August 10, 2007 10:25 AM PDT

In electric car stakes, it's Miles to go

In electric car stakes, it's Miles to go
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Miles Automotive will try to accomplish two feats with one car in 2008: bring an electric sedan to the market, and bring a car made in China to the U.S.

The Javlon, from Southern California's Miles Automotive, will go 120 miles before it needs a charge and will hit a top speed of 80 miles an hour, according to CEO Jeff Boyd. It will cost approximately $32,000, and its lithium ion battery will last more than 100,000 miles before it needs to be replaced.

The company hopes eventually to come out with other models that will accelerate faster and go farther on a single charge.

Although Miles is based in the U.S., the car will be assembled in China, and most of the key components, such as the battery, will come from there as well. The basic chassis of the Javlon, in fact, is already being used for a gas car by another company in China. (U.S. carmakers get parts from China but assemble them elsewhere, and Chinese companies do not import street cars in large numbers to the U.S.)

China isn't exactly identified with high-quality manufacturing these days, but Boyd and other executives assert that Chinese doesn't mean cheap or shoddy. The chassis was actually designed by Italian designer Pininfarina.

The battery also comes from a well-known vendor. "We're buying it from one of the premium battery manufacturers in China," he said.

Over the next three years, the world will get a chance to see if it's really ready to embrace electric cars. General Motors, Toyota, Honda and Ford all brought out electric vehicles in the 1990s--only to yank them off the market because of dismal sales. Some of the current crop of electric car designers and execs also assert that these early cars weren't very good.

Since then, better batteries, higher oil prices and global warming have brought the idea back into vogue. Tesla Motors will bring out a $98,000 sports car later this year.

Selling sedans
Meanwhile, a whole host of companies--including Think, Zap, Tesla and Phoenix Motorcars--hope to bring out sedans for the mainstream market. (Others, such as India's Reva, are aiming for the economy market, while Zero Motorcycles and Vectrix are selling electric two-wheelers.)

Miles Automotive vehicles

The sports cars are being sold on the basis of speed and acceleration, an advantage that comes from having an electric motor. Marketing sedans is a bit trickier. The sedans will range in price from $30,000 to $50,000, and most will only be able to go about 100 to 150 miles before needing a charge.

Will Americans pay that much for a car that might not get them away for a quick weekend trip without conking out? Nobody knows, but Boyd notes that most Americans commute only about 40 miles a day and that a lot of people have second cars they use only for commuting.

"We don't expect this to be most people's primary car," he said.

Charge time is another issue. The battery in the Javlon will take 8 to 10 hours to fully charge. That's significantly longer than the charge times touted by other manufacturers--the Tesla Roadster, which comes with a fairly large battery, charges in about 4 hours. Boyd says that customers will become acclimated to thinking about charging every time they park.

The Santa Monica company was founded by Miles Rubin, an executive-turned-entrepreneur and a philanthropist. About three years ago, he was at an automotive conference with now-Chief Marketing Officer David Hirsch. They listened to two engineers argue about the feasibility of hydrogen cars. One said hydrogen cars would hit in about 18 years.

"He turned to me and said '18 years? I'll be dead in 18 years. What can we do in 18 months?'" Hirsch recalled.

The company has already come out with low-speed vehicles that top out at 25 to 35 miles per hour. They are sold to college campuses, industrial sites and the military. The Department of Defense is replacing a number of conventional cars with low-speed vehicles. Retirement communities, which have seen a rash of accidents among their golf cart-commuting residents, are another target market.

The company has already come out with low-speed vehicles that top out at 25 to 35 miles an hour. They are sold for use on college campuses, industrial sites and military posts--the Department of Defense is replacing a number of conventional cars with low-speed vehicles. Retirement communities, which have seen a rash of accidents among their golf cart-commuting residents, are another target market.

"There are about 70,000 low-speed vehicles in the U.S. today," Boyd said.

To date, Rubin has put about $15 million to $20 million into the company. Venture capital firms have not invested in it.

The first prototypes are currently being finished in China, and Miles hopes to bring them to the U.S. for testing and to show potential dealers by September. The company will then begin the rigorous, and somewhat expensive, process of testing required by the U.S. government and the EU.

If all goes well, Miles will begin to sell cars in the fourth quarter of 2008. For the first year of production, it has set a goal of producing 18,000 cars, and for the second year, 38,000. An SUV-like car will follow, ideally, in 2010.

If electric cars are such a good idea, what will prevent the big companies from coming in and taking over? Size, says Boyd, who has owned and run several car dealerships. Unless big automakers believe they can sell 200,000 units of a new model, they won't make it, he said.

