Electric Cars for 2010

By John Addison (6/4/08). With oil prices rocketing past $130 per barrel, a growing number of vehicle makers are planning to offer electric vehicles by 2010. Zero gasoline will be used.

Over 40,000 electric vehicles (EV) are currently used in the United States. Most are used in fleet applications, from maintenance to checking parking meters; these EVs are mostly limited to 25 mph speed and 20 mile range. A growing number of fleet EVs, however, are early trails of a new generation of freeway-speed EVs that will be available to the mass consumer market in 2010.

Mitsubishi is on target to sell its electric vehicle in the U.S. in 2010. The i-EV is a friendly looking sub-compact which easily handles freeway speeds. It’s expected 100 mile-plus range per charge will meet the needs of urban dwellers and most in suburbia. The drive system uses three permanent magnetic synchronous motors which receive power from a 16kWh lithium battery stack. Tokyo Electric Power is currently testing ten i-EV

Nissan’s and Renault’s famous CEO, Carlos Ghosn, plans to be selling electric vehicles in the U.S. market in 2010. He anticipates more cities following London’s model of expensive congestion fees, with fee exemptions and preferred parking for zero-emission vehicles. In many markets, Nissan will offer electric vehicles with permanently installed lithium batteries that will be trickle charged. Nissan owns 51% of Automotive Energy Supply Corporation, which plans to be producing lithium batteries for 10,000 vehicles annually by 2010. Plant expansion has begun to produce lithium batteries for 60,000 electric vehicles annually.

By 2012, Ghosn plans to have a Renault-Nissan alliance offering a wide range of electric vehicles in many major markets, charging ahead of all competition. Economist Article

In Israel and Denmark, Renault and Nissan will partner with Project Better Place. to sell electric vehicles without batteries. Project Better Place will lease batteries that can be quickly exchanged at many locations. The exchange will take no longer than a traditional gasoline fill-up, appealing to motorists needing extended range. The battery lease will cost a fraction of what most now spend on gasoline.

Popular in Europe, Think will bring its electric vehicle to the U.S. Think city reaches a top speed of 65 miles per hour and can drive up to 110 miles on a single charge. Think city meets all European and US federal motor vehicle safety requirements. At the Geneva Motorshow earlier this year, Think announced a strategic partnership with energy giant General Electric, also an investor in Think. By 2011 look for a larger TH!NK Ox. Think has also established partnerships in the US with battery suppliers A123 and EnerDel. Think has established a U.S. headquarters and will begin sales in the U.S. before 2010. A123 Technology Review Article

In 2009, the smart ev may be available in the U.S. The cars 70/70 specs are appealing for city drivers: 70 mile range, 70 mile per hour freeway speed. Daimler’s smart ev is in trail in the UK with the Energy Saving Trust, Islington and Coventry Councils, Lloyds Pharmacy, EDF Energy, BT, and other fleets. To achieve a range of 72 miles, it is using the Zebra sodium-nickel-chloride battery which has caused maintenance difficulties in some U.S. fleets.

The cityZENN is planned for a top speed of 80 mph and a range of 250 miles. Powered by EEStor barium-titanate ceramic ultracapacitors, the cityZENN will be rechargeable in less than 5 minutes! Venture capitalists are betting that stealth EEStor is real. On Friday, May 30, ZENN Motor Company announced that it had raised another $15 million dollars.

Most major auto makers continue to believe that most U.S. customers will insist on ranges exceeding 250 miles and a national infrastructure of fuel refilling (or recharging) in five minutes. Even as GM announces factory closings and plummeting sales, CEO Richard Wagner states that GM is committed to bring the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt to market by the end of 2010. If it can deliver at under $30,000, the vehicle will offer tough competition to some of the smaller EV players.

As Toyota solidifies its number one global market share leadership, it also remains on target to deliver a plug-in hybrid to the U.S. market by the end of 2010. It is likely to have an all-electric range of 40 miles and a gasoline range 10X that amount. Watch Toyota use an expanded line of hybrid vehicles to unset GM, making Toyota the market leader is the U.S.

May rained on every auto maker’s parade in the U.S., except Honda, which set sales records with its fuel efficient Civic. Honda is passing Chrysler to become the #4 seller in the U.S. Honda is rumored to be bringing a new hybrid to the U.S. next year priced in the mid-teens. This will give hybrids a big boost in market share from the current 3% of total vehicle sales.

