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Progress On Electric Cars

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the plug-and-play dept.

Transportation 594

Mike sends along a couple of items of interest to those anxiously awaiting the era of production electric vehicles. First, there's the upcoming Aero EV, which Shelby Supercars claims will charge in just 10 minutes and will be able to produce over 1,000 horsepower, powering the vehicle from 0-60 mph in less than 2.5 seconds. Then there's the announcement by Aptera of the first pre-production model of the Aptera 2e, which will have a top speed of 90 mph and go around 100 miles on a charge. This EV also features a strong and aerodynamic body, a lithium-based battery, front-wheel drive, and an improved door design. Release is planned by October of 2009.

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That's it? (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629637)

What, no love for the Big 3? Lemme see here. We've got the range-extended Town & Country EV [chryslerllc.com] from Chrysler that will do 40 miles on a single charge, plus another 360 miles using a mixed gasoline-electric propulsion. They're also working on Dodge and Jeep [autoblog.com] vehicles with similar designs.

Ford used to have the market in a bag with their Ford Ranger EV [wikipedia.org] pickup. Of course, they discontinued it in 2002. Now they're playing catch-up with the rest of the market. They are promising an electric vehicle by 2011 [wired.com] , so there should be plenty of competition in late 2010/early 2011.

Speaking of competition, what discussion is complete without mentioning the Chevy Volt [chevrolet.com] ? Still the gold standard for the emerging industry, it will be anyone's guess if it lives up to the hype.

Then there's the announcement by Aptera of the first pre-production model of the Aptera 2e

I rather like the look of this car, but I am concerned by a couple of issues. First up is the single back wheel. Won't that make the vehicle a rollover hazard? I presume the front wheels are extended to help mitigate this issue, but one good blowout looks like it could send that sucker fishtailing right into roll. (And for that matter, how servicable is that tire?)

My second issue is the power-train. Generally you want as much weight sprung as possible, and electric motors are heavy. Aptera seems to understand that as it appears there is an axel linkage on the front wheels. Presumably this is how power is transmitted. Is having that axel exposed going to cause any safety and reliability issues? I'm just imagining something flying off the road and getting wrapped around the the axel. Or in an accident, a pedestrian getting an appendage caught in there.

Or is this a rear-wheel drive vehicle? In which case, is that axel really necessary? Could'nt the steering be accomplished by swiveling independent pods rather than linking them?

Just my 0.005 cents worth after accounting for inflation. :-P

P.S. The Shelby looks pretty darn sweet! I'd never spend money to purchase a vehicle like that*, but I wouldn't mind taking her for a spin.

* Unless I had way too much!

Re:That's it? (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629757)

From where will the electricity come? Are we going to say yes to burning coal?

Re:That's it? (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629833)

Say "Yes" to nuclear. It's less radioactive than coal, has killed barely a minuscule fraction of the number of people coal has killed, and we have enough supply to easily last for as long as we can reasonably project our energy requirements.

Oh, and it's a key component for any serious attempts at interplanetary or interstellar space travel. Which could be important if we want to research more efficient solar collection or need to go track us down more nuclear materials. (Or you could send missions to Titan and supply the Earth with a near-infinite supply of $10billion/gal gasoline. :-P)

In fact (5, Informative)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630181)

Coal has killed FAR more than is attributed to it. Right now, nearly all the deaths attributed to coal is based on coal mine deaths, which IS much greater than nuclear power deaths (even when including all the uranium mining for weapons). But what is not added in there is the mercury poisoning that we get. Most of the mercury in our water is from coal. Likewise, much of our acid rains, etc are from coal. In a nutshell, Coal is far far worse than nukes.

Re:In fact (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630387)

You forgot the airborne, radioactive particles which may be inhaled and cause cancer. Not to mention The Great Smog [wikipedia.org] which killed 12,000 people.

Re:That's it? (5, Informative)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630061)

It doesn't matter *WHAT* was used to generate the electricity, it will *still* be cheaper and cleaner than burning gas in cars. Large power plants are tremendously more efficient and clean because they have the scale... even burning coal (as long as they are modern plants). Don't focus just on coal & oil. Throw in natural gas, solar, geothermal, nuclear, hydro, and wind... they already account for a huge percent of electricity production and increasing each year.

And using electricity means that everyone has a fuel source right at home, ready to go. No new infrastructure. No hazardous or explosive alternative fuels (like hydrogen or LP gas). No special equipment or training. Plug it in... Done.

Re:That's it? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630135)

I'm not all the interested in where the energy comes from...BUT, after seeing these cars, like the Aero EV, I'm glad to see that another company besides Tesla are going to start making them as performance cars, and not so damned fugly and utilitarian as the current batch of EV's and Hybrids.

Now...if they can just get the prices down to that of a Vette....I'm sold and will finally go green!!

(Well, with the exception of my motorcycle, I'd never want an electric one for that, you need the sound and the rumble, that is half the fun of a cruiser.)

