased damper stiffness. Front and rear suspension includes a double-ball-joint, multi-link strut, direct-acting stabilizer bar, progressive-rate coil springs, and inverted monotube shock absorber. In addition, the StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard.

Air conditioning on the Z/28 is optional

Weight reduction also extends to the Camaro Z/28’s 19-inch wheels with Pirelli PZero Trofeo R tires, which replace the 20-inch versions of the Camaro SS and ZL1, saving another 42 pounds (19 kg) while lowering the center of gravity for better handling. Brakes are Brembo Carbon Ceramic Matrix front and rear discs with six-piston fixed front and four-piston rear calipers capable of 1.5 g deceleration and providing a 28 pound (12.5 kg) weight saving over comparable steel brakes..

The Z/28 is a purpose-built track car

The 2014 Camaro Z/28 goes on the market later this year and will appear in track events in the United States in the spring of 2014. Pricing details are yet to be announced.

The Camaro Z/28's rear profile

The video below shows the unveiling of the 2014 Camaro line.


Source: Chevrolet

Human Powered Bar on Wheels

February 8, 2013

City Cycle is a unique party bus that allows 14 people to drink beer while they pedal and power the vehicle.Inspired by similar inventions like the pedal pub and beer bike, this pedal powered bar features adjustable chairs, six loud speakers, LED lighting, and plenty of room for a forward seated designated driver.

Human Powered Bus

City Cycle

Pedal Powered Bus

Bar on Wheels



New kit converts earthmovers to full remote control

February 2, 2013

New kit converts earthmovers to full remote control

July 7, 2006 If you’re a remote control enthusiast seeking the ultimate toy, the birthday present wish list will become frightfully expensive by the end of this paragraph. Defence technology specialist QinetiQ has launched a range of Applique Robotic Kits (ARKs) that convert the current in-service military JCB 4CXM or Caterpillar CAT320B families of vehicles into fully integrated remote controlled units for use by the military in hazardous environments. Operators can be up to a kilometre away and don’t even need to directly see the vehicle they are operating, but still have full control of it. By simply flicking a switch, existing vehicles can change between full remote or manual mode, immediately reducing potential dangers to the operators but still enabling it to be fully used for the tasks for which it was designed.

“Plant operators and drivers have often been placed in real danger when working in hazardous environments – for the first time they have a viable alternative,” explained Fiona Lewinton, MD of QinetiQ’s Land Division. “Activities involving military operations, nuclear waste or chemical management, contaminated other hazardous land clearance or activities on unstable land place significant safety risks and safety management issues on operators and companies. QinetiQ’s Appliqué Robotic Kit, once fully integrated on a vehicle, now means that they can fully operate the vehicle at a safe distance.”

New kit converts earthmovers to full remote control

The ARK system is easily transferred between vehicles or simply removed after use, returning the vehicle to its non modified state. Each kit comprises a Portable Command Console (PCC), Vehicle Mounted Control Modules (VCMs) and a host feedback interface and electro-hydraulic system for each specific vehicle. The electro-hydraulic modules are vehicle specific, with all the other components being generic.

Based on QinetiQ’s historical development work for the MOD on vehicles such as the JCB 170, the ARK system provides a robust and reliable solution that meets UK safety critical hardware standards including Safety Integrity Level 2 (SIL2). The remote control capabilities are managed via a COFDM radio solution that provides high quality video and data feedback at relatively low power consumption.

The Portable Command Console (PCC) controls everything from vehicle windscreen wipers to the brakes and bucket but does not impede the driver when the vehicle is operated in manual mode. The PCC operates continuously via an external 24v power supply or for 1.5 hours using batteries. A 128 bit encryption dongle key coupled with a remote e-stop button on the console ensures maximum security and safety to the remote operator.

A 15-inch sunlight readable LCD screen presents a crystal clear display and 20 buttons surround the screen, providing access to the easy to use menu system and its various features. Sensors and auxiliary tools and cameras can also be fitted to provide additional information – dependent on the operational scenario. Selectable camera views, vital vehicle information and vehicle position are all displayed on the console to provide the operator with all the information to run the plant equipment with confidence.

New kit converts earthmovers to full remote control

The vehicle control unit acts as the main router of the system on the vehicle and receives feedback from the vehicle hydraulic module, the vehicle electrical module and the camera modules. The vehicle electrical module links to the host vehicle and provides and receives signals for the host vehicle such as the vehicle engine speed and operator warnings. The vehicle hydraulic module provides the control link to the host vehicle hydraulic system.

In addition to the core ARK systems, QinetiQ is also offering potential customers a range of options that include a kit and sensor fitment service, full in life support and training, a range of add-ons like infra-red and pan-n-tilt camera units plus a spooler/fibre cable unit. A bespoke kit design service for other vehicles is also available.

KTM’s 1290 Superduke R prototype – the best power-to-weight ratio ever?

November 18, 2012


1290 Super Duke R prototype

1290 Super Duke R prototype

The most exciting exhibit at either Intermot or EICMA was the first showing of the KTM 1290 Superduke R prototype – a super-lightweight, trellis-framed naked bike powered by a 1290cc version of the proven RC8R V-twin, complete with drive-by-wire, lots of (disengageable) electronic rider assistance, lashings of carbon fiber, new prototype WP suspension at both ends and the promise of a production version within 12 months.The excitement is based not so much on what is known about the new prototype, but what the bike is based on. The RC8 R engine upon which the bike is developed, produces 129 kW (173 hp) of power and torque of 120 Nm (88.5 lb.ft) in its 1190cc form, with rumors suggesting the new bike will have somewhere between 180 and 200 horsepower by the time it hits showrooms.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

Whatsmore, thanks to the removal of everything that’s not entirely necessary, the chrome molybdenum trellis frame and the carbon fiber everything else, this bike can be expected to be much lighter than the RC8 R which already tips the scales at 200 kg with a full tank and all lubricants.Hence the new 1290 Superduke R built with “ready to race” KTM ethos is undoubtedly going to be in the same category of power and weight as the best-of-breed Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, BMW S1000RR and Ducati Panigale 1199.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

Indeed, it just might be lighter than the Panigale with a better power to weight ratio than anything else, and it will come complete WITHOUT a praying-mantis-doing-yoga riding position.

1290 Super Duke R prototype

The last few weeks have seen a number of teaser images emanate from KTM, with even a recording of the bike’s snarling engine having been released before we saw it in the flesh.

KTM must feel that it is on a roll at present, having just won the inaugural Moto3 title and with its smaller sporty Duke’s gaining traction around the developing world thanks to the relationship with India’s Bajaj Auto, the third largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world.