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Transportation Technology

EVs In the Spotlight At West Coast Green Conference 206

DeviceGuru writes "Electric vehicles were prominent among the 'hot products' showcased at West Coast Green in San Francisco this week. The event's product expo featured an assortment of preproduction units, prototypes, and concept models based on two-, three-, and four-wheel designs, along with several of the vehicles' creators. Specifically, the EVs and plug-in hybrids that participated in the show included Wheego's Whip, Saba's Carbon Zero Roadster, Green Lite's three-wheeled plug-in hybrid, Brammo's all-electric Enertia motorcycle, and Mitsubishi's i-MiEV EV, which PG&E is evaluating for some unstated purpose. Notably absent were Nissan's LEAF, Chevy's Volt, Toyota's Prius Plug-in, and Tesla's sexy Roadster, though in fairness the conference wasn't an actual auto show. So how many Slashdot readers plan to switch over to a plug-in EV in the next few years?"
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EVs In the Spotlight At West Coast Green Conference

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  • Yeah, in the next few years I hope to get solar panels and an EV for local trips. Pretty rare for me to go even 30 miles in a day.

    But I'll keep a gas burner for the road trips.

  • Put me in an environment where I can't walk or bike, and give me enough money to afford to buy and own a car, and we'll talk.

    Till then, I'm on a beautiful campus with more sidewalks than roads, and I can get anywhere I care about in less than 10 minutes. I don't even want a bike -- that'd cut it from 10 minutes to 2, which just isn't enough to care.

    Outside this range, the closest thing I care about is 2-3 hours away (outside the range of many electrics), and beyond that, long enough that I'd rather fly.

  • No Myers Motors Duo [myersmotors.com]?,

  • but ALL electric vehicles are plug-in. It is only hybrids that have or do not have plug-ins.
  • 1 - it needs to be able to do 70mph like a normal ca or else it's a glorified golf cart.
    2 - it needs 200+ mile range or else it's a joke.
    3 - it needs to be for sale and not a 1-off by some tiny firm in Santa Rosa, CA.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mr_zorg ( 259994 )

      With the exception of your 200+ range, the Nissan LEAF satisfies the rest of your requirements (it's only got a 100 mile range). It's a perfect "around-town" car for me, which is why I've got one on order. It should be delivered by December. I can't wait.

      • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
        Here in Santa Rosa, CA, the LEAF is more expensive to drive than my all gas car.
    • by cgenman ( 325138 )

      1 - This hasn't been a problem in years. You can get electric bicycles up to 70 now. Really the question is torque, where more energy efficient cars and driving inherently just don't have much acceleration oomph.

      2 - This is the sticking point. 200 miles requires a lot of expensive batteries. Electric-Gas plug-in hybrids seem like a good compromise... 40 miles on electric for normal commutes, full range on gas for family trips.

      3 - Electric vehicles are launching immediately from Toyota, Chevy, and Nissan

      • AFAIK, Tesla was never based on Santa Rosa. They're a Delaware corporation and have had offices on the SF Peninsula throughout most of their history. There actually is a Tesla Electric in Santa Rosa, but it's a contractor (ie, wires houses and office buildings). I guess the long-standing position of the contractor, the fact that they don't make vehicles, and (almost certaily) a different logo are enough to prevent trademark issues.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Except that you know in places where it actually gets cold. EV's are useless, you won't get even 20mi out of a battery in the middle of a normal canadian winter.

        • Except that you know in places where it actually gets cold. EV's are useless, you won't get even 20mi out of a battery in the middle of a normal canadian winter.

          That depends on the system. Tesla uses a "cooling" system which maintains minimum temperatures as well, with waste heat, just as an internal combustion engine-powered vehicle does.

    • I understand that some people have the need for long range, but do most? I don't think so. Most people I know do not travel long distances in their cars. They drive around the city. Means you need enough capacity to be able to do that for a couple of days. For most people, that means 100 miles would be fine. 50 miles is a lot of driving for one day, and thus even if you forget to plug your car in one night you should be fine the next day.

      I just do not see range as a major issue for most. Hell, I personally

  • Preordered a Leaf (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sithech ( 858269 ) on Saturday October 02, 2010 @11:37PM (#33774300)
    Paid to stand in line and expect delivery by end-of-year. I nearly had an EV-1 back in the day, but backed out when they refused to sell them, would only lease. This time should be the charm. The charger location is approved by my HOA and the install estimate is done, so it's just a matter of when Nissan can get production ramped up enough. there's a set of legacy chargers across from my office, so I have the option of plugging in during the day. And the city gives free parking to EV owners in their garages, so it is even subsidized. They just need to update the AVCON plug to the newer version and things should be set.
  • I plan to build my own plug-in EV. In classic style, I want a VW Vanagon or like. Be easy to use a lead-acid battery pack on it. Not to mention pretty simple to mount the electric drive.

    The other reason for the Vanagon, in Back to the Future everyone wants the DeLorean. Me, I want the terrorist van.
    • You should totally build a big hunk of it out of used pinball machine parts.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      You actually have the right idea with the big car. Old toyota pickups full of lead acids are the mainstay of DIY EV converters (I'm not one, just an observer). Why? because they have a high MPG*payload product, and thus can handle the weight. Lead-acid is ready to roll, right now. Li-ion is just too expensive right now. LiFePO4 might be there but really hasn't been proven yet. NiMH might be the dark horse candidate. So we're stuck with lead-acid, for all its suckyness.

      In terms of convertible vehicles, I li
      • You actually have the right idea with the big car. Old toyota pickups full of lead acids are the mainstay of DIY EV converters (I'm not one, just an observer). Why? because they have a high MPG*payload product, and thus can handle the weight.

