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Toyota Introduces Electric RAV4, Powered By Tesla Motor

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the nikola-himself dept.

Transportation 243

thecarchik writes "As they say, everything old is new again. Fourteen years after it launched its very first RAV4 crossover at the Los Angeles Auto Show, Toyota returned to LA to launch an all-electric version of its latest RAV4. And this one is, as the logos in a teaser photo released earlier said, 'powered by Tesla.' The launch of the second version of the RAV4 EV is on a fast timeline, led by a working group made up of Toyota's Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and a team from Tesla Motors. The partnership will build 35 'Phase Zero' test versions of the latest RAV4 EV next year, with production launch expected in 2012."

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It has to be Tesla (2, Insightful)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272848)

Why do I get a feeling this submission only made it because it mentions Tesla?

Re:It has to be Tesla (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272924)

Why do I get a feeling this submission only made it because it mentions Tesla?

Because you haven't considered the possibility that Toyota might invent a mascot know as 'thecarchick' (oooh! A GIRL who like cars!) and use that mascot to submit stories to news aggregation sites for free publicity? I mean, if you're going to go down the rabbit hole, go all the way down.

Re:It has to be Tesla (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272968)

Given that the slugs from both links share a format, I suspect it is rather more self promotional.

Or maybe you should be saying that Toyota is setting up astroturf green car blogs, rather than talking about the methods they use to do so.

HighGear Media (3, Informative)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273106)

Good eye, those sights are both "Part of HighGear Media" according to the banner. HighGear appears to be "a vertical publishing company publishing more premium automotive content than anyone in the world through websites targeting key buyer and vehicle segments." according to their website. They have a "network of 100 plus owned and operated automotive websites, anchored by the TheCarConnection.com, currently reaches nearly 3 million in-market car shoppers a month. High Gear Media is building some of the fatest growing automotive destinations on the Web."

Fatest growing destinations on the web?

The amount of market blather on that site made my brain hurt. This whole thing smacks of SCO linkery-dickery. I guess I went down the wrong damn rabbit hole suggesting Toyota might be behind this.

Re:HighGear Media (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273136)

s/SCO/SEO

Re:HighGear Media (3, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273320)

s/sights/sites

Re:HighGear Media (1)

spun (1352) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273356)

Damn it. My brain ain't working good today.

Re:HighGear Media (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273822)

s/ain't/is not
s/good/well

Re:It has to be Tesla (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273146)

Pretty much. I'm assuming Tesla is the vague link used in order to promote this Slashvertisement.

Re:It has to be Tesla (1)

hey (83763) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273860)

She has been around here for a while.
http://slashdot.org/~thecarchik [slashdot.org]

Re:It has to be Tesla (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273010)

I have to wonder if "Edison" was used instead of "Tesla"... would these cars be fighting legal battles over the name?

Re:It has to be Tesla (2, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273198)

No, because they would be uninteresting, inferior and built out of other peoples inventions.

Re:It has to be Tesla (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273704)

Huh? Edison was Chinese?

Re:It has to be Tesla (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273930)

I was thinking more along the lines of, "practical and successful."

Re:It has to be Tesla (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273574)

You would be correct. Honda announced a new plug-in hybrid fit (can go 70 miles on one charge or run off a hybrid system, just like the volt) but I haven't seen it here.

Of course Cmdr. Taco is from Ann Arbor, maybe he's plugging his home town.

Re:It has to be Tesla (3, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273760)

So you're saying that this reply of mine will get modded up merely because it mentions Tesla?

Production? What production? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34272932)

Anyone want to bet there will only be 35 RAV4 EV and never enter into production? And in a few years, Toyota will destroy their RAV4 EV once again [wikipedia.org] .

They did this in the 90s. (3, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272952)

During the zero emission days in California there where some electric RAV4 vehicles around. But of course, you couldn't buy them, only lease. And as soon as GM got the law repealed they where yanked back and destroyed. One person here in Marin refused to return his however. Still see it around from time to time.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1)

karnal (22275) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273248)

GM had the EV-1, not the RAV4. Toyota = RAV4.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (2, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273326)

But it was GM that pushed to have the zero emission laws over turned, not Toyota.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273642)

because they cost to build was excessive. All it would have done is create a strong used car market.

a decade latter, and manufacturing them is getting cheaper, and people are more aware of the volatility of the price of oil.

