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6 Major Pre-Production Electric Vehicles Compared

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the shocking-advancements-in-automobiles dept.

Transportation 486

rbgrn writes with a review of six major pre-production electric vehicles. The review offers an easy side-by-side comparison of these six cars with projected release dates of either 2008 or 2010. "With all of the hype surrounding hybrid vehicles today, I thought I'd do some research and post my findings on the next generation of fully electric and plug-in hybrids. The fully-electric EV has had a bad name in the past, mostly due to insufficient battery technology, politics, lack of performance models and other factors. Starting this year with the Tesla Roadster, the EV is going to take on a new form in the eyes of John Q Public. Quiet, efficient EVs will start to become commonplace in the next few years as major manufacturers go into production with the newest generation of vehicle sporting more powerful motors, efficient generators and the latest battery technology."

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486 comments

Still waiting (0)

ShawnCplus (1083617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438097)

Very nice but how long until they come standard with warp drives?

Re:Still waiting (0)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438147)

Warp just isn't practical, the roads aren't capable of handling that kind of power. I'll settle for a flux capacitor.

Roads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438303)

Where we're going, we don't need "roads".

Re:Roads? (1)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438467)

And all those electrical cords are going to be a real rat's nest before long.

Seriously (4, Funny)

KlaymenDK (713149) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438353)

In all seriousness, there has been much progress on the warp drive front. In 1926 or so, theories claimed that you needed many times the energy of the universe to create a warp field, and your craft had to be a good deal lighter than zero mass.

The latest benchmark is from cirka 1986, I think, and claims only 2-3 times the energy of our local sun ... and your craft only needs to be very little lighter than zero mass, or maybe it was acually zero.

But the warp field won't make a positive impression on those in the lane next to you, or the little old lady on the sidewalk... ;)

END MODERATOR ABUSE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438421)

I hate to have to do this, but...

I have been the victim of clueless moderator abuse [slashdot.org] Mod this post as informative to right the wrong! As a result of two instances MODERATOR abuse my Karma has been rendered bad, which means my default score is 0. This means that I have no voice here. I am trying to do this the right way and avoid creating a new account. If you hate injustice, then at least mod me to 1 or 2 so that I can get my voice back. If I have to create a new account just to make contributions, you can bet that I'll use this account to troll everyone else (because if I am going to be labeled a troll, I might as well have some fun), and that will just make for more line noise here. I'd like to avoid that.

Have you ever done 0-60 in 2.5 seconds? (2, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438651)

how long until they come standard with warp drives?
It's about as close to warp drive as you're ever going to see. Even jumping out of a plane doesn't have quite the same effect where there are no objects nearby to relate your speed to.

Hell, even the initial electric vehicles like the Tesla are sub 4 seconds for acceleration.

http://www.teslamotors.com/performance/acceleration_and_torque.php [teslamotors.com]

Mwhahahahahaha... I want one...

 

Re:Have you ever done 0-60 in 2.5 seconds? (1)

arivanov (12034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438829)

Did you star in this advert by any chance? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2nvAFOk7x0 [youtube.com] Or it was done about you?

Tesla (0)

polar red (215081) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438161)

There are very few $100,000+ cars that outperform the $100,000 ...

Re:Tesla (0)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438251)

Absolutely correct. Why, in a Cannonball run from New York to Manhattan Beach, it'd take the Tesla what, a week or two to complete it?
Oh that's right, you had a very limited concept of "outperform" in mind...

Re:Tesla (1)

wattrlz (1162603) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438849)

"Speed of fueling" isn't a very popular performance metric. Were I doing a Cannonball ina Tesla there'd be extra batteries stashed at waypoints along the road to swap out.

Re:Tesla (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438309)

I'd really LOVE to have a Tesla...maybe after a couple years run, the price can drop a bit. But, as I've stated before, it will be a little disconcerting how QUIET the damned thing will be. I mean, part of the fun of driving a sports car/muscle car...is that engine roar, and the throaty growl of a well tuned exhaust note.

I guess you could play mp3's of an engine sound with the Tesla...but just isn't gonna be the same...

:-(

I keep hearing Red Barchetta in the back of my head when I think about all this....

Re:Tesla (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438419)

I mean, part of the fun of driving a sports car/muscle car...is that engine roar, and the throaty growl of a well tuned exhaust note.
Electric cars aren't going to replace sports cars any time soon. On the other hand, remember the old saying about Rolls Royce where the loudest thing was the ticking of the electric clock? What I love about my Merc is the silence and, cash permitting, I'd be first in the queue.

Re:Tesla (0, Offtopic)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438889)

I sold my Mercedes ('05 SLK 55 AMG) to put money down on a Tesla Roadster. Best decision I've ever made (IMHO).

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438851)

I keep hearing Red Barchetta in the back of my head when I think about all this....
So fit an old tape deck and play your old Rush mix tapes...

Re:Tesla (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438769)

True, but you could get a $75,000-80,000 Corvette Z06. Extremely fast, EPA 15/24.

