Stories tagged EV

Sep
18
2010

Mission accomplished

Making the impossible, possible - one prize at a time. This is the idea behind the X-prize movement. Flying into space, cleaning up oil spills, landing on the moon, or producing safe, practical cars that get 100 mpg are becoming reality as teams compete to win X-prizes.

To drive innovation, offer the right prize and human nature will do the rest.

Edison 2 wins $5 million with their "Very Light Car"

Learn more about the automotive X-prize winners

X-Prize.org
Scientific American
CrunchGear
Wired

Aug
22
2010

Automotive X Prize competition is almost over

I have waited almost two years for this race. What kind of automobiles can qualify to win the $10 million Automotive X Prize?

The Zap Alias seems to be the favorite.

Validation is the final technical event in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE. Finalists in both the Mainstream and Alternative classes will undergo dynamometer testing under controlled laboratory conditions at Argonne National Lab facilities. The car in each class that exceeds 100 MPGe, meets the emissions and performance requirements, and, in the case of a tie, completes the Combined Performance and Efficiency challenge with the fastest time, will win. The $10 million prize purse will be presented at an Award Ceremony on September 16, in Washington, D.C.

Learn the latest news about the Automotive X Prize

Auto X Prize Blog
Automotive X Prize website
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Nov
02
2009

$10 million dollars

By offering a $10 million dollar prize, the Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE seeks to enable development and stimulate demand for clean, fuel efficient vehicles.
In the Design Judging process, automotive experts evaluated 97 registered entries for:

  • High fuel economy (100 MPGe) with low emissions (200 g/mi CO2e wells-to-wheels greenhouse gas emissions and low tailpipe emissions)
  • Production-capable and designed to reach the market in volumes of at least 10,000 units per year
  • Safe and affordable
  • Minimum capacities, performance, and features

53 vehicles are moving forward in the competition with 28 represented in the Mainstream Class and 25 represented in the Alternative Class.

  • Mainstream class = Vehicles that meet current consumer expectations for size and capability
  • Alternative class = Outlet for innovative ideas that push forward today's concept of "what a car is"

The big race begins this spring (2010)

43 teams, representing 18 states, 10 countries and 6 fuel types, now advance to the most exciting phase of the competition, performance and safety testing. Vehicles will be tested for efficiency, performance and durability under real-world conditions. Vehicles will race the clock through cities, up hills, and will need both speed and distance capability.

Half of the $10M purse will be awarded to the Mainstream Class winner. The remaining $5M will be split between two winners in the Alternative Class - one vehicle with side-by-side seating, and one vehicle with tandem seating. Performance testing will begin in spring 2010 and winners will be announced in September 2010.

Learn more about the Automotive X Prize

Progressive Automotive X Prize Press kit (PDF)
ProgressiveAutoPrize.org
Links to the Qualified Teams

Oct
24
2009

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Buses can recharge at every stop

Como Park will have 3 or 4 circulating shuttle buses next year to help solve the traffic and parking problem at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. They will allow free and easy parking by the State Fair grounds and within 7 minutes, will drop you off at the front door.

Como Shuttles should use ultracapacitors

Ultracapacitor buses have low maintenance cost, low operation cost, zero tailpipe emission, and can reach a zero carbon footprint if powered by renewable energy sources.
The estimated savings in energy costs over the 12 year life of the bus (at current electric and oil prices) is $200,000.

Why ultracapacitors are perfect for short bus loops

Ultracapacitors will only power a bus for 5-10 blocks, then need about 3 minutes to recharge. Only two recharge stations would be needed, one at the parking lot and one a the conservatory drop off. The bus recharges while passengers load and unload. Capacitors do not wear out like batteries. A capacitor bus is 40 per cent cheaper to build than a battery powered bus. Because the buses can use regenerative braking, they use 40 percent less electricity than an electric trolley using over head wires.

Source: Next Stop: Ultracapacitor Buses;Technology Review
Sinautec Automobile Technologies, L.L.C.

Mar
15
2009

Nanoballs speed up battery recharge

"Nanoball" batteries charge in seconds
"Nanoball" batteries charge in secondsCourtesy fdecomite
Byoungwoo Kang and Gerbrand Ceder at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have revealed an experimental battery that charges about 100 times faster than normal lithium ion batteries.
To increase the rate, the battery's surface area was increased by making the cathode out of tiny balls of lithium iron phosphate, each just 50 nanometers across.

Electric vehicles recharge in minutes

The researchers calculate that if cellphone batteries can be made using this material, they could charge in 10 seconds. Bigger batteries for plug-in hybrid electric cars could charge in just 5 minutes - compared with about 8 hours for existing batteries.

When? "2 or 3 years"

How long until we can buy these batteries?

