Subaru R1E

The Subaru R1e is a battery-electric microcar undergoing development and testing.The car was jointly developed with Tokyo Electric Power, the giant Japanese utility company. Currently 10 prototypes have been built and are undergoing testing by Tokyo Electric Power, which plans to eventually operate 3,000 of the vehicles starting in 2008. The vehicle has a range of 50 miles (80 km) and a top speed of 62 mph (100 km/h).

The prototype is a two-door, two seat vehicle based upon the Subaru R1 gasoline vehicle. This vehicle has received intense interest from electric vehicle fans owing to its modern battery technology, appropriate size, and potential performance attributes. It also has the same grille as the 1st generation Subaru Tribeca.

The car uses a lithium-ion battery which was developed in cooperation with NEC and can be recharged to 80% capacity in eight minutes using a special rapid charger, or to 100% charge in eight hours on a standard 100 V plug. Battery life is at least 10 years or 144,000-plus miles (240,000 km). Tokyo Electric Power company plans on producing 150 fast-charge stations.

Some Features:

  • Laminated lithium-ion batteries
  • 240 VAC conductive charging
  • It is a two-seater

Another electric prototype car, the G4e, is a follow-up to the R1e with an improved battery, range, and bolder styling.

Here’s why I want us to target Subaru:

They have proven themselves in a niche market here in the U.S. and the EV market is still perceived as only niche by auto makers. Subaru only sells five cars in the U.S. and have positioned themselves well as doing something no one else does and being the exclusive go-to company when consumers know what they want, e.g. all-wheel drive standard on every vehicle.

Subaru has been field testing a fleet of R1e battery electric cars for some time now in Japan and had previously indicated that they want to have an electric car in production by 2010. It now looks like 2009 is the time frame for the start of production, at least in limited quantities. Following an initial run of about 100 units the first year, Subaru wants to ramp up production to help drive down battery costs. Subaru is targeting a price of $17,500 by 2012-13. Within a few years after that the company wants EVs to be available for the equivalent of about $13,000.

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Water into Hydrogen Fuel to recycle waste energy.

Materials scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have taken the help of piezoelectric effect to harness random energy available in the atmosphere to turn water into usable hydrogen fuel. It might prove a simple, efficient method to recycle waste energy. The research team is led by Huifang Xu, who is a UW-Madison geologist and crystal specialist. They took nanocrystals of zinc oxide and barium titanate. These two nanocrystals were put in water. When these crystals received ultrasonic vibrations, the nanofibers flexed and catalyzed a chemical reaction. This whole process resulted in splitting the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

“This study provides a simple and cost-effective technology for direct water splitting that may generate hydrogen fuels by scavenging energy wastes such as noise or stray vibrations from the environment,” the authors write in a new paper, published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters. “This new discovery may have potential implications in solving the challenging energy and environmental issues that we are facing today and in the future.”

The researchers, led by UW-Madison geologist and crystal specialist Huifang Xu, grew nanocrystals of two common crystals, zinc oxide and barium titanate, and placed them in water. When pulsed with ultrasonic vibrations, the nanofibers flexed and catalyzed a chemical reaction to split the water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen.

But scientists didn’t utilize this electrical energy straightaway. They use this energy in breaking the chemical bonds in water to split oxygen and hydrogen. Xu explains, “This is a new phenomenon, converting mechanical energy directly to chemical energy.” Xu calls it a piezoelectrochemical (PZEC) effect. Why it seems that scientists are beating around the bush? Because chemical energy of hydrogen fuel is more stable than the electric charge. Storage of hydrogen fuel is easy and would not lose potency over time.

With the right technology, Xu foresees this method to be utilized where small amount of power is needed. Now we can imagine charging a cell phone while taking our morning walk or we can enjoy cool breeze that can power street lights. Xu says, “We have limited areas to collect large energy differences, like a waterfall or a big dam. But we have lots of places with small energies. If we can harvest that energy, it would be tremendous.”