GM doesn't car which people want to buy, only that there is enough money to be made to make a profit.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273746)

Right. Which is why they did everything they could to kill off the EVs and started building the H2. Doesn't mean it was a good thing, and frankly they could have charged an arm and a leg for the EV and people would have bought them.

Its like the adds running on TV right now for the GE Watt Station EV charging platforms. We had something very simular to those at major transit hubs to charge the last round of EVs. None of this stuff is new, but it is better and hopefully will "make it" this time.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273830)

It's still too damn expensive, though. Look at the Chevy volt. I love the concept, I think it's a neat-looking car, but there's no way I'm spending $40,000+ on a mediocre 4-seat compact. While current EV's are a hell of a lot better than the EV1, they're still not where they need to be for mass-adoption. Now, give it a decade or so, and the situation might be dramatically different. I'll let the early-adopters have a go at them, let my current vehicle drag me around until it falls apart, and hopefully be able to pick up a decent EV for a much lower price tag.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273986)

That's not really true. GM does care. They care because electric vehicles have fewer moving parts that wear out and require replacing. GM has been accused [wikipedia.org] of sabotaging the EV1 for that very reason. US auto manufacturers didn't get a reputation for building pieces of crap for no reason. The dealer service as well as the parts industry were where the US car companies made their money. It hasn't been until more recent times--after Japan started becoming a very serious threat to the US market in spite significant import tariffs due to their well recognized reliability compared to American brands--that quality and reliability were made a priority. Despite this new priority however, much of the legacy business remained (what do you think much of the bankruptcy B.S. was about).

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1)

YesIAmAScript (886271) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273858)

All the car companies pushed to have those laws overturned. They simply weren't ready to sell a non-trivial number of EVs and most customers weren't interested in buying them or even leasing them at a loss leader price.

And more than one RAV4 escaped, there is a guy here at work (South Bay) who owns one, I see it from time to time.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1)

Radtastic (671622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273588)

I met him during an event several years ago. If I recall correctly, he was able to purchase the vehicle during the early-release confusion (Before the dealers fully understood that the vehicles were only to be leased.)

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1)

jaygatsby27 (894445) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273610)

I'd like to buy that person a Pliny the Elder.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (5, Interesting)

Solandri (704621) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273652)

And as soon as GM got the law repealed...

GM didn't get the law repealed. They were the ones in the best position to benefit from the law. GM caught a lot of flak for how it behaved after the law was repealed (destroying all EV1s), but they weren't the root cause despite what popular documentaries say.

In 1990, California passed a law mandating that by a certain year (2000 I think), all manufacturers who wished to sell gasoline-powered cars in California also had to offer at least one ZEV (zero emissions vehicle). The only technology which fit the bill was electric. Most automakers complained, but GM went out and actually built the thing.

As the deadline approached, the other auto manufacturers started to panic. They lobbied California asking for the deadline to be delayed. It was for a few years. Then they successfully lobbied California to drop the ZEV requirement, arguing that hybrid vehicles (powered by gas but with batteries to sustain them at idle and to enable regenerative braking) would provide sufficiently improved fuel efficiency at a low enough price point to be widely adopted. (Contrary to today, environmentalists originally hated hybrids - they derived all their energy from gasoline, none from the wall socket. So they weren't seen as really addressing the oil consumption problem.)

GM, which stood to make $billions licensing their technology from the EV1 to other auto manufacturers so they could comply with California law, basically had the rug pulled out from under them. They'd sunk $billions in R&D into the EV1 to comply with California's law, then they got screwed over when California basically said "never mind", and dropped the law without giving GM a chance to recoup their sunk costs. GM then essentially went on a temper tantrum, recalling and destroying all EV1s. Not altogether unjustified either - if California wants to encourage new technologies by drafting legal requirements, then pulls a double-cross by dropping the requirements before companies can recoup the money spent creating those new technologies, why should the companies be obligated to let California benefit from said technologies?

All the conspiracy theories about GM blocking the electric vehicle hinge on one assumption - that an electric vehicle is cost-competitive with gasoline vehicles right now. As Tesla Motors is finding out, they are not. They need the government incentives (or $5+ gas prices) to be cost-competitive. If the government requires the vehicles and promises those incentives, then changes its mind, lots of business decisions based on those requirements and promises get nullified and a whole bunch of people trying to do exactly what the government told them to do lose a whole lot of money. That is not the way to spur free-market innovation, and trying to blame it on the companies afterwards is a great way you seed mistrust of the government.