Re:That's it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630299)

Well, with the exception of my motorcycle, I'd never want an electric one for that, you need the sound and the rumble, that is half the fun of a cruiser.

So you can be like every other asshole that rumbles by on my road in the summer.

Re:That's it? (3, Insightful)

roaddemon (666475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630137)

Agreed. The best part of electric cars is the decoupling of power production and power consumption.

Re:That's it? (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630099)

You could put solar panels on your roof, or a windmill in your back yard, depending on your location. Or buy "green electricity" which is the same thing but generated off-site.

Even coal is better than gasoline (no, really!) (5, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630231)

According to a DOE study [pnl.gov] conducted at PNL, switching to EVs is a net win even on our current grid. The main reason is that power plants are a lot more efficient than gasoline-powered cars at turning fuel into energy, while transmission and charging are very efficient. Also, EVs, which mainly charge at night, reduce the need for spinning standby, allow plants to operate more efficiently at night, and so on. The net result is that you could switch 84% of our cars over on our existing grid and you'd cut CO2 emissions by a third, increase PM somewhat, NOx would drop slightly, SOx would stay the same, and CO and VOCs would be nearly eliminated. The pollutants that would be emitted would be emitted on average much further from people's lungs and so affect them less.

Re:That's it? (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630245)

From where will the electricity come? Are we going to say yes to burning coal?

As Boris Johnstone, Mayor of London, said on Top Gear (car show) "from plugs". I'm glad the audience laughed at him, it restored some of my respect for them. Londoners lost most of it when they elected BJ mayor.

Re:That's it? (2, Interesting)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629819)

If you look right at the summary, you see that the vehicle's description includes front-wheel drive.

Now, the info on safety is a little sparse from my quick look at Aptera's website, with the faq saying "It will match other commuter vehicles". Faq here. [aptera.com] Safety Here [aptera.com]

They focus on force-redirection, composite body and airbags but nothing on traction or stability. It's not the speed of being thrown to the side of your car that hurts, it's the sudden stop. I mean, with that much acceleration, I'd worry at fishtailing or, like you said, having that rear tire blow out.

 

Re:That's it? (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630047)

If you look right at the summary, you see that the vehicle's description includes front-wheel drive.

All vehicles these days have front wheel drive, it's cheaper to make than an FR layout. One back wheel on that thing also probably keeps them from transmitting back to an axle....

The single rear tire is bad unless it's rear-wheel steer like Dyson's car. Even then, I'm much more comfortable with front-wheel steer, rear-wheel drive, especially in non-optimal road conditions. Front wheel drive is bad enough in the snow on four wheels, coupling it with just a single back wheel (and even worse, rear-wheel steer) would be a disaster. Cars have 4 wheels for a reason, and there's also a reason we didn't make everything RF layout before transverse engines and AWD.

Re:That's it? (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630165)

I'm pretty sure the car is not designed for places with snow.

Living in Arizona, and driving a vehicle with two wheels, three will be an upgrade from my current situation and far more stable/safe.

Re:That's it? (3, Informative)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629869)

Let's not forget the Tesla. Top Gear had an interesting piece [jalopnik.com] on it, that ended in scandal. [jalopnik.com]

Big list (4, Informative)

Rei (128717) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630161)

I've compiled a big list of upcoming EVs and their stats here [daughtersoftiresias.org] .

Re:That's it? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629903)

Speaking of competition, what discussion is complete without mentioning the Chevy Volt [chevrolet.com]? Still the gold standard for the emerging industry, it will be anyone's guess if it lives up to the hype.

I think the gold standard is by definition the best existing electric or hybrid vehicle. Right now that is probably the Toyota Prius.
Once the Chevy Volt is available, it will be interesting to see if it can beat the Prius and in which scenarios.

Re:That's it? (2, Informative)

f0dder (570496) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630103)

Very unlikely if they're sticking to the initial pricetag of $40,000.00 At that price point you can almost get 2 Prius.

Re:That's it? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629977)

I believe that having 3 wheels allows a car company to skirt those pesky "safety standards" that regular 4 wheel cars currently must abide by.

Re:That's it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630085)

No. No love for the big 3. Chevy just announced a battery supplier this month for the volt...supposedly a 2010 release. Its unlikely that $40k car will survive without massive tax credits or $4 gas anyway. Chrysler has canceled or delayed every new and redesigned model pending the outcome of the bailout. One off hype-mobiles for auto shows don't count. Their latest move? Giving Fiat 35% in return for the chance to sell their compact cars in the USA. It'll be at least 6 months before it becomes clear which ones will survive, let alone pay back all of our $17 billion. No sense in blaming everyone now, the best move would be to reorganize from the ground up asap.

sources: mostly www.thetruthaboutcars.com

Re:That's it? (2, Interesting)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630323)

Its unlikely that $40k car will survive without massive tax credits or $4 gas anyway.