While I was giving a speech at the Fuel Cell 2008 , Honda announced that it would lease 200 Clarity FCX hydrogen fuel cell cars for $600 per month, including maintenance. In June, it will start selecting from 50,000 who have expressed interest in the 270-mile range four-door sedan. The FCX Clarity is aerodynamic and beautifully styled. Honda’s new hybrid is likely to have a similar body style.

Some critics have dismissed electric vehicles as golf carts for retirees and sport car toys for millionaires. These critics have missed a fundamental market shift that started with the success of hybrid-electric cars, light electric vehicles, and with e-scooters. Customer enthusiasm for electric vehicles is the result of many factors:

  • Oil Prices
  • ZEV Cities & Congestion Tax
  • Electronic drive simplifies auto design
  • Vehicle weight reduction with electric accessories and components
  • Reduced maintenance because of few mechanical components
  • GHG Regulation
  • Battery technology advances that reduce cost and weight
  • Increased battery safety
  • Success of hybrid-electrics

At the FRA Renewable Energy Investor Conference (my presentation handouts), I led a panel discussion about electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids. Major private equity and project finance investors were optimistic in sessions about electric vehicles, solar power, wind power, and carbon trading. Many expressed discouragement in the biofuels sessions, but at the same time saw increased opportunities with bioenergy and bio-methane from landfills.

In a few years, millions will be driving full-featured freeway-speed four-door sedan electric vehicles. Look for a shift away from foreign oil to riding on local renewable energy.

John Addison publishes the Clean Fleet Report and speaks at transportation and energy conferences.

15 replies
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    "Most major auto makers continue to believe that most U.S. customers will insist on ranges exceeding 250 miles and a national infrastructure of fuel refilling (or recharging) in five minutes."Based on the gas guzzlers still being produced, it would be fair to say that most major automakers don't know what the customer wants. This is another example of why they won't be leaders in this paradigm shift. Give me – and I dare say several million other people – a 100 mile range and I can get through most days.Let's stop finding excuses for building electric vehicles.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Mostly because of high gas prices,electric car hucksterism is running rampant. But there are two and only two relevant situations. One is that EEStor devices work, in which case all other battery technologies immediately become obsolete and electric cars achieve viability as bona fide alternatives to gas powered cars. If that doesn't happen, then plug-in hybrids will rule the roost because they can achieve everything that a battery-only electric can, and be practical and viable alternatives in a way that battery-only electrics simply cannot. It's simple, but the hucksters are out shilling for some pretty crappy EVs that won't meet the transportation needs of anyone anymore than the crappy EV-1 and Toyota Rav4 did.

  3. ThinkSolar
    ThinkSolar says:

    Even in Italy there are similar projects for the construction of electric automobiles. Fiat has enabled several projects in the past and I think we are still working on hybrid models and native electric autos

  4. NS
    NS says:

    One of the entrenched players in the EV market at this time is ZAP with a range of vehicles already selling all over the US and with the ZAP_X and Alias being awaited.

  5. Dave Mc
    Dave Mc says:

    While I am a big fan of capacitor technology for vehicles (no toxic chemicles) and truly hope to own a vehicle with EESTOR technology, the press needs to take a high school physics class and do some math. Charging in 5 minutes is absurd. All reports state that the capacitors hold 57kWh. That is 57,000 watts for 1 hour. To do that in 5 minutes you would need 684,000 watts (5 mins is 1/12 of an hour, so you need to go 12x as fast). A Watt is 1 Volt at 1 Amp. The most you can get in a home is 240 Volts at 200 amps, or 48,000 Watts. To charge in 5 minutes you would need 2,850 amps (684,000/240). It would generate a phenomenal amount of heat, or take very specialized charging stations (NOT at home). Get real."I'm not plugging it in, YOU plug it in."

