news piece you say
"The lithium battery is generating a lot of
excitement in the industry"
- the problem of course is that, so far, with the
notable exception of one manufacturer, namely
Thunder Sky of China, li-ion prices are
still pretty prohibitive.
Hence my earlier question: have you looked at all at the impressive battery-range and performance that several companies and individuals(FEVT, Greener Energy's Jester EV, MetricMind for example) have been able to achieve by combining
Thunder Sky's CR-F-Li batteries with quality
ultracapacitors - specifically Maxwell
This Thunder Sky / ultracapacitor approach would
obviously not offer the same supercar performance, say, of the $200,000 TZero's 6,800 mini li-ion
cells - but would appear to significantly outperform
nickel zinc - with a relatively insignificant increase
in cost - especially at Thunder Sky's bulk-puchase
Your comments? What sell-price was envisaged for the
li-ion version of the Spyder?
UEV: We are working with Valence and others
on pricing, however we have not made a final decision
EVUK: This next 'wishful-thinking-aloud' question is
prompted not least by the company's California
location: do you have any plans to hook up with any
Hollywood Celebrities at all - a la Tom Hanks and AC Propulsion?
UEV: We are not in a position to drop names. Yes,
we have been contacted by some Hollywood Celebrities that are interested in our vehicles. However until we
begin production they are on a waiting-list like
EVUK: I was thinking more of celebrity endorsement and celebritybackers rather just potential
star-buyers. For example - please indulge us here - humour us if you will - for a moment: if I can just pluck an 'A'-list name not-so-randomly out of the air - we have
visions of EV-fan and eco-activist Leonardo
DiCaprio touring round next year's Earth Day
venues in grand style in an open-top Electrum Spyder -
bumper-to-bumper perhaps with Hanks in a TZero or
UEV: We are right there with you!!
wheel of GEM NEV
EVUK: DiCaprio currently zips around the neighborhood
in a GEM NEV - a worthy and eminently practical little
car in sensible and sedate resorts & communities to be sure - but just imagine how many new EV fans and Spyder-admirers could be born out of a DiCaprio / UEV tie-up!!
Leonardo DiCaprio - in a starring role as an all-new green Spyder-man?(See DiCaprio's excellent official eco-website - including his Global WarNing pages and eco-foundation).
Finally, do you have plans at all to attend next year's EVS21 in Monte Carlo? We hope so!!
UEV: Yes, we are planning to be there if time permits.
So come on everyone - forget Spider Man II - let's hear it for Spyder-mania - it's sure to run & run...
Operation Spyder Web-Watch. ---Google Search Count--- "Electrum Spyder" "Monkey on Roller Skates"
- join with us as we Google-track the - surely inevitably - ever-growing Spyder web-presence over the coming weeks and months:
Jul 01 28 29
Jul 15 29 30
Jul 29 30 32
- we will be updating this Google Search count initially every 2 weeks, then every month for the next six months or so.
Watch this space - and watch the 'Spyder Web' grow!!"
June, 2004 International Conference for Renewable Energies in Bonn is virtually ignored by US-UK mainstream media.
- Despite oil and petrol price volatility, despite wars for oil, oil-linked conflict and terrorism, despite global warming and, yes, despite Hollywood's "The Day After Tomorrow" - the mainstream media in the US and UK appear to have collectively decided to all-but ignore this high-powered make-or-break "Weg Vom Oel"("Away From Oil") eco-event attended by many of the world's leading politicians and environmental organisations and enterprises.
By contrast, German TV, radio and newspapers have provided almost round-the-clock coverage. Here's just one fine example(in English!) from Deutsche Welle TV: Ushering in a "New Age" of Renewable Energy.
The International Conference for Renewable Energies - website includes links to the International Action Programme and Political Declaration.
(It could be of course that the BBC's flagship(so they say) 'environmental' programme CountryFile - or indeed Jeremy Clarkson's Top Gear team - are currently busy preparing fulsome "Away From Oil" reports from the conference to be aired at a later date. Holding of breath not recommended however.)
June, 2004 FEVT(Finland) develop Thunder Sky/BoostCap EV Packs
(Note: This is not so much a News item as an adjunct to our Thunder Sky conference/MetricMind piece below.
Ahead of the pack?
FEVT - Finn EV Tech - have succeeded in developing fully integrated, computer-managed so-called "Energy Packs" and "Power Packs" which cleverly and optimally combine the energy density and stability of Thunder Sky Li-ion with the on-demand power of Maxwell BoostCap ultracapacitors(cf. MetricMind Li-ion conversion).