Perhaps they intend to sell them primarily in Europe? According to Wiki [wikipedia.org] almost all of Europe already pays more than $4 for a US gallon, most are even above $5/gal.

Re:That's it? (1)

Spectre (1685) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630145)

On the exposed axle shafts ... lots of cars have this now, so it shouldn't be a big deal.

Take the Honda CRV AWD for example. Lots of them all over the place, the rear axle shafts are exposed and spinning away whenever the vehicle is in motion. The only real difference is the Aptera vehicle has them in the front instead of the rear.

For that matter, it seems the risk of exposed axle shafts is a lot less than exposed wheels spinning away, especially motorcycle wheels with their spokes that can more easily capture debris.

Aptera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630209)

I've been following Aptera for quite a while.

I haven't checked the site for a while, but all of their proposed plans had REAR wheel drive. The single rear wheel is powered by an electric motor. The idea was to make the vehicle inexpensive (the plan was ~20k, but last I checked the total was closer to ~30k) and reliable. I didn't like the plan for the windows to be static (immovable), but the roof was to have a solar panel array dedicated to cabin temperature moderation (alleviating the heat exhausted pet/child left in the car).

The Gas/Electric hybrid had a small gasoline generator that could recharge the batteries during operation, yielding a theoretical ~100 miles per gallon (5gallon tank and ~500 miles range) if one fully depleted the gasoline tank.

The Aptera 2e is the electric only model.

This summary from Techreport is just wrong. Sorry for the rant but the jist of it all is the Aptera's are all REAR wheel drive with a nice sturdy belt transferring the power.

Unfortunately after a quick navigation of the website, I could not find the information I had once perused.

Re:That's it? (1)

int2str (619733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630253)

The Aptera is rear wheel drive. The "Axle" in the front is actually only the push-rod for the steering. There are no rotating parts exposed in the front (other than the wheels of course).

Re:That's it? (1)

ninjagin (631183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630301)

They recently changed that. It's now going forward as a front-wheel drive. The pictures, as you note, have not caught up.

Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (1, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629661)

parking lots. If Shelby Supercars created their own charging technology in-house, I wouldn't be surprised if (assuming SS licenses their technology, or assuming the company which licensed the tech to SS pushes it to other car manufacturers as well) gas stations are flattened and converted into parking lots with high-wattage 220volt outlets per parking spot.

Let's hope that SS's claims are true. This would eliminate the need for hydrogen cars as well (water vapor is another major greenhouse gas).

Re:Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (2, Insightful)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629735)

Let's hope that SS's claims are true. This would eliminate the need for hydrogen cars as well (water vapor is another major greenhouse gas).

God forbid water vapor should be in the air!
 
:)

I meant too much water vapor. (3, Interesting)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629793)

Well duh, water vapor should always be in the air, but if suddenly a whole bunch of cars start creating immense amounts of water vapor from hydrogen gas + oxygen... well, that's much more water that's being converted from liquid to gas than by weather alone (or even by cars today).

It's a fact overlooked by many.

Re:I meant too much water vapor. (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629951)

Clearly, you have never lived in the southern states.

Re:I meant too much water vapor. (1)

vakuona (788200) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629967)

Do you have an idea how much water vapour is released over the oceans.

Re:I meant too much water vapor. (0)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630015)

Do you have any idea how much more will be released if every car on the planet is replaced with a hydrogen-powered car? It won't happen now, but it will later if Hydrogen takes off. That's why I'm fond of electric-powered vehicles... or mini fusion plants in cars, but that won't happen during our lifetimes, nor would it be too nice given that we'd be converting water permanently to helium and oxygen (breaking down water and fusing the hydrogen).

Re:I meant too much water vapor. (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630415)

Do you realize that one of the primary combustion products of a conventional hydrocarbon burning engine is water vapor?

Re:I meant too much water vapor. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630043)

It will increase humidity but then it'll rain. I suppose that'll make things more bleak but its better than death by lung cancer i guess.

Re:Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630091)

Don't you remember, that's how the Cetacean probe was destroying the Earth in Star Trek IV!

But seriously, water vapor? Without water vapor in the atmosphere there would be drought.

Re:Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630215)

It is a green house gas. Sure, a certain lvel of it is needed, but youdon't want more then what is occuring naturally.

Re:Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (4, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630439)

Humans aren't natural?

I presume a "yes." Things humans make aren't natural? What if a monkey learned to make something, would it be natural?

Obviously I have a point to make here. From the evolutionary standpoint that most say they hold, human machinery is just as natural as a monkey using a bone as a club (sorry, I just watched 2001: A Space Odyssey). It's time to define "nature" and why I don't get to be considered "natural." Which seems like it will be hard to do form the scientific/atheistic viewpoint. Even more so when people want to tell me that genetically modified stuff is just as natural as non GMO stuff... "natural" stuff. So on one hand, we can modify nature and be natural, and on the other hand we can't.