In my opinion, much better looking too: http://www.chevrolet.com/corvette/photogallery [chevrolet.com]

The Tesla seems like a very fun car, but it is really boring looking. The photos look good, but in real-life it is rather dated looking -- like an old MR/2 or something. (Apologies to MR/2 fans, but you didn't pay 100K I hope.)

I am glad to see more competition in the space, though.

Dead batteries? (3, Funny)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438165)

Must be running their servers off that "insufficient battery technology"

Re:Dead batteries? (0, Redundant)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438191)

Yeah really, there were no replies when I clicked the link and it was already dead. Either this was already posted at fark or digg or their servers are just horrible.

Mirror (2, Informative)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438263)

The Coral Cache of the page is slow as heck [nyud.net] , but here is a copy of the page:

By Robert Green on November 19, 2007 1:53 PM | Permalink | TrackBacks (0)


With all of the hype surrounding hybrid vehicles today, I thought I'd do some research and post my findings on the next generation of fully electric and plug-in hybrids. The fully-electric EV has had a bad name in the past, mostly due to insufficient battery technology, politics, lack of performance models and other factors. Starting this year with the Tesla Roadster, the EV is going to take on a new form in the eyes of John Q Public. Quiet, efficient EVs will start to become commonplace in the next few years as major manufacturers go into production with the newest generation of vehicle sporting more powerful motors, efficient generators and the latest battery technology.


The big change will be the introduction of full EVs and plug-in hybrids. Full EVs are as one would expect: A fully electric vehicle that uses no other fuels. A plug-in hybrid is a vehicle that uses electricity as its primary power source and is equipped with a generator that supplements electricity as-needed. Many of the plug-in hybrids have an electric-only range of 30-60 miles with an extended range of 400-700 miles. The difference to the consumer is the way in which the vehicle is charged. Traditional hybrids are powered primarily by gas and thus need to be refueled regularly. Plug-in hybrids plug in at home and to most people that means they park the car at home, plug it in overnight and it's ready to go the next morning. This means that if you're driving less than your EV range each day, you'll never need to put a drop of gas into the car. How nice does that sound?


The following table is a consolidation of data collected from many different sources, cited at the bottom of this article. It has many key points that the average person may be interested in. Much of the data is still not readily available due to the pre-production and concept status of some of the models. I will do my best to keep this chart up-to-date.


(Copy of the chart) [flickr.com]


As you can see from the production dates, four out of six of the vehicles are scheduled to be in production in 2010 but the other two, the Tesla Roadster and Aptera are scheduled for production in 2008. Both companies are currently taking pre-orders. Estimated production numbers are difficult to find but Chevy has claimed 60,000 in the first year.


Performance is a hot issue with EVs and this generation is no doubt going to address that. I calculated a figure where applicable which divides the vehicles weight in pounds into its peak power rating. The resulting number gives an indication for how well the vehicle should be able to accelerate. While numbers are only available for a few cars, the Tesla Roadster easily takes the lead with a a 0-60 of 4 seconds and a 68.5 Watt/Pound ratio. This should prove to many that EVs are now capable of being mainstream performance cars.


Most of these plug-in hybrids are expected to have a 3-cylinder turbo diesel or gasoline generator which usually produces slightly more than the continuous power rating of the car. Translation: You can drive as far as you want with this car only refueling and not having to recharge. This alone should resolve many people's fears of range with EVs.


The Aptera is one of the most interesting vehicles here with its very aerodynamic, futuristic design and high range specifications. It comes in two models: Fully EV and Hybrid. The Full EV model is estimated to be $26,900 and the Hybrid at $29,900.


The Mitsubishi MiEV Sport is supposed to compete with the Tesla Roadster but currently it stands at a peak rating of only 87kW which is less than half of the roadsters. Without an upgrade, it would have to weigh a mere 1,000 pounds to be able to achieve the same level of acceleration. My prediction is that future announcements will show significant increases in power and reductions in weight.


Two other vehicles not on the list are the Nissan Mixim and the Tesla Whitestar. Both are concept sedans but are lacking substantial data to present.


My current pick is the Chevy Volt for being the most practical car announced. Price hasn't been mentioned but it's expected to be affordable. It has a reasonable amount of power, a huge extended range and should be roomy enough for most. It may also help that GM has experience with EVs from the EV1 test deployment, which was the subject of the documentary "Who killed the electric car?"


Overall things are looking good for the future of EVs. With so many large companies backing the technologies, there are sure to be plenty of high quality vehicles to pick from at reasonable prices in the next several years.


My fear (2, Insightful)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438169)

It's only going to take one vehicle fire involving lithium ion batteries and then the public will sour on the whole thing for years.

Re:My fear (3, Funny)

ShawnCplus (1083617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438183)

As long as it's not called the EV Pinto we'll be fine.

Re:My fear (2, Insightful)

FrankSchwab (675585) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438217)

It sure stopped them from buying laptops and IPods, didn't it?

Re:My fear (1)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438687)

Was the market already flooded with laptops and ipods that run on internal combustion engines?

Apples and oranges.

Re:My fear (1)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438773)

Were any of those people "inside" their laptops & iPods when they exploded?

Um....I think not!

