Archive for category full EV
I thought VW had a pretty nice name for the all electric version of the Golf, the Golf blue-e-motion or bluemotion. This was the name for the prototype all electric Golfs that were running around Wolfsburg, Germany. If you visited the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, they would even let you take a ride in one. However, a few weeks before the official release of the electric Golf, VW’s press release says e-Golf.
Seriously, why did they ditch blue-e-motion or bluemotion for a generic name like e-Golf? It’s as generic and bland as Golf-i or Golf v2. Why not just call it the electric Golf. I wonder what was said in the corporate or marketing meeting which killed any e-motion behind the name.
One of the cars they had at the 2012 New York Auto Show was the electric Delorean. Yes, the Back to the Future car. While the Delorean was a revolutionary car and a much loved movie hero, this car should have stayed in 1985.
The presenter was well informed about the car and the electric Delorean had some nice specs: 0-60 in about 5 seconds, about 100 mile range, and 125 mph top speed. Unfortunately, one major problem is that…it’s a Delorean.
Both electric and gas powered Deloreans are sold as new, untitled cars from the 1980s because the cars are built from new, unsold frames with VINs from the 80s. When the original Delorean went under, they had years worth of parts to build new cars which were eventually bought by the new Delorean. The new Delorean can completely rebuild old cars or build you a new one from spare parts. The problem is that they’re still building cars from the 1980s. 30 years of advancements in car design are generations beyond the old safety, suspension, and convenience features of the Delorean. Since the car was designed in 1976, it was designed before computers did most of the design and engineering testing. One of the reasons kit cars can be built to such high performance levels at minimal cost is because they don’t meet any modern safety, emissions, or fit-finish standards. And even then, since you’re building it yourself, you save lots of money. The new electric Delorean has an estimated price of $95,000. For that kind of money, why wouldn’t you buy a Tesla? Because they’re too common?
If I had the car and parts, I would happily assemble this car as a toy or boulevard cruiser but when there’s a much better modern car, I don’t know how many buyers will choose this. Even a mass produced Tesla or Leaf have limited capability. So what is this car? A fun project and good promotional tool for a good car from 1985. The license plate says “Gas? Where we’re going we don’t need gas”. I’ll wait for the hover conversion.
Volkswagen released the Cross coupe TDI hybrid concept today with some interesting facts. MPG is 130 mpg, the car weighs 4100 lbs, and total power is 306 hp and 516 lb-ft. While the numbers seem great for fuel economy and range and power, how is this possible? My best guess is that they are deceptive. First, since it’s a plug in hybrid, much of the increased fuel economy is from running off the battery charge when you first start moving.
The battery pack is Li-ion 9.8 kWh (how much energy it has or capacity), 85 kW (how much power it has) and works at 370V. It has plug in capability for 230V charging. However, this doesn’t mesh with their claim that it can go 27 miles off the battery only. I suspect that they are draining the battery fully for this concept which totally throws off the fuel economy number (even after ignoring that it’s the Euro cycle rating which is much higher than the US EPA cycle rating).
By comparison, the production Touareg hybrid has a NiMH 288V, 75aH, 1.7kWh, 38kW battery pack and it can only go 1.2 miles and up to 31 mph. So going from 1.2 miles to 27 miles I’m pretty sure they’re draining the battery, trading performance for short battery lifespan.
Looking at the Chevy Volt specifications confirms my suspicions. The Volt uses a 16 kWh battery but only uses 10.4 of it going from fully charged to discharged and has a EPA rated range of 35 miles. Since the battery capacities used are about the same and the weight of the vehicles are about the same (the Cross coupe is 4100 lb vs. the Volt 3800 lbs), the numbers make more sense if you know that the Volt is only using about 10 kW and assume that the Cross coupe is also using about 10.
So while the whole point of a concept car is to get people excited and show them what could be, here’s what IS. If Volkswagen built this car and sold it as a production vehicle, first it would incur the penalty of both the diesel and hybrid price premium. So take the cost of a Chevy Volt and add $10,000 for the diesel engine, all wheel drive, and larger car. Those numbers are just a guess but the final price would be in the $50,000 range. Second, electric only range would not be 27 miles if my suspicions are correct. Instead, it would be only around 17 miles. While the Euro mpg rating is 130 mpg, I don’t know how much it would go down with a shorter electric only range. In any case, the US mpg rating is significantly lower than the Euro rating and after taking away battery only range, as a total wild guess I’m going to say it would end up around 50-60 mpg. While that sounds great, would you pay $50,000 for it?
