AD #1239 – Body Panel Batteries?, Nissan ZEOD RC, Dodge Durango Special Service

October 18th, 2013 at 12:20pm

Runtime: 7:58

Volvo is involved in a project that’s developed body panels that are made up of structural supercapacitors integrated within a nanomaterial, in an effort to reduce battery weight and space for EVs. Nissan unveiled an updated version of its electric DeltaWing racecar. Dodge revealed the Durango Special Service edition which will be available for Police and Fire departments as well as fleet customers. All that and more, plus a preview of Autoline This Week from the floor of the Frankfurt auto show.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. I’m Drew Winter from WardsAuto filling in for John today. And now on to the latest auto news.

The two largest drawbacks to battery assisted vehicles, besides range, is the weight and space the batteries take up. But what if the body panels of a car were actually the battery? The folks over at Volvo teamed up with other major participants as part of a European Union funded research project to develop the technology. It took 3 ½ years to research and develop the batteries, which consist of structural supercapacitors integrated within a nanomaterial that’s a combination of carbon fiber and a polymer resin. Supercapacitors can be discharged and recharged much faster than a conventional battery and also have a greater tolerance to do so numerous times. The system uses regenerative braking or an electrical outlet to charge the batteries and this panel seen here is powerful enough to supply energy to the car’s entire 12 Volt electrical system. There’s no word on how much these panels cost but we can sure bet they are expensive.

And speaking of EVs, Nissan unveiled an updated version of its electric DeltaWing racecar. The company showed off a version earlier this year but the new model features updates to its styling, aerodynamics as well as new cooling inlets. The car, which is officially called the ZEOD RC, uses the same battery technology as the Nissan LEAF and is also equipped with a turbocharged engine. The ZEOD RC is able to reach speeds in excess of 185 miles per hour or 300 kilometers an hour. It will race next year at Le Mans and will serve as a test bed for Nissan’s LM P1 program.

As you know John is in China covering the Global Automotive Forum. Here he is with the latest news from the conference.

(Our GAF update is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

Dodge unveiled the Durango Special Service edition which will be available for Police and Fire departments as well as fleet customers. It’s available with the same powertrain as the regular Durango, the Pentastar 3.6 liter V-6 or the 5.7 liter HEMI V-8 which are mated to an 8-speed automatic. The Special Service model’s unique features include a heavy-duty brake package, heavy-duty battery, a larger-output alternator, heavy-duty water pump and engine oil cooler and a load leveling suspension. The third row is also removed to create more cargo room. Production of the Durango Special Service model starts at the end of the year.

Honda expects to export more vehicles out of North America than it imports next year. According to Columbus Business First, the company exported around 90,000 vehicles built in North America in 2012 and plans to increase that to more than 200,000 cars annually in the next few years. Close to 90 percent of Hondas and Acuras sold in North America are built in the region. And we would like to thank s2000_Moose for sending us this story via Twitter. And if you don’t already, you can follow Autoline at

Coming up next, a peek into the design of the Porsche 918 Spyder.

Last month John visited the Frankfurt Motor Show and while he was there he caught up with Michael Mauer, the head of Porsche design, to discuss the 918 Spyder. In the following Autoline This Week clip, Michael explains the goals the company had when developing the car.

(The Autoline This week preview is only available in the video version of today’s show.)

Also joining John for that show are designers and executives from Jaguar, Infiniti, BMW and Mazda. And as always you can watch that entire episode of Autoline This Week right now at our website,

But that’s it for today’s show. Once again I’m Drew Winter from WardsAuto. Check out the latest issue of the WardsAuto World Digital Magazine at, where we talk about all the technology firsts on the Mercedes S-Class.

Thanks for watching and have a great weekend.

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46 Comments to “AD #1239 – Body Panel Batteries?, Nissan ZEOD RC, Dodge Durango Special Service”

  1. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    Didn’t they recently legalize a substance in Colorado that is popular with those in the music scene? The side effects were apparent in some of yesterday’s comments.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    1, It never had that effect on me, but it’s been many years since I’ve used it. Maybe the effect would be different, now that I’m older.