The FEVT Thunder Sky/BoostCap system is still in its trial phase - so no final word on cost as yet.
1) Photos of FEVT's trial vehicles: Clio etc. & Minibus.
2) Comments by FEVT R&D Manager Jukka J?rvinen re: Energy Packs, Power Packs etc. in EV Digest Discussion Group Archive(Msg. No.1, May 24, 2004).
3) Thunder Sky Li-ion EV Discussion Group.
May, 2004 Li-ion EV DIY'ers: UK Li-ion Conference -plus ultimate Li-ion Conversion Guide
- REAP Systems(UK) & MetricMind(US)
- We first heard of Southampton University-based Dennis Doerffel a few years back when his work as a postgraduate research student developing and promoting Lithium/ICE hybrid technology was briefly reported by Auto Express magazine. Needless to say, we immediately contacted Herr Doerffel, predictably commenting (something like):
"Lithium hybrid technology is quite 'nice' - but wouldn't pure lithium ion battery drive - with No Internal Combustion Engine - be even 'nicer'??"
- Dennis Doerffel's(REAP Systems) second Li-ion EV/DIY Conference takes place in Sparsholt nr. Winchester, Hampshire UK on Sat Aug 28,
2004 and costs just £70 incl. refreshments - or a mere ?35 if eligible for discount.
Just as impressive as the conference itself though has been the setting up of a lithium battery (Thunder Sky) bulk purchase co-operative, enabling individuals and small enterprises to significantly reduce import costs(see REAP Systems pages).
MetricMind Engineering - no connection(*see note below) with REAP Systems - is based in eco-friendly Portland, Oregon and have provided what must be the ultimate(..but no expense spared!) Thunder Sky li-ion DIY conversion guide. Superb, step-by-step detailed guide with close-up photography. Their impassioned anti-oil/pro-battery EV introduction is also music to our ever EV-angelical ears.
*Note: Victor Tikhonov of MetricMind has also set up a Thunder Sky bulk purchase scheme in the US.
May, 2004 Now Watch: CBS (& Sky) News Ford Ranger EV report
- thanks to Dave Raboy(Ford Ranger EV driver) and EVUK's assorted respondents: we nailed it!..
Our fellow EV-insurgent Bill Moore of EV World may have just pipped us to the
post(ing) in getting this CBS News video link(see below) out there and headlined -but credit where credit's due:
- it was ourselves - pat on the back - EVUK who got this particular ball rolling, bouncing and eventually now slam-dunked..
- just for the record..
... ten days ago, you may recall, we sent a shout-out to all our EV contacts in the US and UK asking:
"Did anyone record last night's(11 May) CBS(relayed in UK by Sky News..) Evening News report on Ford's plans to scrap/crush al
l remaining Ranger EV's?"
...well to cut a long story(& email-trail..) short, we were eventually contacted - thanks to US-based EV-angelists Doug & Bill Korthof - by the lawyer acting against Ford on behalf of Dave Raboy - the first of the disgruntled Ford Ranger EV lessees and would-be owners featured in the CBS report.
- so..bear with us..we immediately contacted Dave who told us that he was so impressed and persuaded by our exceedingly keen response and interest that he would straightaway set about posting his own and very personal(he's in it!) video recording of the CBS TV report onto his soon-to-be-launched website www.dontcrush.com (as in "don't crush our Ford Ranger EV's").
....so here is that hard-won CBS/Sky News video - courtesy Dave Raboy et al.
We - EVUK - would also like to personally thank Doug and Bill Korthof who gave us the original crucial lead to Nora Quinn, the lawyer acting on behalf of Dave Raboy.
Here's our original 'shout-out' from May 12 - again just for the record:
".. A shout-out - help!
- we're trying to find out if anyone recorded last Tuesday's (11 May) excellent - and extremely unusual - CBS Evening News item regarding Ford's efforts to take confiscate and destroy all its electric Ford Rangers. CBS News is broadcast here in the UK by Sky News at 12.30 am(half past midnight).
- Of course it's not the fact that Ford(cf. GM EV1) are taking back and scrapping all their EV's that's remarkable about this TV report of course - it's the fact that CBS actually included a positive story about battery EV's as a major story in its globally-broadcast TV Evening News.
