Axon Automotive, a new UK car maker, has unveiled a high-tech plug-in hybrid and intends to start production in 2011.
The electric motor, driven by batteries recharged via the mains – hence the ‘plug-in hybrid’ designation – is intended for use on short urban journeys, while the petrol engine gives the Axon car a longer range for motorway trips.
Axon Automotive has been working closely with the Open University and Cranfield University to develop an affordable eco-vehicle that makes use of traditionally expensive materials such as carbonfibre.
Carbonfibre is useful because it is very strong, but also very light – and to top it all, it can be recycled. Traditionally the preserve of luxury supercars and racing cars, Axon believes its ‘revolutionary’ manufacturing techniques can bring the material into the mainstream.
Aerodynamic and recycled
Further adding to its efficiency, the Axon car is highly aerodynamic, with covered rear wheels and a shape similar to that of the original – the first hybrid to go on sale in the UK in 1999.
It offers seating for two and ‘substantial’ luggage space. The seats of the preview vehicle are covered in recycled denim, and the interior door panels finished in recycled carbonfibre.
The result of all this effort is a claimed CO2 emissions figure of just 50g/km
That’s half the amount that currently qualifies for free road tax and some 39g/km lower than the 89g/km achieved by the new . This apparently even accounts for the CO2 generated by the power stations used to provide electricity when the Axon is charging.
Axon company background
Axon Automotive is backed by a private investment company and has received funding from the UK Technology Strategy Board. It aims to deliver the first cars in 2011, with full production scheduled to start in 2012.
Axon’s managing director, Dr Steve Cousins, said: ‘By designing light cars and giving them good aerodynamics you can radically lower emissions. The Axon car is a plug-in hybrid, so it has no limitation on range. It maximises the benefits of [electric cars] on a day-to-day basis without having the cost and weight of large batteries.’
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