BG Automotive group is planning to start making deliveries of their neighborhood electric vehicle (NEVs) this spring. The fully electric vehicle comes standard with air conditioning, dual airbags, power steering/brakes, even an AM/FM/CD player with Ipod jack. The price starts at $16k.
Neighborhood electric vehicles are rated for a top speed of 45 mph, so they can’t be taken on the freeways in most states. But there is a high speed version in the works for 2010.
In 2008 Tesla motors delivered 150 of its critically acclaimed Roadsters. Even in the harsh economic conditions they plan on ramping up production in 2009. They plan to increase the rate of production from 15 to 30 cars per week later in the year.
In other Tesla news:
Adding to their Karma model, Fisker has announced plans for a second luxury plug in electric car. The Fisker Karma S or Sunset will be a convertible electric vehicle. Both this model and the production model of the Karma will be displayed at the Detroit car show on January 12th.
From the press release:
“The Fisker Karma S will be powered by the Karma’s Q-DRIVE® powertrain, developed in cooperation with Quantum Technologies exclusively for Fisker Automotive. Q-DRIVE® offers a 50 mile range on a single charge to its Lithium-Ion battery pack, and up to 408hp from two electric motors.”
The upcoming Ford Fusion Hybrid has surprised the hybrid world by securing a 41mpg city rating. That fuel economy would put in only behind the Prius as the most fuel efficient car. The 41mpg rating is even higher than the Toyota Camry and Honda Civic hybrids.
The Fusion Hybrid is set to be released in late 2009 with a price tag of $27,000. The performance is a respectable 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. Its reported to be able to achieve 47 mph on battery power alone, before switching over to engine power.
It seems Ford is serious about moving into the green car space, and has a possible winner on their hands with the Fusion Hybrid.
The first widely released plug in electric car went on sale today in China. The BYD F3DM was officially presented in a ceremony in Shenzhen. The car retails for 149,800 yuan which is equivalent to $22,000 US dollars. BYD is the company that Warren Buffett invested heavily in this year. In addition to producing the cars, BYD also China’s biggest producer of battery and battery technology. The car is expected to be available in the US and Europe in 2010.
The range of the F3DM is 62 miles on full electric and also has a small gas powered range extender than kicks in after that. The battery can be fully charged in 7 hours, as well as a 50% quick charge in only 10 minutes from specialty charging station.
The CEO of Tesla motors, Elon Musk, released more details about the much anticipated Tesla S sedan. The sticker price will be $57,499, which is about half the price of the $109,000 Roadster model. The government tax credit for electric vehicles brings the price down to $49,999. “If you take into account the $10,000 to $15,000 you might spend on gas with a conventional car, the Model S drops to $34,000 to $39,000,” says Musk.
Tesla hopes to have a running prototype by the end of February 2009, and the production model should be ready in 2011.
The state of Hawaii is looking to take the green lead with its plan to add a large network of electric vehicle charging stations. The ambitious plan would add from 70,000 to 120,000 charging stations on the islands before 2012. The stations will be smart charging points and swappable battery centers. In a partnership with Better Place, the state hopes to decrease its dependence on expensive imported oil.
Hawaii is an ideal location for a conversion to electric vehicles. Its small location means most drives make short trips. The abundant natural resources like wind, wave, geo-thermal, and solar can easily power their electric grid with renewable energy.
While the flashy startup Tesla gets most of the press for its all electric car, another California startup is close to releasing a plug in electric car. The company is Miles Electric, and the car is the Highway Speed sedan. The car is a “normal looking” 4 door sedan. It will have room for 5 passengers with ample trunk space. Luxury options like sunroof, electronic stability control, bluetooth, and GPS navigation will all be available. The company plans to offer an 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty.
Miles Electric claims the range of the car will be 100 miles on a single charge, and can be re-charged with a standard 220 volt appliance outlet. Power is provided by a 320 V Lithium Ion battery pack. The car should cruise at 80 mph and have a 0 to 60 time of 8.5 seconds. The price will be from $40,000-$45,000, which is right in the expected price of the Volt, and undercuts the Tesla S sedan by $20k.
The car can be charged from a 50% depletion to full in about 4-6 hours. But Miles is developing a fast charge system that would allow a full charge in 15-20 minutes. Current estimates for the cost of a full charge is $1.75.
When can you buy one? An official launch date is not yet announced, but Miles Electric plans to make the cars available for test drive in 4th quarter of 2009. The on sale date should be early 2010. The company hopes to sell 9,000 cars the first year and up to 30,000 in the following years.
Hyundai revealed a bold new strategy to try to become the most fuel efficient car line on the planet. Utilizing their new “blue drive” technology, they hope to achieve a 35 mpg fleet average for their cars by 2015. This technology breaks with the current lithium ion battery trend and uses a lithium polymer battery. They claim these batteries produce 10% better power, while weighing 30% less and taking up half the space.
Hyundai is looking to offer this platform in many of its current models as hybrids, as well as new cars to feature full electric modes. These “blue editions” version will be even cheaper than current prices: $11,070 and $13,970 for the Accent and Elantra models. The large Korean car maker is a little late to the hybrid and electric party, but hopes this aggressive new initiative will push them to the forefront.
This video describes the Blue Drive technology from the recent L.A. auto show.
Conventional wisdom is that working trucks and 18 wheelers are too big and heavy for electric batteries. While it might be true that current batteries alone could not power a large truck, they can improve the efficiency. The utility company Southern California Edison has developed a working prototype plug in hybrid truck over 5 years ago. The truck weighs 26,000 lbs with the hybrid system adding 1,000 lbs. They are looking to add another to their fleet.
Another company, Eaton, produces smaller hybrid drive-trains for smaller trucks and buses. They are currently developing plug in hybrid systems for larger trucks. According to Kevin Beaty of Eaton, “The point is, can batteries help improve the performance and fuel economy of an 18-wheeler? Absolutely they can”.
With still high prices for diesel fuel, anything that can improve efficiency of our truck fleet should be on the table. Work on heavy vehicle plug in hybrid technology is still in its early phases, but the development should have benefits for all vehicles down the line.
Source: Ny Times