Hmmm, hot seat?
I don't know if it's just me, but given the events of the recent couple of years, I have a real problem with the idea of a battery under my seat...
In the future, we will still be buying our own cars but we'll be leasing the batteries. At least that's the vision of Nissan's Executive VP for Product Planning, Carlos Tavares. Presumably the battery packs will be leased from Nissan, though as Renault-Nissan is the car maker most closely connected to Shai Agassi's Better …
While the styling doesn't do a fat lot for me - no real consideration for practical usage apart from size and the eco roof concept is pathetically contrived - it's encouraging to see a revisit of the best method to provide power. The existing fuel stations obviously could provide rented packs, and if manufacturers could agree on standard sizing and connectivity then drivers would be able to have recharged packs as quickly as filling up with fuel at present - if not faster with automation.
" ... will be ... " " ... plans to .... " " .... up to ....." pardon me if I don't seem vey excited by what is, effectively, vapourware. Once this is in the shops and has been reviewed by real people (Clarkson need not apply - he probably couldn't even squeeze into one of these, anyway) on real roads, who've spent their own money to buy one, then I'll take a look at it. Until then, they've got nothing.
The way the technology is at the moment, th biggest problem I see with mass acceptance of electric cars is charge time.
IF you have a garage at home then, great you can plug in at home over night. If you park on street then you will need to charge up just like you do with fuel at the moment. Yes I've heard talk of charge times of a couple of minutes, but lets be serious, a full charge in a short time would mean a massive current that we simply do not have the infrastructure to manage at the moment. Getting down to realistic currents we are either looking at impractically long charge times, or impractically frequent short charges.
I can't see the infrastructure getting upgraded any time soon so what's the solution? Well the best bet for me would be to swap your batteries when you need a charge. Yes the battery packs will be heavy, but surely some clever type could come up with a machine for swapping battery packs. If they loaded from under the car it could just be a matter of parking over the battery change machine and off you go.
This sort of setup would fit in well with a battery leasing agreement. The current vision seems to be to charge up at what are currently petrol stations, but unless a standard battery pack format is forthcoming they would need to have a huge range of batteries on charge at any one time. But what about manufacturers having their own battery swap stations?
As usual however when in planet saving mode the world thinks of solutions without any thought for how they will be implemented. Great we can all drive electric cars, but nobody really seems to be thinking of how we will manage to charge millions of electric cars.
Renault, Peugeot and a few others have been using this "buy the wheels, lease the batteries" approach for donkey's years (15+), with their domestic and commercial all-EV fleets (which, let it be said, never made much news before or during the periodical 'Let's all go green' fad periods).
If anyone can wear the 'been-there-done that' tshirts so far as 'for real' EVs are concerned, it's these guys because they've been at it 20+ years ( I test-drove both an all-EV Clio and an all-EV AX, full bona fide production models retailed at dealerships, back in 95 or 96! They worked fabulously well, but already the main problem: range, which still hasn't been solved 12 years on or so).
The all-EV Renault Clio (Mk1) retailed at around £12k to £13k back then, £7k of that cash for the wheels and the balance just for the batteries on lease (Lead Acid batteries need replacement after 2 to 3 years' normal use - whereby the leasing business model).
Now, you'd think in 12 years they'd be able to sort the range problem by simply reducing the car and (importantly) batteries' weights? i.e. from heavy as f*** Lead Acid (pretty much still the norm for 'for real EVs' to this day), to much lighter Li-something or other?
I've had the fortune/misfortune of using an all-EV moped (regular 50cc modern Peugeot-style lookalike) for commuting a couple of years ago. In real terms: charge for 4+ hours (to much more, nearly 7 hours in winter), leccy bills up 20% at least, for an autonomy of 12 miles (at best, height of summer) @ 27 mph on a good day.
Thanks, but no thanks. Tech is still not there, by a country mile.
Petrol is an evil fossil fuel, you can see the smoke coming out of the exhaust pipes on cold mornings and weep at the damage mother bature is facing.
Whereas electricity produces no fumes at all, as it is delivered by underground pixies who carry it to your devices through those odd looking holes in the wall.
The reason for leasing batteries is to put some profit back to the dealers.
Dealers don't make much on selling you the car, they make it on charging you for regular servicing - changing the oil every 3000mi - on a new car if you want to keep the warranty.
The problem with leccy cars from the dealers point of view is that you can't take an extra 10-20% off the buyer for wiping an oily rag over the engine every 2 months for the first three years.
It's going to be hard to justify service intervals on a leccy car.
Using "photo" in the sense of "Completely made up computer generated image because we haven't actually started thinking about making this yet, and probably never will.".
Artists impression of a coat that I don't own, probably never will and wouldn't be getting even if I did.
Leasing would be fine if you pay a per-mile charge to lease the pack. If it's a monthly charge, then you have to put in the miles to make the electric vehicle pay. Unfortunately, electric vehicles don't go far on a charge, so you end up targeting only those with a long daily commute within the range of the pack, light users would just be frittering their money away.