Re:My fear (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438225)

Oh, I think they'll be fine as long they don't outsource the manufacturing to Sony. :-D

Re:My fear (the smell of burning cars) (5, Insightful)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438371)

Amusingly, it seems like there is a car or van on fire in my county probably every day - some days there are up to 10 car fires.

You can live in Fear.

Or you can be a proud patriotic American and refuse to live in Fear.

Those are the choices.

Re:My fear (the smell of burning cars) (2, Funny)

orasio (188021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438905)

Amusingly, it seems like there is a car or van on fire in my county probably every day - some days there are up to 10 car fires.

You can live in Fear.

Or you can be a proud patriotic American and refuse to live in Fear.

Those are the choices.
In related news, the population of Fear Town is constantly diminishing for no aparent reason.

Re:My fear (5, Funny)

TnkMkr (666446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438561)

Yes because a 15 gallon tank filled with gasoline is as safe as kittens.

Doesn't matter if you store energy in batteries or in combustable liquides, when a fuel cell full of stored energy is released in an uncontrolled manner, it will always suck.

Re:My fear (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438571)

It's only going to take one vehicle fire involving lithium ion batteries and then the public will sour on the whole thing for years.

Because of course, gasoline is non-flammable. Actually, for a while there was no official method to fight a car fire in a hybrid or electric vehicle, or to cut one open in a major accident. That was solved a few year ago when people started seeing all those Toyotas... Now it is just like any other car... The most dangerous part is the loose nut behind the wheel.

Re:My fear (1)

Gerr (10139) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438613)

Great FUD. I'm a bit surprised that the statement was elevated to insightful as similar statements could be made concerning other car types:

It's only going to take one vehicle roll over before the public sours on SUVs.

It's only going to take one impact with a large vehicle before the public sours on compact cars.

The problem is not that an accident might occur that will sour the public impression. Problems like the one mentioned above have existed for decades and people are still buying the vehicles--case point spontaneous combustion due to parts generating too much heat. Automobile manufactures don't issue a recall until a problem becomes systemic which means that many instances of the problem have already occurred to individuals. Yet, others continue buying the cars and when the recall notice goes out, the problem gets fixed. Simply saying that a lithium battery will catch fire is nothing more than FUD.

Re:My fear (2, Insightful)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438719)

Responding to my own message above as it apparently was ambiguous.

Just to clarify my personal view here...I'm not afraid of vehicles fire in an EV, I'm afraid of how public opinion of EV's might unfairly change after one well-publicized EV fire.

Re:My fear (2, Interesting)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438793)

As my username might suggest, I actually do get out to Cambodia once a year. There's a big stigma there with Propane cars. Apparently you can retrofit a standard car to run on propane, but there have been some instances of cars exploding in gigantic fireballs that have soured most people on the concept. This is in a place where landmines are still a threat, so people tend to be rather cautious in general. Even with high gas prices they still won't do it, and there a $1 a liter can be the difference between feeding your family or begging on the street.

Americans however are probably not that diligent in their fear. Anyone here have a problem buying Firestone tires?

Cost? (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438175)

Nice to hear, but EV's won't be feasible until the costs and reliability approach those of gas vehicles ( or when gas goes up to 10 bucks a gallon ). They also move the problem upsteam to the power plants. Still, we can dream, and I'm drooling over the Tesla.

Re:Cost? (1)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438239)

but gas won't get to $10 a gallon. before that happens certain fields in the Caribbean and oil shale in the US will become feasible and the price will level out

Re:Cost? (3, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438267)

Nice to hear, but EV's won't be feasible until the costs and reliability approach those of gas vehicles ( or when gas goes up to 10 bucks a gallon ). They also move the problem upsteam to the power plants.

I think most people on Slashdot probably understand what it will take. We need to stop subsidizing oil companies with tax dollars. We need to stop spending billions on wars to secure supplies for oil companies. We need to pass strict legislation to regulate the types of power plants that can be built based upon the real costs to the citizens. We need to legislate a date within the next decade when coal plants are required to meet emission, waste, and safety standards and stop approving new, unclean coal plants. Then, when the real costs of all these industries are borne by those industries, we need to let the market sort it out and provide the most cost effective solution.

I suspect politicians and their advisors know this as well. I just don't think any of them are as interested in making it happen as they are in making sure their re-election campaign is well funded and they're owed political favors.

Re:Cost? (1)

dmitriy (40004) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438423)

> ... We need to pass strict legislation to regulate ...

Forget it. This time I'm gonna walk.

Re:Cost? (2, Insightful)

SpryGuy (206254) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438291)

Plug-in Hybrids can be powered from solar installations, which will help with the whole 'moving the problem upstream'.

Re:Cost? energy 1/10th gas cost (4, Interesting)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438299)

It depends where you live. In large portions of the US, we use this new-fangled thing called hydro-electric power, and we supplement it with wind power. So, our basic cost is less than 7 cents per KWh. Other areas of the US use different energy supplies - Vermont is mostly Hydro with nuclear (used to own Green Mountain Power), and much of the Northeast uses imported hydro power with nuclear and some coal.

Some places generate and sell their own power from home or farm based wind turbines and solar cells - especially in the West.