What's even more remarkable was that the report was very critical in tone and language of Ford's decision to requisition all of the remaining Ford Ranger EV's. One disgruntled 'owner' called Ford's decision "criminal" ... another commented that the Ranger EV "needed no Middle East oil". Wow - wh
en gas prices get high enough even the mainstream media(or is it just CBS..cf Hanks/Letterman?) is willing to tear up the corporately correct anti-EV taboos and rule-book. Well - in the US that is. Sky News normally repeat the CBS News again at 05.30 am - but this time they didn't! Drat - and I had my video recorder ready to record it!
The CBS News reporter also pointed out that the Ford Ranger EV owners never need stop by the gas-station where prices are now, by US standards, sky high.
We were also shown archive footage from 1999 in which the then Ford Chairman sang the praises of battery electric vehicles - heralding them as the car of the future.
And the very fact that the report was featured as the "hook" item ie. kept until the very end of the broadcast - confirms that CBS and the media in general know full well that there is in reality enormous public interest out there for alternative-powered, cheap-to-run vehicle - battery EV's in particular.
So - did anyone record this extremely unusual - almost subversive - 3-4 minute CBS Evening News report - relayed on Sky News?? Or does any one know anyone who might have? (BTW: We've searched CBS Evening News webpages incl. their recent video report archive offerings - but can find no trace or transcript of the Ford Ranger EV report! Curious - plenty about the Mexican Air Force UFO sightings - nothing/nada about EV's. Are EV's now even more taboo than UFO's?!)."
May, 2004 E-Times affirms EVUK Hanks-ACP scoop..with first 'Hankster' pics & more..
Scepticism greeted our mysteriously exclusive story identifying AC Propulsion(ACP) as the EV company anonymously alluded to by Tom Hanks in his March 22 Letterman appearance.
Understandable scepticism perhaps: why on earth should a bunch of UK-based EV-upstarts know more about Hanks'
EV plans than most US EV-insiders? Well - we were not exaggerating when we described our intelligence source as a "distinguished, highly-placed Hollywood actor/environmentalist" - but we're still not revealing our sources(aka celeb name-dropping)!
So -see Electrifying Times report Earth Day in Beverly Hills confirming our original and exclusive (yes indeed!) Hanks ACP story.
May, 2004 UK EV Discussion Group kicks off - EVeryone's invited!
- Long-time EV-fan, activist and frustrated would-be electric car owner-driver Brian McMillan has contacted us to let us know he's set up a new Yahoo EV Discussion Group.
Although everyone's welcome to sign up and join the fray - Brian tells us one of his aims as moderator will be to keep the focus on EV activism - ie. getting the truth out about EV and battery technology and generally breaking through all the EV hostility and misinformation out there.
Like us, Brian doesn't want to see another insular techie talking shop:
"Being a non-technical type I'm really most interested in trying to make progress in terms of putting pressure on the car manufacturers(and the media!?)in the UK to sell us viable electric cars. For the minute, it seems to make more sense to keep the technical stuff on the DIY EV Cars discussion group and the news about commercially available cars and pressure group action on this one."
So why not join up...and start re-volting now!
To get a flavour of the EV group's goals, vibe, attitude etc - take a look at these early postings:
1) Brian McMillan's 'Welcome' message - click
2) Our own (EVUK's) opening salvos: 1 & 2
3) Ralph Nader, GE & the (anno)1968 300 mile/charge EV concept - click
April, 2004 Steven Seagal Backs EV cause, buys ebikes
- So ebikes are for wimps are they?
- Try telling that to mystical Hollywood martial arts and tough-guy action hero Steven Seagal.
Paul Markham of Thailand-based Ecobrand Exim International - EV entrepreneur and distributor of the Harrier all-terrain ebike(based on the Ecolux Tornado - see below) - has contacted EVUK to report that the actor and Zen-devotee recently paid a visit to Exim's offices in Bangyai to place an order for various evehicles/ebikes/escooters for his 30,000 acre California ranch.
"I'm just sending you some photos taken with Steven Seagal recently while he was in Thailand. I first met Seagal last year by accident at the Bangkok Motor Show Gala Dinner(plus Miss Motor Show Competition Beauty Contest!) and he was impressed by my environmental cause here and commitment to evehicles etc.
I was one of the few foreigners there and Steven walked past my table and asked what I did in Thailand. I answered that we assemble and market electric bicycles and vehicle concepts here and he said(quote):
"You are a man after my own heart - an environmentalist" (Zen-vironmentalist? EVUK Ed.)
- and asked me to go to the Sheraton Hotel the next week and sit down and discuss my work a
nd his beliefs regarding the environment etc. We had several meetings as he was filming his latest movie 'Belly of the Beast' in Thailand at the time.