  6. JKingDev
    JKingDev says:

    >>While I am a big fan of capacitor technology for vehicles (no toxic chemicles) and truly hope to own a vehicle with EESTOR technology, the press needs to take a high school physics class and do some math. Charging in 5 minutes is absurd. All reports state that the capacitors hold 57kWh. That is 57,000 watts for 1 hour. To do that in 5 minutes you would need 684,000 watts (5 mins is 1/12 of an hour, so you need to go 12x as fast). A Watt is 1 Volt at 1 Amp. The most you can get in a home is 240 Volts at 200 amps, or 48,000 Watts. To charge in 5 minutes you would need 2,850 amps (684,000/240). It would generate a phenomenal amount of heat, or take very specialized charging stations (NOT at home). Get real.<<While you are correct here, I think you are slightly missing the point. The point is that the device is capable of being charged at such a rate if the power to do it is available. This lends itself to two scenarios.1.) It is very possible for there to be a home unit that collects charge from the grid at a slower rate (possibly storing it in another EESTOR unit). When you plug in your car, the stored energy is ready to be rapidly transferred to your car. This home charging unit would probably be a bit pricey though (as expensive as a second EESTOR plus additional high power charging circuitry). Who really needs a full charge in five minutes while at home anyway? Trickle charging overnight is more than enough for anyone most of the time. When it is not enough, there is case 2:2.) Consumers who need to travel farther than the range of the vehicle need to be able to quickly charge and keep going. If high power charging stations are available, people will be able to charge and go, the same way they can pump and go with gassers.If users can charge at home and go 300 miles on a charge, high power charging stations would only be needed on highways and interstates.Now of course not everyone has a garage to park and charge in so that case the ability to charge in 5 minutes is more important. Those without home charging stations can use the car just like a gasser. Just go to a high power charging station to “fuel up” in minutes.

  7. JKingDev
    JKingDev says:

    >>While I am a big fan of capacitor technology for vehicles (no toxic chemicles) and truly hope to own a vehicle with EESTOR technology, the press needs to take a high school physics class and do some math. Charging in 5 minutes is absurd. All reports state that the capacitors hold 57kWh. That is 57,000 watts for 1 hour. To do that in 5 minutes you would need 684,000 watts (5 mins is 1/12 of an hour, so you need to go 12x as fast). A Watt is 1 Volt at 1 Amp. The most you can get in a home is 240 Volts at 200 amps, or 48,000 Watts. To charge in 5 minutes you would need 2,850 amps (684,000/240). It would generate a phenomenal amount of heat, or take very specialized charging stations (NOT at home). Get real.<<While you are correct here, I think you are slightly missing the point. The point is that the device is capable of being charged at such a rate if the power to do it is available. This lends itself to two scenarios.1.) It is very possible for there to be a home unit that collects charge from the grid at a slower rate (possibly storing it in another EESTOR unit). When you plug in your car, the stored energy is ready to be rapidly transferred to your car. This home charging unit would probably be a bit pricey though (as expensive as a second EESTOR plus additional high power charging circuitry). Who really needs a full charge in five minutes while at home anyway? Trickle charging overnight is more than enough for anyone most of the time. When it is not enough, there is case 2:2.) Consumers who need to travel farther than the range of the vehicle need to be able to quickly charge and keep going. If high power charging stations are available, people will be able to charge and go, the same way they can pump and go with gassers.If users can charge at home and go 300 miles on a charge, high power charging stations would only be needed on highways and interstates.Now of course not everyone has a garage to park and charge in so that case the ability to charge in 5 minutes is more important. Those without home charging stations can use the car just like a gasser. Just go to a high power charging station to "fuel up" in minutes.

  8. JKingDev
    JKingDev says:

    >>While I am a big fan of capacitor technology for vehicles (no toxic chemicles) and truly hope to own a vehicle with EESTOR technology, the press needs to take a high school physics class and do some math. Charging in 5 minutes is absurd. All reports state that the capacitors hold 57kWh. That is 57,000 watts for 1 hour. To do that in 5 minutes you would need 684,000 watts (5 mins is 1/12 of an hour, so you need to go 12x as fast). A Watt is 1 Volt at 1 Amp. The most you can get in a home is 240 Volts at 200 amps, or 48,000 Watts. To charge in 5 minutes you would need 2,850 amps (684,000/240). It would generate a phenomenal amount of heat, or take very specialized charging stations (NOT at home). Get real.<<While you are correct here, I think you are slightly missing the point. The point is that the device is capable of being charged at such a rate if the power to do it is available. This lends itself to two scenarios.1.) It is very possible for there to be a home unit that collects charge from the grid at a slower rate (possibly storing it in another EESTOR unit). When you plug in your car, the stored energy is ready to be rapidly transferred to your car. This home charging unit would probably be a bit pricey though (as expensive as a second EESTOR plus additional high power charging circuitry). Who really needs a full charge in five minutes while at home anyway? Trickle charging overnight is more than enough for anyone most of the time. When it is not enough, there is case 2:2.) Consumers who need to travel farther than the range of the vehicle need to be able to quickly charge and keep going. If high power charging stations are available, people will be able to charge and go, the same way they can pump and go with gassers.If users can charge at home and go 300 miles on a charge, high power charging stations would only be needed on highways and interstates.Now of course not everyone has a garage to park and charge in so that case the ability to charge in 5 minutes is more important. Those without home charging stations can use the car just like a gasser. Just go to a high power charging station to “fuel up” in minutes.