Smart ED

There will be 100 smart ed’s produced for the initial phase of e-mobility Berlin and the cars will integrate with an intelligent RWE charging network made upof the 500 charging stations. The smart ed electric uses a lithium ion battery design that is making its first appearance in the Mercedes S-400 BlueHYBRID that will be entering showrooms very soon.

It comes with everything that makes a smart a smart – but it doesn’t have a combustion engine. A 30 kW/41 bhp magnetic motor runs at the rear of the smart fortwo electric drive that is driven by a high-performance, high-temperature battery made from environmentally compatible sodium-nickel-chloride. This is housed in the underbody, which means that the interior space is not compromised

The li-ion batteries will probably be supplied by Tesla Motors, giving the electric drive smart car a range of up to 150 miles, which sounds good for an urban commuter. This might not be able for the US market in the eyes of Daimler, though… We’ll have to see.

Even though we knew it was coming, we’re still excited that this little all-electric wonder finally made the jump across the pond. According to the smart rep we talked to, no one here in the US will be behind the wheel of one of these until 2010 or 2011, when 1,000 smart eds will be brought over for testing – much like they are being used in places like the UK and Italy.

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Renault Fluence 2010

Renault Fluence is a new model that replaces the Renault Megane Sedan. Is now available at dealers with prices ranging between € 17,400 and € 20,500. Its production is conducted in the Oyak-Renault factory in Bursa (Turkey).

The interior design is exactly the same as that of a Megane. The only difference Fluence a decorative element and the instrumentation (speedometer is analog). The qualities and the components are the same in both models ..

The highest finish of the range has multiple elements such as chrome door handles, fence of the counters, the knob of the shifter or leather upholstery available in dark or light.

FluenceAl Renault Megane As in, has paid special attention to decorative elements for achieving varied environments and differentiated according to trim levels. Thus, customers can choose between light or other environment darker.

The seats of the front seats have 70 mm of enhancement (+ / – 35 mm) and 240 mm of travel. Also you can adjust the seat-back, headrest and lumbar support. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and depth.

The Renault Fluence offers more than 23 liters in a guardaobjetos scattered around the cabin with, among others, an illuminated, refrigerated glovebox (for versions equipped with automatic climate control) of 9 liters, a center console or a 2.2-liter bins in the front doors with capacity of 2.6 liters each.

The luggage compartment volume, of 530 dm3, ranks among the best in the category. The low loading sill and the wide horizontal opening (1,020 mm) which is due to the implementation of part of the taillights in the rear door, facilitating access to the trunk.

2/3-1/3 The rear bench seat allows cargo volume adapt to customer needs, especially for long or bulky loads, the lack of sheet metal bulkhead between the trunk and passenger compartment.

Renault Fluence’s cabin provides more than 23 litres of stowage space, including an illuminated, refrigerated, nine-litre glovebox, a 2.2-litre centre console and a 2.6-litre bin in each front door. The 530dm3 boot capacity is one of the biggest in its class. Access is facilitated by a low sill and a large (1,020mm) aperture, which has been made possible by incorporating one part of the rear light cluster within the boot lid.

The 60/40-split folding rear seat enables the load capacity to be increased to suit the needs of the moment. The absence of any steel partition between the cabin and the boot makes this feature particularly useful when long or bulky items need to be carried

The electric power steering combines precise driver feedback with quick, accurate response to instructions from the wheel. It is easy to use and feels completely natural.

Engines that combine punch with fuel economy

From launch, and depending on market, Renault Fluence will be available with a wide range of thrifty engines which are all a pleasure to drive.

Two petrol engines, each available in two versions:
1.6 16V 110hp, with automatic transmission or manual gearbox2.0 16V 140hp, with continuously variable transmission (CVT) or manual gearbox

A choice of five variants of the 1.5 dCi diesel block:
dCi 85dCi 90 DPFdCi 105dCi 110 DPFdCi 110 DPF with the new dual clutch transmission (DCT)

All diesel-engined versions return CO2 emissions of 119g/km and qualify for the Renault eco² environmental hallmark.