He bought several evehicles/escooters from us for his 30,000 acre ranch in Siskiyou California and has offered to be put up on our website supporting our aims etc. and wants to help market the concept around the world.
He also bought some of my Terrano twin-motor escooters and has asked me to develop a large electric ATV which could seat maybe two and carry animal feed etc behind on a rack.(EVUK Ed: like the hunky but expensive Dunel electric ATV?)
I will be selling the next generation Harrier EMTB(ebike) with alloy frame and Ni-MH batteries(more range, lighter, faster charge) around the world direct -mainly to the US though.
The ebike business is very tough in Thailand as they still don't really care about pollution even after my six plus years of trying. Import duty is 60% here on ebikes and parts - in the UK it's only 2.5%!! ".
- Regular EVUK'ers will know that we have been long-time and unabashed fans of Seagal's anti-Big Oil eco-action movie 'On Deadly Ground' - a film in which the eco-stereotype-demolishing Seagal pulls no punches as he hits home one of the film's key messages:
..namely, that the world's carmakers, media and governments remain disastrously ICE-& oil-rigged and have always done everything in their collective power to minimise and stymie public interest in/demand for viable, affordable ZEV's - especially the pure battery variety.
1) Harrier video-clip - from French ebike company Velo Electrique who market the Harrier as the 'Futuro'.
2) Royal Parks Police take delivery of custom Harrier ebike from
Ecolux UK - see EVUK photo- report
3) On Deadly Ground audio - listen to Seagal's great 3-minute anti-Big Oil, anti-ICE tirade at end of film(which is accompanied in the movie itself by original eco-documentary footage).
4) Ecolux UK - main UK retailer and agent for Tornado ebike on which Exim's Harrier is based. The company's two trailblazing, ever-innovative, ex-speedway co-founders designed and continue to upgrade the best-selling Tornado plus a whole range of escooters and evehicles. They tell us they will soon - if a little behind schedule - be offering a whole new range of ultra-high-spec, lightweight, advanced battery ebikes and escooters.(Note: Ebike Central in Holland Park, Central London, also stock the Ecolux bikes)
5) Eco-Brand Exim International - see above!
6) Medicine Lake video clip and article - Seagal joins real-life campaign to protect sacred(not yet deadly) ground - and water - near his Siskiyou County ranch. A magical, mesmerizing, zentrancing little Big Mountain mind-trip through unknown California. Zenjoy!
April, 2004 Tom Hanks' Electric Company('Hankster' EV?) - watch Dave Letterman Show clips now!
- Hanks appears on Letterman Show to plug electric vehicles(..and his new film Ladykillers)
Clip 1(short) CBS
Clip 2(extended) EV Charger News
Firstly - thanks Hanks for daring to 'come out' on live, globally franchised TV as an unapologetic, full-blown practising EV-angelist and RAV4 EV devotee.
Secondly - EVUK has been reliably informed(ie. our suspicions were confirmed..) by a very highly-placed Hollywood actor/environmentalist/EV-pioneer and Simpsons guest-star(*see 'Even Hotter Breaking News' below) that AC Propulsion(ACP) is indeed the company in question and that the Toyota Scion(an acquired taste -be patient!) is the car to be converted.
Thirdly - oh dear..what a pity about the meagre 100 Green Miles per charge battery range.
Compare and contrast: ACP's 280 miles per charge(mpc) high-priced li-ion TZero, Steve Green's low-cost 204 mpc Thunder Sky li-ion Jester EV - and now the 100 mpc Scion/Hankster EV - sadly offering no improvement in range on Tom's favourite EV the Toyota RAV4 - launched more than 5 years ago.
But wait! What is this we hear on the grapEVine from Santa Monica EV Party organiser and RAV4 EV-man-about-town, Paul Scott? (..from his posting of 11 Oct 2003):
"Based on conversations with Tom Gage(ACP), the following is to beconsidered real:
Once the development stage is completed, AC Propulsion's goal isto offer (to the public) their entry level Scion conversion, withsimilar range, and double the acceleration of a Rav4 EV, at thesame price as a Rav4 EV. Upgrades like double range (andacceleration), cruise control and such, will be an additionalcharge." Click here for Paul Scott's full posting.
Tom Hanks joked with Letterman that there's no money to be made from electric vehicles. Why is
that? Simple: Battery range too low - price too high. .
So c'mon Tom. Why not offer a whole range of li-ion battery options:
A Hankster 100 (100 miles)..an 'ICE'-melting Hankster 150 and an 'ICE'-crushing Hankster 200 ? And in five years' time - who knows - an 'ICE'-breaking Hankster 300 Turbo to scare the living daylights out of....
