A new UK car manufacturer, Axon Automotive has previewed its plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the Milton Keynes Science Festival. The vehicle combines full electric mode for short distance travel and uses a petrol or bioethanol powered engine for long distance or motorway travel.
Axon Automotive uses revolutionary manufacturing techniques to make carbon fibre technology, which has been associated with racing cars, affordable for eco cars. "By designing light cars and giving them good aerodynamics you can radically lower vehicle emissions," says Axon's Managing Director, Dr Steve Cousins.
"As a plug-in hybrid we have no limitation on range but we can maximise the benefits of electrics day to day without the cost and weight of large batteries," he added.
The Axon car is built with space for two adults plus room for ample amounts of luggage. Much of the car is made from recycled material or can itself be recycled to minimise environmental impact. The carbon fibre body can be recycled, while the car has fashion house designed seating is made from recycled fabrics (jeans and recycled pinstriped suits) and door panels are made from recycled carbon fibre to make the car as green as possible.
This holistic approach to car manufacturer is continued through the Axon Automotive's consideration of carbon emissions generated at the electrical source that drives the car. Axon insists that electric powered vehicles should be clear about the emissions from the electricity they use, rather than simply equating electricity use as being zero emission operation. "We have had our greenhouse gas emissions calculated to include typical UK powerstation emissions when driving in electric mode. The result gives us just under 50g/CO2 per km for the mix of electric and petrol used in the Government test. This is just half the level needed for free annual road tax in UK for this car," explains Cousins.
Axon Automotive Ltd. is the only UK owned car company, focused on the production of plug-in hybrid vehicles. Funded through UK Technology Strategy Board and private investment, the carmaker aims for the first Axon car to go on sale in 2011 with full production in 2012. The manufacturing roll-out will be via small factories in UK and in Europe including Spain, France, Ireland, Denmark, and Holland.