Some more facts:
The front wheels are TDI and electric motor powered. The rear wheels are electric powered only. This means there’s no driveshaft and they could easily make one in FWD only.
Front motor is 40kW and rear motor is 85kW.
Total torque is 700Nm combined…that’s 516 lb-ft! The 2.0L TDI engine makes 188 (190 hp) and 400Nm (295lb-ft), front motor makes 180Nm (133 lb-ft) , rear makes 270Nm (199lb-ft) separately. Since the rear is not connected to the front, I’m guessing the front can only make a maximum of 430Nm combined (317 lb-ft).
Pure electric mode is limited to 120 km/h and max range of 45 km. That’s 74 mph and 27 miles.
When Audi unveiled the original e-tron Concept at the last Frankfurt Motor Show in 2009, a production version seemed to be nothing more than a glimmer in the very distant future. Two years later, it appears that the automaker has made plenty of progress in bringing an electric-powered R8 into the world.
Yesterday in Frankfurt, Audi revealed a new R8 e-tron “technology demonstrator” that represents something fairly similar to the production model we’ll see in the near future. Some unique visual features separate the R8 e-tron from the petrol-powered version, including the carbon fiber vents on the hood and chrome slats in the front grilles and rear bumper. Like the concept, the production version of the car is expected to feature four electric motors sending power to each wheel, with performance targets including 0-60 mph in less than five seconds and a 150 mile range. From Autoblog
Dodd-Frank, electric cars, and hybrid batteries
The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act is intended to protect consumers by increasing oversight of wall street. Unfortunately, many of the provisions are still unfunded years after its passing – that’s how Washington politics works. Another aspect of how Washington works is the addition of provisions. Sam Brownback, the current Kansas governor, then a senator, included a provision that requires companies using potential conflict materials in or near the Congo to asses whether they are assisting armed groups in the area. This could be an interesting aspect on electric car production and cars in general.
It’s good that there is accountability of raw materials but ironic that Brownback’s provision doesn’t fit with the stereotypical pro-business low tax Republican as this requirement will add millions to compliance and business costs. Some companies like Apple have simply stopped sourcing materials from the area since they don’t want to be seen assisting armed rebels. While it’s certainly good to cut off funding to African warlords, it also hurt legitimate industry in Congo, the very people it intended to protect.
Are conflict materials used in electric vehicles and hybrid cars?
The question is: what companies are still sourcing conflict materials and minerals from the area and are they making their way into cars? In my last article on rare earth elements and China, I discussed how 99% of rare earth elements come from China, sometimes under illegal conditions. Are illegal conflict materials used in electric vehicles and hybrid cars or parts such as batteries, electronics, or other subcontracted materials?
Compliance with Dodd-Frank does not just mean buying directly from a warlord, there are indirect ways to support warlords as well. Does a legitimate smelter have to pay tolls to a warlord to pass through their territory? Are legitimate mines owned by a warlord through a shell? Are the workers at a legitimate mine working under duress? All interesting questions and I don’t know how far down the supply chain these things are investigated by car companies. Car companies do not make many of the components that go into their cars-they are subcontracted out. Does your radio support an African warlord?
Cliffs notes: not ready for the mainstream.
As noted in the forum, I don’t have pictures or specs to accompany this review because there are a million pics and technical specs you can find elsewhere if you don’t know what this car looks like or is about. This review is just my opinion of the car.
The main reason is that to be mainstream, it requires a change in consumer behavior. People aren’t used to plugging in the car overnight or planning their routes. This is necessary because the car’s range is around 100 miles. Unfortunately, the EPA estimates range at 73 miles/charge which is closer to many people will see. Under conditions like a heat wave or very cold temperatures, range could be further reduced because you’re blasting the AC or heater. While you can plug in the car to preheat or pre-cool the car, you will most likely not have this ability where you’re parked during the day.
The technical specialist did a good job comparing charging the Leaf to charging cell phones. Most people plug them in overnight and don’t think about it at all. When people are exposed to new things, they are most comfortable when it combines new concepts with familiar concepts. This is a basic concept of learning. Unfortunately, another basic concept of learning is that the first thing they are exposed to is what they will have the strongest affinity towards. People are used to a pattern of behavior and it requires a reason to change. Rising fuel prices are a good reason for change right?