...BUT WAIT AGAIN...EVEN HOTTER BREAKING NEWS...has just arrived in our Inbox folks! Our distinguished Hollywood actor/eco-activist contact - who tells us he actually "scored" Tom his first RAV4 EV - has just answered our EV-angelist prayers as we write - he tells us:
"I'm sorry that Tom didn't mention it, but AC Propulsion will be making vehicles with different ranges, in case someone wants a cheaper around-town car. They will offer a car with a 300+ mile range, as well. See ACP's "Summary Plan for Production of EV's"
Confused? It's simple - you can now disregard all our earlier whining comments about 'meagre 100 mile range'. We blame Tom for not mentioning the planned longer range options - esp. in his 'stuck half-way to Vegas' jibe. The man was obviously/understandably more focused on getting laughs than on pitching EV's...)
*Summary Plan - sorry folks: we have reluctantly - and hopefully temporarily - deactivated this apparently sensitive link after receiving(19 Apr 04) the following message from AC Propulsion President Tom Gage:
"...Can I ask you to please remove the link as my lawyers advise that this is necessary to avoid appearance of soliciting investors in a way notapproved by our SEC(Securities and Exchange Commission - financial regulators) in this country.
Thank you. I appreciate your attention and keep up the good work.
- Tom Gage "
March, 2004 Japan's battery-powered r-EV-ival - is a lithium dawn about to break?
Mitsubishi Eclipse EV
- Can the revival last? Is it for real - or just for show(s)?
- Will we ever see Mitsubishi's "Exciting EV's" (their words -see below) at a Tokyo - or better still - Kyoto Motor Show?
- And just what exactly is the range of the Subaru R1e's manganese li-ion batteries?
Well, we'll answer the last question first - partly because the others are near-impossible to answer. But as always we'll do what we can to illuminate, motivate, activate - and help make this revival happen.We hope our fellow EVUK'ers will (continue to..) do likewise.
So what exactly is the R1e's battery-range? Why the big mystery?
- Subaru appear to have been deliberately avoiding the whole question of R1e's battery-range and no-one in the global EV community had much of a clue either....so we contacted Mike Whelan, National Manager, Corporate Communications Subaru of America, Inc. - who also did not know! However, Mr. Whelan did immediately offer to contact his Subaru colleagues in Japan...and got back to us the next day with the following official response:
"The projected range for the R1e is 100km(62.5 miles) based on the 10/15 mode which is the Japanese technical standard".
Oh dear - most EV-watchers will find this 'projected'(?) battery range monumentally disapppointing. And baffling too - given that, for example, the li-ion Nissan Altra and the NiMH Toyota Rav4 EV's - both launched five(!) years ago - already had official battery ranges of 125 miles.
So 100 km? 62 miles!? Most of us are now hoping for and expecting something in excess of 250 km per charge fr
om the latest generation of li-ion batteries.
Now to that other unknown: the longevity of the Japanese EV revival. Is it a new dawn and will it last? Will it have legs - or will the wheels come off again? The signs are very encouraging this time - so let's take a look at some of the supporting evidence beginning with our favourite five Japanese li-ion prototypes/concepts:
- Mitsubishi Eclipse - 400+ km on a single charge
- Mitsubishi FTO-EV - 2,142 km in 24 hours
- Keio University's Kaz li-on limo plus their smaller, even faster Eliica - at 315 km/h now the world's fastest electric car(car not vehicle - that honour belongs unofficially to Ohio State University's Buckeye Bullet at 274 mph and officially, still, to White Lightning's 245 mph. See below)
- Subaru's stunning R1e concept EV
So might Japan someday join with evangelical China("green Olympiad" 2008, Thunder Sky etc) - not to mention..
.. ever-ready and evergreen Canada(Electrovaya, Avestor etc) to form a fearsome and formidable new..."Axis of EVolution"?
What seems certain is that EV-resurgents everywhere appear determined to fight on: it will certainly be entertaining to see how the growing threat is met by US and EU carmakers now that they have all but pulled the plug on battery EV's - the most energy-efficient vehicles of all...
Mitsubishi FTO EV
Finally, for those of you who may have missed the memorably non-existent mainstream media headlines not celebrating the electrifying goings-on in Kyoto country, here's a summary of relevant links:
1) Mitsubishi Eclipse EV: 400+
km/charge achieved at Japan's Shikoku EV Rally 2001 - see detailed photo-report. Plus Mitsubishi's 2003 Eclipse update.