Entry-level Renault Fluence models will be equipped with:

  • ABS with electronic brakeforce distribution,
  • emergency braking assist, with automatic activation of the hazard warning lights,
  • ESC (electronic stability control) with CSV understeer control,
  • three-point inertia-reel seatbelts, with pretensioners and load limiters for the front seatbelts,
  • inertia-reel seatbelts with load limiters for all three rear seats,
  • driver and passenger airbags, two lateral thorax airbags and two curtain airbags,
  • warning alert if driver or passenger seatbelts are unfastened,
  • three-point Isofix anchorage for outer rear seats,
  • cruise control with speed limiter,
  • latest-generation headrests.

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Pininfarina Blue

The B0 (B Zero) electric car created by Italy’s Pininfarina and France’s Bolloré looks quite promising, in good part because it isn’t just a concept car and the partners say that the first units will be delivered in about a year. Leases (€330/month) will be available in six European countries , and you can put your name on the list right now.

The totally 100% electric car’s battery can be recharged by plugging it into a standard home electrical outlet. A full charge will take about five hours, but a five-minute charge will be enough for a 25 km run. A number of roadside recharging electrical outlets already exist in some of the world’s major cities. As sales increase, more will be installed by city governments, service stations and parking facilities. The joint venture plans to build 15,000 vehicles a year.

Its LMP battery, which will be rechargeable in a matter of hours from a standard domestic main socket, will provide it with a range of 250 km (153 miles). The B° will have a top speed that is electronically limited to 130 km/h (80 mph) and will feature potent acceleration, reaching 60 km/h from a standing start (0 to 37 mph) in 6.3 seconds. The B° will also feature solar panels on its roof and hood, so as to help recharge its electrical power reserves.

The BLUECAR is a compact 5-door, 4-seat MPV powered by LMP batteries (Lythium Metal Polymere), which Pininfarina has coupled with a “supercapacity” energy storage device that will give this MPV a range of 250 km on a single charge. Batteries can be re-charged at any 230V outlet and the process takes “a few hours”, a vagueness we’ve come to expect from electric car makers. Pininfarina also claims the batteries will have a life-span of 200,000 km

The zero-emission electric vehicle by Pininfarina and Bolloré is expected to be available for rental by the end of 2010. The vehicle, dubbed the Bluecar, will be launched if the crash tests are successful and the car meets the required safety regulations. The vehicle will also go on sale at a later, yet unknown date.

Bolloré has inaugurated two new battery plants in France, each of which would have an annual production of 15,000 30KWh batteries by the year 2013, which can be used to make 30,000 Pininfarina cars, or 10,000 buses, or 60,000 small urban vehicles. The companies are however planning to build a mix of all three.

FOR MORE INFO CLICK HERE

Nissan Leaf 2010

Nissan finally showed off the first of several new electric vehicles this morning at the opening of its new global headquarters in Yokohama. Nissan chief Carlos Ghosn, a longtime skeptic on hybrids, is betting that the Leaf and other EVs, will quickly become mass market hits, and even suggested that fully electric models could account for 10% of all car sales by 2020.

Key to its success will be bringing down the cost of the batteries, which currently cost around $10,000 per car to make. Sensibly, Nissan plans to lease the batteries to customers rather than try to sell the car at an inflated price. Initially, the carmaker will share the burden by taking advantage of government subsidies and cheap loans to ensure sales are profitable from day one. The challenge will be to get costs down to a sufficient level by the time governments begin scaling back incentives. Mass production should help. Ghosn, once again emphasizing the importance of affordability, said that the cost of leasing the batteries, plus the electricity used to charge them, will be less than what customers spend on gasoline for regular cars.

The five-seat, electric-blue Leaf hatchback is to be launched in select U.S. and Japanese markets next year to begin what Nissan hopes will become an era of global leadership for the company in a growing EV market.

Leadership shouldn’t be evasive if the Leaf lives up to its performance billing. A top speed of 90 mph, a range of 100 miles per charge with a 30-minute recharge where quick-charging stations are available (6 hours with a 220-volt current) and seat cushion-compressing acceleration that will launch it from zero to 30 mph faster than an Infiniti G37, thanks to 207 pound-feet of torque from its 80 kilowatt (107 horsepower) electric motor are all part of the package.