So the cost of the energy ranges from $3 a gallon (cheap in the West) for gas to $0.30 gallon equivalent for electricity in coal states to $0.04 gallon equivalent for electricity in the Northwest.

At that point, the cost of retrofitting - which is less than $5000 if done by Honda or Toyota (which sell plug-in hybrids in Japan even if not in the US yet) or Lexus, or $15,000 if you use say one of the three conversion businesses in my county alone (King County in Washington state) - is price compatible if you commute to work nearby.

Of course, you could do what Willie Nelson is doing and go plug-in bio-diesel with your truck, or even convert a classic Cadillac to get more than 80 mpg using an efficient bio-diesel engine with plug-in hybrid electric power tuned to the make and model.

Some people talk.

Other people do.

P.S.: If you're on facebook and use the I Am Green app, there's a We Are Green Seattle [facebook.com] group you can join now. Let's beat out Vancouver BC and San Francisco CA!

Re:Cost? energy 1/10th gas cost (2, Informative)

rhakka (224319) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438777)

Those price conversions include batteries?

If so, Of what kind of range?

And you can get Honda or Toyaota to do plug in conversions here in the US??

Where do you get your numbers? (2, Insightful)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438805)

1 Gallon of gasoline is equivalent to 36.7kW-hr. This [shec-labs.com] is my reference.

1 Gallon @ $3.00 or 36.7kW-hr x $0.07/kW-hr = $2.569 A little less expensive, but not quite as cheap as you make it out to be.

Disclaimer: This comparison relies upon an assumption that the efficiency of an internal combustion engine powered car is (very) roughly equivalent to a battery charge and discharge cycle to power an electric motor of an electric car. Yes, an electric motor will be more efficient than an ICE, but you have to count the power going into the battery charger (which will take into account charging losses, battery losses, and discharge losses), not the just the motor, to properly compare costs. To really make a true comparison, you need the miles per kW-hr for the electric to compare with the gasoline equivalent MPG.

Re:Cost? (2, Informative)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438329)

The simple solution there is more nuclear plants.

Re:Cost? (1)

Dmala (752610) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438373)

They also move the problem upstream to the power plants.

It seems to me that this is a *huge* problem with plug-in electric vehicles. We already have issues during periods of high demand. If the power companies decide to take the cheaper short-term solution and build a bunch of coal-fired plants to meet the increased demand, we end up with a net loss in terms of the environmental cost. It's a great idea, but if the power producers aren't on board and working on new technologies in parallel, the whole thing could be a trainwreck.

Re:Cost? (1)

hibji (966961) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438593)

I would think that the electricity used will be during periods of low demand. Electric cars will be charged mainly at night.

Re:Cost? (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438595)

A modern (scrubber-enabled) coal-fired power plant doesn't pollute as much as the thousands of individual vehicles with less-efficient combustion engines it could provide power to. Further, even if you were only moving the pollution into one place with no net decrease (which isn't the case), having it all in one place makes it easier to mitigate; retrofitting a single power plant with new technology to reduce its pollution output is easier than retrofitting every car which is charged off that plant.

Problem? Sure. Huge problem? Not so much.

actually, coal is better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438845)

Big industrial coal power plants have 35% efficiency. Electric motors have 90% efficiency, and electric cars get 'free' regenerative braking. The standard car engine is 20% efficient.

http://commontragedies.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/coal-fired-car/ [wordpress.com]

So, in spite of burning a dirtier fuel, coal powered electric cars produce slightly less CO2 per mile than standard gasoline powered cars, and there is PLENTY of coal.

The Aptera is cool looking (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438193)

But a purchase price of $30,000 for a hybrid (which you'll need if you plan to drive it more than 120 miles round trip without a recharge), no cargo space, and room for only one passenger makes this an extremely limited option. TFA's right, the Volt, provided they can keep the price UNDER $30K, will be by far the most attractive option. As a small car, I'd like to see the Volt priced under $20K, actually, but I'm sure it's only a pipe dream at this point, given what 1st gen hybrids like the Prius are going for.

Re:The Aptera is cool looking (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438397)

"But a purchase price of $30,000 for a hybrid..."

Isn't $30K about the avg price of an avg. car now? Not sure what you're bitching about....$30K isn't outrageous for a new car these days.

Re:The Aptera is cool looking (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438583)

$30K isn't outrageous for a new car these days.

It is for something with the size and utility of an economy car. Those go for $15k or less. Doubling the price for "green" is outrageous.

Re:The Aptera is cool looking (1)

mcmonkey (96054) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438649)

I think issue was not price, but "no cargo space, and room for only one passenger" at that price.

Re:The Aptera is cool looking (0)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438865)

You don't much know about cars, do you? The Volt has the room, size, and features of what's called a 'compact' or 'economy' car. Take, for instance, the Honda Civic [honda.com] , which retails starting at $15k. The Civic Hybrid [honda.com] is almost 22K, and has the features of the standard $15K model. That's DOUBLE the price for a modest increase in fuel economy.

If Chevy could price the Volt at under $20K, they would, in the words of Steve Ballmer, 'f**king KILL Honda', but I doubt this would ever happen.

