The Ariel Atom Mugen (earlier post) was unveiled at the 2011 British Autosport Show and it's a special edition for the celebration of Ariel's 10th anniversary. Ariel, that has built 1,000 Atoms, will build just 10 of those special ones powered by the Honda K20Z Type R engine.
According to the press release, each Atom Mugen engine is stripped, measured and fully blueprinted at Mugen Europe’s Northampton headquarters. The engines are reassembled with high performance, higher compression pistons, high lift camshafts and new valve springs. A longer freeflow inlet manifold is fitted with a bigger diameter throttle body together with race grade spark plugs. The engine also features a full baffled sump and is finished with a carbon fibre Mugen cover.
After assembly, each engine is tested on the Mugen dynamometer and carefully run in prior to full power test. After 7 days of work on every engine they are bore scoped and inspected prior to sign off. A lightened balanced flywheel is fitted together with a limited slip differential to the close ratio Honda 6 speed gearbox prior to installation in the Atom.
More info and photos after the jump!
On December 15, 2010, production of Lexus LFA began at the Motomachi factory (earlier post). The LFA is produced by a total of 170 people, including the CFRP (earlier post) manufacturing staff. According to the press release, the CFRP technology, which was developed in-house, will be used in future Toyota and Lexus models!
The LFA is assembled by hand and consists of around 15,000 parts (a "normal" Lexus model consists of around 12,000 parts). Each LFA built will have over a 3,500-page work journal. This will be kept at Lexus and will be utilised for future reference in the case there will be an inquiry after the delivery of the vehicle.
Toyota is developing a new inductive motor for hybrids and EVs that doesn't need the use of rare-earth materials. This is an attempt to cut Toyota's dependence on rare-earth materials from China, which controls more than 90% of the global market.
According to Automotive News, Toyota engineers in Japan and the US are working on a inductive motor that is lighter and more efficient than the magnet-type motor currently used.
China's government cut export quotas of rare-earth materials for the first half of 2011 by 35 percent last month. That follows a 72 percent reduction in the second half of 2010, causing the price of some of the metals to more than double.
According to Autocar's sources, it was reported in the past that Honda is preparing a turbocharged version of CR-Z (earlier post). Now, Autocar again claims that buyer's feedback is so strong, and the drop-off in domestic sales so steep, that Honda is speeding up the development of the hot CR-Z. It could even make its debut as early as next December at the Tokyo Motor Show.
As already posted, Japan is pushing the adoption of FCVs (Fuel Cell Vehicles) by 2015 (earlier post). In order to achieve this target, more hydrogen filling stations and more cooperation between manufacturers will be needed.
Thus, 13 companies in Japan - Toyota, Nissan, and Honda along with a number of gas and utilities companies - are joining forces to enable a "smooth domestic launch" of fuel cell vehicles as soon as 2015. They hope to create about 100 hydrogen stations across the country, work to form a broader hydrogen supply network, and also educate people about FCVs in general.
There is one car shown at the 2011 Tokyo Auto Salon that may be an indication of things to come. What I am talking about is the TES Concept T-Sports (earlier post). So far, rumors have suggested that Toyota will bring out a low cost sports car, and to be honest with you, I thing that Toyota should build such a car.
Although there is no official correlation between the concept presented and the rumours, this concept was build by the Toyota Engineering Society (TES) in response to a questionnaire asking what sort of vehicle they thought Toyota needed to build.
It is powered by a 1.3 L engine, producing 109 hp, but the car weights under 900 kg!