Specifications

The Leaf uses a front-mounted electric motor driving the wheels, powered by a 24kW·h/90 kW lithium ion battery pack. The expected cruising range is the same as the EV-11 prototype, as is the motor.[5] The battery pack is made of air-cooled stacked modules.

Performance

Nissan claims that the car has a top speed of over 140 km/h (87 mph).

The battery can be charged with 480 Volt, 220 Volt and 110 Volt sources. With 480 Volts, it can be charged to 80% capacity in about 30 minutes with a special quick charger that sends 480 volt 125 amp direct current to the battery.With 220 Volt, it can be charged in 4 hours, and in North America and Japan using standard household 110 Volt outlets it can be charged in 16 hours.

Powered by a unique array of thin, laminated lithium ion cells capable of delivering over 90 kW of power, the Leaf’s front-mounted electric motor delivers 80 kW (107 horsepower) and a healthy 280 Nm of torque (208 pound-feet), and it promises brisk and silent off-the-line power, with acceleration from a stop comparable to that of the company’s Infiniti G35. And as Nakamura-san noted, the Leaf has a top speed of over 140 km/h (87 mph).

Perhaps more important than the Leaf’s top speed are its battery’s charging characteristics. In this regard, the car’s under-floor mounted assembly of 48 lithium ion modules (each laptop-sized module is comprised of four magazine-sized cells) offers a number of charging strategies. To yield a full charge, a 200-volt, single-phase AC charger takes less than eight hours, and topping off the battery from a 100 volt single-phase standard home wall outlet will take somewhere around twice that time, so prospective Leafmakers would do well to get 220 volt hookup like their clothes dryer uses out in their garage.

Connected Mobility

Nissan Leaf will employ an advanced IT system. Connected to a global data center, the system provides support, information, and entertainment for drivers 24 hours a day. The dash-mounted monitor displays the Leaf’s remaining power, in addition to showing a selection of nearby charging stations.

Users’ mobile phones can be used to turn on air-conditioning, the heater and re-set charging functions even when the vehicle is powered down. An on-board remote-controlled timer can also be pre-programmed to recharge batteries.

While Nissan promises to deliver the Leaf to its first American customers in late 2010, it isn’t immediately clear where it will be made available, to whom, and how. By that we mean the zero-emissions vehicle will likely be marketed in select stateside cities that have already committed to building some of the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicles, and the Leaf likely won’t be available for purchase, it will probably be a lease-only proposition – at least initially.

Officials are still working out the specifics on a global market-by-market basis, but in the U.S., at least, they are aiming for a cost similar to their midsize Altima offering – presumably after all local and federal government incentives for ZEV are factored in. Initial allotments of the Leaf will probably be leased, with the batteries also being a leased proposition, minimizing consumers’ up-front risks for adopting this new style of vehicle and allowing for easier, more cost-effective upgrades as technology improves. As has been done with other automakers’ alternative energy pilot programs in the past, the Leaf will probably be distributed to fleets and very select customers at first – a more widespread commercial push isn’t expected until 2012.

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Mitsubishi iMiEV

According to unconfirmed reports from Japanese news sources, Mitsubishi Motors will begin supplying electric cars to PSA/Peugeot-Citroen Group as early as next year. Japan’s fifth-largest carmaker could supply as many as 10,000 Mitsubishi i-MiEV passenger electric cars a year to the French automaker by 2011 on an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) basis.

At Mitsubishi’s first driving demonstration of its i MIEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) prototype, we jumped behind the wheel to check out the sounds of silence.

Battery Life
Once we’re motoring along, the interior of the i MIEV seems as quiet as a church and the scenery slips silently past. When you back out of a parking lot, you can hear yourself breathe.

Apart from the lack of any recognizable noise, this i minicar seems like any current showroom model from Mitsubishi. Look closer, however, and you notice that the four-speed automatic transmission has been replaced by a two-position gear selector that lets you choose Drive or Eco mode. And where the tachometer normally goes on the instrument panel, this i sports a meter that indicates the charge status of the battery and the discharge rate.