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50 comments

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Are they really efficient?
How much energy does it take to produce these things? We're talking all the energy required for parts fabrication, transportation, workers commuting to the factory, getting the *heavy* batteries over from china, etc...

The reason I ask is if they are expecting people to have 2 cars - one for commuting and one for longer travel - then people who have an *extra* electric car just for commuting may in fact be using (or be responsible for) more energy derived from petroleum than someone who owns just one traditional gasoline powered compact car. That is, after you take into account BOTH the energy the electric car uses and the energy needed to make the car in the first place, are you really saving energy?

Let me summarize - is owning the two cars more efficient than owning just one small gasoline powered compact after you factor in all the additional energy it takes to create that second car. My suspicion is that its not even close. But it will, I'm sure, appeal to those fashion-enviro's to whom energy efficiency is more of a fashion statement than a real concern.
Posted by LuvThatCO2 (187 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Electric Car Energy Costs One Quarter As Much
Ignoring energy costs to build the car and ship it to your house...

Once an EV (electric vehicle) is in your driveway, the cost of its energy (electricity) is 25% of the energy cost (gasoline) to drive an ICEV (internal combustion engine vehicle). That's assuming similar performance. The negatives are that the EV has less range and the refueling time (aka recharging time) is measured in hours instead of minutes. Another EV plus though is that you can refuel it in your garage at night ... no trips to the gas station.

To get more range from an EV, you need more batteries, and they are still very expensive. Probably half the cost of the Javlon is its batteries. Demand and volume should eventually help that problem.

In the mean time, one of the most promising vehicles seems to be this concept EV hybrid from GM:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/" target="_newWindow">http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/</a>

By combining an EV with an on-board generator, it provides the best features of an EV and ICEV in one package. GM claims it will be a production vehicle in 2010.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
These are go carts!
Shoe boxes and go carts will enjoy limted success in the US. In other courties it may be more popular.

If they can get a traditional size car or SUV to do that I would be IMPRESSED!
Posted by Tod Smith (340 comments )
Link Flag
Yes, Luv, EVs are efficient
People buy second cars; they all take energy to manufacture. Comparing buying an EV with doing without a commuter car is false reasoning.
Posted by EV Lover (16 comments )
Link Flag
And what is your alternative?
"Will Americans pay that much for a car that might not get them away for a quick weekend trip without conking out? Nobody knows, but Boyd notes that most Americans commute only about 40 miles a day and that a lot of people have second cars they use only for commuting."
I know many people has a second car that is used primarily for commute to and from work. The other bigger car they have is for family travel. Why do you make an assumption that they EXPECT you to have two car? This is what Americans already are doing. Besides that if you don't have the need, DO NOT buy the second car. The average commute is about 40 miles. So a charge that last 120 isn't bad. In addition to that, let's assume that the same amount of energy use to build &#38; drive an electric car, I would still welcome it especially when it reduce dependency on oil and the big company.
So to sum it up.
1. Nobody force you to buy a second car.
2. Diversify use of energy is a good thing even if everything else equals. That make you less dependent on oil and the monopoly of oil companies or the middle east.
3. Not only that, the cost of electricity is significantly less than a gallon of oil at this present time.

Having said that, the idea of running on electric only isn't too appealing. Having to remember charging every other day is tough. And the need for occasionally travel more than 120 miles is welcome. Hybrid car (oil/electric) with battery that hold charge for at least 120 miles is more suitable. Anyway, there are many issues that need to be address before this can become a good alternative solution.
Posted by vhac (68 comments )
Link Flag
Efficiency
The energy needed to make a car is much less than the energy needed to propel the car over it's lifespan, especially with gas hogs. That said, the energy needed to make an electric car is remarkably similar to the energy needed for a gas car of similar size - most of the energy needed is to make the steel, glass, aluminum, fabric, plastics, rubber, paints, etc. common to both types of cars.

If a family is going to get two (or more) cars, why not make at least one of them really efficient and cheap to run? Electrics are inherently efficient, and "electric fuel" costs much less than petrol.

Also, some people may choose an electric for their only car, as most of their travel is local, and they can choose to fly or rent a car for those rare long trips.
Posted by albizzia (103 comments )
Link Flag
Great Idea except
This would be a great Idea except there is no place to charge the car outside of the home. Unless Place of employeement or Gas station set up charging station. This idea will be slow to catch on.
Posted by CCromby (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Not really.....
"The average U.S. driver only goes about 25 miles to 30 miles a day, according to several studies." (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://news.cbsi.com/A+motorcycle+thats+fast%2C+silent+and+green/2100-11389_3-6199962.html" target="_newWindow">http://news.cbsi.com/A+motorcycle+thats+fast%2C+silent+and+green/2100-11389_3-6199962.html</a>)

If this is true, the current 100 to 200 mile recharge cycle is more than enough for most users.

