Archive for jaguar

Cyclone engine

Posted in Alt-Fuel, Car conception, Green Tech with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 16/01/2012 by Alexander

I’ve covered gas-turbine engines before, and they still live on in my mind as one of the best alternatives to ICE’s. Not as a direct substitute, mind you, but as a compliment to EVs as range extending technology. It’s a rather elegant solution, since it allows for regular, fossil-fuel consuming folk to adjust more easily due to the fact that they still have to pump in fuel, while at the same time it’s a cleaner, more eco-friendly electric vehicle. Everyone’s happy.

Perhaps their greatest advantage is that they can run on nearly anything that burns. Petrol, diesel, kerosene, whiskey, perfume, basically anything that’s liquid and combustible. And that includes all sorts of lovely biofuels that hopefully will be produced just as cleanly as they burn. However, this application of gas turbines to automotive propulsion is only being pursued by a consortium (that includes Jaguar), apparently.

It even crossed my mind to do something I’ve dreamt about for years: to get myself an old car, rip out the engine and turn it into an alternatively propelled vehicle (just as these guys turned a classic Toyota 2000GT into a solar-powered EV). In this case, a gas turbine electric hybrid. And I thought to myself, how hard can it be?! You just remove the ICE and strap in a gas turbine, batteries and some electric motors behind each wheel hub. But I’m absolutely certain that in reality things would be much more complicated than it sounds. The most elementary components that have a clear place in a conventionally-powered vehicle could become a nightmare. How many gears would it have, if it even had gears at all? What would power the brake servo, the air-con, or the rest of the HVAC system? Would it be the turbine or the batteries? How would someone who wasn’t a very clever engineer even begin to rig the readouts as to how much juice you have left on the batteries, what shuts down or comes to life when the turbine kicks in, etc., etc.? That’s complicated s**t.

I’m still curious as to how gas turbines compare with regular engines. I can’t seem to find any sort of specifications as to what mileage you could get from a gas turbine electric hybrid car or what’s their emission-per-km figure. After all, it’s a very nice technology in principle, but not really worth it if takes a gallon of fuel to keep the car fully operational for a mile. The Jaguar C-X75 concept has “an estimated fuel economy of 41.1 mpg, 778 horsepower, 0 to 62mph in 3.4 seconds, and a top speed of 205 mph”, which is very nice for a concept car, but that doesn’t mean it can to it in the real world. While trying to find some proper numbers, I stumbled across yet another type of engine I wasn’t aware of, called the Cyclone Engine. Its working principle is (if I’m not very much mistaken) a modern take on the steam engine, and has many real world applications, not just powering cars. And like the gas turbine idea (and unlike the split cycle engine and, from what I can tell, the shockwave motion generator), it can burn virtually anything in order to function. The website boasts a lot of advantages over conventional internal combustion engines, just like the split cycle and shockwave engines, from efficiency to number of components, which makes me wonder why these sorts of things aren’t being pursued more aggressively by more mainstream car manufacturers. If any one of these technologies (or hopefully, all of them) take hold, they’ll be tripping over themselves to play catch-up.


I was right about the Jaaaag

Posted in Desirable machines, Upcoming cars with tags , , on 16/11/2011 by Alexander

Not too many posts ago, I commented on how the Jaguar C-X16 concept car looked an awful lot like a production version. Well, during some sort of private event in Los Angeles, designer Ian Callum “all but confirmed” that this handsome car would be put into production. The only thing that’s missing, apart from an outright confirmation, is a proper name. “See-Ex-Dash-Sixteen” doesn’t sound that catchy, and a great looking vehicle like this calls for more subtle yet imposing name.
Now I’m not usually one who will have his head turned by stupidly expensive sports cars, and I couldn’t have given less of a s**t when the usual motor cronies were bleating about the Aston Martin Zagato or the new Lambo Whatever-It’s-Called, but this Jag has something about it. Maybe it’s the zany-sounding 3.0 litre V6 with its 8-gear transmission and hybrid powertrain, or that sideways-opening back window that pays tribute to the E-Type. It just looks desirable. And that red leather/velour interior… phwaor!

A new Jaaaaaaag

Posted in Car conception, Desirable machines with tags , , on 07/09/2011 by Alexander

I’m a sucker for good-looking coupés: Jaguar have released pictures of a lovely concept car, the C-X16, which is designed to be an “entry-level” Jag like the Porsche Cayman. This head-turner was designed by Ian Callum, responsible for eye-pleasing icons like the Aston Martin DB7 and DB9, the Jag XK and C-X75, and one of the only non-singer/actor/comedian personalities to have been on Top Gear.

When looking at the gallery related to the article linked above, two stood out: that deliciously-designed rear-window that doubles as a hatch; and the fact that concept cars usually have impossibly complicated and space-age interiors, and fussy and weird lights. For a concept car, the C-X16 looks pretty much production-ready.

Volvo P1800 turns 50 and 2.9 million at the same time

Posted in Desirable machines with tags , , , , on 17/06/2011 by Alexander

The iconic Volvo P1800 turns 50 years old, perhaps best known for “starring” alongside Roger Moore in the classic series The Saint. One story goes that the producers of the series negotiated using a British-brand Jag E-type for the show, but when Jag told them to sod off, Moore allowed for the use of his own Volvo P1800. The other perhaps more believable version is that following the 1961 launch of both the E-type and the P1800, Jaguar turned down the loan of E-types, and Volvo was approached and jumped at the chance (and Moore liked the car so much he bought one). Either way, Volvo’s ailing P1800 sales in the UK suddenly took a turn for the better, and the rest is history.

An interesting story published on Autoblog tells of Irv Gordon, a proud American P1800 owner who has racked up an incredible and record-breaking 2.9 million miles (nearly 4.7 million kilometres – that’s equivalent to nearly 16 trips to the Moon). He broke the record for distance travelled in a non-commercial car 1.2 million kilometres ago, and doesn’t intend to stop. Damn, I wish I had the time and money to rack up insane amounts of mileage in my Volvo.

Return of the E-type

Posted in Upcoming cars with tags , on 17/03/2011 by Alexander

… and Jaguar has nothing to do with it. The car pictured is the Growler E, which is being built by Swiss company Classic Factory, working on Swedish designs.

At first glance it looks pretty cool, and like a good idea. Then you read it’ll cost a staggering £640,000-£850,000!!! Who will buy one of these if they can buy and/or restore an original E-Type for a fraction of the price?

There’s also the problem with these modern interpretations of classic car legends. It can be done properly, as the current Fiat 500 attests, but don’t doubt for a second how much research and development it needs. This particular reinterpretation of the Jag reminds me a bit of a pathetic modernistic Citroen DS rendering that cropped up a few years ago. Not good. This exercise has recently been properly done, as I’ll write about in the next post.