With the i MIEV’s motor, inverter and charger located under the floor of the luggage area behind us, the 22 lithium-ion cells are artfully spread under the belly pan. Given that the car weighs 2,380 pounds — 397 pounds more than its gasoline-powered counterpart — it feels better to drive than we expect. Its low center of gravity helps minimize body roll and reduce brake dive.

The 2010 Mitsubishi i MIEV is expected to go on sale by the end of 2009 for around 2.5 million yen ($24,000), although Japanese government subsidies for zero-emissions cars reduce this price by 50 percent.

As a kind of preview as to what’s coming in terms of future zero-emissions cars, the i MIEV is a significant breakthrough. But to tell the truth, we were hoping for a car with a reliable real-world range of at least 90 miles — not just a theoretical range — which would permit a useful half-day trip before a quick recharge at lunchtime.

The introduction of the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System) – an advanced integrated vehicle management system into which the company has poured its wealth of know-how garnered from many years of EV research and development – has provided the kind of high performance and reliability that befits a new-generation EV.

The i-MiEV uses a 3-way charging system that allows the drive battery to be charged at home or when out and about. For normal charging i-MiEV is connected to either a standard 100-volt or 200-volt domestic outlet using the charging cables supplied with the vehicle. The i-MiEV’s battery can also be “quick charged” at quick-charge stations which are currently being established throughout Japan.

The i-MiEV is powered by a very high energy-density lithium-ion battery manufactured by Lithium Energy Japan. The large-capacity drive battery is comprised of 88 lithium-ion cells connected in series and is installed under the floor in the center of the vehicle. This configuration contributes to outstanding handling and stability due to the car’s low center of gravity.

The high points from our time in a pre-production, right-hand-drive i-MiEV:

  • SIZE: This is a very, very small car, but it carries four adults within more room than you’d expect.
  • PERFORMANCE: Keeps up with urban traffic, especially if you leave “Eco” mode off.
  • FEATURES: It’s got air-conditioning, electric windows, a stereo, and other standard equipment.
  • QUALITY & REFINEMENT: Well-built, simple but functional, nothing to be ashamed of.
  • BOTTOM LINE: If they can make it pass US safety standards, we think Mitsubishi could sell thousands of i-MiEVs a year here. It’s that good.

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BMW Mini E

The Mini E is an all-electric powered version of the BMW Mini,

first launched to the market as a field test in June 2009 and available through leasing to private users in Los Angeles and the New York/New Jersey area.[2] Another field test was launched in the U.K. in December 2009, where more than forty Mini E cars were handed to private users for a two consecutive six-month field trial periods.[3] This trial program allowed the BMW Group to become the world’s first major car manufacturer to deploy a fleet of more than 500 all-electric vehicles for private use.[4][5]

The Mini E was unveiled at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.[6] BMW is using its Mini brand to test the market with its electric powertrain technology but the vehicle was also developed in order to meet new California regulations that require carmakers to offer zero emission vehicles.[7]

The Mini factory located in Oxford, England, supplies vehicle gliders (cars without powertrains) to a team located in Munich, Germany, which then adds the electric running gear

The BMW Mini E is a solid little electric ride that provides a comfortable, effortless driving experience with all of the usual small-car perks, plus an ultra cheap operating cost and a carbon footprint approaching zero. But as a $50,000 two-seater with no head-turning quotient, the pitch for this first cousin of the Mini Cooper won’t be so much to our inner rock star as our inner Al Gore.

Tooling around a busy interstate and the city streets of White Plains, it is easy to forget this is a pure electric vehicle, and something of a prototype at that: There are only about 450 Mini E’s on the road, driven by an unusually generous band of volunteer beta testers who pay $850 a month for the privilege of helping BMW work out the kinks before the car’s anticipated launch in 2012. They have no dibs on their cars and will not be allowed to buy them when the lease ends. All maintenance, and car insurance, is paid by BMW.