  9. Nathan
    Nathan says:

    You are correct that the car will not be able to charge in 5 minutes at 110V or even 220V. However the advantage to the EESTOR technology is that unlike other "ultracapacitors" it can charge at a very high voltage…supposedly up to 3500V. If that is the case it will be around 200A to charge in 5 mins which is viable. However this would require a special charging station that will probably not be cost effective to install at home. Meaning at 110V it will be more like 4 hours to recharge, however if recharging stations were made available it would be "physically" possible to recharge the vehicle in 5 minutes without damaging the power source.

  10. John Addison
    John Addison says:

    Thank you for the comments and debates about the fate of some future technology. The articles’ discussion about the plans of some auto makers is no guaranteeing that all will deliver in 2010. As some of you note, some may never get to market. There are currently hundreds of electric vehicles being offered; some are being delivered. The article made no attempt to cover them all. If you want to look at many offerings, follow this link: http://www.alibaba.com/showroom/Electric_Vehicle/… loved riding in a Tesla and hope that they overcome their problems that have made them 18 months late. Here is my Tesla article. http://www.cleanfleetreport.com/vault/tesla.htm Over the past years, Zap has sent me press releases announcing billions of dollars of deals. Read the following SEC filing carefully. http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1024628/00… some have good reason to be skeptical about EEstor. A modest VC investment is no guarantee of success. A123 has attracted over ten times the investment in EEstor. We will see if ZENN delivers a car using EEstor by 2010, or ever.Yes, Toyota is likely to be a major force with a plug-in hybrid. Although A123 and others are doing Prius conversions, do not assume that Toyota’s offering will be a Prius plug-in. They may develop a distinct brand that is smaller and lighter for more range.Electric vehicles are already successful in many fleet applications and with individuals in places like university towns. In three years, new affordable freeway speed electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids will accelerate the current success. Yes, there will be some companies that succeed and some that fail. Despite the comment about journalists not understanding basic physics, fast charging is done. Aerovironment (AVAV), for example, has been selling fast chargers for years in vehicle, warehouse, and airport operations. No one said that you could do it with a 110 volt system. 480VAC, 3-phase is one way. This is a PDF of a 600 amp system. http://www.avinc.com/downloads/ELT600.pdfThe other day, I was touring FedEx’s Oakland warehouse operations. They use similar systems to save a fortune on expensive jet fuel. Planes enter their gates and shut off the diesel engines. Auxiliaries are powered with portable systems. When I visited LAX, they told me of a similar approach used by some airlines.Fast-charging is seen as impractical by some very smart people. The last time I had lunch with Professor Andy Frank, he raised many reasons why it is impractical. This IEEE Spectrum http://www.spectrum.ieee.org/nov07/5685 shows that he has good company with his colleague Dr. Andrew Burke. There are valid arguments that fast charging will not become popular in the next few years: lack of infrastructure, lack of standards, electrical resistance causing significant loss, heat, concerns about thermal runaway, safety, and high-cost. Trickle charge will be more popular. Early adopter fleets that need frequent and fast range extension are buying plug-in hybrids and hydrogen fuel cells, especially for heavy trucks and buses. The downsides of fast-charge give Better Place’s battery swap credibility.

  11. BG Automotive Group
    BG Automotive Group says:

    A fundamental change in our driving habits is now required. The Automobile Industry is going to be in the same position as the Airline Industry in the next few months. Unless we get away from gas combustion vehicles, including Hybrids, the automobile industry (as we know it) will die.We need to make drastic moves. America needs to move to ELECTRIC. The vehicles are not as fast, not always as fun to drive, but the move will save Americans money (Billions) and help bring change to our automotive companies. Let's "Be Green"!!!!!!!!!!!! BG Automotive Group Ltd. has a car that will travel 80-100 miles per charge for $15,995. Finally a car that most Americans can afford. Did you know that 80% of all drivers, drive less than 50 miles per day? This new car will cost an equivalent of $0.20-0.25 cents/gallon (depending on electricity rates in your area). Why send $700 Billion per year to OPEC (now buying up U.S. companies) when we can use this money for our schools, health care, social security for all Americans, etc, etc, etc. We can make the difference if WE change.

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