Re:The Aptera is cool looking (2, Interesting)

TomorrowPlusX (571956) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438567)

Series-hybrids like the Volt are also appealing to city folk like me, who don't have a garage to recharge a pure electric car in.

As much as I'd love for my next car to be pure electric, I also love living in the city. I'm not rich, and can't afford a place with a garage or some other dedicated parking, so gas ( or some other combustible ) is it for the time being. Of course, in 50 years I'm hoping that municipal charging stations and super-efficient solar panels ( on the roof of the car ) may alleviate this a little.

Re:The Aptera is cool looking (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438743)

Technically, the Volt is a hybrid and isn't pure electric, of course, since it does have a small gasoline motor for charging the battery. That it can plug in to the wall means that it's a 'plug-in hybrid' as GM calls it.

The Aptera offers the same thing, but for $30k, forget about it.

If only... (1, Flamebait)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438215)

Now if only the government could be relied upon to provide the necessary financial incentives to fuel this changeover...

Flamebait??? (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438529)

Reality is now considered flamebait?

Re:Flamebait??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438913)

No, it was another lazy abuse of the moderation system to disagree in deference to writing a response.

Personally, I'd like to see the lead taken by corporations than by the government, myself. So in that respect, I'd somewhat disagree with your original post, too. The difference it that I'm taking a short moment to offer a response instead of a down-mod.

Hollywood in trouble? (3, Funny)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438221)

With all these electric only cars on the horizon, what will hollywood use to explain the ease of exploding cars? Not that gasoline is so spontaneously explosive as they'd have people believe, but I'd imagine Li-Ion batteries would be even less so.

How will they sell movie tickets if everyone becomes aware that cars wont explode from a couple bullets?

Re:Hollywood in trouble? (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438429)

No problem. They'll just make them spark and short out like they did in Demolition Man when Wesley Snipes stuck the glow rod into police car.

Re:Hollywood in trouble? (1)

epedersen (863120) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438503)

No, they will just take the Batteries out of dell laptops.

Like something out of Stickdeath... (0)

Chas (5144) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438605)

The entire car crashes and turns into an elaborate electric chair....

Or the battery liquefies and dissolves the guy...painfully (think "The Blob").

Or better yet! BOTH AT ONCE!

Re:Hollywood in trouble? (1)

crymeph0 (682581) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438625)

Are you kidding? With all the exploding laptop batteries lately, people are going to snort at how unrealistic an electric car that doesn't explode is!

X: Hey did you see Electric Death (perpetual copyright 2020)?
Y: Yeah, but I had trouble suspending disbelief when the electric car drove over that little bump and didn't burst into a flaming ball of death.
X: I know, those Hollywood guys think you'll believe anything.
A nearby Li-Ion laptop explodes, burning X and Y beyond recognition.

Let's black this bitch out! (4, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438275)

Yay! Let's all buy fully-electric cars! Together we can take the power grid down!

Re:Let's black this bitch out! (1)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438445)

I completely support this plan. Full disclosure: the company I work for makes the towers for large wind generators :)

Re:Let's black this bitch out! (2, Insightful)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438575)

lol, if we need to shape up the power grid into supporting millions of fully-electric cars, we won't look into wind mills. Either nuclear power plants or coal power plants, and considered both the current administration (there's little we can assume about the next administrations) and the mineral resources of this country, we might go for coal power plants, and suddenly that makes fully-electric cars seem much less eco-friendly (as things are they're not very eco-friendly either).

Re:Let's black this bitch out! (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438483)

The expectation is that most electric cars would recharge overnight when there is plenty of spare capacity. Obviously there is a tipping point where there would be too many cars for the grid to support, but we're a long way from that.

Re:Let's black this bitch out! (1)

Thagg (9904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438555)

Yeah, not only would the charge at night, but one could also sell power back to the utility during the day if necessary, at higher prices than the buy it at night. Then the fleet of electric vehicles could really make a huge impact in leveling the load on the electic power system.

Re:Let's black this bitch out! (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438505)

Well, then the supplier company needs to invest in extending it's capacity just like internet providers need to upgrade their bandwidth. To massively extend capacity using relatively little space, we'll need more nuclear sites instead of coal/oil/gas burning electricity generators which need lots of space and supporting infrastructure and generate not very much power in comparison. After all, we're all getting massively charged for a little bit of electricity (pun not intended) while generation itself doesn't cost that much AND is generally co-funded by our tax dollars.

Re:Let's black this bitch out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438879)

C'mon buddy, the electric grid wont come down so easily.
It takes very lil energy to recharge Li-ions
There is a lot of energy waste in the US anyway.
Theres is just no respect for energy in this country.
But if we can also start few more nuclear or Hydro electric, or may be solar and wind
power plants, it should suffice. And its much cheaper than
buying oil (and making those energy companies, Arabs and the Bush richer).
How far do u thing we can depend on oi, may be another 40 years?
what will u do then? The change should start right now. Hydrogen fuel cells is myth.
Its these politicians and energy companies plan to divert our minds from EVs.
But they are still tryn to. SO even when these EV are into the market, their features
and prices will be so odd, nobody wants to buy them. GOD save the planet
Fuel cells are much more costlier than oil and its tough to put to production.
EV were on the road long back with very good battries, but the oil companies and Bush
ofcourse crushed them to death. But now I dont think they can do it again

Coal Power... (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438313)

EV's are great. They preserve our oil supply since they run on coal.