Because there are relatively few changes to the standard manufacturing process, Professor Ceder believes the new battery material could make it to market within two to three years. BBC News

Source
'Nanoball' batteries could recharge car in minutes New Scientist

Feb
14
2009

Lithium is harvested from salt water: Lithium is recovered from brine pools in Chile.
Lithium is harvested from salt water: Lithium is recovered from brine pools in Chile.Courtesy ar.obrien

Where does lithium come from?

Demand for lithium needed for lithium ion batteries is exploding but the world supply is very limited. The main producers of Lithium minerals are Chile, Argentina, the USA, China, Australia and Russia. Three fourths of the world's lithium reserves are in South America.

Bolivia has most of the world's lithium

More than one third of the world's known lithium is in Bolivia.

The U.S. Geological Survey pegs Bolivia's deposits at 5.4 million extractable tons. The U.S. has 410,000 tons, while China has 1.1 million and Chile has 3 million. Daily Tech

Bolivians reject exploitation

The Bolivian government is headed by President Evo Morales. A new Constitution that Mr. Morales managed to get passed last month could give native Bolivians control over the natural resources in their territory.

“The previous imperialist model of exploitation of our natural resources will never be repeated in Bolivia,” said Saúl Villegas, head of a division in Comibol that oversees lithium extraction. “Maybe there could be the possibility of foreigners accepted as minority partners, or better yet, as our clients.” New York Times

The trouble with lithium

A study by Meridian International Research points out the trouble with lithium (click link to read 22 pg PDF) in powering the world's future fleet of electric vehicles.

Analysis of lithium's geological resource base shows that there is insufficient economically recoverable lithium available in the Earth's crust to sustain Electric Vehicle manufacture in the volumes required, based solely on Li Ion batteries.

The alternative battery technologies of ZnAir and NaNiCl are not resource constrained and offer potentially higher performance than Li MoralesIon."

Lithium supplies are very limited

If Bolivia wants to cash in on their lithium reserves, they need to move before better alternatives come to the market.

"We have the most magnificent lithium reserves on the planet, but if we don't step into the race now, we will lose this chance. The market will find other solutions." said Juan Carlos Zuleta, an economist in La Paz. Detroit News

Batteries boosted in Michigan
Batteries boosted in MichiganCourtesy mrdavisdc

Michigan, home to the headquarters of GM, Ford, Chrysler, and numerous automotive suppliers, has passed a bill that provides $335 million in refundable tax credits to encourage companies to develop and build batteries in Michigan for hybrid and electric vehicles.

Car Magazine online has photos and info about an electric Mini Cooper.

Mini will produce 500 electric Minis as part of its radical ‘Project i’ programme initiated to rethink low-emissions urban mobility (see the forthcoming November 2008 issue of CAR Magazine for full details on this innovative project, out on Wednesday 24 September 2008).

Feb
23
2008

Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM) promises an "Air Car" by late 2009

A vehicle that runs on Compressed Air Technology (C.a.t.) developed by Motor Development International (MDI), is being brought to the United States by Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM). With a delivery date around the end of 2009, the Air Car will go 90 mph, carry six people, recharge from an outlet or compressed air tank, and cost around $17,000. This You Tube video gives an introduction to the Air Car.

Although the Air Car has been featured in the media many times, I somehow missed it until today.

Learn more about the Air Car at the Zero Pollution Motors website.

Jan
15
2008

AFS Trinity XH-150
AFS Trinity XH-150Courtesy AFS Trinity

Just plug it in

AFS Trinity corporation is hoping to convince auto makers to incorporate their "Extreme Hybrid" technology into their vehicle fleets. When bursts of energy need to be expended or stored (accelerating and stopping), use of ultracapacitors will prevent overheating of the batteries. The AFS Trinity batteries will only hold about 40 miles worth of power (78% of Americans drive less than 40 miles per day).

First 40 miles require no gasoline

If you drive 40 miles per day for 6 days and you drive 100 miles on the 7th day, how many gallons of gasoline do you need? AFS Trinity claims that one of their "extreme hybrid" technology equipped vehicles was able to do this with less than two gallons of gas (340 miles with 2 gallons of gas = 150+ mpg). The electricity which powered the car for the first 280 miles cost $7.58 (based upon $.06/kwh).

When can we get one?

Extreme Hybrid technology in commercial production is expected to cost around $8,700 more than current, gas-only SUV’s. Based upon today's gas prices and the weekly driving pattern above, the payback period would only be a few years.

"If car makers decide not to take advantage of this offer, AFS Trinity intends to raise the funds to begin modifying existing hybrids or manufacture its own 150 mpg SUV’s and, eventually, 250 mpg sedans. We believe such production models could be available for sale in three years.” (AFS Trinity CEO Edward W. Furia)

Learn more about the AFS Trinity Extreme Hybrid SUV