But, I do share your concern about getting stranded if the battery goes out on a long trip.

I have yet to realize why the electric car companies do not install something like a propane powered generator for use to recharge the batteries when no other power source is nearby.

While it is true enough that it would be using fossil fuels to power the generator, burning propane is far less toxic and polluting than burning gasoline or ethanol or even diesel and the same propane canisters used for your outdoor grills are at most gas stations now - so there is already a supply chain available.

Until our electric cars tap into zero point energy (don't hold your breath) or use nuclear batteries (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.livescience.com/technology/050513_new_battery.html" target="_newWindow">http://www.livescience.com/technology/050513_new_battery.html</a>), the best bet is to use something like Toshiba's fast charging lithium-ion batters (<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.dpreview.com/news/0503/05032903tosh1minbatt.asp" target="_newWindow">http://www.dpreview.com/news/0503/05032903tosh1minbatt.asp</a>) that recharge up to 80% in one minute.

The initial cost may be higher for the Toshiba batteries, but mass production always seems to nullify that little problem. The real question is whether the Toshiba batteries' output capabilities are sufficient for the task.
Posted by Jim Hubbard (326 comments )
Link Flag
Electrical outlets scarce?
When EVs start being used widely, governments and businesses will eagerly offer charging services, both for employess and as a public service (at meters, in parking garages and in preferred parking.)

When the Model T came out, there were few gas stations; gasoline had to be bought in general stores. Electricity is widely available and can cheaply be offered for EV recharging.
Posted by EV Lover (16 comments )
Link Flag
I smell a snake oil saleman
Yeah these will run up to 120 mile on a charge on a 70 degree
day at 45 miles per hour, but what happens on a zero degree
day when you have to run heat full blast to keep the windows
from freezing up? How about when you set gridlocked on a
freeway on a 90 degree day and need the air conditioning
running full blast?

If the big three could sell 20,000 copies of these per year they
would jump big into the electric market. Mazda developed the
miata for a target of less than 20,000 per year. The first year
target for the Pontiac Solstice was less than 10,000 per year.
And this car is just a conventional car converted to electric, not a
ground up design. If the market was there, one of Toyota/GM/
Ford/Honda/Daimler would already be selling this and could
develop a lot more cheaply than this guy. Has this car been dot
certified for glass/lights/etc. Has the NHTSA-required crash
testing been done on this Chinese market car?
Posted by William Schnippert (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Regarding Your Concerns
Usually EV range estimates try to factor in realistic driving scenarios. Statistically, 90% of people drive less than 26 miles per day. So even a 50 mile range is a viable around-town vehicle for many people.

A new ground-up electric design is being done by GM, and it's planned for production in 2010:

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/" target="_newWindow">http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/</a>

By adding an on-board charger, the range issue is eliminated. I think their hold-up right now is the batteries. Nobody is making enough lithium ion batteries at a reasonable cost. So it will take a while for that industry to ramp-up enough to feed the auto-makers, plus the cell phones and laptops.

A few months ago, I was skeptical too. I watched a documentary called "Who Killed The Electric Car", and found it very interesting. Then I started doing research on the internet. I've learned that EVs are completely viable.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Gridlocked EVs use little power
EVs have been tested from Maine to Brazil: they work.
A 2000 market study (using Dohring auto market survey data) concluded that the EV market will top 200,000 in five years.
GM sued to avoid mass-marketing EVs. Why? Automakers profit far more on Big Iron SUV sales than they will on energy-efficient vehicles (that need few dealer repairs.)
Finally, any automobile offered in the US must meet DOT requirements.
Posted by EV Lover (16 comments )
Link Flag
100,000 mile battery claim is fraud
Lithiun ion batteries deteriorate as a function of time, not just number of recharges, so that claims of 100,000 miles are bogus. The costs of li ion batteries to obtain a 120 mile range
are also not small - at least $11,000, every 5 years or so, regardless of how much mileage you've been able to log. The Chevy VOLT with lifetime batteries and 40 mile range will send this EV to the bankruptcy court. This car costs more than the VOLT, looks horrible and has quality issues and can't get you to any destination over 55 miles away. It's a really bad vehicle that no one would ever consider except for the electric come on. Wait for the VOLT and save you money.
Posted by theBike45 (90 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Chevrolet Volt
I agree that the Volt is a brilliant concept. But I'm not sure that GM's decision to wait for better lithium ion technology is the way to go.

