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Pininfarina B0 Electric Car

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The famous Italian design group Pininfarina, who is best known for their exotic sports cars, is set to produce an all electric city car called the Pininfarina B0 (B-Zero). The 5 door, 4 passenger electric car is a joint venture with the Bolloré Group, who is involved in Lithium Metal Polymer (LMP) battery production. These high energy, low weight batteries can be quickly charged in a few hours and claim to have a maintenance free life of 125,000 miles.

Another key to the design is the use of supercapacitors, which gather energy from regenerative braking and deliver that energy is rapid bursts needed during acceleration. This allows for 45 kWh of power to the front wheels and a top speed of 80 MPH. The range is an impressive 150 miles. 0-37 mph acceleration is 6.3 seconds.

Another unique feature is its photovoltaic solar roof which captures energy to feed the battery. Pininfarina expects to release the car in the Western Europe market in late 2009. Then possibly the U.S. and Asia in 2010.

Here is a link to Pininfarina’s site (in Italian)

Posted in Electric, Pininfarina by admin on 22|10|08
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BMW Mini E coming to the US

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BMW announced yesterday that they will indeed be releasing their new Mini E to the US market. They will be making 500 cars for a limited release by the end of 2008, then ramping up production after that. BMW has developed a special wallbox outlet charging system that the claim car fully charge the car in 2-3 hours rather than the 8+ hours of most EVs. The car can also charge from a normal outlet. The Mini E will have a beefed up weight of 3,230 lbs which is about 700 lbs more than the standard gas powered Mini.   In order to accommodate  the extra weight and space requirements, BMW has scrapped the 4 seater and made the Mini E a 2 seater.

Here are some quick specs:

Batteries: Lithium Ion

Range: 150 miles

Top Speed: 90 MPH

0-60 time: 8.5 seconds

Charge time: 2-3 hours using special “wallbox” outlet

Posted in BMW, Electric by admin on 20|10|08
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2010 Toyota Prius Pictures

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Photos of the 2010 Toyota Prius leaked out on the Internet this morning. Details remain sketchy but Toyota has indeed confirmed that these are the real pictures of the popular Prius model. They go on to say “This new Prius will retain all of the virtues of the model that precedes it. It’s about the same size as its forebear, but with more interior room and better fuel economy. But you expected nothing less, right?”

Bigger and better mileage is always a good thing, especially when they will be going head to head with the Honda Insight.


Posted in General, Hybrids, Toyota by admin on 17|10|08
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Tesla not immune from credit crunch

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Tesla’s planned S sedan that we wrote about last month looks like it might be delayed 6 months. The horrible economic downturn is causing Tesla to go into capital preservation mode which includes possible layoffs and delays. The company was relying taxpayer backed loans to cover most of the development costs, and with those loans rapidly drying up, they may have to go to plan B for the “S” sedan.

Tesla still expects to make 15,000 sedans a year by the end of 2011. The US Dept. of Energy has approved a loan of $150 billion to Tesla which appears to still be on track. The 5 passenger sedan is expected to have a $60,000 price tag, much lower than the $110,000 Tesla Roadster.

Posted in Electric, Tesla by admin on 16|10|08
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The 2010 Mitsubishi MiEV

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Mitsubishi’s MiEV concept vehicle began as showcase their in-wheel technology which placed small electric motors in each of the front wheels, and 1 to drive the rears. They have since ditched that concept for more traditional drivetrain. The car has a 330-volt Li-Ion battery pack that powers a 47 kW electric motor.

The EV puts out 132 lb-ft of torque and 63 HP, which is allows this small car surprising acceleration. 0-60 mph time is under 9.0 seconds. Its top speed is a respectable 80mph making it capably on any freeway.

The car can be charged in 7 hours on a 200v plug in, but Mitsubishi is working with Japanese power companies on a quick charge system that is said to produce an 80% in just 30 minutes.

The MiEV is currently on the road in Tokyo as a 30 car test fleet. It is expected to be on sale in Japan at the end of 2009 for around $24,000. Mitsubishi then plans to release the MiEV in other markets like Europe and North America possibly in 2010.