  3. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I’ve had my card for a good 10 years now,and it doesn’t bother me at all,at all,at all……huh?

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:


  5. Bradley Says:

    The capacitor body panels might pair well with a solar panel. Making all the panels on the car solar on the outside with capacitor on the inside. This would drastically reduce the wire runs.

    In my opinion, small systems like that are what will help with green technology. The one large energy storage and one large energy creation concepts are mindsets that are hurting alternative energy sources.

  6. HtG Says:

    4 merely as a matter of helping brother Gerhart grok to GA’s vibe, I offer this short video from Key&Peele…

    (actually, I’m not sure this is what GA meant, if I may admit that)

  7. C-Tech Says:

    @ #1-6 You guys are a hoot!

    I can imagine the electro-panel tech being used in a hybrid or ev roof panel with solar added.

    The autonomaus car would have to compete with the cab and black car service, price wise.

    I wonder how the Police package Durango stacks up against the Police package Chevy Tahoe?

  8. Kit Gerhart Says:

    6, Tnx, HtG. That was pretty good, whether it was GA’s reference or not.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7, That Durango police package sounds very much like the Tahoe. Both seem a waste of police departments’ money, except maybe to transport swat teams and their guns to the scene of a hostage crisis, or something like that.

  10. G.A.Branigan Says:

    It was and that was a good vid…..huh?

  11. HtG Says:

    Key&Peele get to me, and one of them even grew up in Detroit(the taller guy who translates for Obama).

  12. pedro fernandez Says:

    There was a police reality show based in Broward and one in Indiana someplace, solo cop, a Yukon and a Nissan Armada respectively. I could not figure out why these women cops needed this gigantic vehicle.

  13. pedro fernandez Says:

    Today I went to see a client at a newly rebuilt Chevy dealer that used to look real dumpy, now its all new and shiny, people all over the place buying them new Chebbies and saw my first new Vette in person, quite an impressive looking car, I think it’s a little too much for me to handle!!

  14. Chuck @ GM Says:

    The Porsche looks like an updated 914. I really liked the 6 cylinder version

  15. HtG Says:

    If Jim Hall were in charge at Porsche, maybe we’d see a 1000kilo flat four, 200hp, midship engined car selling for 35K. He’ll call it the 904.

    It’s fine, I’ll wait.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The only new ‘Vette I’ve seen was white with black wheels. Generally, I’m not crazy about black wheels, but I thought they looked good on that car, and I thought the car looked good.

  17. T. Bejma Says:


    I’ll take 2. One for a track car and one for a daily driver :-)

  18. Brett Says:

    Man, you nailed my favorite Porsche! My first slot car when I was 10 years old was a 1/32 scale Monogram kit of the 904.

    Were I to win the lottery, I might have to take a look at one of these:

  19. HtG Says:

    So, gentlemen, can we safely predict a TAM of 3 units? :)

  20. T. Bejma Says:

    BMW Group with 2 vehicles on the 10 ugliest…

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, they put the wrong MINI on the list. The helmet roof coupe is uglier.

  22. C-Tech Says:

    @ #21 Agreed. The BMW X6 and the Honda Crosstour are worst looking than the Sebring hands down.

    @ #19 HtG please make that 4 units

    @ #9 The police package Tahoes in the FHP are primarily the accident investigation, K-9, and CSI vehicles not regular patrols. Orange Co. uses a few to support the bike patrols, horse patrols, and motorcyle patrols.

    Pedro they may have been using the Tahoe and Armada to give the camera crew more room, that is my only speculation.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Howard County Indiana sherriff’s department uses a mostly empty Tahoe for a supervisor to drive around in.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    Call me weird,”WEIRD” but I kind of like the Crosstour, it is not your cookie cutter, vanilla flavored everyday vehicle. I don’t give a crap what it looks like, then again. look at what I drive!

  25. HtG Says:

    psst, me too, Pedro ;) For me, it’s shame that keeps me quiet, because come on, it’s a minger.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    24, The CrossTour is a great car, because it is a hatchback. I think the A7 looks better, though.

