LA Auto Show 2017: Nerd’s Eye View – Unique Cars, Engines, and Things


Mazda brought a couple of race cars including this half-n-half Miata.


It was half stock and half race car prepped.


With the cutaway section at the split between race car and street car, you can see the massive extruded cross beam of the street car which helps to make the convertible chassis very stiff. Of course, the race car has a cage and the stiffness the cage adds eliminates the need for the street car cross-extrusion.


I think this is a Camry. Toyota doesn’t make boring looking cars anymore.


Using some reflective floor action, you can see the diffuser built into the undertray of the Camry.


Toyota has been working on fuel cell technology for a few decades now. They had this chassis for the fuel cell powered Mirai on display. The big yellow tanks are the hydrogen storage tanks. Sitting above the rearmost hydrogen tank is the battery pack lifted from another Toyota hybrid vehicle. PEM fuel cells need time to warmup to operate properly (~80-85degC operating temp), not so unlike internal combustion engines, so the battery can move the car during cold-start until the fuel cell stack gets up to temperature. PEM fuel cells also don’t (or didn’t when I studied them a decade and a half ago) like big transient power requirements, so the battery can fill in for those demands. The fuel cell stack itself is at the front of the car and in the middle are chunks of the electronics which control the power distribution.


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