If Chevy sold a Volt today that had a 20 mile electric-only range (maybe using NiMH batteries instead), I would certainly consider buying one. My daily drive is usually less than 20 miles. In those conditions, it would have half the energy cost of a Prius combined with better performance.

Plus I think it looks way more cool. ;-)

I've read that Chevy has plans to be publicly testing Volts in 2008 that have a 10 mile electric-only range. Then a 20 mile range in 2009. Then the 40 mile version will be sold in 2010, provided their lithium-ion battery supplier comes through.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Lithium improving fast
Lithium EVs will cost far less to maintain than gas cars do now; also, subtract all gasoline costs. Power packs will get cheaper fast, and you'll save enough to pay for them (if they do need replacement.)
The Model T broke down every 25 miles, you had to buy gas at general stores, and it had to be backed up hills.
Obviously, completely new vehicle paradigms will take development, just as primitive smog-belchers did.
Posted by EV Lover (16 comments )
Link Flag
Who is a fraud?
Hmm, The plan for the Chevy Volt is to use LiIon batteries, which, according to TheBike45 "deteriorate as a function of time". So is the Volt a fraud, too?

Nah, TheBike45 just underestimated the lifespan of LiIon batteries, especially some of the newer battery formulations that are more durable than the original LiIon cells.

Neither the Volt or the Javlon are currently available, it is possible the current price estimates could be wrong, so it is premature to assume that the Volt would cost less than the Javlon. Ditto for quality - both GM and China have had quality issues.
Posted by albizzia (103 comments )
Link Flag
Miles Electric Vehicles Are Great!
I got a chance to ride in the Miles ZX40 here in NYC. It is one of their low-speed vehicles but was actually fast enough to keep up with traffic in Manhattan. Having worked in the automotive industry, and been lucky enough to drive some of the world?s greatest cars (Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche etc) on the street and track, the build quality of the Miles was impressive. In that regard, I would say it is easily the peer of economy cars from all major brands. Acceleration off the line was brisk (max torque @ 0 rpm) and even though it is not really meant for street use, it felt solid and safe.

One of the most fun parts of the ride was the reaction of pedestrians. They loved the little Miles car and many people asked what it was and where they could get one. The quality and value of the ZX40 is indicative of the job Miles Automotive is doing.

I expect the Miles Javlon will be the tip of the spear in the push to prove that electric vehicles (and not Hydrogen) are the future. The car will succeed by utilizing existing infrastructure, being easy to use, and affordable. Plus it carries the double benefits of reduced dependence on foreign oil and an emission free commute. Throw in Pininfarina styling with the ultra-vogue idea of being the greenest person on the street and Miles has a sure hit.
Posted by davidkai1 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
EVs are viable...
As previously mentioned, check out the documentary "Who Killed The Electric Car?" to find out some of the obstacles paving the way to the electric car. There is lots of food for thought in the theories presented there.

I will be picking up my fully electric car in a couple of weeks, and it is ideal for my situation... I work less than 4 miles from home and my wife's college classes are at the local branch, so we can drive it on meaningful trips 6 days out of 7 and still cost less than a one way trip to work in my Blazer. And it's not a NEV either... it's a 1980 Comuta-Car, capable of keeping up with rural traffic and our small town main roads.

As for the Chevy Volt, I'm a bit confused with their choice of engine for the charging system... a 3 cylinder turbocharged 1.0 litre just to spin a generator? Sounds a lot like a gimmick to make people think it's really powerful... it's not like it's a plug-in hybrid capable of switching over to gas/E85/(bio)diesel once the batteries run out...

DaveP in Ohio
Posted by dcpyatt (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Volt *Is* A Serial Hybrid
It seems you have been misinformed a little about the Volt.

The Volt is a "serial hybrid", but GM is avoiding the word "hybrid". I don't think they want it confused with "parallel hybrids" like the Prius and Saturn Aura.

The Volt electric motor is powered only by the batteries for the first 40 miles, after which it is mostly powered by the generator. So the generator needs to be powerful enough to drive the motor for up to 600 miles, and if there is any juice left over, the generator can simultaneously charge the batteries.

GM only uses the word "hybrid" to describe their "parallel" hybrids, where both the electric motor and gas engine can drive the transmission and power train.

GM calls the Volt an EV with a "range extender" generator. The generator could run on gasoline, ethanol, diesel, or (when pigs fly) even hydrogen.

The Volt seems like a very clever design, since it is simple, modular, and flexible. Conceivably, a customer could order a Volt with different battery capacities or different range extender options. Or even (some day) omit the range extender if they want a purely electric vehicle.