There is talk about reaching peak oil and the price at which consumers will switch over to a more fuel efficient car. $4.50/gal has been mentioned and although prices have gone over this, people are still driving inefficient cars. Meanwhile, in Europe, fuel costs over $10/gal and they’re just driving smaller and more fuel efficient cars, not EV. The point is that although most people say they would buy an electric car when surveyed, I believe their relatively high purchase price, range concerns, and change in behavior required to use them effectively currently limit them to early adopters.
Is this more of a reflection on the qualities of the car or the people? I think a little of both. So what does this mean for the early VW electric cars and VW hybrid? This is not a surprise, but I think it’ll be only early adopters who are driving these first cars. This is why I said the Leaf is not for the mainstream. It’ll probably be Leaf V3.0 before they aren’t thought of being special and just thought of as cars. How long did it take for the smug to wear off the Prius? At what point will people overcome their resistance to EV? $10/gal alone might not do it. Much change has to come from within.
As for the actual test drive: the Nissan Leaf drives like a car. Despite the unique look of the car, it’s not a UFO. If you press the accelerator pedal and it goes. If you press the brakes it stops. The regenerative brakes are a little on the sensitive side, resulting in applying the brakes more by travel than by feel. Acceleration is slow but acceptable. It isn’t sporting or fast, consistent with the purpose of the car. If you can get past the unique look, there is really nothing that special about it other than the drivetrain. It runs quietly because there’s no engine so you do notice wind and tire noise but other than that, you get what you expect: a car!
I would gladly own one but wouldn’t buy one because of my driving style - I need a car with a longer range for my primary driving and because it’s still quite expensive. Nissan has an app which lets you plan your daily drive and see how the Leaf fits in your driving style: http://www.drivenissanleaf.com/Open/100Mile.aspx . This is a nice “first car” for local driving or city driving or a second family car. But until Leaf V3.0 comes around, I’ll be waiting with the mainstream. Since I’m a VW -Audi fan, I look forward to reviewing the electric Golf and seeing how it compares.
VW Group head of research says it’s time for electrification, but progress has been extremely low; “We need more”
In the keynote address at the 4th Symposium on Energy Storage: Beyond Lithium-ion, hosted by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington, Jürgen Leohold, head of Volkswagen Group research (and 2009 EUCAR chairman), said that one of his key messages was that although the automotive industry is really at a turn in time toward electric mobility, the progress compared to other technologies made in the 111 years since Ferdinand Porsche introduced an electric vehicle at the world exposition in Paris has been extremely low.
That car, Leohold noted, had a lead-acid battery pack with about 24 kWh of energy, was propelled by wheel hub motors and had a range of about 50 km—“not that much different than today. We definitely need more for electromobility to become established in the market.”
In the 1970s Volkswagen had put two electric cars on the market, but sales figures were in the two-digit numbers, Leohold said.
So what has changed? What has changed the business mainly is that Li-ion batteries have come around and finally supported an energy density that allows you to build a halfway decent car.—Jürgen Leohold
Leohold cited a number of drivers for the current movement to electromobility (that were largely echoed by other speakers during this first day of the symposium):
- Climate change and emissions;
- Urbanization and megacities; and
- Shortage of fossil fuels.
For an industry like ours, where products are dependent for more than 90% on oil derivatives, this is a very critical situation. We are very much convinced that we must initiate a change. Any change in the drivetrains will take a long time, so we have to start now to address these issues.—Jürgen Leohold
To limit warming to 2 °C, the annual emissions reduction has to move from a 20% target in 2020 to a 2050 target of up to a 95% reduction in developed countries. It will not be enough to improve the efficiency of conventional engines or to launch alternative fuel concepts, Leohold said. To fill the gap to sustainable and zero emission mobility, clean drive technologies, such as the electrification of the drivetrain, will be required. However, he stressed that “new forms of mobility cannot be separated from the question of where the energy is coming from”—a reference to the need to widely deploy low-carbon sources of electricity.
Electricity used to charge plug-in vehicles should come exclusively from renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar power, he suggested—otherwise, there is no greenhouse gas emission advantage over a conventional vehicle with optimized fuel consumption.
Volkswagen is taking a three-step approach to address these challenges, he said.
- Increasing the efficiency of existing drivetrains, usually the fastest approach and a very effective approach.
- Convert to new types of fuels that are fairly CO2 neutral such as biofuels, although Volkswagen thinks the potential of biofuels worldwide is limited to 10–20%. “But nevertheless, that’s something.”
- New technologies, and electromobility part of this.
