By Nick Aziz
Tuesday, Mar 3rd, 2009 @ 12:53 pm
 
Hybrid technology developer Frazer-Nash Research teamed up with Turin, Italy-based design firm Italdesign Giugiaro to bring a new concept car - the Namir - to Geneva Motor Show. The vehicle is a plug-in hybrid with a zero to 62 mph time of 3.5 seconds, top speed of 187 mph, and a range of 1,200 miles.



The car has two brushless DC electric motors: one to power the front wheels and one to power the rear wheels. Overall power developed is 370 horsepower, while fuel efficiency is an estimated 92 miles per gallon. The sprint from zero to 124 mph is accomplished in just 10.4 seconds, according to the companies. Like the performance-oriented Tesla Roadster, the Namir has no gears.

Like the Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma, the Namir is a plug-in hybrid, meaning it has a small gasoline motor that acts as a generator to provide needed electricity when the batteries are depleted. The cells used are of the lithium-polymer variety, which happen to have the highest energy density of any batteries currently on the market. The gas motor is a endothermic rotary engine with just 814 cc displacement, making it one of the smallest and most efficient motors to date in a plug-in hybrid.

The name "Namir" is Arabic for "Tiger" -- a title Frazer-Nash and Giugiaro felt was a suitable descriptor for the car. The name "sums up the main features of the concept car: elegance and power, aggressiveness and litheness of lines," Giugiaro said in a press release.

The four-wheel powered drivetrain is fully electric with a digital differential. Software manages the power load to the motors as needed, according to driving and road conditions, making use of all the electronic control systems used in mass-produced vehicles: ABS, cruise control, and stability control. The car is practical, too, with a 400-litre trunk capable of accommodating four suitcases and a golf bag.

The structure consists of a monocoque chassis made from carbon-fibre, further augmented with honeycomb panels that enclose the mechanical components. The total frame weight is said to be just 242 pounds -- without compromising strength, rigidity or safety.

The companies say the car on display in Geneva is a fully-operational prototype.

Live images