Re:They did this in the 90s. (1, Informative)

Kenja (541830) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273710)

Sorry, I remember distinctly all the full page ads and campaigning GM did to get the law removed. They hated the EV cars with a passion. The reasons why are unknown, but there are a lot of valid theories. However no one who lived through it can come to any conclusion other then GM did everything they could to get the zero emission laws removed. And as soon as they no longer had to have EV cars, they pulled them, despite people screaming for the chance to buy them.

Not new. (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272976)

Toyota had a Rav4 EV back in the 2002-2005 timeframe (approximately). So this is merely a reintroduction of a discontinued model.

Back then ACEEE.org ranked the Rav4 EV as equal to a Prius or Civic Hybrid in cleanliness, but 8% dirtier than the Insight hybrid and Civic CNG cars.

Re:Not new. (2, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273034)

The old RAV 4EV was available from 1997 to 2003.

Re:Not new. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273052)

I wonder how a diesel would rate on the scale. Europe has a lot of hyper-efficient turbo diesels on the roads there with MPG equal or better than hybrids.

Re:Not new. (3, Interesting)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273210)

MPG

This is a useless measure for diesels when comparing to gasoline.

Diesel is more energy dense, so even a diesel with exactly the same efficiency as a gasoline engine will get a better MPG figure.

Diesels are more efficient than gasoline engines in general, and they tend to be more durable. The durable is because they are built heavier to withstand the higher pressures, so they tend to be much heavier. Thus you need a bigger engine to attain the same performance.

Now I'm rambling - my point is that it is very hard to compare diesels with gasoline engines on a 1:1 basis. Very few (any?) car companies offer a diesel that compares in performance and handling to their gasoline variant. And the ones that come very close (BMW) charge a huge premium for the diesel version.

Re:Not new. (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273434)

You aren't rambling; you have a bunch of good points. It would be nice to see diesel alternatives here in the US, other than on the super duty trucks.

Another advantage is that diesel engines have fewer parts. For example, no spark plugs. Yes, glow plugs need to be replaced, but nowhere near as often, and they are not as critical to basic function of the engine.

Yet another advantage is that diesel fuel is relatively stable. Gasoline absorbs water turning into a nasty acid, and otherwise decomposes after a period of time. Because diesel is an oil, water doesn't mix with it.

The ideal would be a diesel hybrid. This way, at idle (stoplight), fuel isn't being consumed.

Re:Not new. (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273880)

I believe the only Diesel vehicles available in the US are heavy duty trucks, VWs, Audi (same thing) and Mercedes. There are small cars, but nothing of significance in the real "meat" of the car market here. (SUV, Light truck, Mid Size) Disclaimer: I have not looked recently... I was trying to find out if someone made a diesel vehicle I wanted to drive a few years back and was left wanting.

Re:Not new. (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273516)

Yeah that's nice. Diesel MPG and gasoline MPG is not comparable. 100% agreed. Now to answer the grandparent's question:

- The Diesel Jetta and Gulf and A3 have a score of 43, which is 8% below the Prius and Civic hybrids, but equal to the cleanest gasoline cars (like the Yaris or Fit). So you can feel confident that your model year 2009 or 10 TDI is one of the cleanest cars on the road.

Re:Not new. (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273526)

and let's not forget that Diesel is actually way more costly fuel than gasoline, if it would not be tax subsidized so often. Also diesel is A LOT dirtier, and part of the high premium comes from the things they do to get emissions down. Not only is diesel emissions by nature higher, but the emissions are also more dangerous, higher output of more dangerous particles.

Diesel is near regular car performance nowadays, but only because they are so highly tuned, basicly a diesel without a turbo is useless. Diesel requires turbo just to reach the gasoline naturally aspirated engine performance characteristics. That's also why you usually see bigger diesel engines for a model than gasoline.

Only thing where diesel is good for is torque. Sometimes this benefit is utilized and you get cars with consumption of 4L/100km of diesel or even less, translating to some epicly cheaper driving.

Re:Not new. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273572)

It is not much more expensive and is not that much dirtier when using newer diesel engine technology.

Re:Not new. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273724)

The catch is that those efficient diesels also feature extremely small displacements, are low on power and are normally coupled to subcompact cars. By subcompact I mean the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, VW Polo and others. Size is one issue. A microcar is great if you're single, but even Europeans buy larger cars when they have families. But even those cars come with small engines, much smaller than what's available in the US in a comparable car.