I'm not completely opposed to an electric car (though I'd need a second, petrol powered vehicle for longer trips I take several times a month). But I am NOT buying a brown, potato-shaped monstrosity like the "NuVu"
What we need to get electric cars accepted is a vehicle that costs around the same amount as a conventional car (which means not 20K and then 300-a-month for "fuel") and that looks like a car. It doesn't have to be the Tesla sportscar, it just has to not look like shite.
This post has been deleted by its author
I mean, why all shots at being "green" have to be designed to look horrible and use stupid terms? "Energy tree" FFS!? Just because some exhibitionist people want to be noticed driving a "green" car, it does not mean that all of us who would appreciate such efforts succeeding also want to drive something that looks like it came out of the Teletubbies or something.
Oh, and I hate the "word" leccy too, it also looks like it came out of a Teletubbies -- and I haven't ever watched the bloody show, mind you!
I think I am not in a particularly good mood for BS today... The stupid Playmobil heart with a face is making it worse.
Of all the bad things this represents.
(1) You want to be riding in the back seat when this thing gets crunched? NO
(2) You want to be in it at all when a lorry smacks it from the side? Just hope there's enough left to drop into that hole in the ground and cover up.
(3) You want to bet there's no way they're going to be smart enough to electronically isolate each battery from the others so that one bad one doesn't drain all the rest and that it will simply tell you to replace the one at grid x:y with a new cell.
(4) Any guesses as to how long that charge will last while the outside temps are at zero and the wind chill is 30 below? OK, done with all that...what kind or traction will you have in ice and snow? Come on, how long until this marvelous light-weight is hydroplaning in a moderate rain?
(5) You have to park in an alley or the street and you're supposed to charge it how? Oh sure, just run a 220V extension out there that the first chav who walks by will nick. I can see that working really well.
(6) Ditto for the fry-your-head window on top which will require AC in the summer, spring, or fall so you don't heat-stroke. And the charging panel? That will work for about 60 seconds until that lorry in front of you throws a rock onto it.
It looks like the evil offspring of a VW Bug and a Yugo. No thanks!
And what happens IF ones ipood spontaneously combusts while sitting in the center console of the vehicle? Will that cause a chain reaction to spin wildly out of control, until there's nothing left but a smouldering mass of liquid and mangled metal?
Has anybody actually "thought" of the children?
do they try extra hard to make them look like shite? Then load em up with hippy-dippy pseudo-philosophical imagery?
WTF? If they gotta try so hard to get noticed, then obviously their "technology" can't sell itself-which has always been the problem. Of course, if you can get Government to force people to buy inferior crap out of some socialist or bribery under "green" guises, then you don't have to make technology that is better.
Build a better mousetrap, build a better car, leave the artists at home, and you'll make the sale.
Tho, if Japanese car manufacturers want to be "different", why not pack their electric or hybrid designs into retro replicas of old favorites? Nissan could put them into something like their old Datsun 510. Boxy, eclectic, and efficient in it's day. Honda could build it into a retro CVCC. Design it so that it looks very reminiscent of those older designs that proved to be effective over decades, throw in LED taillights, maybe round a few corners...take some ideas from the new Challenger for retro, and then maybe, maybe, consumers won't *puke* when they see some new battery car.
All this and only 125km range. So a road trip vacation to the mountains in the US that would take a 200mi (~320km) 4 hour trip into at least two 3 hour stops to fully recharge the battery, provided you can convince someone to let you plug in your car when the gas station's down the street.
Basically, this thing's only good for going from point A to point B. Provided you own both points, the parking's protected, and they're in the same city.
The marketing types have it all wrong;
- Leasing batteries will not fly. (Lease your fuel tank? I don't think so)
- Communal vehicles are not acceptable. You might take good care of the car but will the other owners?
- A car is about empowerment, freedom to move, to go anywhere, anytime. This kind of machine is the opposite of that.
For me, an electric vehicle must meet a few criteria;
- Have a range of at least 200 miles @ 100Km/h (60MPH) with the lighting system on (daytime running lights are the law in some nations... silly nations).
- Refuel in 10 minutes or less.
- Provide a heat source for the occupants in the winter. Some countries routinely see winter temperatures of -40C, you need heat & ventilation in an environment like that.
Fuel economy of 40MPG is not unreasonable to demand of an internal combustion engine. To meet the criteria above (travel 200 miles at 60 mph) would mean a fuel capacity of 5 gallons (lets use imperial gallons to give ourselves a little more fuel). A Toyota Yaris/Echo gets 50MPG and holds ten imp. gallons. A smart fortwo cdi (2005/2006 model) holds 22 litres (~5 Gallons) and gets 21 km/litre or 62MPG, I'm being conservative here, I routinely get 65MPG and have hit 80+MPG with my 2005 fortwo)
If the electric tech can't match the range and performance of a smart fortwo diesel (40hp) then don't bother bringing it to the party.
You want efficient? Get diesel-electric.
There is a reason that the United State's railroads use D/E ... That's because it's the single most efficient current method of powering a ground vehicle.
But noooo ... the greens HATE diesel ... Gawd/ess, what a bunch of fundie idiots.