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FEV LiiON Vehicle With Wankel Range Extender at the Vienna Motor Symposium

The FEV LiiON Drive with Wankel Range Extender concept. Click to enlarge.

FEV Motorentechnik GmbH (FEV) featured its LiiOn Drive with Wankel Range Extender Vehicle at this year’s Vienna Motor Symposium, 29-30 April, where it was one of the most popular Ride & Drive vehicles. Earlier, at the SAE 2009 World Congress, FEV had displayed a 295 cc Wankel genset for extended range electric vehicles. (Earlier post.)

The FEV LiiON Drive is based on a Fiat 500, equipped with a 12 kWh battery pack mounted under the floor and a permanent magnet synchronous motor with 60 kW peak power. The vehicle can accelerate to 60 km/h (37 mph) in less than 6 seconds, and top speed is higher than 120 km/h (75 mph). Urban use of the vehicle results in an almost emission-free operation with a range of 50 miles. The 20 kW Wankel Range Extender provides up to 190 miles (306 km) of extended range, with 80 g/mile of CO2 emissions.

Powertrain elements. Click to enlarge.   Power electronics. Click to enlarge.

While the vehicle shown in Vienna is a concept, the electric vehicle LiiON Drive with Wankel Range Extender is licensed for public road traffic.

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.

An FEV assessment of the properties of different range extender modules. Click to enlarge.

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.

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, FEV says.


John Burns

Clarian labs developed the rotary generator calling it a hybrid battery. They have a very small Wankel engine generator in a "self contained" pack the size of a normal car battery, but maybe lighter than lead-acid batteries and some other types. Fuel is slotted in, in a fuel cartridge. They call it a battery as it is a store of energy. They state that the energy storage density is 20 times greater than current electrical batteries, so ideal as a battery range extender for EVs. They can be mixed with Lith batteries in car. Charge up from the grid and use the hybrid battery for longer ranges. They can all be standard size and added to, only connecting up to an exhaust manifold. A simple 15 minutes dealer job - or even DIY.

Detractors say it is just a Wankel genny in a sealed box giving out electricity needing energy inserted. Clarian argue we also do with a normal chemical battery - we have to insert electrical energy into it. These hybrid batteries can be in a convenient place in a car to just pull out and slot in a fuel cartridge.

The electrical coils are in the Wankel's rotor and in the centre of the engine, eliminating the shaft making is simpler, smaller and lighter again. It is exceptionally small indeed.

Clarian say their hybrid battery can be slotted into a hybrid battery bay with a convenient exhaust manifold connection - screw off a cap and screw on the hybrid battery. You can just add them like you can do with normal electrical batteries. The more you have the greater the range. But most would only need one.

Only Wankel engines can do this. We have progress here.

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