And that gives rise to a second, and probably larger, problem. Americans are spoiled by horsepower. From the perspective of the average person in Europe a sport car is one that will hit 100km/h in 8 - 9 seconds. In the US it's 6 - 7 seconds and there are some who already consider that to be on the lower side. Your average fuel efficient vehicle in the states hits 100km/h in 8 or 9 seconds, in Europe the average is closer to 12 seconds, and a lot of cars are slower.

For your average American driver, regardless of their driving ability or how often they mash the throttle, that's slow. It's a sluggishness you definitely feel when you've been spoiled by the performance of the average car available in America. It's the sort of thing that's apparently when you're doing 70mph - 80mph on the highway and the engine is screaming at 4000rpms.

Some of these issues aren't as pronounced with diesel engines, but you're still looking at slow cars. The whole appeal of hybrids is that you get a bit of a compromise. Drivers can have a more practical car, slightly better performance but still enjoy improved fuel economy, even if it's a marginal improvement in a lot of cases.

Re:Not new. (2, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273342)

I seriously don't know why the car companies go after the diesel electric model trains use (not to be confused with hybrid, as the engine isn't solely there to make electricity but has the added complexity of being coupled to the driveshaft along with the electrical motor).

It would fix the range issues and be more efficient (they wouldn't even need to use a diesel motor...) overall.

I know most green nuts who spring for something like this demand purity in their smug so even a tiny combustion motor is anathema to them, but imo, it's a lot better than lugging tons of batteries around plus the strip mining it would require.

Re:Not new. (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273672)

Diesel PZEV's died off in the U.S. due to regulations around emissions and diesel sulfur content at the pump. There was legislative churn/unpredicatbility and so the manufacturers were left not knowing whether they would need the expensive exhaust system needed to reach PZEV standards or not, depending on whether the U.S. did or did not require low-sulfur diesel.

In the U.S., without a PZEV label, an eco-car likely won't sell. Also the tax structure for diesel in Europe is more favorable, and the American consumer much more likely to balk at the price-tag difference without bothering to do the math on the gas and decreased maintanence costs (brakes last longer, simpler transmission, no starter motor, etc.) because gas is relatively cheaper here.

For many of the same reasons hybrids aren't very popular in Europe -- most there would prefer they use diesel.

Ergo, there are hybrid diesels, including the Prius, headed to market in Europe but not in the U.S. (and a smattering of pre-production models already tooling around in leased fleets.)

Re:Not new. (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273698)

Possibly it's less efficient. A railway locomotive needs very high torque to start a multi-thousand tonne train -- hence the need for electric motors. A car doesn't need this, so there's no point making an extra energy conversion.

Re:Not new. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34274000)

You could ditch the whole transmission and all the losses that go with it. Also it seems like you could get quite good towing capacity in a pickup.

Re:Not new. (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273448)

yeah with probably new drivetrain as it's tesla drivetrain...

Can't wait! (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 3 years ago | (#34272996)

I was very excited about the Chevy Volt, but at $40K that's too expensive for me.

The Nisan Leaf sounds nice, too, but I'm scared to buy a car that can only go 100 miles on a charge.

Re:Can't wait! (-1, Troll)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273068)

Why would you want to drive something that's more damaging to the environment than fossil fuel vehicles?

Re:Can't wait! (2, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273182)

Why would you want to post something that's less convincing to slashdot than a well supported argument?

Re:Can't wait! (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273598)

Why would you bother to do your own research and find out that I'm right. In /. where opinions are mostly set in stone, even with a well supported argument.

Re:Can't wait! (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273300)

The Diesel Jetta and Gulf and A3 have a score of 43, which is 8% below the Prius and Civic hybrids, and equal to the cleanest gasoline cars (like the Yaris or Fit).

Re:Can't wait! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273594)

Remind me again when I can buy a diesel Golf or A3. Have never seen on in the states.

Is the A3 aluminum like the A2 was? That would be great around here, no more salt eating the car each winter.

Re:Can't wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273838)

The Golf TDI is most certainly available in the states and has been since late 2009, I believe. I'm currently considering one, myself. I can't speak to the availability of a diesel A3.

Re:Can't wait! (2, Informative)

daemonc (145175) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273970)

Remind me again when I can buy a diesel Golf

Seriously? Just walk into just about any VW dealership, and say "I would like to buy a diesel Golf".
Or buy a used one like I did. The early 2000s models still get the best fuel economy, with many people seeing over 50 MPG combined highway/city.

