the beginning of the last decade we are assisting to a dramatic industrial
depression, a result of unfortunate consequences rather unpredictable.
It has a strong effected on industrial sectors like the automotive which
seems immerged in a very deep and upsetting status, in other words not
really willing of new changes.
In the next years we probably will assist to the extinction of many auto-maker brands; particularly here in Europe. Pieces of our history, that since the beginning from the invention of the first car issued so many beautiful masterpieces in terms of mechanic, design and style; probably replaced in the next future by new brands coming from the far China, India or from elsewhere.
In order to fight and be competitive to those who will make low cost cars, with a very arguable quality, probably the market will be immerged in a sort of standardization of style and technology, we should revisiting our tech policy with new perspectives rebuilting the concept of what a car should be in the future.
Auto-maker analysts left many questions still unanswered, especially those which seem to be really important. It seem a such ambiguous game, mostly addressed to a stupid surreal management, which frequently describe a paranoid scenario to justify they failure. This game it’s mostly imposed from the oil market rather than by the real needs in terms of technology; innovation; oil consumption, in other words nothing seems to stop jumping pistons up and down trapped inside an aluminum block, still burning hydrocarbons. There are new alternate ways to make our vehicles running in a convenient way, at least not only for the environment preservation but also for the world wide economy, since everything still moves mostly on wheels on this planet.
If you look at the architecture of your car today, it seem that almost nothing has basically changed; or if so, just few details emerged as new. Though electronics has a huge percentage in our car’s technology, on the other hand engines are indeed basically the same as they were more than one hundred years ago, with pistons and valves, oil, water and complex devices to keep it cooled from a large waste of energy still based on the combustion of fuel to get a very small percentage of useful energy.
Transmission as well all that mechanical complex stuff made of gears and levers, make cars still heavy and too complex; all that stuff hidden under the engine cowling doesn’t seem to be anymore a promise of modernity and freedom, and motors are ecological speaking unfriendly. Certainly if you look at the question through the lens of the “missed innovation” particularly in term of evolution of engines, it seems that only few important events happened within hundred years in the automotive environment like the large employment of electronics which increased only engine's performances and safety.
Today the news about all that seem to be represented by the hybrid technology, and even more car’s brands are adopting this formula as a new and impressive promise of our time. It seem however that hybrid typology - pretty much affordable today - isn’t that innovative as it seem in term of evolution, as well as a potential way to save fuel and then money for transportation purposes.
Hybrid technology today is mainly represented by a formula called parallel-hybrid, where a mechanic system made by a conventional endothermic motor and an electric one, both plugged to a common transmission are working either way to save fuel, or together to increase performance in acceleration.
Though this technology seems to be new, appearing innovative or even revolutionary, it seems that after all there is no such a big changing if you see at the energetic performance of a the endothermic engine still present in these systems, since most of energy in this type of motor is lost in warming and then dissipation, out from that precious fuel (energy). Combustion engines while working dissipate a lot of energy dispersed around, it need in-fact of a heavy and complex cooling system to keep the entire block within the safe range of temperature; avoiding any potential damage due to high temperatures generating while the combustion process occur.
The news about parallel-hybrid typology after all, is basically due to a system that switch off the endothermic engine at the traffic light, restarting it later after the car has been driven firstly by the electric motors for few hundred meters or seconds, all that to save only a few drops of gasoline at the traffic light: and then? that’s all?
Since 1996 I spend my time to design hybrid system, or full electric machines, mainly addressed to a new aircraft's generation known as CellCraft, but also pointing my attention to some on-road vehicles as well, in both cases adopting a serial-hybrid technology, like the Magneto in the pictures, described along this page.
Magneto first issue was introduces in the 2008 published on this web site for the first time, however the project of that car goes back at the end of nineties having along the following years a coupple of revies according with the technology progress. Anyhow, since then the car was re-designed in some vital component, as well rethough particularly about electronics with a new software concept, introducing even more functions than of the first version, all that in order to increase the total performances.
