Wednesday, July 2
Part II of Cars After the Age of Oil
(First: 3 EV's you need to beg for:)
1. Mitsubishi iMiEV Petition
80 miles per charge + 80% Fast Recharge* in 30 mins
80 mph top speed
I know you were distracted when Mitsubishi brought the iMiEV to show you this Spring: it was the primaries! They think you don't care: the sales rep in this video sounds flat, like only if there was a demand from us, would they cater to this little old backwater of gasguzzling flatearthers when Europe and other markets beckon.
There is a lot of practical info in this video from Mitsubishi such as that since this most of this vehicle is already on the assemblyline as a gas guzzler, it is not that much of a stretch to make this an EV.
For performance watch this video of the iMiEV easily master the astonishingly long ascent of these Japanese Alps.
The iMiEv doesn't have to be this garish red and white colorway: here is the more sedate shade it delivers mail in for the Japanese postal service.
It has the same wheelbase size as a VW Rabbit, but far more of the air above is encaptured for its interior, so it is roomy, while small.
2. Subaru R1e Petition (bottom of page)
50 miles per charge + 15 min 80% Fast Recharge* option
65 mph top speed
Following their successful tests in the civilized world, two of the Subaru R1e EVs will join the New York Power Authority (NYPA) fleet for testing here.
When I signed the petition at the bottom of the Subaru page to ask for this EV in the US, I let them know we are being held captive for ransom in this benighted nation - our government can not be counted on to help...
In Japan the government really gets involved in paradigm-shifting disruptive tech - no whining about not picking winners or losers from them! The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology worked with Nagasaki University and Fuji Heavy Industries (the parent company of Subaru) in creating a battery with twenty times higher energy capacity using manganese instead of cobalt.
Just like the Japanese government essentially gave us the Prius by generously subsidising early adopters.
3. Mercedes-Benz SmartForTwo ED Petition
72 miles per charge
60 mph top speed
The already shipped gasoline SmartForTwo is tiny! I saw one of the first deliveries in April parked among the weeds in an industrial factory area of SF next to normal cars. It looked as cute and clunky and solid as a toddlers sneaker in a closetfull of old boots in that context. The Electric Drive option is as well made as the original gas version. They have now finished testing the Electric Drive in the UK and are starting their test in LA with lithium batteries.
Mercedes-Benz says that in 7 years they will stop making gasoline vehicles altogether! They will make hydrogen and diesel and electric cars, using diesel for the hybrids instead of gasoline.
40 miles per charge (+ 600 mile onboard Range Extender*)
120 mph top speed
Less ugly than in still photos, in street driving the Volt looks surprisingly elegant, somehow suggesting a ballet slipper to me. CEO Lutz is clueless about Climate Change so this is not what motivates GM, unlike many of the startups like Tesla and ZENN. Which makes trusting fruition of this more more iffy, driven forth merely by perceived peak oil - which will fluctuate even in descent, as the world will embark on last ditch ventures to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Take the zero emission pledge to nudge them along. $10,000 more expensive than initially thought. Subsidies like Clinton's excellent $10,000 EV subsidy will be needed to get the EV switch done. Lets work on the Senate majority that we must have to pass the eco legislation next year that we couldn't do so far. GM is the other big US company that sold out on us by (Who Killed The Electric Car?) killing the EV1, but that is no reason to punish their Detroit workers creating the followup. There might be a pure EV only option for purists, but currently the Volt will have its own onboard Range Extender powered by a little gas engine, making it a Series Hybrid.
125 - 250 miles per charge includes 45 minute Fast Charge*
100 mph top speed
Seats 2 (+ 2 kids or groceries)
Ford originally murdered its TH!NK in 2002
heres some historical footage of unhappy customers:
But now that EV just won't stay dead!
The 17 year old Norwegian company begun by Jan Otto Ringdal, that made these for Ford to meet the California Mandate, would not give up on the THINK and is now bringing it back to bite Ford in the -ass- I mean US - with actual production facilities to build it here in the USA. GE's Ecoimagination has invested $24 million in the technology. The now Norwegian TH!NK will also produce a van for America's soccer moms:
125 - 250 miles per charge includes 45 minute Fast Charge*
65 - 80 mph top speed
After the California Mandate was outwitted by the autocompanies'lawyers, Ford also killed their Ford Ranger truck EV, but now a determined union UAW worker in the Midwest is attempting to revive the Ford Ranger EV and another company will convert Ford Rangers into EVs for you. The Ranger was an ideal EV truck, so sad that Ford gave up on a great idea. Take the zero emission pledge to nudge them along to reintroduce it.