We even have our own online clubs, where we share helpful tips on maintenance, repair, and improving your fuel economy and power: http://forums.tdiclub.com/

I know VW doesn't put a lot of marketing effort into the TDI line in the US, but damn... I'm amazed that someone who sounds genuinely interested in a fuel efficient vehicle doesn't even know they are available...

Re:Can't wait! (0, Flamebait)

interval1066 (668936) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273314)

"Why would you want to drive something that's more damaging to the environment than fossil fuel vehicles?"

Just get on your skateboard and move along ya damned hippie.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273370)

Say what? How is the EV/gasoline Volt worse for the environment? If you're talking about the batteries, I think they are NiMH which is environmentally-neutral and can even be tossed in a landfill (no hazardous chemicals).

Re:Can't wait! (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273554)

Most batteries are pre-manufactured china, made with nickle from Canada, transported to japan for post-manufacturing, then transported back to North America or Europe for final installation.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273614)

Transporting a 5lb bag of potatoes by ship from China to the USA uses less energy than cooking them. Ship transport is very efficient.

Re:Can't wait! (2)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273678)

Let's deconstruct.

1) The batteries used are non-cobalt li-ion. *These* are the type that you can just throw in a landfill (you can't with NiMH).

2) The "Nickel from Canada" line is part of an old myth. Most of the nickel used in NiMH batteries doesn't come from the Sudsbury mines any more.

3) Pretty much *every* part of *every* car nowadays gets shipped all over the world at least once. Why should we weigh the environmental consequences for shipping batteries or battery parts more than for, say, a transmission or steel for the chassis?

4) Shipping is a small fraction of the energy consumption of auto manufacture, which in turn is a small fraction of the lifetime energy usage of a vehicle.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

Skal Tura (595728) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273898)

lol NiMH, yeaaaaah right.

The battery you usually have in a car is a NiMH, when is the last time you tried to lift it?
They usually weight 12 to 18kg for a 12V 60Ah battery, which probably cannot give out more than 30A without significant drop in voltage. Even the best ones (those which costs close to 10x of cheapo) can only give out around 65A sustained. There might exist NiMH car batteries which use other than 10S1P (10 serial, 1 parallel) cells, which can give out higher amperage sustained.

At 65A sustained without significant drop you get only 780W, so to get the required 78kW roughly for a regular modern sedan you need 100 of those, weighting 1200 to 1800kg. These being high quality probably costing 200e a piece would mean the batteries would cost 20 000euros, and because of their weight you need to make way larger car and probably triple up the output to come even close to same performance as gasoline car. You end up with a truck with a affordably priced sedan performance. They also need to be cooled, NiMh is very low efficiency battery and heats excruciatingly when high output is drawn (i've burn my fingers a few times when they got too hot)

Of course, more advanced NiMH and NiCD batteries DO exist, but they are prohibitively expensive, easily costing 20euros per a cell of 2-6Ah.

LiPo would be optimal for cars if it would not be for the volatility of them and they cannot function properly at cold temperatures (under 10C you loose output dramatically).
LiFe4 is rather new battery technology which looks promising for some applications.

LiIon is most likely candidate and this is what Tesla uses, and they use 11S 9S 69P setup for a total of 6831 cells to get the performance, and even with that setup the draw is so big that the batteries need to be cooled! And you know what heat is? It's loss in efficiency. NiMh would be just about 50x worse in this.

Even the tesla only stored 53kWh, and the batteries weigh in 450kg. Now imagine NiMH! LiIon has 100-250Wh/kg and NiMh has 30-80Wh/kg.

LiIon has also better cycle durability and lower self discharge rate. Downside in LiIon is that it's peak power output is quite low compared to other technologies (NiMh has higher). which is easy to counteract with smaller cells but more of them.

Li-Ion is not even particularly that good, if they can solve the LiPo problems things get interesting with 130-200Wh/kg but maximum power output (amperage) upto 7.1 times the next best.

Neither Li-Ion and LiPo seems to suffer from drastical voltage drop-off due to high draw.

Also afaik there is LiPo packs already in market which can do higher than 200Wh/kg.

LiIon is so widely used, thus cheapest to manufacture that using Li-Ion is a no brainer.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273096)

The Nisan Leaf sounds nice, too, but I'm scared to buy a car that can only go 100 miles on a charge.