And yes, this is on topic, since "greenhouse gas emissions" implies that there are natural and unnatural things, and most of the time, "global warming" is linked to those horribly unnatural and wicked humans.

As opposed to whatever caused the last ice age when humans weren't around, I guess.

/me runs away from the flamebait mods, hehe

Re:Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629769)

water vapor is another major greenhouse gas

While I'm not so sure about a lot of climate science, water vapor is supposed to be a relatively invariant quantity. Excess vapor dumped into the air is not a concern as it will not remain long enough to be a greenhouse issue.

The greater concern is supposedly the CO2 gases since that is one of the few things we can change about the climate. (Especially with the ocean's capacity to be a huge carbon sink/carbon emitter.)

Personally, I want to know what happened to the CFC scare. Supposedly our air conditioners were going to rip a hole in the Ozone layer and cook us all to death. Apparently, the CO2 we were ignoring is far more insidious.

Re:Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (2, Informative)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630093)

CFCs were much worse and HORRIBLE for the environment, it really would have cooked us to death. Thats why they were phased out across the globe in 1994, we'd have been seriously screwed had we not. Same idea goes for CO2, it is just less obvious.

Re:Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630175)

Personally, I want to know what happened to the CFC scare.

We switched to hydrocarbons for things like aerosol cans, alternative gases for refrigeration, and places like McDonalds switched to cardboard from foam packaging. There aren't that many activities that require CFCs anymore.

Re:Soon, gas stations will be replaced by (1)

roc97007 (608802) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629889)

Just asking, how is electricity generated in your area? We're lucky enough to have mostly hydro, but I remember reading in one of those science mags that over 60% of electricity in the country was generated by burning coal.

Relevant solution (1)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629971)

Good point. Most of the electricity around us near DC is from coal/oil, though some parts get nuclear energy as well.

You know what would work best? This. [guardian.co.uk]

question (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629703)

Toby Hunter, Minneapolis Star. No really, is this a joke?

Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629707)

1000hp = 745,699.872 watts
American High Voltage Outlet = 240 V
745699.872 / 240 = 3123 A

And this things charges in 10 minutes? Uh, right.

Re:Math (1)

Fudge Factor 3000 (572132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630005)

You obviously don't need 1000 hp all the time, so the average power output of the engine is going to be a lot lower...

Re:Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630339)

YOU may not need 1000hp all the time, but rest assured, *I* do.

Re:Math (2, Informative)

ccool (628215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630223)

Sorry but your maths are not exactly right!

Watts != Energy
Watts == Power!

Huge difference there. But I do agree that charging batteries for 100 miles/161km in 10 minutes will require a lot of Energy. I'll give it a try...

I read somewhere that a car needs about 30 hp on the highway at 100 km/h (62mph). If that is true, you will need about 22.37 kW for 1.61 hours. This means about 36 kW-hour of energy. Now, back to your house, in order to charge that in 10 minutes, you will need a power output of 216.1 kW. Using 240 Vac, this will result in a current of 900 Amp.

I may be wrong, but 900 Amps is a lot more than what the tipical house can take (200 Amps over here).

Re:Math (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630309)

They are talking about a charging aparatus. Perhaps this device draws and stores charge in capacitors or other short term facility and then dumps that into the vehicle? 240V @ 6 amps could be drawn on average per day to supply?

Wheee! 1,000 HP! (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629719)

And a range of 5 miles if you use it.
Now that gas has come down in price, predict these things - as always - arriving too late/early for the market.

Still want a Tesla, tho'.

http://www.teslamotors.com/ [teslamotors.com]

Re:Wheee! 1,000 HP! (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630127)

Thats amazingly short sighted. Do you think the drop in gas prices will stay that way forever? I'm amazed on the stats for SUV sales in the US. They vary in lock step with that weeks gas prices as if it mattered.
 
Oh and the shelby has 150mile range just so you know.

Re:Wheee! 1,000 HP! (1)

tweak13 (1171627) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630413)

Oh and the shelby has 150mile range just so you know.

His mention of range was to point out that it's ridiculous to have a 1,000 HP motor when actually using all 1,000 HP would drain the batteries so fast you'd never get anywhere. Of course it would go farther if you only used a tiny fraction of the motor's capability, which is almost certainly what the 150 mi value is based on.

chevy volt? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629743)

am i the only one that has been continually disappointed by the chevy volt? shorter distance on charge, underpowered, longer charge time, and still nowhere near the streets.

Re:chevy volt? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629911)

...no JATO rockets, less space than a minivan. Lame.

Here's what we need... (5, Insightful)

HeyBob! (111243) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629779)

- 5 passenger
- mid size and safe
- 500km range
- a/c and heat
- charge up at home and work
- under $20,000

Re:Here's what we need... (2, Insightful)

ccool (628215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630059)

Wait, what, no: "Choose two" ?!?

Re:Here's what we need... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630065)

You just used dollars and KM in the same post...