Based on well-to-wheel projections factoring in improved conventional technology and electricity sources over the next 9 years, Leohold noted that:
The electric vehicle is not really that big an improvement compared to conventional engines if you consider technical progress. The only way to get real drastic improvements in terms of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions is if you change the energy supply. Meaning that either with fossil fuels you go to biofuels, but that potential is limited as I mentioned already, or we go to renewable resources…with the electric drivetrain.
…This is not enough. If you look at 2050 and 2 degrees, this cannot be reached by any fossil fuel approach or conventional drivetrains. It requires electrification of the drivetrain. Since the ideal battery is not around yet, we have to introduce hybrids.—Jürgen Leohold
The range issue. The biggest challenge for electric vehicles, reaching back to 1900, is the limited range. Today, actual range could be as low as 80 km out of a theoretical 150 km given cold temperatures or other adverse conditions or behavior, he noted. By contrast, the Golf diesel BlueMotion has a 1,447 km range.
The big question is how will the customer react to this change in performance? Will they accept cars with this limitation? We think many will change, especially those with second cars.—Jürgen Leohold
While vehicle-level approaches such as lightweighting can squeeze out some additional range—dropping 100kg could increase the range by 3.5% on an EV, Leohold said—modifications such as that are “not really significant. The main challenge is the battery.”
Requirements for future electrical energy storage system. Leohold said that Volkswagen was confident that by the end of the decade, there be commercially available Li-ion batteries with an energy capacity in the range of 200 Wh/kg, perhaps a little bit more, up from the approximate 120 Wh/kg of today.
However, the industry needs a technology change to deliver the next stage of batteries, with capacity on the order for 400-600 Wh/kg. And “to build a decent type car”, the industry needs capacity on the order of 1,000 Wh/kg.
There may a 150-mile range in a regular [electric] car by the end of the decade, but we doubt we will reach more as long as we are limited to Li-ion…A mass market [for EVs] depends on the range of these cars. This is where we put much hope on future technologies.—Jürgen Leohold
Source: Green Car Congress
Or not? I’ll have to check it out someday as I live in CT. GE opened a solar carport in Plainville, CT with Level 2 charging stations. Is it free to park and charge up? Inovateus Solar installed it with GE.
GE EV Solar Carport links renewable energy with EVs, local demonstration of global commitment to building EV infrastructure
PLAINVILLE, Conn.-May 26, 2011-Luis Ramírez, CEO of GE Energy Industrial Solutions today joins Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy and GE employees to unveil the GE Electric Vehicle (EV) Solar Carport in Plainville, Conn. The GE EV Solar Carport Project, one of the most expansive undertakings of its type in North America, uses GE’s new smart EV Charging Stations to charge the electric vehicles hitting the streets of America.
“We see anywhere you park your electric vehicle as a great opportunity for charging infrastructure,” says Ramírez. “Now we also lead the future of electrification for electric vehicles with supplied power from the sun. The GE EV Solar Carport provides clean energy alternatives to oil and biofuels, expands our ability to capture the sun’s energy and helps us deliver a viable EV ecosystem. This is a bright day for EV infrastructure development in Connecticut and the nation.”
“This is innovative technology and it’s right in our backyard,” says Governor Malloy. “This exciting project will be a blueprint for people all around the country who are interested in developing this type of green solar charging technology, linking renewable energy with electric vehicles and making our lives cleaner and greener. I’m excited to witness the future of this project, and I’m energized about the innovative projects GE is undertaking in our state.”
The GE EV Solar Carport, a demonstration of the expansive horizon GE envisions for renewable energy within the EV ecosystem, produces the energy equivalent to power 20 homes per year. The average freestanding home uses approximately 7,000 to 10,000 kW hours per year. With greater than a 25-year lifespan, the EV Solar Carport will annually deliver 125 MW hours via 100 kW DC power. According to the Electric Drive Transportation Association, more than half of American drivers today travel less than 30 miles in a typical day and more than 75 percent travel less than 60 miles. EVs with a range of 50-100 miles could easily meet the daily needs of most customers.
“Consumers want the convenience and peace of mind knowing they can get from point A to point B without running out of energy,” adds Ramírez. “GE is working with a number of utilities and municipalities, in the U.S. and abroad, to address this issue of creating a widely distributed network of electric vehicle charging stations. The presence of ubiquitous, Level 2 charging will make consumers far less worried about their car running out of power.”
GE Energy Industrial Solutions combined forces with Inovateus Solar LLC, a national solar power distributor and integrator, to install the carport. The companies use solar energy and smart grid technology to fully charge up to 13 electric vehicles per day via six Level 2 GE EV Charging Stations and to power the overhead lighting in the parking lot.