2) Mitsubishi FTO-EV: 2,142 km in 24 hours in 1999 - world record noted by Guinness Book of Records. See photo-report(there scroll to last page):"New EV Distance World Record".
3) "Exciting EV's" - 2003 report by Mitsubishi's lithium EV development team.
4) "Japan's EV Resurgence" - EV World report. Society of Automotive Engineers(SAE) comes back to battery power..plus "Concepts from Toyota".
5) Japan EV Club - includes Yokohama Formula EV photos.
6) "780 km on a single charge!" "Mitsubishi Eclipse Breaks World Distance Record For A Single Battery Charge!" - this Japan Corporate News report makes fine reading - though sadly they got it wrong: 780 km is the distance around the island of Shikoku.
7) Kaz and Eliica - Tokyo Motor Show 2003 detailed photo-report - with full specifications of both vehicles. March 13-14 2004 is the date set for the Eliica's next attempt to set a new official World Electric Land Speed Record of 400 km/h(kph) - see latest press release and photo.
++ BREAKING NEWS! ++ BREAKING NEWS! ++
Jester - Breaking News Update!(Mar 'O4): EVUK gets li-ion Jester EV onto Italian TV...and onto cover of Italian EV magazine 'El
ectric Motor News.' Click to view!
February, 2004 Jester li-ion EV sets UK range record*.
- Partners and investors sought - worldwide!
(*for a fully roadworthy battery-powered passenger vehicle)
Steve Green (email@example.com) of Hampshire-based Progressive Energy Technologies(PET) has contacted us to report that his now fully "li-ionized" Jester EV has exceeded all his expectations and that his daughter - also Green by name and green by nature - was so impressed that she and her equally ecological fiance insisted on borrowing it for their recent wedding send-off(see photo - was it an ecomenical ceremony?).
Steve, a former engineer with the CEGB(Central Electricity Generating Board) told EVUK:
"I have been road-trialling a set of Thunder Sky Lithium batteries in the car for more than a year now and they have been performing very well. I finally got the official testing carried out by AEA Technology so that we now have official urban cycle and extra urban cycle power consumption tests ( tested to BS EN 1986-1:1997). The attachment shows the car on the rolling road. These tests showed as follows:
Extra urban cycle: 255 km/156 miles
Urban cycle: 326 km/ 204 miles
Urban cycle power consumption: 0.121 kWh/km
Extra urban cycle power consumption: 0.155 kwh/km
Maximum speed measured during tests: 114 kmh/71 mph
Useable energy stored in batteries: 39.6 kWh
Motor: Advanced DC with
Pretty impressive I think you'll agree. But we believe that with further investment and even better, more state-of-the-art components we could go on to enhance the overall performance - speed, acceleration, range - by a further 10-15% and get to 250 miles per charge and 80 mph. For example, by using even more sophisticated regen braking and gearing and an even higher-spec motor. And then there's the possibility of using dual hub motors of course.
The Energy Saving Trust and TransportEnergy, which are part of the Department for Transport( DfT), who were helping fund the tests seemed surprised - even embarrassed - by the results. They told me they couldn't really find anything to compare them with and, frankly, they don't seem especially keen to help further. As you know only too well the DfT are very keen on hybrids of course because, well, I guess it suits the big players and the petrochem interests and the Treasury(petrol-tax etc.) and keeps the whole crank and piston industry alive - as well as the mindset that goes with it.
I know I could sell these cars - and a four seat version - particularly in London with the congestion charge weighing on people's minds.
If I could make a reasonable quantity, say 10-50 a year the price would really start looking good. It's difficult to say what the sell-price would be: I built this prototype for less than ?6000 so a fair ball-park guesstimate would be somewhere in the region of ?15k - allowing for labour, VAT, return to investors, a little profit etc. Anyway - that's around 10 Jesters for the price of one TZero !
Unfortunately, though, I'm not a salesman or a marketing executive and so far don't have the production capability. So I am urgently looking for joint-venture partners and investors: I'd consider setting up production facilities just about anywhere in the world(but especially in Europe and the US) if the conditions and the people were right."
The very latest on the li-ion Jester:
We have spoken to Steve a few times over the last few days about the new li-ion Jester project and where things go from here. Here are a few extracts from our conversations and correspondence:
EVUK: we obviously love the new Jester because it shatters all the EV stereotypes but could you also envisage applying the technology to other vehicle types? For instance , have EST or the Carbon Trust said that they would be more interested in funding a more functional or mainstream vehicle than the Jester - something less fun-oriented like, say, a long-range(150+ miles) Berlingo-style van - or something like the e-Ka or even a taxi? Diversify the way the MDI Air Car people plan to?