A fatter pipe — a 32-amp cable BMW is just making available, plugged into a 220 volt line — cuts the fill-up time for the 35 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery to a mere 4.5 hours. That’s down from the 24 hours it takes with the 12-amp cable that plugs into any 110 volt outlet. With that kind of recharge speed, Van Nostrand speculates, charging up could be offered as inducements by restaurants, shopping malls and theaters — places where people might tend to spend two or three hours anyway, so topping off isn’t lost time. Like the free Wi-Fi coffee shops use to lure customers to lattes, ubiquitous plug-in privileges could make a spontaneous EV lifestyle possible

The acceleration is via drive-by-wire technology. A software mediated delay makes the vehicle hesitate a little when the acceleration pedal is first pressed. This artificially limits the electric motor’s response, preventing burnout from a standstill. After this initial delay, response goes back to normal, making the Mini E a peppy little car.

Its regenerative braking is designed to capture as much kinetic energy as possible giving the Mini E a distinct driving characteristic. Once the driver’s right foot leaves the acceleration pedal, the Mini E starts full regenerative braking. The vehicle slows down significantly as if the brake pedal was pressed and the brake lights will turn on. On level surfaces Mini E stops completely and the brake lights will turn off. To slow down, one may just back off the acceleration pedal a little. Use of the brake pedal may be reserved for emergencies and quick stops.

Power comes from an Asynchronous electric motor that is mounted in the former engine bay and is rated at 204 PS (150 kW) and 220 N·m (160 ft·lbf) of torque. Drive is sent to the front wheels. BMW has gone with a lithium-ion battery pack with an overall capacity of a 35 kilowatt-hours (130 MJ). The batteries weigh 572 pounds (259 kg) and replace the back seat.[11] Top speed is electronically limited to 95 mph (153 km/h). The car’s range is 156 miles (251 km) on a single charge under optimal conditions. Estimates of normal driving conditions put ranges at 109 miles (175 km) city and 96 miles (154 km) highway

Nevada’s Hybrid Technologies has started production of its electric-powered BMW Mini Cooper all-lithium model. The new electric Mini uses Hybrid Tech’s own proprietary advanced lithium management and battery-balancing system. Top speed is only around 80 mph (130 km/h) but driving at a slower speed preserves battery-life and means owners will be able to travel up to 120 miles (190 km) on a single charge. [15]

EVTV.ME is publishing a free “how-to” series of videos documenting their conversion of a 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman to electric drive. The project uses a more powerful AC induction motor from MES-DEA and TIMS600 controller to provide 177 ft lbs of torque. It uses 112 readily available Sky Energy 100Ah LiFePo4 cells to provide an energy storage of 40.3 kWh and a range of 125 miles. Top speed of 120 mph. This is an open source project using parts readily available to anyone from existing suppliers and intended for those inclined to do their own conversion of an existing 2009 Mini Cooper Clubman.

For more info click here

Mercedes BlueZero

The Mercedes BlueZERO concept caris a very interesting vehicle, or rather, a trio of vehicles (electric car, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell). Mercedes says it is production-ready, and that its design will influence the next-generation B-Class.

The three versions of the BlueZERO concept have in common a compact, permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, which operates at a maximum of 13,280 rpm. It is rated at 16 kW and 236 lb.-ft. of torque.

Auto Motor und Sport reports that Mercedes will bring three new electric drive concept vehicles across the ocean. The Blue-Zero E-Cell (pictured) will be powered exclusively by lithium ion batteries. The others, called the Blue-Zero E-Cell Plus (hybrid) and the Blue-Zero F-Cell (hydrogen fuel cell), we don’t have pictures of. Yet.

The E-Cell Plus adds the Smart ForTwo’s turbocharged three-cylinder engine to the E-Cell package, and its batteries can move the vehicle for 100 km (62 miles) on their own. With a full charge and a full tank (and using regenerative braking), the E-Cell Plus will go 600 km (373 miles). The engine powers the battery during the drive but can also directly move the wheels when needed. Without the liquid fuel assist, the E-Cell’s li-ion pack can move the car for up to 200 km (124 miles), while the F-Cell can go twice as far using the 90 kW fuel cell and capturing energy by regenerative braking. All three should make the jump from zero to 100 kmh in under 11 seconds.