TRAITOR!

Re:Here's what we need... (1)

robot_love (1089921) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630409)

...or a Canadian.

Re:Here's what we need... (1, Insightful)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630073)

A plug-in version of the new Honda Insight Hybrid comes close to those specs, but I suspect for a pure electric the 500km range is incompatible with the other requirements -- the batteries alone would cost over $20k for a 500km (300mi) range. I would settle for a hybrid with those specs.

Re:Here's what we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630357)

A plug-in version of the new Honda Insight Hybrid comes close to those specs, but I suspect for a pure electric the 500km range is incompatible with the other requirements -- the batteries alone would cost over $20k for a 500km (300mi) range. I would settle for a hybrid with those specs.

I think that was his point...until we improve tech to the point where they aren't incompatible requirements we won't be able to get true mass appeal.

Re:Here's what we need... (1)

sir_eccles (1235902) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630121)

500km range = time to get the train or airplane

Most journeys that people really need their cars for are less than 50km, going to the shops and commuting.

Re:Here's what we need... (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630353)

>500km range = time to get the train or airplane
>Most journeys that people really need their cars for are less than
>50km, going to the shops and commuting.

That is true, but most people do not want to have to worry about recharging (or refueling) their vehicle after each trip.

Re:Here's what we need... (5, Funny)

DreamsAreOkToo (1414963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630123)

- 17" chrome rims
- aggressive "face"
- chrome grills
- tall enough for your kids to easily flip it
- 10 billion dollar advertising campaign
- large enough to kill anyone I hit

We want people to actually use these things, remember?

Re:Here's what we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630211)

+ Stop making these cars look like they came out of I Robot or Bicentennial man. Some people are cool with standing out but most of us will feel like idiots driving around in these ridiculous looking things. Not to mention the fact that it's preferable if a car meant for day to day activities didn't practically have "I'm worth a shitload of money" printed on it.

Re:Here's what we need... (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630341)

500km? A honda civic gets about that i'm sure people will be willing to give up SOMETHING. You described exactly a honda civic with a bit more range, the ability to charge at home and much lower cost to drive around. I'm sure people will be willing to spend more or give up some range. Generally people don't need to go from Toronto to Philly in on go without a stop.

Re:Here's what we need... (1)

Chrutil (732561) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630347)

- 5 passenger - mid size and safe - 500km range - a/c and heat - charge up at home and work - under $20,000

I agree to almost everything except that on a plug-in charge, its range should be around 40 miles.
It needs to go 500km, but that would be using gas-electric or other hybrid technology, but there is certanly no need to do it purely on electric power.

what represents the biggest group of people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629809)

choose 1
a. people anxiously awaiting electric cars
b. linux desktop users
c. slashdotters that read articles

Energy storage (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629825)

The big problem with electric cars is energy storage. Lithium batteries are too expensive, take too long to charge, don't have a high enough energy density, and don't last long enough. If the current work on ultracapacitors pans out (and that's a BIG if) electric cars will become a lot more practical for the mass market.

Re:Energy storage (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629947)

Not really, depends on use.

Energy storage for in-city commuting is fairly easy, with plug-in chargers given prized spots in garages and free electricity, and in sunnier climes with solar panel addons.

The major impact of energy storage is for those who actually commute more than 20 miles each way, or have multiple trips with no easy recharge.

Paradoxically, the West is an area where that is frequently a problem, even though we have vast quantities of hydropower, wind, and solar easily harnessed to charge the batteries since these can be demand-constrained and even out the power draw.

Re:Energy storage (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630029)

There's always hydrogen. It's efficient, simple, and the technology is already worked out.

Plus when you have an accident, the explosion will look much cooler.

Cold climates (5, Interesting)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630297)

The big problem with electric cars is energy storage. Lithium batteries are too expensive, take too long to charge, don't have a high enough energy density, and don't last long enough. If the current work on ultracapacitors pans out (and that's a BIG if) electric cars will become a lot more practical for the mass market.

There are certainly issues with current electric cars, but only by having them in the market place in some form will there be any incentive to improve them. Lithium is expensive, but it will come done like anything else.

My concern will electric vehicles is how they will pan out in cold climates, like Scandinavia or Canada. From my experience batteries perform badly in the cold, with apparent charge dropping off until the battery is warmed up. For me this is where the real test of the technology will happen.

Still too expensive, but nice geek porn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26629839)

Cool cars, but the car prices still make gas cheaper. Green technology is too expensive, and the tax breaks still won't help me break even. If I sell my midsized SUV and buy one of these, how long until payback? Assuming I can get $10k on a trade-in and option 2 costs $25k, that leaves me out $15k, which would buy me 7500 gallons of gas, enough to drive me 150,000 miles on the highway. If the price of gas doubles again, I'd still have to drive 75,000 miles before I see one red cent. If I wanted to read about sports cars I can't afford I'd head over to Car and Driver or Motor(head)Trend.

