According to the Society for Sustainable Mobility, reducing cars' dependency on natural resources can be accomplished with three steps: first do no harm, eat more fiber and shower with a friend. OK, barring those, the three keys are thus: improve cars' efficiency, move toward an open-design automotive architecture and commercialize products to put them in consumers' hands. Considering the first and third of those are part of any automotive manufacturing proposition, it seems the second is the most radical. Just like in software, an open-source car architecture would โ€” proponents believe โ€” draw in the best minds to engineer the most robust automotive infrastructure and functionally superior products. The SSM's idea is to challenge the industry in fair-market competition with a four-wheel-drive EV crossover that employs Lithium-ion batteries and ultracapacators for electrical storage. It's called the Kernel EV โ€” a name that mirrors the Linux kernel that brought open-source system software into the mainstream. Sure, they're waging a battle that makes the Microsoft-Linux wars look like a playground scrape.

Press Release:

Doing the right thing and doing it right

As our consumption of natural resources continues to take its toll on the environment, it has never been more important to explore other means of sustaining our way of life. The Society for Sustainable Mobility (SSM) is a revolutionary movement to develop a much needed alternative to conventional automobiles.

The Mission of the Society for Sustainable Mobility (SSM) is to create a three-part solution to our dependency on natural resources:

1. Sustainable Technologies: to improve the energy efficiency of automobiles;
2. Open-design Infrastructure: To accelerate sustainable technologies into the marketplace and to harness help from great minds around the world;
3. Business Strategy: to commercialize our products and bring them to the hands of consumers.

The SSM-OSGV goal is to engage in fair market competition in the most polluting automotive market segments with functionally superior products that are cleaner and more affordable; thus, erode the incentives for major automakers to remain in these segments and encourage them to invest more in future technologies.

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Bill Ford, the chairman of Ford Motor Company once said, "The best way to get the auto industry to stop dragging its feet is to have us race against each other." It seems like the most logical and effective way is to challenge the industry in its own backyard.
Introducing "Kernel" Barebone EV - the Core of Next-Generation Alternative Fuel Vehicles

Being environmental friendly doesn't mean giving up our lifestyle anymore. Designed to suit the tastes of the American consumers, the Kernel is a full-function Crossover SUV poised to revolutionize people's perception about what a car should be. The word "New" is such an understatement. Using latest aerospace technologies, Kernel is built from the ground up to be one of the most energy efficient vehicles. SSM's Kernel is breaking all the rules and re-inventing automobiles for the 21st Century.

* Uncompromising High Performance 4WD
* All-new 7-passenger Crossover Urban SUV
* EV drivetrain with electronic 4WD response - First such Digital Drive-by-Wire on market
* Lithium-ion Battery and Ultra-Capacitor for maximum performance
* Bi-directional power controller supporting: PHEV 110-240VAC charger and Regenerative Braking
* Sustained speed >100 km/h
* Curb weight = 1200kg barebone
* Drag co-eff < 0.32
* 50/50 weight split
* Hydraulic power assist with fail-safe power supply
* Lightweight composite unibody
* Standard safety equipment

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Unsurpassed Fuel Economy

To achieve higher than 100MPG-equivalent fuel economy, every barebone Kernel EV is equipped with:

* High efficiency electronically controlled induction motors;
* High efficiency power converters and solid state switches;
* 110V-240V PHEV charger;
* Lithium-ion battery;
* Megajoule Ultra-Capacitor; and,
* Regenerative braking capability.

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The minimalist Kernel is capable of driving up to 60 kilometers (40 miles) on a single charge. Owners are expected to purchase additional power modules to extend the range of the vehicle. Possible Range: up to 1000km (600 miles).

Thanks to the flexible power management architecture, owners may "Plug-and-Play" additional energy storage devices and power sources depending on driving needs and costs of fuels.
Alternative Fuel Power Modules

Shown here are 5 different power options for the Kernel base model. Each has a unique energy store or power generator. Possibilities are endless. However, cost effectiveness and technology readiness levels (TRL) of such energy conversion technologies are the usual decision factors.
Performance

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The Kernel features a true Drive-by-Wire electric drivetrain. Armed with four independent electric motors with a combined peak output of more than 150 kilowatt (kW), propelling the Kernel from 0 to 100km/h in an estimated 9 seconds or less - comparable to that of a Porsche Cayenne SUV. The estimated top speed is just under 200 km/h.

High-speed onboard computers detect road conditions and adjust the power output of each motor 200 times per second - Achieving four wheel drive (4WD) capability without the cumbersome mechanical components of its conventional counterpart.
Body

Stylish and aerodynamic - the Kernel's fiberglass-polymer composite construction is not only lightweight but also safe and durable. The composite material is tough enough to protect the occupants while absorbing the kinetic energy during a collision. The Kernel barebone is the lightest vehicle in its class, weighing just over 1200 kg - 25% less than Toyota Highlander, which means two things: better performance and better efficiency.
Safety and Handling

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Lighter weight means better handling and more fun. The Kernel is FMVSS compliant. Airbags, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) and roll/yaw stability control are all standard. These are just some of the reasons why Kernel is the vehicle of choice.
Utility

Got kids? No problem. The Kernel is a cross-over SUV specifically designed for the American urban and suburban markets. The Kernel will hold 7 passengers (with third row seats) and plenty of bags.
Maintenance

The Kernel is designed to be extremely reliable. No oil change is necessary! Regular tire rotations and replacements are recommended. Brake pads and rotors need serving every 5 to 10 years. The factory Lithium-ion battery is covered by warranty. Additional serving may be required when the optional "power modules" are installed.

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More information: OSGV and Rotterdam University

[via World Car Fans]

Related:
Losing Voltage: Is GM Trying To Kill Hype On The Electric Volt? [internal]

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