Many feel that the serial hybrids will be superior to parallel hybrids, since they will be much simpler and even more efficient. It seems like the technology is available to make it viable today, but GM is waiting on a large supply of better batteries. They seem to have their heart set on 40 miles of battery-only range, and that is currently planned for 2010.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Makes no sense to use fossile fuels to charge an electric car.
Unless your electric company has a nuclear plant, having an electric car makes no environmental sense. Otherwise, you give up a gasline engine to have your electric company burn coal or natural gas to charge the battery.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I Believe It Does
I can think of three reasons why:

1) When it comes to powering a car, the cost of electric energy from the grid is about 1/4 the cost of energy from gasoline.

2) Modern electrical plants (even coal fired) are at least as clean as your car. Some forms of generation don't pollute at all.

3) I look forward to the day when big oil finally has some competition (from electricity) in the market of transportation energy. Today big oil has a monopoly, so they can easily gouge you at the gas pump. It's not like you can just drive your electric car instead ... yet.
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Makes no sense...
My question is: To get the same amount of miles does burning fossil fuels at an electric generation plant make more "carbon" sense than burning gasoline in a gasoline powered car. I've read that we waste about 99% of the energy to transport a payload in a gasoline powered car. Do electric plants provide more energy/carbon than gasoline engines? I'm not sure if I'm phrasing this question correctly, but do you see what I'm asking?
Posted by spothannah (145 comments )
Link Flag
Oil drilling makes no sense
Gasoline doesn't magically appear in the pump, either. Oil drilling, piping, shipping, refining and trucking gasoline creates ten times the pollution that generating (nasty, coal-fired) electricity does.
Posted by EV Lover (16 comments )
Link Flag
OK But...
Let's not forget that wind and solar power are also being used
more in certain parts of the county, and you left out hydro-
electric power.

But here's the point I really want to make, I'm ok with the
apparently negative scenario you imply and here's why: I think
we should use electricity even if it's generated from a petroleum
bi-product source, simply because the more we narrow the use
of petroleum/fossil based power sources down, the easier it gets
to focus on those final sources and to begin replacing them with
alternate sources. It's a little like cornering a mouse in the
dining room, as you get it narrowed to one corner you keep
moving all of the other furniture behind you so that it can no
longer hide in those places, and when it's got no where else to
go then the choices of exactly what you're going to do to catch it
and eliminate it become much clearer. Very rough analogy I
know, but you get the point.

I don't think we should wait to start doing the right thing where
it presensts itself just because we don't have an end-to-end
solution yet, and in the case of petroleum-based fuel the power
of private interests have here-to-fore continued to win out over
really implementing alternative fuel source for cars and
generating electricity in any large scale way. Waiting has been
the number one killer of using non-petroleum based fuel
sources for cars, let's stop waiting until some politician tells us
it's ok to start buying other types of cars and start buying only
cars that DO NOT use gasoline - And let's start that now, not
another ten years from now. (Read that as YET ANOTHER ten
years from now.)
Posted by rbiz (49 comments )
Link Flag
Overall System More Efficient
IC engines in cars have about a 25% thermal efficiency (energy of the fuel into power to the wheels, and the delievery system for oil is consumes about 18% of the energy of oil produced at the well head in transportation and refining losses. The overall well-to-wheel efficiency of a standard gas powered IC car is 0.82 x 0.25 = 20.5%

The best power plants do much better(The GE H-System co-generator is about 60% efficient with natural gas). Other losses in the system: Natural gas recovery/transportation 95%, electrical transmission - 92%, charge/discharge efficiency of battery charger/battery - 82%, Electric motor efficiency - 93%. The resulting overall cycle efficiency for an EV is 39%, or roughly twice that of a gas powered IC car.

Coal plants don't run as efficiently, but using the poor efficiency of 1950's era coal plants isn't fair since a switch to EV transportation would require new plants, and those new plants would be of much higher efficiency modern designs.

I have seen numbers showing that even from coal assuming a modern coal plant, the amount of CO2 released by an EV car to go a given distance is still less than a IC engine car.

But that isn't the real point. The real point is that we decouple our cars from a specific source of power. We can continue to improve our sources of electrical power. Getting more and more environmentally friendly, reacting to changing supplies, all without changing our cars. Maybe in the future we'll carpet a small corner of Nevada with solar cells and generate all the electrical power we need for our cars. But we have to make the break from the power source first.
Posted by jlfelder (61 comments )
Link Flag
It's still better to have an electic car than gas car, no matter what
Even if the electricity is powered completely by coal(which is quite unlikely), the car still produces about 30 percent less emissions than a car running on gasoline.
Posted by maclover348 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Don't doubt the advantages of ELECTRIC CARS!!!
Why do you doubt that emission are better on Electric Vehicles
even when charging from Coal Fired Plants.
Studies by the California Energy Commission have significantly
shown pollution is reduced EVEN when the power comes from
coal fired power plants.