Re:Coal Power... (1)

Perl-Pusher (555592) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438443)

I just watched a show spouting the virtues of ethanol. Right afterwards the news said that Portsmouth turned down a proposal to build the country's largest Ethanol plant. There won't be real alternatives until gas becomes so expensive that the economy begins to free fall.

Re:Coal Power... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438525)

Okay, fine, you smartass! Go ahead and throw a monkey wrench into our dreams! Damn you!!!!!

Re:Coal Power... (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438803)

OK, maybe a bit cynical. Electricity can be produced in other ways. This could sitll open up future opertunity for cleaner power.

Re:Coal Power... (3, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438813)

I don't know the tone of your post. Is this something you see as a problem?

One big coal plant (with scrubbers and such) isn't necessarily any worse than hundreds of thousands of small, inefficient gasoline engines -- and infrastructure upgrades to reduce the pollution from that plant (and otherwise mitigate its effects) can be done at one time, in one place, rather than needing to upgrade hundreds of thousands of small, separately owned vehicles. (If the folks working on fusion power get that worked out, every EV is suddenly fusion-powered -- while folks with gasoline vehicles are still releasing the carbon from long-dead forests).

Coal is dirty, sure, but lots of little inefficient gasoline engines isn't necessarily any better. (Also, not everyone gets their power from coal).

GoogleBot (0, Offtopic)

bendodge (998616) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438325)

I know this is offtopic, but I was shocked to see that this page is already in google's index.

Not a Solution (0)

insllvn (994053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438391)

If the problem is global warming/greenhouse gases, then the solution is fuel that doesn't produce said gases. Electric cars reduce, but do not eliminate, these emissions, because while they are more efficient, the power has to come from somewhere, and right now that means a power plant. The alternatives to fossil fueled power plants just aren't mature enough at this stage in the game. Solar is very inefficient, and wind is costly and unsightly. Nuclear presents its own problems. As far as automotive tech goes, I am much more interested in hydrogen.

Re:Not a Solution (2, Insightful)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438433)

and where do you expect to get all that hydrogen from?

Re:Not a Solution (1)

Script Cat (832717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438473)

Hydrogen is just a storage medium. The energy to produce it will come primarily from burning coal.

Where do you get the Hydrogen? (3, Informative)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438549)

As far as automotive tech goes, I am much more interested in hydrogen.

So where do you plan on getting the hydrogen? It doesn't exist naturally on earth.

Steam reformation (currently the most economic method)? Releases CO2 as one of the resulting products from the process.

Electrolysis? Where do you get electricity for this? Coal? CO2 emissions. Solar? Inefficient (as of now). Wind? "costly and unsightly" Nuclear?

The only advantage hydrogen offers is that it can be ultimately converted into mechanical energy through both internal combustion engines and fuel cells producing electricity to power electric motors(read: ELECTRIC CARS).

Just remember, with hydrogen, "the power has to come from somewhere," too.

Re:Where do you get the Hydrogen? (1)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438673)

So where do you plan on getting the hydrogen? It doesn't exist naturally on earth.


Actually, it does; hydrogen is mined. The quantities probably aren't enough to support its use as a major motor-vehicle fuel, though, so you have to either go to steam reformation or electrolysis to get massive quantities, which have all the problems you note.

In addition, you have distribution issues with hydrogen that are largely solved already in the case of electric vehicles.

Solar Powered Electrolysis (1)

insllvn (994053) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438855)

You are correct. Hydrogen does not occur naturally on earth. I had recently read an article, but I can't find it now, about a method of generation using electrolysis powered by solar power. The article I read claimed 80% efficiency. I will continue looking for the article, and post a link if I can find one. If anyone else has seen that information, I would be grateful for a link.

Re:Not a Solution (2, Insightful)

DragonWriter (970822) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438621)

Electric cars reduce, but do not eliminate, these emissions, because while they are more efficient, the power has to come from somewhere, and right now that means a power plant.


Electric cars make it easier to solve the problem because then the problem is one of solving electricity generation, which can be done piecemeal without disruption either to most vehicle users or new delivery systems, since the electrical grid can delivery electricity no matter what fuel is used to generate it, and electric vehicles don't care how their electricity is generated.

The alternatives to fossil fueled power plants just aren't mature enough at this stage in the game. Solar is very inefficient, and wind is costly and unsightly. Nuclear presents its own problems. As far as automotive tech goes, I am much more interested in hydrogen.


Hydrogen is clean when burned, but is either produced at an energy loss by consuming other fuel or mined, and IIRC the mining output that is practical won't support its use as a major fuel. Plus there are the distribution problems. Hydrogen might have uses as a motor vehicle fuel, but EVs are a lot more useful.

Re:Not a Solution (5, Insightful)

Shayde (189538) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438713)

You, sir, are a misinformed, ignorant fool.

Let me summarize the legions of faults in your arguments.