It can go farther . . . you have to push it, though.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273108)

Hybrid is the way to go. The ones with 40mpg or better mileage (i.e. Prius, Civic, Insight) are ranked by greenercars.org to be just as clean (or cleaner) as the EVs. All of them qualify as both SULEV and PZEV.

Another option is the new "clean diesel" cars from Volkswagen and Ford - model years 2008 and later - which run on sulfur-free fuel and near-zero NOx emissions. Some models (not all) also have particulate traps to eliminate soot and typically get > 50mpg.

Re:Can't wait! (2, Interesting)

Mongoose Disciple (722373) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273482)

Hybrid is the way to go. The ones with 40mpg or better mileage (i.e. Prius, Civic, Insight) are ranked by greenercars.org to be just as clean (or cleaner) as the EVs

Hmm... but what if I like the idea of the Volt because I hate buying gas (and have a short enough commute) and not because I love the environment?

Re:Can't wait! (1)

atrain728 (1835698) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273232)

TFA indicates that this'll be going about 100 miles on a charge.

Seems that 100 miles on a charge is something of a sweet spot between cost of battery and common user acceptability. Or at least thats what I assume their marketing data indicated.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273280)

The Volt really irks me. The prototype was beautiful in a Art Deco sci-fi kind of way. Then, the accountants got a hold of the design and turned it into a classic "sporty" chick sedan. I was most definitely looking to get it, but after I saw they turned it into a Honda Civic I got turned off.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273632)

I think that had more to do with reality and aerodynamics. No point in going for a hybrid with the aerodynamics of a brick wall.

Re:Can't wait! (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273786)

It was changed not because of "accountants", but because the drag coefficient was a disaster. Giant stub-nose, wasted hood space that could be used for a slope, sharp corners at the windshield and A-pillars, a wasted opportunity for a Kammback, and huge absurd wheel wells.

Keeping the drag down is extremely important in early EVs. They never should have given it over to "designers" first. Engineers should go first, designers go *second*. That is, you have the engineers tell you what shape the car needs to be in order to meet your operating requirements, and then designers make that shape pretty without ruining its aerodynamics. But that's backwards from how it's usually done.

Re:Can't wait! (0, Flamebait)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273842)

Better yet, tell the designers to Fuck Off. Just once build a car to be a car, not a moving work of art, not some sort of juvenile expression of the driver, not some douche-bag status symbol, just put functional over all else.

URcrazy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273000)

You may need a huge safe garage with stable power outlet to charge this Toyota chick!~~~~

Just Tesla (1)

mfear (1942390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273002)

The only thing new and exciting here is the use of Tesla instead of other methods, if you find that new and exciting.

Re:Just Tesla (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273192)

I can't figure out whether it's just Tesla's electronics powering a toyota PM motor, or whether they are using the Tesla copper-squirrel-cage motor as well. Anyone know?

Re:Just Tesla (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273536)

They are using A/C batteries

Re:Just Tesla (2, Funny)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273688)

Where do you get copper squirrels?

Re:Just Tesla (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273976)

Tesla's drive motor is a copper squirrel [teslamotors.com] .

On further reading it looks like the whole train including motor will be Tesla's design.

Re:Just Tesla (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273820)

"Powered by Tesla" is a standard marketing gimmick. Company A is a well-established player. Company B is a new player. A and B want to work together. Because A has the bigger name, the product is clearly going to be branded as "A". But B wants their brand name out there as well.

The solution? "Powered by B".

What's the big deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273012)

I don't get why there is such a big push for electric cars when many of them don't surpass the effectiveness of regular gas powered cars. Right now they seem to be more of a status symbol and a waste of money if nothing else. Not to mention that most of the electricity used to power these vehicles are coming from coal burning plants.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273140)

1. Most cars are status symbols, look at SUVs for example.
2. Even the worst US coal plant is a lot cleaner than the ICE found in a car.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273444)

Even the worst US coal plant is a lot cleaner than the ICE found in a car.

lolwut? Do you know what fly ash [wikimedia.org] is?

Emissions controls on modern vehicles have gotten to the point where the air coming out the tailpipe can be cleaner than the air that went in the intake.

Re:What's the big deal? (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273702)

Test that, go into your garage and run a hose from the tail pipe into the car. Then sit in the car with the engine running. Tell me how it works out for you.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273736)

The Honda's ULEV is one such example. But now that CO2 is classified as a pollutant, politically the engine is very dirty. Which is sad really. The H2O and CO2 emessions are practically the only thing released. You could drink the condensed water vapor it's that safe.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273918)

So lets see you breathe the exhaust for half and hour or so, just get the garden hose and try it out.