Read this,
"Studies by Energy Commission staff of electric vehicles' impact
on the South Coast Air Basin in Los Angeles find that EVs
significantly reduce criteria pollutants, those pollutants for
which there are ambient concentration standards. Some
pollutants are reduced by more than 90 percent and as much as
98 percent, compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, even when
power plant emissions are included. We are confident that
carbon monoxide and reactive organic gases (a precursor of
ozone) will be greatly reduced. We believe oxides of nitrogen
(also a precursor to ozone) will be substantially reduced."

Don't doubt the advantages of ELECTRIC CARS!!!!

Sources:
Quote From, <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.energy.ca.gov/papers/CEC-999-" target="_newWindow">http://www.energy.ca.gov/papers/CEC-999-</a>
1995-002.txt
Posted by macflash411 (11 comments )
Link Flag
WHO killed the Electric Car (movie)
EV's are not new and VERY viable. They were put out by GM in CA in the 90's and once they started picking up/gaining ground, the oil companies pressured them to essentially scrap them. All the car's were leased out (not sold) so were recalled and scrapped. The oil co's want to be in business 20-30 yrs from now and thats why co's like shell are pushing Hydrogen.

I would strongly recommed all the readers who disagree with the viability of EV's or the role of oil co's to see this documentry- "Who killed the electric car".

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Killed_the_Electric_Car" target="_newWindow">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Who_Killed_the_Electric_Car</a>
Posted by barlie (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Dismal Sales?
I was disappointed to read this in the article:

"General Motors, Toyota, Honda and Ford all brought out electric vehicles in the 1990s--only to yank them off the market because of dismal sales."

That's the author's opinion disguised as a fact.

Another popular opinion is that they were sabotaged by the auto-makers.

Where you could you buy one of these EVs? Almost nowhere.

Who knew these EVs were even available? Almost nobody.

If you knew about the EVs and where to get one, could you get one? Usually not.

Sounds like a recipe for "dismal sales" to me.

What happened to these EVs? Most were retrieved from lease (still working perfectly), then quietly destroyed.

It almost sounds like a conspiracy. ;-)
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow! All the oil company shills are out in force on this site!
Wow, the comments are this article are just chock full of the standard oil company bulls$$t! The shills are earning their paychecks today! It's sad because a casual reader with a curiousity about electric cars might read these comments and think that there are all kinds of real obstacles.

Let's debunk the shills, shall we?

LIE #1: "Electric cars just shift the oil/coal burning to the utilities so there would be no benefit-- or maybe even worse pollution!"

Answer: This is a bald-faced lie cooked up by electric car opponents (oil companies, etc). It is repeated ad nauseum by the shills without any research or facts to support it. Acutal facts and research reports demonstrate that electric cars (EVs) are 5-10 times as effecient as gasoline cars. Why? Gasoline engines are very ineffecient, losing much of their eneregy to heat. Plus gasoline takes a lot of energy to be refined from oil, then pumped into trucks, then trucked all around the country. Think about how much gas is burned just moving gasoline to the service stations! Electric motors are extremely effecient, the distribution system is already in place (the energy grid), and EVs use no power when stationary (other than heat/cooling) and regain power when slowing/going down hills. Per mile, an EV "burns" just 10-20% of the oil a gasoline would require.

Oh, while we're on this subject, the oil company shills always forget to mention that electric cars don't need oil changes, saving another 20-30 quarts of oil per car per year. Multiply that by the millions of cars on the road and you have a huge savings, not to mention saving the environment from this toxic oil waste.

LIE #2: "Electric Cars will overwhelm the power plants, and cause them to spew more pollution."

NOT TRUE: There is an enormous amount of unused capacity at power plants at night. According to a California utility (CAL EDISON) there is at least enough exess nighttime capacity right now to support 1 million or more EVs. And pollution? Controlling that is FAR, FAR easier and more effecient when it takes place in one location (an electric power plant) than when spread out over millions of gasoline engines.

LIE #3 "Big Auto gave electrics an honest attempt but the public wasn't interested" This is only partially a lie. GM gave the EV1 a half-hearted attempt, just to satisfy California's zero emmissions laws. But the fact was, in the 90's and up until recently there was far, far more money in building big SUVs. Was there a big conspiracy with Big Oil to kill the EVs? Maybe, but good old greed was probably the biggest factor.