155 miles per charge + 5 minute Fast Recharge*
80 mph top speed
Originally designed in 2004 by the design company Pininfarina the NIDO won the "L'Automobile più Bella del Mondo" concept car award in 2005, a production model will be shown at Geneva in October 2008 and coming to the US for 2010.
Toyota (Plug In)Prius
250 miles per charge
+ 100 mpg
Toyota has no motive for adding a PHEV Prius since it will likely do fine as a regular hybrid as gas prices rise, so this is hardly a definite, but Toyota is now talking the talk finally, on building the long begged-for plug in version of the Prius, that increases its mpg to +100. This is still a hybrid, but one you can plug in at night to get the + 100 mpg we demanded at our Step It Up rally.
What Toyota also could do to easily meet the CA Mandate is simply bring back its fabulous RAV4 EV that was so popular. I rode last year in one of the last RAV4 EVs, and they feel just like regular RAV4s: and I was at an eco fest in Marin with one of the last ones behind me for SFEVA, and every eco Marin mom toting sandy footed kids past our booth wanted that EV to take the kids and the dog to the beach. One of the few that didn't get crushed just sold on eBay for what this EV is worth to us Americans, Toyota! Just bring it back.
Nissan Denki Cube
miles per charge
mph top speed
(no details yet)
Now also even Nissan says they will have an EV in the US by 2010.
Nissan's CEO says he believes the future is electric vehicles and has committed to offering a range of EV models not just this one, to choose from. He is motivated by California's strict emissions rules.
Thank goodness for the ZEV Mandate and the imminent threat of the California Waiver which awaits only a restored EPA to immediately become law! (such foresight!) Everyone can jump through hoops when we just demand it. We should show this kind of legislative backbone more often. Good policy can save the world.
250 miles per charge with 5 minute Fast Charge*
The Canadian startup ZENN Cars already sells a speed limited ZENN that I test drove last year (see below) and wished could be a freeway speed EV. This EVpodcast interview with the CEO of ZENN is a good detail source for this news that ZENN has a freeway speed option in the works. Given ZENNs EESTOR battery development and the competent engineering of their NEV, it looks likely.
Smith Electric Vehicles Newton
150 miles per charge
50 mph top speed
TNT in the UK just ordered another 100 of these delivery vans and Smith Electric Vehicles showed here at the EVs-23 show in January. They plan to start production of10,000 trucks in 2010 in a US factory. They have been making a 2 ton to 12 ton range of EV trucks and vans for 80 years, and so not surprisingly their parent company (Tanfield) stock jumped like sevenfold in the last few years...
There have been no inklings about just where Smith is building this US factory, but I see that they they are planning on collaborating with Ford to build future EVs in the US
such as this Smith - Ford EV van: the Ampere... so I suspect there might be a Smith/Ford merger or aquisition to come. Certainly Smith - with its EV expertize - and Ford with its Detroit factories (and a CEO who has seen the light), would be a great combination to reinvigorate Detroit with truly green vehicle development.
100 miles per charge
50 mph top speed
Another British commercial vehicle company Modec also showed at the EV show in January as I diaried here. There is a sample at a winery in Napa. They have sold their EV vans to Tesco in the UK for deliveries. Their FAQ page has good answers to my questions.
110 miles per charge + 10 minute Fast Charge*
95 mph top speed
The California startup Phoenix initially focused on fleet buyers for its two models, the SUV and the SUT.
The production model of the truck version (SUT) which gets 130 miles per charge was test driven in 2007. PG&E has been testing the first 4 SUV models since 2007: initially these will be for fleet buyers like PG&E only, but in a few years for everyone.
Phoenix is also considering an onboard battery Range Extender making both models series hybrids like the Volt (the new CA ZEV mandate favors hybrids).