Reality is a car engine has terrible efficiency and none meet ULEV or any other standard while they are starting up. Since most trips are short lots of those are while the car engine and cat are not yet up to temp.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Rei (128717) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273908)

Do you know what peer-reviewed studies are [pnl.gov] ? I've got a dozen more where that came from. Basically, on our current grid, certain pollutants (such as PM) increase by using EVs, while others are nearly eliminated (such as CO and VOCs); however, all pollutants are shifted to higher altitude and to less populated areas (instead of being emitted at street level in populated areas), leading to huge health benefits. CO2 is reduced by a quarter.

That's on our *current grid*. Our grid gets cleaner every year; most new capacity being added to it is wind and natural gas. Oil production, however, gets dirtier every year, as we keep having to shift more and more to deepwater, bitumen, ultra-heavy, sour, arctic, coal liquefaction, and so forth.

Lastly, your emissions control line is an urban legend, albeit one greatly encouraged by automakers.

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

skids (119237) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273330)

It decouples the fuel source. So while they may be mostly fossil fuel powered now, if and when renewable resources are available, they can use them without having to buy a new car.

To me the biggest obvious perk is not having to stand out in the freezing cold gassing up the car twice a week. But on a more sensible level, electric motors pretty much last forever, compared to an ICE + transmission. Other than the battery system, there's not much that wears on them, and they do not require much maintenance at all. Since battery tech keeps evolving, you'll be able to upgrade your per-charge mileage by the time the battery pack needs to be replaced (10-15 years.)

Now, if you are the type that considers cars a disposable possession, then they may not seem to make sense. Many people, however, like to stick with the same wheels for a very long time -- some just out of a sense of economy, others because they consider the impact of the manufacture of the vehicle, not just the maintenance.

Holy Editing Batman. (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273078)

Announced earlier this year as part of an ongoing partnership between Tesla Motors and Toyota the RAV4 EV promises to offer a modern take on the classic RAV4 EV which was built between 1007 and 2003 and for many years became a yard-stick by which all other EVs were measured.

Wow, the RAV4 EV was available before the Norman Conquest of England!

Re:Holy Editing Batman. (1)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273230)

From 1007 to the 1600s the RAV4 EV was a Palanquin carried by 4 Eta (unclean worker caste).

Eta Vehicle
Equine Vehicle 1600s
(Luminiferous) Ether Vehicle 1800s
Electric Vehicle 1900s

Re:Holy Editing Batman. (1)

istartedi (132515) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273592)

Wow, the RAV4 EV was available before the Norman Conquest of England!

Do you see that? Next to the knight on that tapestry? It looks like a smudge. Zoom in. Enhance. A bit to the left, see that? Zoom in. Enhance. Enhance. Zoom in. There it is!

The Real Magic of Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273138)

is how they charge their batteries. Very efficient. Very fast.

(Funny that 'monopoly' is the captcha word for this entry.)

urcrazy (1)

urcrazy (1941460) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273294)

Can't wait to buy one !!! But i guess i need a huge garage to charge it first ~~

I like this approach (2, Interesting)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273318)

I think hybrid and electric vehicles should be all based on modifications to existing designs. Yes, you're hammering a square peg into a round hole, but I'd rather EV or hybrid technology be an option, not a car.

Re:I like this approach (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273720)

I would rather they sold cars with low Cd, rather than trying to always put form over function.

How do you uncrush a car? (0)

tekrat (242117) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273332)

The Rav4EV's were all crushed by Toyota during the filming of "Who Killed the Electric Car"?

My biggest question is: Who trusts ANY of these car companies who, should the wind blow in a different direction tomorrow, will decide to say "FU" over electric vehicles? A lot of people were burned by GM and Toyota, and they wasted a lot of money to make sure nobody got to even see these cars after the "recall".

If Toyota wants to make good, put the original recipients of the RAV4EV on the fast-track to a new Rav4EV.

Re:How do you uncrush a car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273456)

Sorry, it was the GM EV-1's that were crushed.
Many Toyota Rav4 EV's are still around.

Re:How do you uncrush a car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273470)

The Rav4 is a generic Toyota SUV. You're thinking of the General Motors EV-1.