Endothermal engine architecture and performance
Maybe we might still wait some more time until we coul get a full electric car, capable to run for a long distance and be charged in short time or even seconds. However while waiting for that miraculous day we should develop a system that would be somewhere in the between: A car having a conventional new generation of endothermic engine, transmission less, provided only of a full electric traction, equipped with a high performance battery pack, but also charged through some more potential source of energy to keep batteries efficients and easy to charge like the induction charger I'm considering for this project, in other words using a wireless system to keep your car charged. But before talk about that, let’s take a close look to how a combustion engine works.
a car today is pretty much full filled of electronics components, this
seem to be apparently a quite big difference from the first vehicle
built more than hundreds years ago. Engine haven’t changed too
much since then. It’s a metal block with pistons, valves and spark
plugs, exactly as it was more thatn hundred years ago and it’s
still burning fuel to work. In other words the endothermic engine today
still in vogue isn’t too distant from the old vapor engine, which
also adopted a pistons and levers to move the vector.
The endothermic engine works also when isn’t supposed to do, at traffic light for example. All that energy is unfruitful lost with not return.
So the thermal energetic potential to move a piston up and down, with its complexity related to its own architecture is mostly lost in a very high percentage. An endothermic engine is after all something very close to a complex running-stove. In-fact it require an efficient cooling system to work, otherwise it would be rapidly damaged in the vital components because of very high temperatures that is developed along the combustion process.
that complexity, must power a heavy transmission system, that takes roughly
30 percent away from the total available energy already
produced by the engine to move the car along the way. This is the best
case of a TurboDiesel engine.
In other words, the more hot is the engines while producing energy, the less efficient it is. Endothermic motors are pretty much complex, they require a constant maintenance, furthermore they need fluids like water and oil, to both cooling down the entire system, as well greasy most of its components, protecting them from mechanical friction and erosion. All that stuff require pumps, belts, pipes and a lot of more component heavy and environmentally uncomfortable. So too many heavy and complex strange “objects” hidden under the engine cowling are moving by heating.
As already said, all that stuff takes a lot of energy away from that low percentage of energy got during the combustion process, therefore in few mathematic examples, for every 100 centiliters of fuel burned, what makes basically convenient to drive your car is just 30 centiliters of that total fuel percentage transformend in useable energy; the remaining 70 centiliters (in term of thermal energy) are basically lost in engine warming, and transmission absorbing. This is certainly a strange paradox because the reward is very low. In the Magneto system, the endothermic engine provide only for the production of electric energy to charge batteries as well power the four electric-in-wheel motors.
second half of the 90’s the automotive industry
issued a series of prototypes, followed a decade later by a massive
industrial production of a new type of car. The basic idea were to built
a vehicle that would run either through a conventional endothermic engine
or with an electric motor. In terms of fuel consumptions this type of
vehicle is with no doubt affordable and interesting, however cars like
these are still equipped with heavy transmission, complex gearboxes;
therefore the electric traction isn’t very performing at all.
Also a car like this is very heavy, even more than a conventional vehicle,
because of the on-board battery pack weight added to the conventional
mechanics component as the main transmission gearboxes and its miscellaneous.
The electric traction is limited to a bunch of minutes, from the start
to a certain running time or speed, like the Toyota Prius, then and
only after that point the system will re-start the endothermic engine
making the car basically working as a conventional vehicle.
Parallel Hybrid system
the moment there is no other way to get some other form of energy out
from the combustion process than mechanic.
full electric car seems to be far away from the common imaginary perspectives,
and that not only due to the limitation of battery’s endurances,
or by any other technologic development, but rather due to the economic
politics of the oil market today in 2008. The oil price
seems to increase day by day keeping the car industry in a sort of confined
limbo, impeding any further innovation to save fuel. Fortunately reducing
gas consumption is against their idea of market benefit, but contradictorily
insisting with combustion engines. All that have a big impact in our
ordinary life, since we all depend by transportation.
There is a new chance about hybrid technology.
