Electric Vehicle Links

Its clear that vehicles without electric motors will become as unusual in the 10 to 20 years as wet film cameras and vinyl records are now. If its not obvious to you why that is, a separate page here explains it. This page attempts to track the developments that will help free us from our dependency on fossil fuel for transport.

I have personally been running a Vectrix for over 3 years, and just recently purchased a Vauxhall Ampera.

I have posted some thoughts and experiences of running my Ampera here.


The rest of this page takes a look round vehicle electrification in general and is split in sections as follows:

Vehicle Manufactures

Once I started looking, I just kept finding more and more of these. Here are the companies setting the pace.

Tesla Motors

Tesla got started with a joint venture with Lotus which produced the Tesla Roadster. Great looking electric sports car with a good range and 3.7s 0 to 60 times. That is no longer available to buy, the remainder of the production run is already sold.

Replacing it is the Model S which will have even better range, more doors and seats and start at a lower price. The usual elecronics development story, now being applied to cars.

The Lightening Car Company

Beautiful looking car for buyers who are patient and not price sensitive. Further behind Tesla but if the batteries they have chosen live up to their promice, they will have much better durability and quicker recharges.

Renault

Of the major motor manufactures Renault have the most diverse lineup with 4 vehicles in their fleet.

The Fluence is the most mainstream machine and is the one being sold in conjuction with Project Better Place's infratructure plans.

They also have a small hatchback called Zoe, an electric version of the Kangoo van, and something about the size of a quad bike called the Twizy.

Zap

Electric vehicle sales channel also doing some of their own vehicle development.

Myers Motors

Another entry in the small and funky category.

Fly the Road

But if you want big time fun with your small and funky, then you need to check out the VentureOne from fly the road. When you look at their website, start with the video links.

Vectrix

Fast electric Scooters.

Phoenix Motor Cars

Included for completeness, nothing yet in production. Common sense tells us that small and light is the way to go to get range out of electric vehicles, but these guys are having none of that. It appears they are planning to make electric trucks! Irrelevant for the consumer market, with the possible exception of the US where some odd local tax laws may mean they make sense.
They have close financial ties with Altairnano.

Key Technologies

Batteries

Probably the component that is changing most rapidly to make the Electric car a reality.

Atlairnano

The battery maker with the biggest claims.

If the reality is only half as good as they claim, its still a huge breathrough.

Some anecdotal evidence that these batteries may be for real:

Nanosafe fast recharge demonstrated

A123 Systems

Lack the extravagant claims of Altair (10X worse in terms of life and charge rate), but they are real and shipping now. Speculation is that Tesla use their batteries.

Valence Technology

Sell lithium-ion batteries, both as individual cells and car battery size packs designed as lead acid replacements. They are used in the Segway. They have a good web site, and supply all the revant data on their product, except how to buy it. If you are looking for investments, like Altairnano, you can at least buy the company

Their claimed peek and sustained discharge rates are less than half that of A123, which will affect their suitability for some vehicles.

Winston Battery Limited

Chinese company selling lithium battery packs.

Motors

Protean Electric

This bunch are working on some very nice in-the-wheel motors that contain all the drive electronics. Just connect them to a battery, and tell them how fast to go! They even do the regenerative breaking for you.

Chargers and Power Management

Wrightspeed

Formed by a Telsa motors founder who left early on and now seems to be focusing on the electronics. A while back they produced a demonstrator using an Arial Atom. These have got to be the easiest place to start if you want to build your own. Everything is accessible, but you have to be a hardy sort to drive it. Who needs a body shell? Windscreen? Pah!

It got a mention and some video footage in a click online article along with the Tesla machine.

AC Propulsion

They are working on a car as well, but their main contribution could prove to be in the area of charge electronics.

It's bi-directional charging feature can pull power down from the grid, or upload it back again. Their idea is that you could rent some of the capacity of your battery pack to the electricity grid company. Once there are sufficient electric cars plugged in, they could be used to smooth out the spikes in power demand.

In England the electricity companies offer a deal called Economy 7, where they charge you a little more for electricity used during the day, but sell it at half price during the night. With one of these power supplies plugged in, you could set it up to accumulate power during the night, and run it back out during the day. Assuming that you get more than half the power back out of the system that you put in, it should be able to save you money while sitting in your garage. Finally a car that works to limit its own depreciation!

News Sites, User Groups Etc

GM-Volt

An active forum for discussion mostly about the Chevrolet Volt and Vauxhall Ampera, but the news part of the site covers all electric vehicles.

The Battery Vehicle Society

News and discussion forums.