Re:Still too expensive, but nice geek porn (1)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630289)

Step/assumption 1- scrap the SUV and get an electric car (doesn't have to be tiny, just reasonable). Step/assumption 2- a rage of 100+ miles per charge. Step/assumption 3- you need to buy a replacement vehicle because it is time to replace the old one, not just to make the switch. Step/assumption 4- electric cars have a large battery replacement expense after several years, but it might be about the same costs as gas engine car maintenance over the long term (gas engines are FAR more complex)

With those assumptions, if you were driving even 30 miles to work and back every day and for errands and trips on the weekend and your current SUV gets a respectable 15MPG, that is 2 gal of gas a day. If gas were around $3/gal (which is not unreasonable, and it will get MUCH more expensive over the years), that is $2,190 in gas costs per year. With electricity, that cost would be about $250/year; a savings of $1,940 per year, or $9,700 per 5 years. If gas jumps to $6/gal (again, not completely unrealistic in several years), that 5 year savings could be $19,400.

So.... it kinda depends on how much you drive and how much more an electric vehicle costs vs. a non-electric vehicle to purchase. For many people, the savings would be great, for others (like me, who drives very little) it would cost *MORE* to own/operate an electric car. And, still, for others, it will be a break-even.

But in the long run, it is the right thing to do. Electric cars are more reliable, quieter, simpler, potentially higher performance, easier to maintain, and pollute far, far less. Let's hope consumers have some real options soon.

Really.... (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629901)

...I just need something to get me the 6 miles to work and then back again. The four mile round trip to the grocery store would be a bonus. Ahh...But in TX, AC and heating are a must.

Re:Really.... (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630305)

Bicycle? Oh you're in TX - I guess somebody will shoot you or run you off the road.

Seriously though. I lived for three years in the suburbs of Denver, and didn't own a car. Not as humid I'm sure as TX. But then I did it for seven years in downtown Toronto (range from hot/humid to cold and danger of frost bite) too. Anything within 10-15km is easy easy easy.

Re:Really.... (1)

sycodon (149926) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630375)

Not as humid I'm sure as TX

Not even close.

Lots of us ready and waiting... (3, Insightful)

markdavis (642305) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629917)

The Tesla and Aero are interesting, but waaaaaaaaay out of normal price range. And most of the other electric cars don't cut it. This is what I want, and probably what most consumers want:

1) A real sized car, not a tiny econobox with motorcycle-sized tires
2) Range of at least 100+ miles per charge (I am guessing 80% of people are within a 20 mile round trip to work, 90% within 30 miles, and 95% within 40 miles; so other than occasional, long road trips, that is a lot of coverage).
3) Ability to charge with regular home voltage/current (don't care if it takes several hours to charge overnight)
4) Real performance- at least as fast (accel & top speed) as a gas car (like a 3 liter V6, not a 2 liter 4cyl)
5) Features- full A/C, heat, heated seats, auto climate control, GPS, cruise, auto lights, auto windows, defroster, etc
6) Safety- comparable to a quality conventional car- crumple zones, airbags, seatbelt tensioners
7) Reasonable price- comparable to a quality conventional car, although many of us are willing to spend more for the advantage of electric... but not 50%+ more

When that happens, I am betting people will flock to them. Hybrids (plugin or not) are just too complicated; they have all the complexity of a gas engine (cooling, emissions control, transmission, lube, injection, etc) with all the added cost of electric (motors, batteries, charging systems).

Re:Lots of us ready and waiting... (1)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630155)

2) Range of at least 100+ miles per charge

That's great --- as a second car, unless you want to rent a car every time you need to drive over 100 miles. You don't want this car to be your first car, because the last thing you want for long drives is your old and unreliable (and gas-powered) second car.

I realy believe that plug-in hybrids are the solution. 40 mile battery-only range satisfies 95% of journeys and probably 90% of the miles and the gas/hydrogen/whatever energy source allows the car to be useful for longer journeys when needed. The backup power source (very small gas engine and generator) is probably lighter than the batteries needed to extend the battery-only range from 40 miles to 100 or 200 miles so the car ends up lighter.

Re:Lots of us ready and waiting... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630383)

"they have all the complexity of a gas engine (cooling, emissions control, transmission, lube, injection, etc) with all the added cost of electric (motors, batteries, charging systems)."

This just isn't true. Hybrids have one less part than a standard gas motor just the scales are re-arranged. Larger single starter/alternator tied into the power train permanently rather than a separate starter and alternator. They also have larger batteries, and a little more computer to control it all.

say that Shelby Supercars are beatin Tesla (0, Flamebait)

quarkie68 (1018634) | more than 5 years ago | (#26629957)

"To say that Shelby Supercars are trying to beat Tesla would be an understatement." Ahmm! For the amount of money they ask for the Tesla, ANYTHING will beat the Tesla in terms of reliability. What was in "Top Gear"; Ehmm, structural panel failure, break failure, and then a short circuit..... I sincerely hope that Shelby will make something better than the Tesla.

