by admin on 4 December 2010

Nissan celebrate production of the LEAF with a video

Nissan are celebrating the start of production of the LEAF electric car at their Oppama plant with a fascinating production-line video, in it we see the various components of the car (battery, motor, power controller) fitted to the chassis and body on the same line where gasoline powered cars are made.  Future production of the LEAF will also occur in Smyrna, Tennessee in the United States and Sunderland in the UK.More »

by admin on 4 December 2010

At the 2010 LA Auto Show plugincars.com shot a video of Phil Gow, Coda's VP of Battery Systems discussing the battery in Coda's "1.0 Sedan".  The Coda battery is a flat unit in the floor of the car (just like the upcoming Tesla Model S) which helps to improve both handling (low center of gravity, majority of weight between the axles), cooling and the amount of space available for the cabin and trunk.  Unlike Tesla the Coda battery is air cooled with a temperature regulated HVAC (produced by Delphi) at the front which feeds into the center of the battery with warm air extracted from the sides.  The battery is made up of 728 Lithium iron-phosphate (LiFePO4) cells which provide 34 kWh of energy (about 60% of the Tesla Roadster battery), the battery management system is found in the rear of the car along with the built-in 6.6 kW charger (approx. 220V/30A) which can recharge 20 miles of range per hour.  Click through to watch the video.More »

by admin on 2 December 2010

An enlightening article in the New York Times today looks at the effect electric cars will have on the auto part makers who supply the current internal combustion engine (ICE) industry.  A report produced in August by the Shizuoka Economic Research Institute predicted that 30% of sales of Japan's $430 billion auto parts industry could be rendered obsolete by electric cars.  Electric cars are considerably more simple (mechanically), have far fewer moving parts and require much less maintenance.  In Hamamatsu, the home town of Suzuki Motors, Osamu Suzuki the 80-year-old president of the company said, "We are in the midst of an industrial revolution, our suppliers need to start studying how they can transform their businesses."  Suzuki has helped to found a regionwide alliance to help its parts suppliers prepare for electric cars and other related technology.  Click here to read the entire article.More »

by admin on 1 December 2010

Last weekend Tesla provided several race-prepared Roadster Sport 2.5 cars which featured roll-cages and four-point harnesses for the Race of Champions 2010.  The cars were taken for a spin around the racetrack by race drivers such as Formula One World Champions Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.  Sadly the cars clearly weren't "raced" and the associated video doesn't do much to to enhance the "sporty" credentials of the Roadster, despite a 0-60 mph of under four seconds.  IMP President Fredrik Johnsson said: “I’m lucky to have had a ride in the Tesla Roadster and I was really impressed. It’s silent but blindingly quick! I’m proud that The Race of Champions is leading the way in promoting green technologies in motorsport and it was fantastic to see – but not hear – such great drivers pushing the Tesla hard around this track.”More »

by admin on 1 December 2010

Some hopeful and interesting news out of General Motors today, they're waving the PR flag over their HR department which is kind of unusual, but for good reason.  As of today they wish to add 1,000 engineers and researchers dedicated to electrical vehicle development.  This covers the range of EV related work including batteries, motors and power control units.  We hope there's real conviction behind the PR spin and that GM are serious about developing a real plug-in battery-only electric vehicle (not a hybrid) in the futre. GM CEO Dan Akerson said, “GM is going to lead the industry in the adoption of various vehicle electrification technologies, whether its electric vehicles with extended-range capability, like the Chevrolet Volt, or the recently introduced eAssist technology that will debut on the 2012 Buick LaCrosse,” Akerson said. “We want to give our customers energy choices other than petroleum and to make the automobile part of the solution when it comes to the environment."More »

by admin on 1 December 2010

Steve Holliday, Chief Executive Officer of National Grid Plc. has stated in an interview with Bloomberg that the UK governments generous £5,000 ($7,795) subsidy and the lower cost of ownership for electric cars will drive demand quickly.  National Grid expect that one in five cars sold in the UK from 2016 will be electric putting a million electric cars on UK roads by 2020.  Additional Mr Holliday confirmed that £8.8 million has been earmarked to develop a national roadside recharging network which will provide 11,000 charging points by 2013.  He did add one word of caution though, 'While National Grid's high-voltage electricity transmission system can manage the demand of 1 million electric cars, “penetration up and above that becomes a real issue,” Holliday said. Local distribution networks in cities like London may struggle to balance their grids if drivers choose to all plug in their cars at the same time.'More »

by admin on 1 December 2010

Timelapse video of the construction of the Chevrolet Volt

General Motors has posted a timelapse video of the construction of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, in it you can see the large 'T-shaped' battery being inserted into the space which would be the transmission tunnel and then the entire drivetrain being connected up afterwards.  We will continue to cover the Volt here on zemotoring despite the revelation that it is really a range-extended hybrid - the Volt's petrol engine is mechanically connected to the drive under heavy acceleration.  The entire auto industry and consumers who placed pre-orders were under the impression that the car was only driven by its electric motor and that the petrol engine was used to recharge the batteries.More »

by admin on 29 November 2010

The Nissan Leaf has become the first electric car to be awarded the coveted European Car of the Year.  From forty-one cars there were just seven finalists; the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Citroën C3/DS3, Dacia Duster, Ford C-Max/Grand C-Max, Nissan Leaf, Opel/Vauxhall Meriva and Volvo S60/V60.  The fact that an electric car won this prestigious award against stiff competition from modern ICE vehicles is surely a sign of things to come and a recognition by the judging panel (made up of eminent European car magazines) that electric vehicles are the future of travel on our roads.
by admin on 25 November 2010

Renault have been more aggressive than most of the big name motor manufacturers in discussing their electric vehicle plans with no less than five vehicles "pencilled" (DeZir, Fluence, Twizy, Kangoo Express and Zoe).  The upcoming Zoe electric super-mini (due to go on sale in 2012) features a 60 kW (80 bhp) electric motor, will do 0-100 kph in 8.1 seconds and should be good for 160 km (100 miles).  Hence we were a little perplexed to read Renault being quoted (in Autocar) as saying that they expect to have an electric car with a range of 240 km (150 miles) by 2015.  They also add that they expect possibly 480 km (300 miles) range by 2025.  Far be it from us to point out the obvious but the Tesla Roadster has a range of around 300 km (and is available now) and the 2012 Tesla Model S will have a 260 km range (more if you pay for it).  Surely Renault should be aiming their sights a bit higher than 240 km by 2015.More »

by admin on 19 November 2010

Mitsubishi has marketed the i-MiEV for some time in Europe and Asia, it's due to go on sale in the UK in January 2011.  Today Mitsubishi North America announced that they will be introducing a car simply called the "i" which is effectively an i-MiEV with slightly different software and amusingly "the inside is a little bit larger for larger frame people".  The "i" weighs 2,584 lb (1,172 kg) is powered by a 47 kW (63 hp) electric motor and has a pretty tiny 16 kWh battery (providing an optimistically stated 85 mile range).  Interestingly the "MiEV" brand appears on the car (as some kind of all-electric designation) but won't be used in the name.  The "i" is due to go on sale in the US at the end of 2011 and will be priced around $30,000, Mitsubishi are quoted as expecting to sell just 20,000 units by 2015.  Mitsubishi has also stated that buyers will be able to buy an Eaton 220V charging station (8 hour full charge) directly from Best Buy.More »