LIE #4: "Battery technology isn't there yet" This is an outrageous lie considering electric cars that will be in production this year get 120-200+ miles per charge. That's plenty for 99% of daily drives. But what about if you need to drive farther than 200 miles? Well, battery technology ALREADY EXISTS (Nanosafe, A123) that allows for 10 minute or less recharges. Equip a few highway gas stations with high-powered chargers and the problem is solved. And with lower manufacturing costs and evolving technology you might get to the point where you can travel 500+ miles on a charge and not need the gas/charge stations at all. Imagine that... No gas stations needed! Maybe just a few mobile emergency stations with chargers for the occasional breakdown/failure. THIS WOULD BE A NIGHTMARE FOR THE OIL COMPANIES.

All the technology for electric cars-- including batteries and rapid charging solutions-- already exists. They could be deployed TODAY... if there were the political will and forsight to do it. And if the powerful interests of the oil companies weren't fighting it every inch of the the way.
Posted by kurtvo (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
RE: Wow! All the oil company shills are out in force on this site!
Your comments are very biased.

From &lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;LIE #1: "Electric cars just shift the oil/coal burning to the utilities so there would be no benefit-- or maybe even worse pollution!"

Answer: This is a bald-faced lie cooked up by electric car opponents (oil companies, etc). It is repeated ad nauseum by the shills without any research or facts to support it. Acutal facts and research reports demonstrate that electric cars (EVs) are 5-10 times as effecient as gasoline cars. Why? Gasoline engines are very ineffecient, losing much of their eneregy to heat.&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;

You neglect to mention that powerplants also get electricity from combustion - when this happens there is still inefficiencies. Powerplants are lucky to have 40-50% efficiency in converting fuel into electricity (due to the 2nd law of thermodynamics), there is inefficiencies in transmission inefficiencies in battery storage and retrival of that energy from the batteries. All of these add up to a lot of losses.


&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;&lt;LIE #4: "Battery technology isn't there yet" This is an outrageous lie considering electric cars that will be in production this year get 120-200+ miles per charge. That's plenty for 99% of daily drives. But what about if you need to drive farther than 200 miles? Well, battery technology ALREADY EXISTS (Nanosafe, A123) that allows for 10 minute or less recharges. Equip a few highway gas stations with high-powered chargers and the problem is solved.&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;&gt;

The car as stated gets 120 miles, yet you bring in batteries that are not offered, or not available at a reasonable price, so it is not a lie, battery technology is not available for the masses. It may be soon, but as is it is a true statement.
Posted by k2dave (213 comments )
Link Flag
Yes and no
You're right that the total energy cost per mile of electric cars is
lower than that of gas and diesel cars, but I haven't seen
numbers to support that 5x-10x ratio you claim.

Don't expect to see 10-minute recharging on electric cars, ever.
An electric car needs a pretty big battery pack-- around 25
kilowatt-hours. After accounting for charging inefficiency, a ten-
minute recharge would require a 180-kilowatt power source--
household 220V at 818A (basically impossible) or a medium-
voltage supply of 7,200 volts at 25A. You will not ever see that
kind of power being connected into multiple bays at filling
stations, never mind residential garages.

. png
Posted by Peter Glaskowsky (87 comments )
Link Flag
Range problem solved maybe
The issue besides cost that really hurts EV's from breaking into the market place IMHO is the range limitation and the inability to recharge enroute (like gas stations offer).

120 or even 200 miles are not going to cut it. Yes for commuting that's fine for most, but that's not the reason people buy cars. If it was there would be far fewer SUV's. People buy cars to fit there lifestyle, most include the occasional roadtrip. People want the ability to hop into their car and travel some distances to some destination, or perhaps swing by another person's house or apartment after work, perhaps stay overnight and go to work after then return home.

Current electric cars don't allow that unless you can recharge once you get there, which is not always a option.

The solution as I see it is to include a gas generator onboard, perhaps even removable for times when you know that you won't need it. For most commuting the generator is not used, but when the batteries get very low it can be started and will deliver enough power to keep the batteries from fully depleting, but not recharging them much, pruducing enough power to take care of the average power demand of the car, with the batteries making up the difference when demanded and recharging when not so much power is used.

If EV's take off, I'm sure that there will at least be home made generators to recharge enroute, or at least people will carry them around in the trunk just in case they need to recharge.
Posted by k2dave (213 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Range Extention
Dave's solution;

"The solution as I see it is to include a gas generator onboard, perhaps even removable." In all probability is the best one for the BEV vehicle, and I believe would be best served by a small trailer mounted 110 VAC motor generator. I would choose a unit like the 10 kW Honda and put a 10 gallon fuel tank on it. This would serve a dual function; emergency home power AND the range extention needed for the BEV vehicle.
Posted by Jim Baber (1 comment )
Link Flag
You Just Described The Chevy "Volt"
"The solution as I see it is to include a gas generator onboard, perhaps even removable for times when you know that you won't need it."