The sandwich component design keep the weight low to the ground, which increases handling ability of the vehicle and decreases the likelihood of rollover. The 5-seat, front wheel drive Mercedes BlueZero F-Cell will begin small scale commercial production in late 2009.

The two companies have joined together to create several BlueZero models which show their joint commitment to create the powertrain of the future. By combining Evonik’s experience with lithium-ion battery technology and Mercedes’ talent for advancing state of the art technologies, the two believe the new concepts will represent a major step forward for electric vehicles.

There is no mention of plug-in charging for the battery pack, meaning this vehicle runs on Hydrogen only, which could present a problem if there’s nowhere to fill it up. The only difference between this fuel cell version and the battery EV version seems to be range. An EV with 400km range is becoming a reality with larger 53kw/hr battery packs like that found in the Tesla – which has an EPA range of 244 Miles (390km) likely being cheaper to install than an entire fuel cell system dependent on an as yet non existent hydrogen infrastructure.

A little more realistic is the third version, the BlueZERO E-CELL PLUS which is a plug in series hybrid with very similar specifications to the Chevy Volt. It has the same 1.0-litre turbocharged gasoline engine as the smart fortwo as an additional range extender. This compact three-cylinder powerplant has an output of 50 Kw at a constant 3500 rpm. If required, it can recharge the 17.5-kWh lithium-ion battery via a similarly rated alternator. A range of up to 600 kilometres is possible on a single tank. The purely electrical, locally emission-free range is up to 100 kilometres.

Ford Transit Connect Electric

The Transit Connect represents a new entry into a vacant commercial market in the US, and as such Ford is planning on entering with both barrels blazing. Aside from the standard gas engine Transit Connect, Ford is planning to introduce two varieties of all-electric Transit available in the second half of 2010. Since most commercial market buyers know the daily range of their vehicles they’ll be able to buy for their targeted range, the entry level version will come with a 60 mile lithium ion battery and the buyer can opt for a 100 mile if their application calls for it. The commercial entry for EV makes a lot of sense when you consider the vehicles will be under the most severe duty cycles as well as closely monitored by fleet operators, it makes collecting field data an engineers dream.

The standard 2.0L four cylinder gas engine is replaced by a 50 kW electric motor. Together, these systems yield an expected range of about 100 miles on a charge and a top speed of 70 mph. The Ampere also has a payload capacity of 1,764 lbs. With that kind of payload, even a likely real world range that is considerably less than 100 miles shouldn’t do much to dampen the utility of such a vehicle for a lot of customers. At least at first the Transit Connect EV will only be offered to commercial operators. The rest of us will have to wait another year for the Focus-based EV.

With a unique combination of car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity, accessibility and low purchase and operation costs, the Transit Connect is an ideal choice for electrification.

The Transit Connect Electric is expected to offer lower cost of operation, because recharging with electricity is generally less expensive than refueling with gasoline. Users may also benefit from much lower maintenance costs over the life of the vehicle. Consider the following:

  • The number of components typical in an internal combustion engine and transmission are dramatically reduced in an electric vehicle to just a few moving parts in the electric motor and transaxle, which results in much fewer parts to wear out or maintain
  • Electric powertrains operate with solid state electronics, which have demonstrated low or no maintenance over the life of the product
  • Electric vehicles have completely sealed cooling systems that do not require refilling, replacement or flushing
  • Electric vehicles require no oil changes or tune-ups
  • There are no belts to wear out or break and no spark plugs or injectors to clean or adjust
  • There is no exhaust system to replace and no liquid fuel system to freeze or clog
  • The use of regenerative braking reduces wear and tear on brake pads

According to Tanfield Group, it will continue to work with Ford of Europe on electric vehicles, including an all-electric Transit platform  marketed as the Smith Edison.