Mitsubishi plans to mass-market a small electric vehicle by 2010. As major car companies continue to introduce eco-friendly offerings in the marketplace, second-tier car manufacturers like Mitsubishi are busy playing catch up. “One of the biggest issues facing an automaker today is the problem of the environment,” said Osamu Masuko, president of Mitsubishi. "Being able to come up with solutions to an array of environmental issues or not will decide if an auto maker can survive long into the future."
The iMiEV Sport drive system uses three permanent magnetic synchronous motors. One in-wheel motor is placed at each front wheel; a single motor drives the rear wheels. Plus, there’s Super All Wheel Control—the company’s vehicle dynamics control system—to achieve high maneuverability. Top speed for the vehicle is 112 miles per hour, with a travel range of 124 miles. Taking advantage of its relatively long wheelbase, a lithium-ion battery is installed at the lowest area under the floor, which will grant the vehicle maximum stability, agile handling, and a more spacious interior. The iMiEV Sport concept—like most concept vehicles—has its share of eye-candy for the green geeks. The list includes a photovoltaic generator on the roof, a power-generating fan inside the front grill, power-saving LED lighting, and an air conditioning system made more efficient by the use of heat-absorbing windows. In addition, Green Plastic—Mitsubishi’s plant-based resin technology—is used for many interior components as a further effort to be as eco-friendly as possible.
Unlike full hybrids that can run on batteries alone, both power sources—engine and electric motor—operate full time. This let Subaru fit a much smaller and more compact motor, adding just 200 lbs (100 kg) of weight including the battery pack.
A crucial component of the B5-TPH is its manganese lithium-ion batteries, co-developed by Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru’s parent) and NEC Corp. With 50 percent greater power density than the Nickel-Metal-Hydride batteries in hybrids today, Li-ion batteries also offer much faster recharge. The weak spots of Li-ion batteries have traditionally been their life cycle, which varied with use cycles rather than time, and their heat generation. Subaru and NEC claim to have solved these problems, though the company has released very few details. Experimental numbers of the TPH powertrain will appear first during 2007 in versions of the Legacy sedan, in Japan only.
The Subaru R1e could help change that. The diminutive two-seater, about 20 inches longer than a Smart ForTwo, is anything but revolutionary during its time on the road—top speed of 65 miles per hour and a range of 50 miles. However, the time to recharge the 346-volt lithium ion battery pack has been reduced to about 15 minutes.
NEC Corporation and Fuji Heavy Industries, the maker of Subaru vehicles, said that its new rapid recharge technologies has whittled that time down to about five to eight minutes—not far off from a visit to your neighborhood gas station.
The Subaru R1e fast-charge eliminates the typical battery issue of charging memory loss, allowing partial charges and quick charges that do not decrease battery life.
To get the faster charging time, you need a special stationary charger. Using the onboard standard charger puts the electricity refueling time back to about eight hours.
The Concept Chevy Volt, with its revolutionary E-Flex Propulsion System will be different than any previous electric vehicle because it will use a lithium-ion battery with a variety of range-extending onboard power sources, including gas and, in some vehicles, E85
ethanol(1) to recharge the battery while driving.
When it comes to plugging in, the Volt will be designed to use a common 110–volt household plug. For someone who drives less than 40 miles a day, Chevy Volt will use zero gasoline and produce zero emissions.(2) For longer trips, Chevy Volt's range-extending power source kicks in to recharge the lithium-ion battery pack as required. We expect a driving range of an estimated 640 miles.(3)
Room for 5 Company Vice Chairman Robert Lutz said in a statement that more than half of Americans live less than 20 miles from their workplace and could go to work and back on a single charge. “In that case, you might never burn a drop of gas in the life of the car,” he said.
The EV1, introduced in 1996, had limited range, limited interior space and had trouble climbing hills and running the air conditioning, GM said. It also had no power source if the battery ran low.
But the Volt can carry up to five passengers and is adept at climbing hills or running a cooling system, GM said.
GM announced it would team with two automotive and battery manufacturers to develop a lithium-ion battery that would let sport utility vehicles get 70 miles per gallon.
GM already produces the Saturn Vue Green Line, a hybrid SUV that gets 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The SUV’s next generation, a so-called plug-in model, is expected to replace the current nickel-metal hydride battery with a lithium-ion battery, which would allow the vehicle to rely more heavily on electric power than on gasoline-based energy.
The battery technology also could be used in the Volt, GM officials said.