Re: say that Shelby Supercars are beatin Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630213)

Tesla's claims weren't nearly as ridiculous as Shelby's are. 1000 hp? Recharge in 10 min from 220 volts? Say their performance actually is better than the tesla roadster yet has the same 55kWh battery pack...

To charge the battery in 10 min on a 220 volt outlet would take 1500 amps! Household circuit breakers usually run around 30 amps. Not only would they have to do better than tesla, they'd have to do better than physics.

Re: say that Shelby Supercars are beatin Tesla (2, Funny)

Nick Number (447026) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630227)

Ehmm, structural panel failure, break failure

No, structural panel failure is a break success.

Morons (1)

willy everlearn (82796) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630039)

Those high paid morons still do not get it.....

I want, need, have needed for years an electric car. I want 100 Klicks per charge. It only has to do maybe 100 Kph max. OK, so I need to re-buy the batteries every five years or so. I do not want a car that goes 0 to 110 Mph in 3 seconds. That is just stupid. It should cost around 15 grand. Where is that car?

This has pissed me off for years!

And I call myself Willy Everlearn

Re:Morons (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630333)

I do not want a car that goes 0 to 110 Mph in 3 seconds. That is just stupid.

Actually, you get that for free with an electric drive. The torque capacity of electric motors is so high that they are usually governed to more reasonable levels of acceleration.

As for the reason behind sports cars, that's easy. Sports cars are expensive. Electric drive technology is expensive. Electric drive technology is great for race cars. ("Horsepower sells cars, torque wins races." --Carroll Shelby) Ergo, selling an expensive electric sports car is a great way to get electric technology into the marketplace. Once the technology is in the marketplace, the price will be driven down by the laws of economics.

Earth calling Mars (4, Insightful)

slashdotlurker (1113853) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630095)

I do not understand why these cutting edge car designers can't make a conventional looking car (something as boring looking like a Corolla). Your friendly neighborhood soccer mom or PTA dad is not going to want get caught driving this.

I am not saying they should copy Corolla's body style but for heaven's sake, make something that looks like its meant for this planet. I am betting that these people probably spent a good deal of money on the shape designer. This car will appeal to teenage nerds, extreme yuppies and the Hollywood set. How many of them are there anyways ??

If they are really serious about addressing the actual gas problem, they should make something that looks a little more common (oh horrors !). This car looks like a rich man's gimmick. Don't be surprised if the middle class gives it a miss.

Re:Earth calling Mars (3, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630345)

I beleive Aerodynamics is an important part of vehicles lie kthe Aptera

/I could be wrong

Cost??? (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630117)

How much $ for the Aero EV? I'm thinking the batteries alone must be over $100K, so we're talking what, a quarter-million dollar car? Much as I'd love to own one, I'm just not THAT desperate for an elaborate electric penis-extension.

10 minute charge is BS... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630133)

Lets say its a tesla-equivelent battery pack, a nice 50 kWH.

To charge in 10 minutes, you'd need to shove in power at 300 kW!

At 220V, that means you'd need 1300 A of current!?!

Re:10 minute charge is BS... (4, Funny)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630365)

To charge in 10 minutes, you'd need to shove in power at 300 kW! At 220V, that means you'd need 1300 A of current!?!

Perhaps the trick is to run a thick steel cable up a bell tower and wait for a thunderstorm. A lightning strike delivers its 1.21GW for 1/6th of a second, you'll get 50kWH and your car is charged. Come on people, we've seen this work...

Re:10 minute charge is BS... (2, Funny)

TheSync (5291) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630369)

At 220V, that means you'd need 1300 A of current!?!

It's not just an electric car, it's also an arc welder!

That recharging spec is total B.S. (1)

sirwired (27582) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630195)

Recharging a battery that could run a car that size, that long, in ten minutes would require far more current than an electric grid could reasonably deliver, at least to more than a token few cars.

SirWired

3-Speed Transmission? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630287)

Last time I checked, even the SSC Ultimate Aero's gasoline engines, which has 1000+ hp and 1112 ft-lb torque, need a 6-speed just to make it to 208mph that Ultimate Aero EV is reaching. Since the EV's torque doesn't even reach the rating of the gasoline car, it will have to be in a very tall overdrive gear running probably twice the redline rpm as the original, and have a salt flat the size of Utah for it to accelerate anywhere close to top speed. In other words, even more unobtainable than the gas Aero's 270mph top speed. Besides, by running electric engine at such high speed for 500hp engine, it is going to wear out a lot quicker than the gas Aero's engine. Sure, your computer's hard drives may be running 15000rpm all the time, but they are not carrying the load anywhere close to Aero EV is carrying, and they certainly do not generate even .5 horsepower.