- Obviously this isn't to say you'd be abandoning the Jester - but I suppose it's understandable that EST and other investors might say that a fun car like the Jester will not appeal to everyday commuters so would do little if anything to reduce (inner city) pollution.
Steve: Obviously the same Jester technology could be applied to other vehicles like taxis and I agree that there would be a demand for a small tradesman-type electric van with real range...Berlingo-size or microvan-size like the Aixam vehicles which are also superlight of course(see photo). I would be quite keen to build something based on a small car like the Suzuki Swift or the Aixam cars or vans - in addition to the Jester.
Aixam Minivan: no 'Green' version..yet
EVUK: Westminster Council are very keen on EV's and invited us to an Electric Vehicle Roadshow last year where the 'big deal' star attractions were the 50 mile/charge G-Whiz and a Berlingo - they'd definitely appreciate something with double or triple the range...
Steve: I went to the launch of the EST's "Ultra Low Carbon Challenge" last year. As you
may know this is a ?10 million challenge to build a prototype capable of production in the near to medium term , but they've set a target range of 1000 miles per refuel and 75mpg which basically dictates hybrids. I imagine the money will go to the major players(EVUK Ed: indeed it has - all hybrids..with Rover top of the list!)
I asked the Transport Minister Alistair Darling why the funding initiative seemed to preclude battery powered vehicles, but of course I didn't get a straight or sensible answer even though I could show that our emissions - including electricity generation at current pollutant levels - were half of the DfT's 2010 target levels.
EVUK: ...and of course with the Jester technology if you sign up for green energy you've got yourself a genuine ZEV now - something that fuel cell vehicles won't likely be offering for another 10-15 years. And who knows what you'll have to pay for 100% renewable hydrogen?
Steve: That's right. Anyway, I had actually offered to exhibit the Jester at the event but after an enthusiastic response from some 'innocent' underling on the phone, the word eventually came down that there wouldn't be room (not true as it turned out..) alongside the other exhibits which strangely did include a 45 mile range fuel cell taxi that cost a fortune to produce and no doubt uses hydrogen or methanol from fossil fuel sources.
I must admit I got pretty fed up with having to constantly chase after reluctant people who're obviously driven by other hidden agendas and short-term political priorities.
EVUK: Well, it's no surprise that Michael Meacher(ex-Environment Minister) eventually threw in the towell or that even the Government's Chief Science Advisor (Prof David King) found that his calls to phase out the Internal Combustion Engine fell on stone-deaf ears.We're all still being ICE'd out.
Thunder Sky (Oh dear...people will begin to suspect we have an 'arrangement' with this leader of the li-ion 'pack.' For better or worse - not so!)
January, 2004 Just in!: Thunder Sky's photo-packed lithium-EV product chart and price-list. (Note: not available at Thunder Sky.com!)
- includes 200 miles per charge Thunder Sky'ed Citroens - with and without air-conditioning - plus long-range e-Vespas, buses, coaches and e-bikes.
...But when, many EV-watchers are asking, are we likely to see a Thunder Sky-enhanced, long-range(120+ miles) version of the modestly successful 50 miles per charge, niche-market(still!) ni-cad Citroen Berlingo Electrique(pictured)?
Impact Distribution's(London) congestion-charge-free ni-cad Berlingo.
Thunder Sky Product Chart (Click on 'Enlarge' icon for full size)
Thunder Sky Price List
Thunder Sky.com (..no product chart or price-list!!)
January, 2004 EVMC - Monte Carlo International Electric, Hybrid & Fuel Cell Show 2004(April 1-4)
- plus "The Village of Cities"
- EVUK has been contacted by French seminar and conference organisers MITI asking if
we would help publicize this year's upcoming EVMC ('Electric Vehicle Monte Carlo') show.
Note: EVMC/MITI will also be organising EVS21 to be held in Monte Carlo in 2005. See list of exhibitors.
November, 2003 Alel SCOOLER e-Vespa sets 102 mile(165 km) range record.
(Update ( Dec '03): EU inertia as Vectrix USA prepares to cash in on European e-scooter/e-Vespa market - see Vectrix press release). Meanwhile - here in oh-so pro-Kyoto Europe - Alel's Philippe Borges is still seeking government and private backers for his range-record-breaking, groundbreaking(... and 2000 Euros cheaper!!) SCOOLER e-Vespa. Au secours! )
Vive La Vespa Revolution!