“Our objective with this project is to utilize a mix of installation formats to create a practical on-site ‘lab’ to illustrate a range of design options when creating a solar system,” says T.J. Kanczuzewski, executive vice president of Inovateus Solar LLC. “We are excited to collaborate with GE on this important alternative energy development and education project and look forward to other future projects.”
The carport incorporates GE’s infrastructure technology, utilizing GE EverGold* Safety Switches and GE Combiner Boxes along with the GE EV Charging Stations. GE’s core AC equipment safely distributes the power generated from the solar panels. The GE EV Solar Carport connects to the grid, where it deposits extra energy and withdraws that energy when needed.
Innovation is a tradition at GE. For more than 100 years GE has built and serviced infrastructure to optimize energy generation and use. The development of this next-generation technology with GE reliability is a natural progression as the company offers a network of EV chargers and software support that are all part of the end-to-end EV infrastructure solution.
GE (NYSE: GE) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at www.ge.com.
GE also serves the energy sector by providing technology and service solutions that are based on a commitment to quality and innovation. The company continues to invest in new technology solutions and grow through strategic acquisitions to strengthen its local presence and better serve customers around the world. The businesses that comprise GE Energy www.ge.com/energy-GE Power & Water, GE Energy Services and GE Oil & Gas-work together with more than 90,000 global employees and 2010 revenues of $38 billion, to provide integrated product and service solutions in all areas of the energy industry including coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy; renewable resources such as water, wind, solar and biogas; as well as other alternative fuels and new grid modernization technologies to meet 21st century energy needs.
About Inovateus Solar LLC
Inovateus Solar is a leading distributor and integrator of cutting-edge solar electric solutions. Headquartered in South Bend, Ind., and recently voted one of the State of Indiana’s Top Companies to Watch, in the past six months Inovateus Solar has completed the largest solar installation in the states of Michigan and Indiana and some of the largest utility grade installations in the Midwest.
First and foremost, this brand will be for the China market only. Second, it will be electric cars only. The first model to be produced is the mk4 Jetta (known as the Bora in the rest of the world) or the Golf.
Of course, any lessons learned from this brand will be applied to the rest of the VW Auto Group through the Chinese partner, FAW-VW (first auto works-vw). Many cars for the North American market are assembled in Mexico to save labor costs. Perhaps the mix of educated workers and cheap labor could mean more high tech cars built in China? Is this the first step in shifting the gravity of electric car development to the far East?
source: china car times
I recently read that the US is close to finalizing the level 3 connector for electric cars. Which brings up the question for this article,
What is the difference between level 1, 2, and 3 electric car plug in chargers?
Long story short, level 1 is 110 volts like your common household outlet. Level 2 is 240 volts which is what most home electric dryer run off but is usually only available in a few outlets in your home. Level 3 is 480-500 volts and is not wired in households and is not yet standardized.
The Nissan Leaf’s fast charger is a special level 2 box that is wired to your garage and can fully charge the 24 kWh battery pack in about 8 hours. In reality, most people won’t drain the useful life of the battery fully so they’ll really only use it a few hours at a time to top off the battery pack.
There is a dark side to fast charging: heat. As anyone who has used a rechargeable battery fast charger knows, they come with fans to help cool the battery during charging. Even so, fast chargers kill the batteries due to heat and the cycling. Good aa, aaa rechargeable battery chargers should have individual circuits to account for differences between battery conditions and trickle charge at around 200 instead of 700 or higher amp. The faster the charge, the less capacity and life you’ll get due to fast charge problems .
Current car battery technology is no different. The Audi Q5 and A6 hybrids come with their own dedicated air conditioning to help the battery packs stay cool. The VW Touareg hybrid and Porsche Cayenne hybrid use nickel metal hydride batteries and use only air cooling from fans. These are only there for regular operation, not the fast charging of a full EV.
The other problem is that houses aren’t wired for this amount of voltage. The household outlet is 110V and they get 240V by doubling up the wires in the fusebox. If you take off the cover panel of the average household fusebox, you’ll see 2 buses, or fuse strips, with criss crossing wires which is how they get 240V. In addition to the household end, there’s also limitations on the service wire that runs from the utility pole to the home and upstream. Simply put, most houses can easily add a level 2 connector but you have to go to an industrial charging station to get access to a level 3.
If you have any more questions or comments, feel free to post in the forums!