Nissan, Ferrari, Red Bull, Audi and a fantastic engineering response to the pandemic all make this month’s news roundup. All that remains is for us to wish you a healthy and restful break and a bright start to 2022. Thanks for sticking with us and see you in the New Year!
Nissan’s Sunderland solar farm
Nissan looks set to install an additional 20MW solar farm at its UK plant, the next milestone for its EV36Zero project and the company’s journey to carbon neutrality.
Planning permission has been granted for the farm, which will double the renewable electricity generated at Nissan’s Sunderland plant to 20% of the its overall needs, enough to build every 100% electric Nissan LEAF sold in Europe.
Installation alongside the plant’s existing wind and solar farms is expected to be complete by May 2022.
Nissan recently announced Ambition 2030, its long-term plan to empower mobility and beyond, which includes the Chill-Out Concept, a new-generation electric crossover slated for future production in Sunderland.
Ferrari planning mid-February launch for 2022 F1 car
Ferrari F1 will undergo a technical overhaul for next year following a significant change in the regulations focusing on the aerodynamic performance of cars, with the aim of making them easier to race and overtake with.
Ferrari will enter next year looking to build on its improved performance in 2021 that saw it recover from its worst season in 40 years to finish third in the standings with five podiums and two pole positions.
The team has also confirmed that it will end its title sponsorship agreement with Mission Winnow, saying that is has many other offers on the table.
Customer service meets charging at Audi.
The growth curve of EV charging is moving from utility to something more customer-focused. The inevitable expansion of charging networks for passenger vehicles creates a need to fill a lot of “dead time” where drivers could do more than simply sit in their car or stand around waiting for it to charge.
Audi has answered! It will pilot its first major charging hub on December 23rd near Nuremberg, Germany. With six chargers capable of charging at up to 350 kilowatts and available only by reservation, the point of difference is the hub itself. It is a “chic” lounge with plenty of seating as well as self-serve coffee, vending machines and Wi-Fi. The brand hopes more such hubs could be set up in urban areas, allowing people to work comfortably while their EV charges.
Manufacturing & Tech
Iron Lung could help treat COVID patients
In a fine example of engineering tackling real-time problems, a mixed team of engineers and doctors has developed a 21st century version of “iron lung” technology to create a breathing aid for patients suffering from COVID. The technology is cheaper and more comfortable than devices currently deployed in intensive care units.
The Exovent breathing aid is a negative pressure ventilator which lowers the pressure outside the body to allow lung tissue to expand and function in a way that resembles normal breathing. It doesn’t require patients to be sedated and doesn’t use oxygen - although patients can be given oxygen separately. It could also be used to help with conditions like pneumonia, especially in developing countries.
Executive & Leaders
Horner to remain as Red Bull F1 team principal until at least 2026
Christian Horner has agreed a contract extension with Red Bull Formula 1 and will remain as team principal until at least 2026. He joined as principal in 2005 when the energy drink giant moved into F1 with its own team, overseeing five drivers’ championship wins and four constructors’ titles.
Red Bull’s Team advisor Helmut Marko said, “Within the whole team, or at least the top positions, we want to have stability for the transition years coming up, when the new engine regulations...and new chassis regulations come in”.
What’s the best way to gain skills in an alternative engineering discipline?
If your career is stuck in a rut or you’re struggling to decide on a specific industry, this series of articles from IMechE will be a fantastic resource. In it, a panel of experts answer questions from readers. This particular edition focuses on how to gain engineering skills in an alternative discipline (such as electrical or software) without a second degree.