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Thursday, 2 October 2008

Venturi Volage presents how future vehicles will be

You must have read dozens of times about electric cars, but most of you must conceive them as almost regular vehicles, with an engine under the hood, wheels that turn and suspension arms. What if this all is about to change? You may doubt it, but Venturi and Michelin have joined forces to present what automobiles must look like in the future. Not only in appearance, an item in which Venturi Volage has nothing to worry about, but mainly in conception.

Just to get started, Volage does not have an electric engine, but eight, two in each of its wheels. Of these two engines per wheel, one takes care of traction and the other one controls the suspension system, which is also housed inside the wheel! This system, called Active Wheel, has been created by Michelin.

In the image above, used only to illustrate the system, it is possible to see each one of the pieces that compose the Active Wheel. Anyway, Volage uses stronger engines, each of them able to produce 55 kW, or else, multiply that by 4 and you will have 220 kW. This power is equivalent to 75 bhp and 300 bhp, respectively. Considering the car weighs only 1,075 kg, Volage has enough power to sprint from 0 to 100 km/h in less than 5 s and to reach a limited top speed of 150 km/h with its lithium polymer batteries. At a constant speed of 90 km/h, Volage has a 320 km range.

Let's get back to Active Wheel. It incorporates traction, braking and suspension. With all this so concentrated, there is no room (or need) of mechanical links to these systems. In other words, there are no brake lines, no gas pedal cable or a steering box. Everything is "by wire", electronically controlled. Airplanes are like this for a long time and they are the safest means of transportation in the world. The wheels of the car do not turn. They are fixed to the carbon fibre monocoque, which holds inside the car's batteries.

Volage is 3.97 m long, 1.95 m wide, 1.24 m tall and a wheelbase similar to the ones in bigger cars (2.70 m), although there is room for only two people. As it is becoming increasingly common with concept cars, this one will soon reach production lines by 2012. Each one of its units will be made by hand. Considering the technology applied to it, and the craftsmanship involved, expect prices to be reasonably high. But how much is too much when it relates to driving the future? Maybe well beyond what we imagine.

Source: Venturi

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