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/" target="_newWindow">http://www.chevrolet.com/electriccar/</a>
Posted by open-mind (1027 comments )
Link Flag
Even better, a fast recharge battery
The need for an on-board IC engine to run a generator, ala the GM Volt, has been rendered moot by AltairNano and Phoenix Motorcars. They have demonstrated a 10 minute recharge of the 35 KWh NanoSafe Lithium-ion battery pack in the Phoenix Motorcars BEV truck. The key is to get rid of the carbon in the Lithium-ion battery which limits the recharge rate, not to mention the discharge rate and operating temperature range. A ten minute recharge isn't much different than the time it requires me to refuel my car. Suddenly you have a BEV that has the same duty cycle as a gas car.

True the 210 KW recharger for this isn't something you find at Sears Automotive department, but it can and has been done.

And it is also true that there needs to be some infrastucture put in place to have charging station seeded thickly enought to make driving cross country a comfortable undertaking. But these changes would be a whole lot less than those required for a switch to hydrogen. The recharging stations would mainly be needed along major highways since for around town, most people would get all the juice they need from their own electric meter.

But you the other responder to this thread has a good point, it wouldn't take a lot to put a small IC engine in a trailer with a generator and a gas tank to pull behind you while you are road trips. That would help bridge the time until recharging stations are numerous enough to fly without a net. I like the idea of having the backup IC do double duty as back-up generator for my house in case of power failure.
Posted by jlfelder (61 comments )
Link Flag
Proofread much?
Do you guys read your articles when you post them? You have an
entire paragraph repeated...

Do you guys read your articles when you post them? You have an
entire paragraph repeated...
Posted by moofer (64 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Miles and years to go
Nice sounding car, but I can't help worrying about the quality. China has a big problem with quality control! Hopefully, Miles will keep an eye on it.

While it has been announced, there has been nothing on testing prototypes or crash testing, which will be necessary before importing for sale. I expect to see a few delays.
Posted by albizzia (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cool one...
Here are some tips on how you can buy and have a quality used car, so as you would not be replacing unnecessary parts along the way...Hope, this might help...
Tips &#38; Warning
? As a final precaution, take the car to a mechanic, who should charge a reasonable fee to check over a used car. The seller should agree to this, but may require that you leave a deposit. If the seller won't let you take the car, offer to meet him or her at a mutually convenient garage.
? If you give the seller a deposit in order to take the car to have it checked, make sure to write out an agreement stating that the deposit will be returned immediately if you decide not to buy the car.
If the vehicle's mileage appears unusually low, have a mechanic determine whether someone has tampered with the odometer. If so, the seller must refund any money you have paid and may be liable for punitive damages under federal and state odometer laws?
This is how I acquire my car; I inspected all its auto parts from exterior and interior aspect down to its <a href="http://www.aftermarketperformanceparts.com/neuspeed-sway-bar.html">neuspeed sway bar</a> and other accessories. By doing so, you could be sure of the quality of vehicle you are getting?=)
Posted by angelfast (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Cool one...
Here are some tips on how you can buy and have a quality used car, so as you would not be replacing unnecessary parts along the way...Hope, this might help...
Tips &#38; Warning
? As a final precaution, take the car to a mechanic, who should charge a reasonable fee to check over a used car. The seller should agree to this, but may require that you leave a deposit. If the seller won't let you take the car, offer to meet him or her at a mutually convenient garage.
? If you give the seller a deposit in order to take the car to have it checked, make sure to write out an agreement stating that the deposit will be returned immediately if you decide not to buy the car.
If the vehicle's mileage appears unusually low, have a mechanic determine whether someone has tampered with the odometer. If so, the seller must refund any money you have paid and may be liable for punitive damages under federal and state odometer laws?
This is how I acquire my car; I inspected all its auto parts from exterior and interior aspect down to its <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.aftermarketperformanceparts.com/neuspeed-sway-bar.html" target="_newWindow">neuspeed sway bar</a>and other accessories. By doing so, you could be sure of the quality of vehicle you are getting?=)
Posted by angelfast (21 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ISITEL Electro Magnetic Vehicle (EMV)
ISITEL Electro Magnetic Vehicle (EMV) is developing the car of the future. www.isitel.com/emv.htm
Posted by ISITEL (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
 

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