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Fisker to release new convertible electric

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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.”

Posted in Electric, Fisker by admin on 31|12|08
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First mass market electric car on sale in China

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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.

Posted in BYD, Electric by admin on 15|12|08
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Hawaii looking to go electric

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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.

Posted in General by admin on 09|12|08
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Dean Kamen builds Stirling electric hybrid car

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Dean Kamen, the prolific inventor most famous for the iconic Segway, has been tinkering with hybrid electric cars. He now has built a prototype car that is listed on the registration as a 2008 DEKA Revolt. Based on the body of the discontinued Ford Think, the car uses lithium batteries and a revolutionary Stirling engine. The batteries power the car directly, while the Stirling engine powers secondary features like heating and defrosters. Then when the battery runs low, the Stirling will recharge the batteries and extend the range of the car. The car will go 60 miles on a single charge.

Kamen has never backed down from attempting to solve huge issues of the world, like clean water, electricity for developing countries and transportation. “The car is a step along the way to be able to build, in high volume, high-quality, low-cost electric generation for a couple billion people,” Kamen explained. He hopes to have the car in production in 2 years.

Will the DEKA Revolt make the worldwide impact on transportation that eluded Kamen with the Segway? Time will tell.

Posted in Electric, Hybrids by admin on 10|11|08
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AFS Trinity 150 MPG Plug in hybrid

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AFS TrinityPower is a small company with a history of big innovations. They have developed a plug-in hybrid technology that allows their test SUVS to achieve an equivalent of 150 MPG. The vehicles can go 40 miles in all electric mode, then unlimited miles in gas hybrid mode. The XH-150 Extreme Hybrid™ platform is currently operating in 2 prototype Saturn Vue vehicles. They hope to move the technology into commercial cars within 2-3 years. AFS Trinity is actively seeking government assistance to move forward with their research.

Here is a video of the XH-150 in action:

Posted in Electric, General by admin on 07|11|08
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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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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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The 5 biggest electric car myths

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As with any new emerging technology, there are many misconceptions about electric cars. Today we focus on the 5 most common myths regarding plug in electric cars.

Myth #1 - The electrical grid will be overloaded if everyone tries to charge their plug in cars.

This concern often arises as people think of blackouts caused by overloaded power grids in summer months. How can there be enough capacity to take on even more power usage? First of all, those blackouts are usually cause during heat waves when everyone is running enormously power hungry air conditioners all at the same time. Plug in cars on the other hand, pull a small trickle charge similar to your home’s refrigerator, and that charge is usually spread over an 8 hour period. Secondly the charging is mostly done at night, during off peak hours when the electrical grid is operating at a fraction of its capacity.

In fact a report by the Department of Energy concluded that if all the nations cars and trucks suddenly switched from oil to electrics, the idle capacity of the electric grid could generate most of the energy needed by the electrics. That is assuming a total immediate switchover, while such a transition would take decades in reality. Further studies by Oak Ridge National labs confirm that off peak charging could handle the extra load of plug in electrics with no additional power plants required.

Myth #2 - The power must come from somewhere, you are just exchanging a polluting car for a polluting power plant.

Simple mathematics show that it is much more efficient to generate power in a central location rather than having the pollutants dispersed by millions of cars. Even if the power used by an electric car comes 100% directly from a coal burning power plant, the net emissions are dramatically lower. A study by the Los Angeles dept of Water and Power concluded that over a 100,000 mile life cycle, a normal gas powered car would produce 3,000 pounds of pollutants, while a electric powered car from today’s power plants would produce just under 100. These numbers are from coal burning power plants. Power plants running on natural gas, solar, wind or nuclear vastly improve the net pollution output even more. For example a single large wind turbine can produce enough energy to power 3,000 electric cars.

Myth #3 - They are too slow to be on the roads

This one probably arises from most people’s only experience with electric powered vehicles - the golf cart. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Electric vehicles can be fast! The linear power delivery characteristics of electric vehicles can make them extremely quick. Torque is instantly available at all RPM ranges, without the usual lag we are used to with combustion engines. Videos like this of the Wrightspeed X-1 electric beating Ferrari and Porsche supercars should convince reassure people of electric’s power potential. Of course there is always the currently produced Tesla roadster, with its 0-60 time of 3.9 seconds.

Myth #4 - Batteries are environmentally disasterous

It’s true that older nickel-metal hydrid batteries have some toxic components. But if properly disoposed, recycling programs can break down almost every component of the battery for reuse. Current lithium ion batteries are getting cleaner all the time. Case in point - the lithium ion battery used in the electric motorcycle in production by Zero Motorcycles is sodium based and completely free of toxic metals. It can be completely recycled and is even rated for direct landfill disposal.

Myth #5 - Aren’t electric cars dangerous, will I get shocked?

This one is more urban legend than anything. Not one case of shocking by electric or hybrid car has ever occurred. Hybrid and electric cars have many redundant systems in place to cut power and break the circuit in the event of collisions, short circuits or power surges. Even completely submerging a electric car in water would do nothing more than cut the power from the batteries. In fact electric cars are much safer overall that internal combustion engines. Not surprising when you compare a closed cell battery system to rolling down the road with a large tank of highly flammable and combustible liquid and an engine that runs by sparking that liquid! Injury and deaths from fire and explosions are projected to dramatically decrease with an electric car fleet on the road.

Posted in Electric, General by admin on 09|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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