Electric cars reduce, but do not eliminate, these emissions, because while they are more efficient, the power has to come from somewhere, and right now that means a power plant

No one said the energy is free. And anyone who does is just flat out stupid. Of course the energy has to come from somewhere, but approaching things in absolutes as you have eliminates the gray areas that is the whole point of this process. Yes, 1kw consumed in an electric car has to be produced somewhere. However, 1kw produced by an internal combustion engine in a single car is FAR less efficient than 1kw out of 100,000 produced in a central plant. Any centralized power production facility, based on current technology, will be more efficient than individual producers.

Solar is very inefficient
Congratulations for dismissing an entire industry based on one point. Yes, current solar cells, operating somewhere in the mid-teens efficiency wise, are inefficient converters. But they are CLEAN converters. They consume no energy in when in use, produce no by products, and do not require frequent maintenance. By those metrics, Photovoltaic cells are fantastic energy sources. There is an argument that production of the cells is 'dirty', but understand that production of a combustion engine, a nuclear power plant, or a hydroelectric dam is 'dirty' as well.

wind is costly and unsightly
You must work for the idiots on Nantucket that are fighting against the Cape Wind project. Which is more unsightly, a silent windmill on a hill, or smog and dead plants and animals everywhere? Windmills are more expensive than buying a tank of gas at the pump, but they are enormously efficient, very low maintenance, and produce clean, no by-product energy. Unsightly? Then put them somewhere you don't want to see them, like out to sea or in isolated regions. Personally I find them very attractive and fascinating - far more beautiful than a coal plant pumping garbage into the atomosphere.

Nuclear presents it's own problems
In teh grand scheme of things, nuclear power is one of the most efficient, cleanest processes for producing energy (that uses at thermal variance process - heated steam to turn a turbine) on the planet. The by-products of used fuel can be managed and dealt with, becuase the by products are KNOWN quantities. What people dont' realize is that the junk a nuclear reactor generates is not far off from the garbage a coal plant puts into the atmosphere. The difference is the nuke plant has the by products contained and controlled, while coal and oil plants just throw them into the air. "Oh well, someone elses problem."

i am more interested in hydrogen
This argument is one the Bushies and others push, without understanding the real problems. There is no hydrogen economy, and hydrogen fuel is ridiculously hard to manage in compressed or liquid form. Did you know you cant' put them in tanks? Nope, tanks corrode when you store hydrogen in them, they have to be very specific types of tanks that are ridiculously expensive and complicated. There is no infrastructure for delivering and fueling vehicles based on hydrogen, nor will there ever be one. Can you imagine the cost of replacing every gas pump with a hydrogen pump, every gasoline and oil tank with a hydrogen tank? Hydrogen is a great dream, but will never actually function until breakthroughs are made in hydrogen storage and transportation. Give up this dream and focus on what is possible now.

The number one obstacle in electric based vehicles is batteries. Full stop. And there has been so much work put into battery technology in the last 5 years, that the tiem of the electric car is here, and it's here to stay. Stop poopooing the technology that is proving itself to work (notice the fleets of priuses out there), and wishing for castles in the sky. Work with what's here and now.

Where's Steve Jobs when you need him? (0, Offtopic)

seniorcoder (586717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438457)

Shouldn't there be an iCar just around the corner?
At least the hype should be just around the corner if nothing else.
I suppose considering the battery life issues that surround the iPhone, maybe this wouldn't be such a good idea after all.
At least the thing would look sleek and have good commercials, even if it didn't perform very well and cost 5X more than anything comparable.

Aptera (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438461)

The Aptera looks a lot like the vehicle I've been envisioning for several years: 3 wheel, outrigger front wheels, flattened teardrop shape for optimum aerodynamics. The differences are my design had 2 seats and a separate electric motor hub-mounted on each of the front wheels instead of just driving the rear wheel motorcycle-style. Still, at under $30K, I would seriously consider buying the hybrid model for commuting.

PRE-Production? How about IN-Production (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21438507)

If I read this correctly, none of these cars are actually in production yet.

The ZENN car is and can be purchased now.

http://zenncars.com/ [zenncars.com]

Re:PRE-Production? How about IN-Production (1)

seniorcoder (586717) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438637)

The ZENN is an NEV regulated to a maximum 25mph. This renders it useless for many, many people.

Re:PRE-Production? How about IN-Production (1)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438707)

That's very cool. It doesn't quite work for my commute (25 miles on the highway, so the speed limitation is a problem and the range is a little too close for comfort).

I'd really like a plug in car, top speed 65mph or more, 70 mile cruising range (work and back with plenty to spare). The charging time could be 12 hours.

Re:PRE-Production? How about IN-Production (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438819)

How about something that can go on the highway, too.
25 MPH (50KM/h) MAX won't cut it with me.
 

Re:PRE-Production? How about IN-Production (1)

themushroom (197365) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438897)

The ZENN is a neighborhood vehicle, which can't go more than 25mph. The price of $12k is nice but it's an in-town thing, which is great for some but those with a commute on the highway (like me) are still going to need something else.