Reliability aside, having engine revving up all the time with lousy 3-speed is going to eat up battery power a lot quicker than a 6-speed running at lower RPMs. Sure supercar owners do not car much about fuel efficiency as average Joes do, but increasing the need to recharge will wear out batteries a whole lot faster. Last time I checked, rebuilding batteries are a lot harder than rebuilding internal combustion engines, and in many cases, old batteries can only be recycled at best.

This is great but.... (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630293)

Where is the electrical energy supposed to come from? Our power plants still aren't close to being non-polluting let alone carbon neutral. This will be an improvement over current gasoline engines, but it only solves part of the problem.

In the mean time, it's good (though hardly believable) that the Shelby has such a quick charge time. In order to be viable for long-range trips (say a full day), you need to be able to get a quick charge while on the road. Hell, even if you can only get ~100 miles/charge, it's still a pretty good thing. Think about it[comma splice] you already spend about 3 minutes at the gas station, so this isn't that bad.

What do the rest of us do....? (1)

sugapablo (600023) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630311)

I know a lot of people are all big on plug-in electric cars, but what do those of us not fortunate enough to have integral garages with outlets in them? I don't know what the percentages are, but I'm assuming there's a lot of average Joe's like me who, even if we own our own homes, have to park on the street wherever we can find parking. Are they going to put outlets in the sidewalks for me?

Electric cars are dumb. (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630379)

We're talking about energy storage here. First off, to accelerate a 2000 pound (907kg) car 0-60 in 5 seconds (Mustang GT take-off with stick) requires 4865kg*m/s^2 i.e. 4865 newtons of force. It's going to go about 5m/s^2 for 80 meters, expending 60 watts of power.

My grasp of physics is pretty incorrect here. Somebody please help, because the numbers I got say a 12V car battery supplying 5A of current can pull this off (they can supply around 400A for 30 seconds at 0F, so ... yeah a car battery would run your car for about 40km with this math, at full acceleration, supplying 400hp).

I can't do this, damnit!

... where's Rosen Motors? .... (1)

ninjagin (631183) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630405)

Remember these guys [time.com] ? What happened to their idea? A jet-powered hybrid?

Is the Aptera road legal? (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630419)

The Aptera looks like a recumbent bicycle. Is it going to be legal to take it on American roads?

It's easy to make a car get a zillion miles to the gallon (or the charge) if you remove all of the safety features, like a body that crunches instead of the driver.

If you want high mileage, get a motorcycle. It may also significantly improve organ donations.

Interesting (4, Informative)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630425)

For you questioning the "charge in 10 minutes" claim : be aware that a lithium ion battery exists that DOES have this feature. Altair nanotechnologies is shipping a battery right now that supposedly has an improved anode that solves the problems that prevent rapid charging conventional lithium ion batteries. Actually, they claim 5 minute recharges in their marketing materials.

They ALSO claim to have solved the other big problem with lithium ion batteries : finite lifespan. They claim their batteries do not 'wear' and can be put through at least 20 years worth of power cycling. Again, note that these special batteries can be purchased today, they are not vapor-ware. (I don't know if their claims are valid, but I do know the physical batteries exist)

Yes, I am aware that a 10 minute recharge would strain the capacity of standard electrical service. You would need the electric gas stations to either have extremely high amperage connections to the grid, or to have some kind of energy storage technology at the station. Such as super-capacitors, a bank of precharged batteries, flywheels, ect.

So could it be done? Mass produce these high end lithium ion batteries by the billions, putting banks of them in every new car and truck on the road and in electric gas stations? I think it could, but the huge upfront costs of such a conversion are going to put it off well into the future. The ultimate long run costs might be the same or cheaper than fossil fuels, but in the short term consumers won't pay for something that is significantly more expensive.

For the conversion to occur, one of these has to happen

          1. "Moore's law" makes lithium ion batteries so cheap that electric cars are cheaper than gas
          2. Oil shortages make gas so expensive that even electric cars look cheap
          3. The government puts a huge tax on gasoline/diesel and artifically makes electric cars seem cheap

A lot of people have pointed out that an electric car is actually simpler than gas. The motors are a lot smaller, and the battery banks consist of thousands of identical battery cells. The only other thing in the car is the power handling circuitry, which is solid state. If the batteries didn't wear out with age, then an electric car would probably be much cheaper to maintain.

ugly (1)

BobVila (592015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26630429)

The Shelby looks okay, but the Aptera is ugly. If someone is looking to buy a car, they aren't going to buy that. It looks nothing like a car.

Electric vehicle problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26630435)

It seems to me that electric vehicles have to overcome some daunting problems: 1) charging - if it is to be a plugin type charger, then we are simply moving the source of pollution from a highly regulated point source (gas cars), to a gross polluter source (power plants). 2) battery disposal/recycling and costs - people tend to forget that the most: your Prius needs a $7-10K battery after a few years and there is currently no way to recycle the old one. 3) price - this has been mentioned here but its still a problem

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