Seriously, you can't tell the difference between General Motors and Toyota? What's next? "Oh, Red Hat is that monopolistic software company who's now trying to stick their hands into video games and phones. Or, wait, was that Micro-something? I can never remember!"

Re:How do you uncrush a car? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273480)

Might want to fact check. They crushed some of the RAVA4's but it was the EV1's that were totally destroyed. A lot of RAVA4's survived and are still driven. It's sad any were crushed. Destroying the cars helped set back electric cars 10+ years.

Here's a link and a quote from Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_RAV4_EV

"Like other manufacturers, Toyota began destroying RAV4 EVs as they came off lease, after lease continuances were denied to owners. In 2005 an agreement was struck between Toyota and DontCrush.com (now PlugInAmerica.com) to stop the destruction and facilitate the continued operation of owned and leased vehicles. While no longer sold, the vehicle is still supported by selected Toyota service centers (mainly in California) and a strong owner community.[citation needed]
The RAV4 EV is driven daily by hundreds of owners, now across the United States. These owners have built up an online community and have worked out ways to add options to the RAV4 EV never offered by Toyota, with the most popular being keyless door entry and cruise control.[citation needed]"

Why not the Corolla? (3, Insightful)

sjonke (457707) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273334)

I can see value in an EV mini-SUV-ish thing, but I'd rather have an EV Corolla. Basic, light, low wind-resistance transportation. I just need something to get me to and from the train station and occasionally all the way to work and back. Anyway, I don't really envision being able to buy one until the prices come down. I presume this is going to be another $40k+ monstrosity. I hope it succeeds wildly, though, and helps drive prices way down.

actually, this is good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34273778)

At least one of these big manufacturers is *inching* towards having a PICKUP instead of a little sedan. Pickups are a huge market, they are designed to hold weight,(meaning batteries are not as much of an issue) a lot of guys have them because they use a PU every weekend to do chores with, the home depot run or what have you, but then they use it to commute as well during the week. A plug in electric with a 100 mile range would hit a lot of owners just right.

I have a good diesel PU now, and could get by fine with a 100 mile range if it was batt powered and much cheaper to keep it going by plugging it in at night. I really can't have a sedan with my lifestyle, I haul stuff all the time. In fact, thinking about it, I have only traveled further than 100 miles twice with this thing since I bought it, which means rentals would have sufficed for those longer trips.

Re:actually, this is good (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273870)

Electric ford ranger conversions are done, and honestly ford should be selling them. Rangers are practical vehicles for what you are talking about, F150s and F250s are just status symbols.

How will an Electric Powered Car solve anything? (1)

Laxus (1943206) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273604)

I really do not get the point of this vehicle. Using electricity as a fuel instead of gasoline and sacrificing on some power to save the environment does sound like an interesting idea. But we need to consider where the electricity comes from in the U.S and that is again from the burning of fossil fuels, nuclear power and natural gas. So these electric powered cars are just giving us a false sense of reality that we are doing something to save the environment. Now if they generate electricity from renewable sources like sunlight, it's a different story altogether. More importantly, a crossover that has little to offer in terms of pure power just does not sound all appealing. Now if I wanted a Prius, then maybe..

Re:How will an Electric Powered Car solve anything (1)

mikestew (1483105) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273946)

Where does the power for normal ICE cars come from? A million individual power plants for which it is hard and expensive to control the pollutants. Contrast to a single electric plant, whatever the fuel source, that is easier to scrub, maintain, and regulate than a million cars (or however many EVs a plant could supply).

Here in the Pacific Northwest, most of the power comes from hydro making it nearly a non-issue.

crossover SUVs (0, Flamebait)

Lord Ender (156273) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273628)

I can't speak for the RAV4 specifically, but these small "crossover" SUVs really seem to be the way of the future with respect to vehicles. They have all of the advantages of cars (easy to drive, easy to park, affordable) combined with all of the advantages of SUVs (lots of cargo capacity, good visibility). I recently purchased a BMW X3 and so far I am absolutely loving it. I can't see any reason to go back to a regular car now that every auto maker has some form of crossover SUV.

Re:crossover SUVs (1)

Mike323 (1943148) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273758)

Exactly. And now since fuel efficiency is one of the top priorities for dealers. Its just hard to compete with every car out there becoming fuel efficient. Small cars such as the ford focus get up to 35 mpg.

Re:crossover SUVs (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#34273892)

35mpg? That is pathetic, my old corolla beats that. It has 155k on the clock and it still does 35mpg.

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