Google cache (4, Informative)

ocdude (932504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438523)

The site was slashdotted, so here's the google cache [209.85.173.104]

Vectrix is a real vehicle, in production (1, Informative)

Thagg (9904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438631)

Check it out at their site [vectric.com] . They were showing these vehicles, and giving rides, at the recent AltCar fair here in Santa Monica. The machines are built in Poland and assembled in Rhode Island, and give every appearance of being extremely high quality, rugged machines. They are so-called maxi-scooters, and are very substantial machines, about the size of a Harley and not a Vespa.

And, at $11,000 or so, are not ridiculously expensive. I am seriously considering buying one when they open their LA showroom, supposedly within the next month or so.

Re:Vectrix is a real vehicle, in production (2, Informative)

Thagg (9904) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438677)

so sorry! the link was wrong. Its here [vectrix.com] . I'll check the links in the preview page next time!

Battery-only cars will fail. (0, Troll)

HEbGb (6544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438683)

I really don't see why anyone would want one, except maybe as a toy. It's pretty easy to show why.

The average home has a 150A electrical capacity from the grid. 150A at 120V is 18kW. 18kW is 24hp.

Assuming you have a 100% perfectly efficient electric car and charging system (ha!), and use 100% of your house's energy capacity a one hour charge will let you drive your 24hp moped for one hour. Or, you can drive your tiny 100hp car for about 15 minutes. An eight-hour charge gives you 2 hours drive time on a 100hp car. For a more powerful car (200hp), you'll get one hour on an overnight charge.

That just sucks. I can fill up a car with gas in two minutes, and drive hundreds of miles.

Remember, this is the absolute theoretical maximum, and using 100% of your house's available power. In practice, the numbers are much, much worse. No amount of engineering will ever overcome this.

There are plenty of other problems (battery disposal, electricity generation, reliability, etc.) but the pure energy equation is a killer - there's really no way around it, unless you want to be relegated to puttering around in a golf cart all the time.

Re:Battery-only cars will fail. (1)

chromeboy888 (987464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438811)

How often do you have to drive hundreds of miles? As a daily commuter, cars like these are perfect. I will NEVER have to go to a gas station unless I'm going out of town with my gas rental car. Just think of the time you'll save not having to go to the gas station. And since an electric motor is far more efficient, you don't need a "200 hp" motor to power your car to get decent performance. A 200 HP motor would tear your transmission apart.

Re:Battery-only cars will fail. (1)

belloc1 (1118477) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438843)

Well a 200hp car hardly ever uses 200hp. Things would get pretty noisey if everyone was at full throttle. I think the answer may be ultracapacitors. You use an ultracapacitor to store up energy during the day and then charge your car's ultracapacitor in seconds.

Re:Battery-only cars will fail. (1)

sshir (623215) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438911)

What? No dryer and washer in the household? ;-)

And last time I checked, this kind of performance measured in miles, not hours. So Tesla will do like 200 miles in that amount of time. Is your daily commute that bad?

Remember: you don't waste any energy when you sit in traffic...

Chevy Volt (4, Informative)

PortHaven (242123) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438921)

Allows you to drive up to 640 miles via it's generator. Since it is just a generator, they can optimize it's performance for charging. There is no need to have all the transmission aspects of a I.C.E. attached to a drive-train. This allows it to be very efficient.

Furthermore, having the means to charge your vehicle in the garage (with a net savings for $35-$75 a fill-up times x number of fill-ups per year) alters the value of solar cell roofing.

Those uber-expensive solar panels on your roof that cost you an extra $200/month for the next 10 yrs, all of a sudden are not quite as costly in your budget when they eliminate $100 or more in expenditures on gasoline.

These vehicles will likely spur major growth in solar cell production.

Conservation still key (4, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438767)

It's amazing how hyped up all these new technologies are, and yet in the long run the best way to save energy is behavioral modification, not necessarily technological innovation(though that isn't bad either). It's amazing how many people in the states still refuse to do this little thing called carpool. 6 people in a gas guzzling SUV is still more efficient than if they all took their own Priuses(or however you make that plural). Not to mention the fact that in the US, something like over 80% of all car trips are less than 2 miles and yet bikers are looked down upon as if they are worthless pieces of trash(and respected accordingly). It still seems that in the states if you aren't driving, you are defective and your life isn't worth the effort of giving you your legal space on the road.

Not to mention technologies like motor scooters that can get over 100 miles/gallon(depending on how you drive them) that many people refuse to use, probably for the same reason as noted above. Conservation is still the best form of alternative energy, and yet I wonder how long it is going to take before Americans realize that!

No Solar Panels? (1)

kryten250 (1177211) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438817)

I was kind of hoping that one day I could buy an electric car that was covered in solar panels. I live in a city and drive my car maybe 30 miles a day and occasionally take extended trips sometimes going days without moving it. Theoretically if it were solar powered I could get by never plugging it in anywhere. I think that would be an ideal for people who live in areas such as mine who don't have access to a garage and our personal outlets are above a sixth floor.

High Performance mods? (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#21438915)

Looking back at my sometimes mis-spent youth I'm wondering how long it will take for someone to start selling performance enhancements for these new fangled electric cars.

What's the Prius equivalent to a Holley Double Pumper [holley.com] or headers [hedman.com] and glass pack mufflers? [flopro.com]
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