  27. pedro fernandez Says:

    The couple of Crosstour owners I’ve met love their vehicle for its practicality, driving dynamics and power-train. But I guess if they did not like it they would have never bought them, on the other hand I’ve spoken to a few BMW and MB owners who have told me this is it for them and they will move back to a more dependable, cheaper to fix and maintain Honda or even Acura.

  28. T. Bejma Says:


    Practical design, owners love it…

    Sounds like another much maligned vehicle, the Aztec…

    Like the Aztec, I don’t like the Crosstour because the proportions look unnatural and unappealing. With the Aztec it was the tiny wheels, tall sides and high back end. With the Crosstour it is the big ol’ butt! ;-)

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Crosstour is too tall to look right, 10 inches taller than the great looking A7 hatch. It’s practical, though. It is built off the old Accord. Does anyone here know if there will be a new Crosstour?

  30. Kit Gerhart Says:

    C & D were being nice to BMW with that list. The X6 should have been there too.

    To me, the one car on the list that makes no sense at all, is the 200. It’s probably still the worst car in its class, like its Sebring predecessor, but it doesn’t look bad.

  31. pedro fernandez Says:

    One of the biggest blunders of Chrysler has been ignoring the so important did size family sedan for so many years and getting by with what has been for years now, the worst of the segment (Avenger/200) they are just for rentals and I don’t think they’re in anyone’s shopping list for that segment.

  32. pedro fernandez Says:

    #31 I meant MIDSIZE

  33. HtG Says:

    Sunday Morning Read

    Reuters has a piece on how America’s increased domestic oil production is reshaping the security landscape in the Middle East.

  34. pedro fernandez Says:

    Imagine if the day ever comes when we don’t need their stinkin’ oil and then we just let them kill each other, or China takes over the region, good luck with that, Mao!

  35. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, I suspect it would be quite a challenge for China to try to “run” the middle east. Maybe they should try Afghanistan for practice, before they go to Iraq and Iran.

  36. HtG Says:

    CLA spotted

    I saw my first Merc CLA in the wild this morning. Blame the grey paint, but it looked cheap. Can’t believe I just wrote that.

  37. pedro fernandez Says:

    If this car did not have the MB emblem, how much do you think it would sell for?

  38. T. Bejma Says:


    And now they are adding a wagon version… Good luck with that…

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    36, I haven’t seen one yet, but I have seen a lot of ads. I expect to see at least one in my condo parking lot when I return to FL in a week. The CLA should appeal to the same people who buy Lexus ES’s, and there are a couple of those.

  40. pedro fernandez Says:

    I wonder how many folks would buy this thing if they knew it was made by Nissan, the same company that builds cheap cars like the Versa?

  41. HtG Says:

    Yeah, but Mercedes wants to catch people when they’re younger, and give them the dealership and ownership experience. Later, when they have more scratch….

  42. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I like wagons, but I doubt I’d be inclined to pay Benz prices for a Nissan, but if they’d sell it with a 4 cylinder diesel and manual transmission, and without awd…. I’m sure they will sell it that way, everywhere but America.

  43. HtG Says:

    Hold the phone…

    I got to sit in a CLA this afternoon. There was a car show nearby, where the local Merc dealer had brought the AMG version of the CLA. How nice was the car? Find out tomorrow when HtG posts pics and reviews from the 2013 Scarsdale Concours d’Elegance. (if you can say Scarsdale Concours d’Elegance without laughing, you’re a better man than I.)

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Does the CLA AMG run more boost for more power, or is the AMG basically a trim-wheel/tire package?

    My getting this ’96 Corvette is really reminding me how much power they are getting from these smaller engines. Today’s V6 Camaro has about the same hp as my ‘Vette, and I’m sure they can get 300hp out of that 2.0 litre turbo 4 in the CLA, if so inclined.

  45. pedro fernandez Says:

    Kit but after driving your Vette for a while now, you have to realize there is no substitute for displacement, right?

  46. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Right, the V8 just “feels good,” and sounds good. The exhaust sounds good if you get on it a little with the windows down, but you barely hear it with the windows up at highway speed. For me, that is a good compromise.