Some auto makers like Volvo and recently Chevrolet
with a model called Volt, are already working from a long time to a
new way to conceive a brand new hybrid idea; I call this concept: serial
hybrid. Actually Chevrolet introduced on the international
market his model called Volt, a very new way to built cars, a new revolutionary
combination between endothermic engine and electric applications, they
call this formula Extended Electric Vehicle. Unfortunately
some “problems” caused unjustified criticism about this
car, probably because it is capable of a very good performances. This
car however is opening a new way to think about transportation, both
in term of technology innovation as well making a low fuel consumption
is based on a simple idea! The car is provided of four electric motors,
each one settled in each single wheel. The motors are a three
phase type brush-less, controlled via a digital
processor. The four wheels are all steering, even though there is a
noticeable difference in the angle of those in the front, from those
in the rear, which can turn within an angle not wider that 5 degrees
(Back) ; this adaptation increase maneuverability in both low speed
and at high speed.
There’s a further device as part of the project which give the name to the vehicle, this permanent charging source: The Magnetic motor!
In the front side of the vehicle there is a Pendelev generator, or magnetic engine. It’s a simple machine which is based on the pushing force of two magnetos which are oriented toward with the same polarity on each in front to the other, with a special angle, or through a special mechanism. It’s well known that a repulsive force make magnets having the same polarity be reciprocally repulsive from each other. The repulsive force if well controlled electronically and can provide a spinning of the rotor through the action of magnetic (repulsive) force.
Magnetic generator is made of two main components, a fixed cylinder called stator, which contain magnetos oriented with an angle of almost 30 degrees, with a variable angle according with the speed of the rotor. The mechanism keeps all the magnets in a constant conflict due to the magnetic repulsive force. One of the motor type I choose is made by two main cylinder, in this type all the magnets are pointing in to the cavity of the stator. The second component is the rotor which contains the same amount of magnetos also oriented against to magnets settled on the stator.
The pushing or repulsive force between the magnetos existing on both sides of the stators and the rotors, makes the rotors spinning. Since the main shaft is provided of a disk mass, a flywheel, it keep the rotor turning moving its magnetos facing with to the next on the repulsive one on the stator and so on, in an endless rotation keeping the rotor in a constant revolution and dynamic status. If the system is connected to a small generator, we may get a noticeable amount of energy that combined with the other sources can be directed straight to the batteries, keeping them permanently charged.
Magneto is mainly
made with recycled aluminum and light plastic. A steel frame sustain
the body; the battery pack; the generator on the rear and the Magnetic
motor in the front. The centre of gravity of the vehicle is very low,
like a sport car. The car is also provided of dynamic dumpers controlled
by an electronic stabilizer device, and they remind in some way those
employed on a formula one car.
The body’s shape remind a car of 50’s with a smooth and sexy shape, but at the same time having a contemporary shadow of style. I think as industrial designer that a good combination between classic and modernity in term of style, would be the right logical solution to design a funtional object; in this case a nice two seat sport car having a some intriguing vintage look. Recently many car’s brand are reconsider old model which literally wrote the history of classic car, re-styling some of their old model, expecially those from the 60's and 70's in with a new look that reming the original version of early decade, reminding the classic car of the past. MIni, and Fiat 500 are some example of that. I love the American design and some European car design of the past and I believe that many other concepts could be developed having as reference point the old and timeless car design of the past.
as well as all the other projects of mine is a sort of conceptual derivation
from most of my aeronautic projects, since I spent most of my time as
aircraft designer, developing new concept and ideas. Aerodynamic is
very important for me as well as any interesting technology available
in the next future intended to saving fuel as well increasing performance.
projects are pure creative exercises, however I do like to work on real
possibilities; I prefer to think to what it can really be built or made,
rather than follow strange concepts or impossible views, like gravitational
cars or science fiction stuff like that.
the next future the use of fossil fuel will be unusual and inconvenient
and it will be considered quite dangerous. Whoever own a very old combustion
engine car should be in posses of a special permission to make his/her
own old fashion vehicle running on the road, where combustion engine
has already disappeared from long time before. Therefore burning fuel
to move from point A to point B will be considered a very dangerous
and inconvenient illegal activity.