Posted in Electric, Mitsubishi by admin on 14|10|08
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Volkswagen Twin Drive Electric Hybrid

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Not to be left out of the plug in electric race, Volkswagen is working on a “Twin Drive” model based on the Golf. The twin drive uses the electric motor as its primary power source and a clean diesel engine as a backup and regenerative source. This is similar to the operation of the GM Volt, which allows for a longer range. VW says it will run the first 31 miles on pure electric from its lithium ion batteries before switching over to the diesel. The Germans are very eager to get this technology rolling down the roads as soon as possible. The Interior Ministry in Germany gave VW a $23.5 million grant to help spur the development. VW hopes to have the car ready in 2010.

Posted in Electric, Hybrids, VW by admin on 11|10|08
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Can’t wait until 2010 for an electric car?

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If you simply can’t wait the major car makers roll out their electric cars in 2010, Hybrid Technologies wants to sell you a 100% electric car today. The only catch is, it will cost you. But if you want to be the first one in your neighborhood to silently cruise by gas stations and laugh, the cars are available. Hybrid technologies has been making headlines lately with their litium ion battery powered electric cars, motorcycles, mopeds, even home systems.

They currently market 5 EVs, from city commuters to a super sports car. Their most popular model is the LiV Flash, which is based on the BMW Mini Cooper. For $57,500 they will deliver you a brand new plug in electric version of the Mini Cooper.

Specs include a top speed of 80+ MPH, 0-60 in 9 seconds, range of 100-120 miles and a charge time of just 6 hours.

Need a little more room to haul the kids? Another model uses Chrysler’s PT cruiser model as the basis for the electric conversion.

Specs include a top speed of 80+ MPH, 0-60 in 9.9 seconds, range of 100-120 miles and a charge time of just 6 hours.

If you really have to make a statement with your EV, the LiV Rush could be your answer. This exotic sports car boasts all electric performance of 0-60 in 5 seconds and a top speed of 110 MPH. All for the price of $100,000. Roughly the same price as a similar Tesla.

Posted in BMW, Chrysler, Electric by admin on 07|10|08
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Honda Insight hybrid looking to capture Prius market

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Honda recently unveiled their answer to the wildly successful Toyota Prius: the 2010 Insight. Set to be released in mid 2009 for the 2010 model year, this hybrid should carry a price tag of $20k or less. Which would undercut the Prius by several thousand dollars in the lucrative hybrid market.

The car uses a less complex form of hybrid technology called IMA, that does not allow electric only operation, but utilizes a full time hybrid mode for increased efficiency. Sources at Honda say they aren’t interested in pursuing a plug in type electric car currently. “We’re not planning to make a pure battery-based electric vehicle,” a company rep said. “The next phase we see is the fuel-cell vehicle.”

Performance and mileage is expected to be similar to the current Civic hybrid at around 42 mpg. Will Honda dominate the hybrid market with the Insight? We’ll have to wait until 2010 to see, but it should be interesting.

Posted in Honda, Hybrids, Manufacturers by admin on 03|10|08
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Warren Buffet betting on electric cars

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The number one investor and sometimes richest man in the world is betting on the future of alternative fueled cars, and that bet is electric. His company Berkshire Hathaway, has purchased a 10% stake ($231 million) in the Chinese company BYD.

BYD is important because they recently shook up the electric car race by introducing a plug in electric car called the F6DM that will be available in China this fall, and which they claim will be exported to the US in 2010. The price of the car is expected to be only $20,000, which would undercut almost every planned plug in electric and most hybrids. They are also heavily into the development of the lithium ion batteries that are vital to all electric and hybrid vehicles

With the backing of Buffet, this adds a real sense of legitimacy to the Chinese company and their ability to deliver a real plug in electric vehicle to the US market at an affordable price.

Posted in BYD, Electric by admin on 30|09|08
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Jeep EV performance specs

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Chrysler has released a spec sheet for the 2010 Jeep Wrangler EV plug in electric vehicle. Given the weight and aerodynamics of the Jeep, the performance and efficiency numbers are very impressive. Here is a summary:

Electrical drive system:

Power: 268 HP (200 kw)

Torque: 295 lbs-ft. (400 nM)

Performance:

0-60: 9.0 seconds

1/4 Mile: 16.5 seconds

Top Speed: 90 MPH+

Range: 400 miles total, 1st 40 miles all electric

Battery:

Type: Lithium-Ion

Energy: 27 kWh

Voltage: 370-410

Charging: Standard household 110/220 or 220/240


Posted in Chrysler by admin on 28|09|08
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