50 miles per charge + gas Range Extender*
125 mph top speed
Spurned Tesla WhiteStar designer Henrik Fisker unveiled the body design for the Karma at the Detroit auto show this Spring. Lawsuits are flying with his previous company Tesla, obviously this is similar to the WhiteStar design... Fisker plans to stay in Detroit and utilize the rusting factories there to revive an auto industry newly geared to building eco cars, with Quantum Technologies doing the grunt work under the hood. Fiskers Karma will have Range Extenders like on the Volt. Since Fisker had been designing the whiteStar for Tesla, this aesthetic suggests what Tesla's secret next model the WhiteStar $50,000 sedan might look like. The Karma 500 orders already from the Detroit show this Spring. Like Tesla, Fisker plans a cheaper car next. They will use a solar roof to cool the car while parked. The AC is the most energy-expensive aspect of EVs, and a lot of that is to dispell the heat accumulated while parked. Update: will be assembled in Finland/to deliver 2009.
150 - 250 miles per charge
This quintessentially Californian EV startup company has still posted no new news since my last diary, but it plans to enter the x-prize. Or maybe making one perfect One Off is like the Haute Couture of the car business and that is ok too...check in with them at Spyder to see whats happening, maybe they just need some help getting going on this...
VW Golf PHEV
31 miles per charge + diesel till recharge
VW also just unveiled this PHEV Golf, that they call atwin drive which will operate about like the Prius a short range on electric: switching to gas after that, but it is not really a parallel hybrid like the Prius, or a serial hybrid like the Volt... A plug-in hybrid with a very robust electric drivetrain that's forced to drag around an internal combustion engine in case it gets too far away from home, but yielding 70 miles per gallon. Maybe you can figure out how twin drive works from their diagram. 2010 in Germany, but noticed their model has a left hand drive...
120 miles per charge
Another EV startup in CA, Miles, still says they will have their sedate sedan by 2010, but they have not met earlier delivery promises yet. They seem to be building it in China. Mayor Bloomberg tried one there last year and declared it good. They, like ZENN, do currently make excellent Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles - their sturdy truck NEV is now available (see below: Section 3)
50 miles per charge + or solar roof recharging
31 mph top speed
The French design firm Venturi's Eclectic initially looked like a toy to me, although beautiful, (and an effortless climber, as you can see in this amazing video)
But then, after the Bali conference in which the US was reproached by the entire world for being such a carbon pig, my view altered and I saw us as just as greedy and excessive as the (ultimately beheaded) Marie Antoinette and her husband Louis. Now it simply looks right for here in the dry West where we're going to have a hundred year drought - so no chance of ruining those nice shoes. This price is for the first run, but they passed their homologations to sell here and plan to produce more at a lower price if the first run does well.
120 miles per charge
90 mph top speed
Seats 2 (+1/2)
This will have two options, straight EV in which a UK site says the Aptera will have a range of 120 miles but autoblog green says in a series hybrid option like the Volt, a 1000 mile range.
93 - 124 miles per charge
105 mph top speed
The German firm Loremo plans this EV for 2010. I have generally ignored all the foreign EVs that have not specified that they will sell here but I have a feeling this might. Just a possibility. But now, on to what is!...
oh, wait: also, -on the drawing board-: the Mini Cooper EV. Updated July: yes, the Mini EV will be available in 2009 at least in California.
Last Christmas Sams Club sold an EV conversion of a Mini Cooper with lithium ion batteries conversion by Hybrid Technologies. I think conversions will lead to production, but are not quite there yet, and so I have not included other conversion companies for that reason.
But the fact that conversion companies have selected this as an electric conversion body, means it will probably become as an EV, but I didn't add it to the update, which I am trying to keep to production, not conversions, even fun and entertaining ones like the tzero by A C Propulsion's Tom Gage that I interviewed last year. Hybrid Technologies began mini cooper conversions last year. Conversions are always more expensive than building the technology in to begin with in: Hybrid's conversion makes the Mini a $60,000 EV. However, the Plug-In Prius was a conversion option for years before Toyota said they would make us a Plug-In option available. So. I bet it will be in my next years update.
...and another conversion company: UQM Technologies, is making Chevy Silverados into EVs for the US Army. Likewise....
This is Part II of a series:
Cars After The Age Of Oil - EVs Go Back To The Rickshaw
Cars After The Age Of Oil - EVs Coming To The US By 2010
Cars After The Age Of Oil - EVs Now If You Have The Time Or Money
Cars After The Age Of Oil - EVs In A Mad Max World