GM has been working on the Volt since shortly after the 2006 Detroit auto show. Company officials have said it represents an ambitious effort to change the paradigm in the auto industry.
“This is not a publicity stunt. This is not a science fair project,” said Jon Lauckner, GM’s vice president of global program management. “We’ve been working very quietly and methodically on the concept and all the details associated with it.”
Art Spinella, president of CNW Marketing Research, an automotive research firm in Oregon, said that if the battery technology can be developed, a fully electric car makes more sense than the more complex gas-electric hybrids now on the market.
WHAT IS THE VOLT?
The Volt is radically different than any on the road today. Although agreement about definitions vary, GM doesn’t not consider it a hybrid. Current hybrids cars, such as the Prius, are defined as parallel hybrids, meaning they have a small electric motor that moves the car when it is going slowly, but when speed or acceleration increases, a gasoline motor kicks in. The Volt, however, is considered an extended-range electric vehicle (E-REV). It has a very powerful all-electric 161-horsepower 45KW (100 KW peak) motor that is the only engine to power the car at all times. This engine should be capable of moving the car from 0 to 60 in 8.5 seconds, and have a top speed of at least 100 mph.
The electric engine gets its power from a very powerful high-voltage battery pack that can store enough energy to drive the car up to 40 miles in standard driving conditions. That battery pack is recharged by plugging the car into your home 110 (or 220) volt wall outlet, just like you do your iPod or cell phone. The full-charge cycle should take about 6 hours (3 hours at 220). Yes, this will increase your electric bill, but you will charge the car overnight when rates are lower. Much more importantly, you will need NO GASOLINE for drives up to 40 miles. So, if gas prices continue to go through the roof, you really won’t care. In most areas, your electricity costs should amount to a gas equivalent price of 50 cents per gallon. Studies suggest that 78% of drivers drive less than 40 miles per day.
Another very important feature of the Volt, and the reason some people (not GM) still consider it a hybrid, is that it will still have an on-board gasoline/E85 combustion engine. Only in the Volt, this engine is the smaller one, and has only one task, it charges the battery pack when the stored power gets low. The motor is not connected to the wheels, it is only a generator. The brilliance of this feature is that you will have an overall driving range of 400 miles. The efficiency of this motor amounts to about 50 mpg, for each gallon you use to charge the batteries. The old EV-1 did not have this function.
This gas motor will not need gears or transmission, and only has to run at a single rpm. It could also be considered an emergency generator. If you have to drive more than 40 miles, you needn’t worry because the generator will allow you to continue to drive.
The electric motor also can generate a lot of instantaneous torque, and should be extremely responsive, and not require gears either.
All the technology for the car is here today, except for the battery pack. It will use lithium-ion (li-ion) technology. Current hybrids use nickel-metal hydride (NiMh), which carry much less energy per unit weight. The li-ion cell technology exists but putting it into tested and safe packs is what will take some time. There are companies working with GM and trying to get these Li-ion batteries and their packs ready for automotive use.
Powered by lithium-ion batteries, the Eliica is an eight wheeled vehicle that goes from 0-60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and tops out at 230 mph.
The Eliica, short for Electric Lithium-Ion battery Car was created by Hiroshi Shimizu and the Keio University Electric Vehicle Laboratory in Tokyo. The fifth electric concept vehicle coming from Keio, the Eliica is the immediate successor to the 8-wheel Kaz (Keio Advanced Zero-emission vehicle) limousine, also a product of the Keio laboratory, and the foundation platform for future 8-wheel work.
The Eliica uses 8 60kW in-wheel drive motors to provide the equivalent of 800 hp. The photo to the right shows the exposed platform and wheel units.
The Keio in-wheel drive units eliminate the need for the power-transmission devices connecting the engine and the wheels that are necessary in conventional cars. The motor, reduction gear, wheel bearing, and braking system are integrated in a single unit, and the suspension arm adapter is attached to the outer motor casing. Because all the wheels are driven, spin is minimized and the vehicle can be easily controlled, even under difficult road conditions.
Eliica Electric Vehicle - Japanese video review
One of the two models of the car hits 0.8G in acceleration. The car has recorded a top speed of 370 km/h (230 mph), although Shimizu says it could hit 400 km/h (250mph) in the correct conditions.
At this point, the Eliica requires 10 hours to charge fully and carries a hefty pricetag: some $320,000. But current hydrogen fuel cell cars aren’t all that cheap, either.