        A vanagon or microbus is another ideal conversion target because it has a lot of open space down low, underneath the vehicle and seats, and because the engine layout lends itself to replacement.

    • Me, I want the terrorist van.

      Have you considered the VW Polo? [youtube.com]

    • At 60mph your van is going to need a continuous 20kw. That's assuming no hills where you live. The acceleration will be poor to say the least.

      Now let's take the assumption that you need a minimum range of 60 miles. Allowing for acceleration loads, you are going to need a usable 25kwH capacity.

      The nominal capacity of a standard 110AH lead acid cell is 1.3kw, but if you try it, you will get it once only. In reality, at motor loads you will get about 80% efficiency, but if you discharge more than 40% of theore

  • I was considering a Leaf, but I live in the third most expensive state in the US for electricity. The Leaf battery pack is supposed to be rated at 24 kwh. So a full charge will cost me at least $4.00 (assuming 100% charging efficiency) and at 75-80 mph highway speed will only get me about 60 miles of range. That's about 6.7 cents per mile. Compare that to a 2000-2006 Honda Insight, which should get at least 50 mpg even at 75-80 mph. 50 mpg at $2.50 per gallon is only about 5 cents per mile. Another car I'm

    • Two questions from someone who wants to understand EV economics:
      1. What about time of day metering in your location? (I.E., charge at night?)
      2. What is your state? Is it coal powered?

      Good luck getting some insight in to the Insight.
    • by znerk ( 1162519 )

      The Leaf battery pack is supposed to be rated at 24 kwh. So a full charge will cost me at least $4.00 (assuming 100% charging efficiency) and at 75-80 mph highway speed will only get me about 60 miles of range. That's about 6.7 cents per mile.

      Ok, so ignoring that you're breaking traffic laws with your speed, let's go crazy and call it 7 cents per mile.

      Compare that to a 2000-2006 Honda Insight, which should get at least 50 mpg even at 75-80 mph. 50 mpg at $2.50 per gallon is only about 5 cents per mile.

      $2.50 per gallon? Where are you buying your gas? It's $3.19 per gallon, where I live. Gasoline is expected to be $5.00 per gallon in the next two years. That'll double your nice little figure, there.

      Assuming it only goes up to $4.00 per gallon, that still throws your gasoline-powered Honda up to 8 cents per mile - and that's before you factor in oil changes (electrics don't need them), wear-and tea

      • Gas is around $2.50/gallon in most parts of the state. Also, 75 is not breaking traffic law, it is Interstate speed here. Going 80 is generally tolerated, like most places 5 over isn't something you get nailed for.

        As for your gas cost, sorry but I'm not buying it. Not because it isn't possible but because you have no good information indicating that. The kinds of rampant speculation I see around gas prices, the stock market, the US dollar and so on are phenomenal, and have only increased what with the reces

  • Make a vehicle big enough to put a 50 megawatt pebble bed nuclear reactor in and you're on! Hopefully it's big enough to also land aircraft on... We could call it a Land Carrier!
  • Where's my flying car?

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      Where's my flying car?

      Erm, they're not ready for prime time yet. However, we have developed a flying Segway, if that's of interest....

  • When electric vehicles match the performance, convenience, cost and actually achieve eco-friendly PARITY with modern internal combustion vehicles, then I will consider one.
    And not before.

    To those for whom driving is simply a way to get from one place to another, and have fairly short distances to cover- yes, they may be a viable option even if they DO actually cause more environmental damage than a real car at this point. (When the full impact of production including fuel production is considered, as well a

  • (This should have been a slashpoll...)

    Another vote for the Leaf, another pre-order...Happily, I live in one of the trial markets.

  • Several folks have posted that they'll be interested in an EV when it can do a certain range (call when it can go all week, call me when I can get 500mi etc) Others have responded that by and large, you don't really drive all that far on a day to day basis. Here's my problem: I live in an apartment building in a large town/small city, so my parking is a ground level lot with the bare minimum of light standards that the municipal building code allows. My assigned spot doesn't even have a curb stone, let alon

    • your need to charge actually has a possible solution. I did not see anyone mention that with the right electric supply you can do a 80% charge in 20-30 minutes. Oregon's local greenie governor is planning on putting stations like this along the main interstate, hmm, every 100 miles?. He has some federal money to do it. Now he plans to locate these sites where is there is some existing retail and other amenities. Hey, few greenies would call me green, but I think this particular idea is a reasonable

  • Unless you've lived in rural New Mexico, Nevada, Utah or Arizona, you don't know how useless a 100 mile range maximum can be. 100 miles out of almost anywhere in southern New Mexico leaves you stranded in the desert if you're not on a major highway. Recharging opportunities are bit sparse too.

  • I am already waiting. I have been watching the Aptera with extreme interest since I first read about it right here on Slash. It seems perfect for my needs as a daily commuting vehicle as I have about a 20 mile commute to work. Double that and add some little running around during the day and we can say that on a busy day I might go 70 miles total. That's well within the range of every EV out there. Big range means nothing to me because it's really the exception that I would go more than this in a day. Being

  • Next car I buy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MpVpRb ( 1423381 ) on Sunday October 03, 2010 @10:47AM (#33776394)

    will be electric, or plug-in hybrid.

    Yes, I know it's more expensive, but I can afford it, and the electric car industry needs help to get established.

    Gas cars have had 100 years of development by some of the brightest people around.

    It's not surprising that they are refined to such a high degree.

    Yes, I know that the first generation electrics will not be as good as the gas versions.

    but... WE NEED TO STOP BURNING OIL!

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