Isn't it amazing just how far a little French flair and savoir faire can go?
Forget military might - this is what we call superpower.
New photos - new record. So far this incredible achievement has only been reported in the French press - but, like so much ground-breaking EV-innovation, it certainly merits media attention worldwide - asap!
Alel's Philippe Borges tells EVUK that the company is also looking to produce a lithium-powered(Thunder Sky) version of the Scooler - so 150+ miles and/or an even lighter Scooler could certainly be on the horizon.
See French newspaper reports. "Road Range Record for Scooler LR - Belfort to Dijon."
See also: earlier EVUK article: "Alel seeks investors"
Alel Homepage (not to be confused with "El Al" - the Israeli airline...)
Note: Investors, partners and (Hollywood)celebrity endorsements are still being sought!
September, 2003 TZERO sensation : li-ion Ferrari-zapper cracks 300 miles/charge & 0-60 in 3.7 secs.
(So - that'd be London to Birmingham -and back- for less than a tenner...)
AC Propulsion's wildly successful battery..er..volte face goes down a storm in the US - so how long can Britain's media ignore it?
Our first reaction - for what it's worth - to the news that AC Propulsion(ACP) had decided to construct an 'unleaded' li-ion-powered version of the TZERO was an entirely understandable chorus of:
"At last! / We told you so ! / What took you so long?!"
- Well, between 1999 and 2001 EVUK contacted ACP on no less than three occasions asking if/when the company intended moving from lead-acid to lithium ion(or even NiMH) only to be told - in no uncertain terms - that lead-acid was and would remain ACP's battery of choice for the long-term.
Indeed, it's fair to say - and on the record - that "way back then" ACP were almost contemptuously dismissive of both li-ion and NiMH and consistently and emphatically ruled out both options as being non-viable for a long time to come.
Lithium, especially, was nowhere on ACP's r
adar as recently as 2001. Just for the record - see Thomas Gage's(ACP President) impassioned Jan 2000 defence of lead acid in:
Our second reaction - for what it's worth - to the li-ion TZERO's 300 mile range/0-60 in 3.7 breakthrough was and is to ask:
- Just how long will the UK's hydrogen-hyping, BEV-bashing mainstream media be able to avoid or resist reporting this landmark, stereotype-shattering news to Britain's scandalously misinformed, ICE-blinkered public?
C'mon on guys - come on all you G-Force-junkie motoring journos: the New York Times compares the TZERO's instant torque acceleration to a US Navy Blue Angel jet - so why not throw away the "Fuel cells are the Future" script-cum-diktat" and book your TZERO test-drive now?!
Strange isn't it - if Toyota or Honda had produced a fuel cell vehicle with anything remotely approaching the real-world performance, range, acceleration, high energy-efficiency, low weight(1970lbs v. Honda FCX's 3713lbs!), low running-cost and (relatively)low production cost of the TZERO - it would cause immediate and obligatory headline-ripples all around the globe.
So why not email a journalist? If any esteemed loyal EVUK'ers like the idea of a massive G-Force smacking the rear end of a (UK)motoring journalist then why not email them a TZERO heads-up? Here're some prime 'targets':
- Top Gear(they did test drive the 'old' short-range TZERO...) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Auto Express : email@example.com
- Sunday Times Driving Supplement: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Daily Telegraph's 'Honest John' driving correspondent: email@example.com
We suggest an email along the lines of: "Forget your Sinclair C5/C6 comedy headlines - if the TZERO doesn't wipe the smile off your face and wrap it round your ears - nothing will!".
1) Watch Li-ion TZero in action courtesy Discovery Channel, Canada. That's right - it's EV-resurgent Canada again - see Canada and the "Axis of EVolution".
2) AC Propulsion homepage - recently updated with full li-ion TZERO details.
3) AC Propulsion's older, 'slower' lead acid TZERO outpaces a Ferrari, pastes a Porsche and crushes a Corvette.
4) Lexus 2054 - lithium-powered superstar of Tom Cruise's blockbuster 'Minority Report'.
5) Lithium future: you think the li-ion TZERO is already mindblowing enough? Well, you ain't seen nothin' yet - according to Sandia National Labs(US Gov): "More powerful, longer-lasting lithium batteries on the horizon with Sandia-developed materials breakthrough." See Lithium Hotlinks for more.
September, 2003 General Wesley Clark & Hollywood director Rob Reiner to speak at EVS20.