Here in Part III we’ll cover what’s coming in BEVs.
I’ve already shared the many reasons I love all electric plug-in cars that don’t use any gasoline or other fuels. I can easily imagine a world just a decade away when electric vehicles completely replace all gasoline vehicles. I’m not alone in previsualizing that transportation dream world.
Read this comprehensive article from May 26, 2008
The Financial Times – By John Reed – Published: May 26 2008
While as recently as a year ago carmakers’ green-car announcements often had overtones of worthy science projects or corporate window-dressing, their actions in recent months point to electric propulsion becoming a core business. “You’re going to see more changes in powertrain technology over the next five years than you’ve seen in the last 50,” says Rod Lache, an analyst with Deutsche Bank.
Here are some of the cars that will get us there…
Renault/Nissan, the auto industry’s third-largest group, has announced the most ambitious plans of any major car company, promising pure electric cars providing an expected range of about 100 miles (160 km), to be sold in the US and Japan from 2010 and theb globally from 2012. Carlos Ghosn, the alliance’s chief executive, has identified leadership in electric vehicles as a top objective in Nissan’s new five-year business plan.
According to the article in the NY Times in May of this year, Ghosn said Nissan decided to accelerate development of battery-powered vehicles because of high gasoline prices and environmental concerns, not just because of the need to meet stricter fuel-economy standards.
“What we are seeing is that the shifts coming from the markets are more powerful than what regulators are doing,” he said.
Mitsubishi MiEV’s in-wheel motor electric vehicle is a very cool approach to driving a car by electricity and they look very serious about getting this car out to the market.
They’ve moved up their original delivery date and plan on having cars first to Japanese customers in 2009.
Right now Mitsubishi has no plans to sell the car in the US, but is asking for potential customers to petition them. Youi can sign this petition asking Mitsubishi to bring the i-EV to the U.S.
Mitsubishi has added one new innovation by giving the i-EV two different charging ports for different charging situations. The i-EV has a charging port on each side. One allows the car to be charged using normal household or parking lot charging, and the other allows for using a “Quick Charging System”.
The household/parking lot method takes about 7 hours and the Quick Charging System takes about 30 minutes to get it to 80%.
Based on the Subaru R1 minicar sold in Japan, the R1e was developed by Subaru in partnership with the Tokyo Electric Power Company, Inc.. The utility has been testing a fleet of R1e electric cars since 2006. As part of a U.S. test program, two of the Subaru R1e electric cars will join the New York Power Authority (NYPA) fleet.
The Subaru R1e employs fast-charge lithium ion battery technology that eliminates typical lithium ion battery issues of charge memory loss, allowing partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life. The two-seat Subaru R1e is capable of driving at speeds up to 65 mph with a range of up to 50 miles, making it an ideal urban commuter.
The Subaru R1e can be “quick-charged” to 80 percent capacity in only 15 minutes using quick-charge technology. The vehicle can be fully charged overnight (eight hours) while connected to a standard household electrical outlet. The R1e uses an AC permanent magnet synchronized motor producing 40 kW.
Backed by U.S. venture capital, Norwegian company Think is betting its Ox concept vehicle can prove the electric car’s time has finally arrived.
An electrified people’s car for the 21st century, the Ox is a preview of Think’s next-generation production vehicle, due out in 2011.
Roughly the size of a Toyota Prius, the Ox can travel between 125 and 155 miles before needing a recharge, and zips from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 8.5 seconds.
Its lithium-ion batteries can be charged to 80% capacity in less than an hour, and slender solar panels integrated into the roof power the onboard electronics. Inside, the hatchback includes a bevy of high-tech gizmos such as GPS navigation, a mobile Internet connection, and a key fob that lets drivers customize the car’s all-digital dashboard.
Pricing has yet to be announced, but the company’s current vehicles cost less than $25,000.
BMW plans to export nearly 500 electric versions of its Mini car to California, company sources said. The electric Minis are being built at the Mini factory in Oxford, England, without engines, gearboxes or fuel tanks, then shipped to Munich, Germany, where they are being fitted with electric powertrains.
The key to this first step is that these cars will only be available to lease at first.
If you want to own an electric plug-in Mini today you’ll have to have a Mini you already own converted. Hybrid Technologies will be happy to do that for you for about $57,500.
According to company founder Richard Griffiths, the Mini we tested sports a 78kW electric motor, can get up to 200 miles on a charge and recharges in six to eight hours. Inside, the only real changes to the Mini interior are that the back seats are gone (your batteries are now your “+2”) and the gas gauge now reads permanently empty because as far as your vehicle’s instrument cluster is concerned, you have no gas. But that doesn’t mean that you have no power. The lithium-powered Mini takes off with gusto—not surprising, since electric motors have full torque available at takeoff.
That’s my report for right now…
BUT… One huge potential development I’m watching along with everyone else in this field is the PROJECT BETTER PLACE concept of selling you an electric car without the batteries and then having “subscribe” to the batteries for a monthly fee. That way when your batteries run down you just go to a Better Place battery station and swap them out for fully charged batteries. This is brainchild of Shai Agassi, (read his blog here) the software entrepreneur behind the new company, and the nation of Israel is already on board in a big way.
There are some other plug-in vehicles I haven’t covered here, but a couple of other sources have gone more in-depth and you should check them out too if you want to drill even deeper… you should pardon the pun: