Giugiaro and Frazer-Nash Want You to Wankel

Martin Schwoerer
by Martin Schwoerer
giugiaro and frazer nash want you to wankel

When I read in Auto, Motor und Sport about a concept car that looks great, claims 110 mpg (city) and a top speed of 210 mph, I was intrigued. But skeptical too, of course. Since the boffins at the UK’s Frazer-Nash Research (and not just some garage geniuses) are behind the “Namir” Rotary-engine hybrid dream car, I thought it would be worth a call. So, I spoke with company Director, Gordon Dickson. Why Wankel? “A rotary engine is extremely compact and is also extremely energy-efficient at its RPM sweet spot. The Namir is a serial hybrid, meaning there is no mechanical connection between the combustion engine and the four electric motors, so it’s easy to keep the 814cc Wankel engine within its sweet spot. We have already employed this technology in our Metrail system.”

Actually, I read that Fabrizio Giugiaro, the bloke you had design the Namir, is just glad it isn’t equipped with some prosaic Fiat engine. “Well, the Wankel is much more efficient, lighter and smaller than a four-stroke would be. Its compact form also enables a low center of gravity and a smooth underbody. That’s how Fabrizio was able to get 210 mph in the wind tunnel”. Are you another one of these companies that are hopping on to the hybrid wagon? “Actually, we have been working on electric propulsion for the past 20 years. And we are developers and not just system integrators. So we do all the software etc. in-house, something that takes considerable commitment.”

Here’s some technical stuff, for the brightest of the B&B: 397 hp, 4WD, 0-60 in 3.5s, Lithium-Polymer batteries weighing 150 kg, curb weight 1500 kg. Expected date on market: never. This is a show-off piece that intends to demonstrate what can be done. I like it.

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Mar 13, 2009

    @psarhjinian: You are correct on every count. Both the Tesla and the Volt are unobtainable due to price. The market is exceptionally small for $100k sports cars, and $40k economy cars. The Volt could become the Cimarron of economy cars, if it is ever actually built.

  • T2 T2 on Mar 13, 2009
    That’s how Fabrizio was able to get 210mph in the wind tunnel”. Sounds like it's snake oil time. Somebody should explain to that shillmeister just how a wind tunnel works. Next up - So we do all the software etc. in-house, something that take considerable committment Excuse me but a 5k-ohm pot on the accel pedal coonected to the inverter, an ESTOP pushbutton for safety and you're almost good to go. A signal from the inverter indicating consumed power can be sent over to the wankel engine speed controller as an rpm reference. I'd say the "commitment" would be were you doing this on your own dime fella, and not at govt (read taxpayers) expense. Finally Mr psarhjinian your statement ..... concept of a series hybrid because it’s not necessarily that efficient: you’ve permanently abstracted the engine from the wheels and added a layer of energy wastage. Pardon me, I wouldn't be so quick to denigrate series hybrids inferring that the electrical interface involves a layer of enegy wastage. At cruise speeds the typical manual transmission handling those lower power loadings isn't so great either. T2

  • Zerofoo "there are almost 20,000 Ram 2500s and Jeep Gladiators for sale"How many days inventory is that?
  • Akear The Prius outsells all GM EVs combined, which is really not saying much.
  • Akear The sad truth is the only vehicle FCA sold that broke the 200,000 sales barrier was the 200. I rented one and found it impressive. It is certainly better than the Renegade. At this point I would buy a used 200 over a Renegade. Who in their right mind would buy a Renegade?
  • Akear I just realized 80% of these EV vehicles producers are going to be liquidated within the next five years. It is not possible to survive by selling only 3000 vehicles a year. This reminds me of the bust of the late 90s and early 2000s. Those who don't learn from history repeat it.
  • 3SpeedAutomatic I drove a rental Renegade a few years back. Felt the engine (TIgerShark) was ready was ready to pop out from under the hood. Very crude!! Sole purpose was CAFE offsets. Also drove a V6 Cherokee which was very nice and currently out of production. Should be able to scoop up one at a fair deal.🚗🚗🚗