Additional financing and the transferring of executives could not save Fisker and the fact that consumers are reluctant to purchase electric vehicles (EV). With a $104,000 price tag, the Fisker Karma lost out to other auto makers like Ford and Nissan who offer a more affordable EV. At the 2012 New York auto show, Fisker unveiled a smaller, less expensive concept model it hoped to build in an abandoned G.M. plant in Delaware, but production never started because of lack of funds. (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘electric battery vehicles’
Bankrupt American battery maker, A123 Systems, has been auctioned off to Chinese auto parts maker Wanxiang Group, for $256 million. The sale includes A123’s automotive and commercial operations including three factories in the United States. (more…)
Wireless company Evatran will soon be offering Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf owners an option to have wireless charging installed in their vehicles. The company is expected to announce a partnership with SPX Service Solutions, early next year, making them the official charging supplier for the Chevrolet Volt.
Consumers who are thinking of purchasing an electric car are usually deterred by the range of the lithium-ion battery used as the power source. Concerns about range, life expectancy, and the ability to find a charging station usually results in the consumer purchasing the vehicle with the technology they are familiar with, the combustion engine. Researchers are hoping to change consumers attitude toward electric vehicles with a new electrochemical cell called the lithium-air battery.
Lithium-air batteries are attractive to researchers because they rely on air as the cathode and lithium metal as the anode. This allows the battery to be lighter and can offer up to ten times more energy per density mass unit than conventional lithium-ion batteries. The first lithium-air battery was developed in the mid 1990’s but the technology still requires improvements before we can expect to see it used commercially.
- The battery requires a steady flow of oxygen to operate, so an air compressor and blower will need to be added to the system. This not only negates the weight reduced on the battery, but adds extra parts to the system.
- Lithium metal is highly flammable when exposed to water, so water vapor must be removed from the air and a water tight encasing is required.
Despite recent significant improvements in the technology, researchers say we are still 15 to 20 years from seeing it offered to the public. Once the battery has been approved a long term array of testing is required to make sure the battery can be used safely.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is being accused of trying to keep the Chevrolet Volt battery fire a secret in an attempt to protect the government’s investment in the car company. Members of the House Committee for Government Reform released a report that states that the bailout of GM, creates business and political reasons for the government to sacrifice public safety. They criticize the time it took for the investigation to begin and the conclusion that the vehicle was safe, just two weeks into the investigation.
The NHTSA defends their position on the Chevy Volt investigation, saying that the agency is still developing protocols for dealing with battery powered vehicles. In the case of the Volt, they do not see the fire as a highway hazard because the problem could only be reproduced after impaling the battery with a steel rod. Still, it took at least a week for the fire to start. They added that GM was quick in responding to the problem, and developed protocols to drain the battery after a Volt has been in an accident.
An agreement between BMW and Toyota, will have the two automobile makers collaborating on environmentally sustainable technology in the auto industry. BMW will supply Toyota with 1.6 and 2.0 liter engines for their struggling European line, and both companies will work together to develop car battery technology for electric and hybrid vehicles. The alliance will increase efficiency, reduce costs, and allow vehicles to be brought to market more quickly. Because BMW and Toyota operate in different segments of the market, it is unlikely they will encountering competitive conflicts.
It seems inevitable that the electric car will be a part of our future. With fuel efficiency standards becoming tighter, automobile manufacturers will include electric vehicles (EV) in their line ups in order to meet them. Even though this technology has come a long way in the last decade, auto manufacturers are still looking for additional ways to help the consumer get the most out of their EV’s.
One of the biggest drawbacks of an electric vehicle is the need to charge the battery. Having a charging station at home and at work makes electric car commutes trouble free, but long trips can make drivers uneasy. A new smart phone app hopes to relieve this anxiety by allowing hybrid and electric car drivers to find charging stations wherever they go. The app will let drivers know where the stations are, if they are available and whether the station offers free or paid charging. Some of the apps will even allow you to reserve the charging station, leave comments about the stations, as well as give you a street views through Google Street View. Some of the newest applications being launched include ChargePoint, ECOtality, Recargo, and PlugShare.
President Obama’s goal of 1 million plug-in hybrids on U.S. roads by 2015 seems like a good idea for the environment, but is it really possible?
With new advances in battery technology, electric cars can go almost 100 miles on a charge. And for those who fear being stranded with a dead battery miles from a plug in, there is a gasoline engine as well. This range should be enough to suit up to 80% of U.S. drivers on the road. With federal government incentives for EV buyers, such as tax credits of up to $7,500 for buyers of the first 200,000 vehicles from each manufacturer, this could be true. According to Jason Wolf, an executive at Better Place, a Palo Alto firm aiming to provide charging services for plug-in drivers. “Over 70% of major manufacturers have some kind of mass plug-in coming in the next two years.”
This however, involves a huge change to the nation’s electric grid infrastructure. People charging cars in their garages may need to upgrade their home circuits, which often requires permits, building inspections and other headaches. Neighborhood upgrades like new transformers would also be needed. These upgrades would be expensive, and in the interest of encouraging electric cars, the utility companies would most likely pay for it through our electric bills. In the end we need to ask ourselves, “Would the emissions released by the utility companies making extra electricity really be less than the emissions from the car itself?”
A couple of months after Daimler bought a 4% share in Tesla Motors they have turned around and sold 40% of their share to Aabar Investments of Abu Dhabi. Tesla Motors located in San Carlos, California makes high performance electric cars and is the only electric car maker with vehicles that can go for long distances. Their Roadster is the first electric-battery vehicle to go more than 200 miles per charge. Tesla Motors was given $465 million in loans from the US Department of Energy to speed up in the production of fuel efficient, affordable electric vehicles.