|a Frias Network Production
Model depicted is Ms NudeAutoMall Rebecca Mjelde
Does $100,000 US to build an Electric Sports Car sound like to much to expect to pay for such a car, or more simply would you think that I should be able to build you an Electric Sports Car for your $100,000? Take into consideration that if I were to build you a very well built Lamborghini replica, awesome engine / drive train, awesome suspension, etc. such would come in at around $60,000. But when you ask for it in electric, what if I was to tell you, sorry $100,000 is not enough? Ok, so you really want this car, so you ask, how much? I'd have to say maybe a quarter million, and I would seriously have to stress the word "maybe" as even at a million, I still have to say maybe. When you, I, or most individuals go into business we go into business to hopefully make sales, as we need sales to pay for the material, building, and energy we use to make the product, and of course we hope to make a profit, in vein of making a living. Well not so with most any business in the Electric Car Industry.
We recently followed up on just that $100,000 sales opportunity, figuring such an offer to be serious enough to warrant us considering the build, in all actuality, at that offer we thought we were going to do the build, not turn and walk away from such.
There are certainly a lot of recent great advances in Electric Car Technology, and I was extremely impressed with what I learned as result of researching this build. For whatever it is worth a little background on me as a researcher, I do have one of those papers you are suppose to hang on your wall in Electronics, such means a lot of nothing as far as I am concerned, but that does supposedly qualify me. What I found, researching this car, is technology like batteries that reportedly do not fatigue, in other words batteries that don't break down, which translates to some serious life expectancy (the components that make up the battery, breaking down, is what causes them to fail), seriously approaching, or easily exceeding ten years of use with out considerable loss in performance. I know ten years seems like a lot when we have become use to two year old batteries that only hold a small fraction of the charge they held when they were new. But step back a moment, remember the old NiMH, before the Oil Industry bought up and squashed the technology. NiMH batteries were never noted for holding a long charge (although research in that direction was being conducted), but an eight to ten year old battery still held about the same charge as when it was new. Now a technology break through in Li-Ion batteries is here, these ten year, maybe more Li-Ion batteries exist, they are produced, and they are being sold. But we are not Research and Development, we would not be scrapping the car we built, we would be selling it, which I guess makes us a candidate on the black list, or at least they have out right refused to sell us a battery, and not just once, but on multiple attempts, we were refused this battery, with this new technology, at any price. However, we did finally find a battery, or that is a company that would build us a battery, not that battery, but a battery with about half the charge cycle at about twice the weight (which of course means using a lot more of it's own energy just to move itself). This battery also costs better then twice as much (that is before they realized we were actually going to build a real car we were hearing prices of $20,000 for the other battery), this battery, a minimum of $50,000, with Research and Development running us possibly as much as $250,000.
Ok, well we do have a battery (theoretically), now we need a motor and drive train. Here again advances in technology, or more so application, are just awesome. We all know that Electric Motors have and are continually reducing in size while producing an equivalent horse power, so the fact that motors are again smaller should be of no surprise. But dual purpose motors (regernative), motors that are used as a generator to charge the batteries utilizing the energy of stopping the car, harnessing that energy instead of using up additional energy to stop a car. Now we all know that motors can also be used as a generator, but implemented in this means is certainly worth mention, and explanation. Hybrids use this technology, so that too should be of no surprise, but such makes the potential for economic city driving... consider conventional fossil fuel cars: it takes a considerable amount of energy to start the car moving, and an equally considerable amount of energy to stop the car. Now with these new electric motors the stopping energy is in essence recycled into starting energy, greatly reducing the overall energy usage in start and stop traffic. So instead of a cycle of use energy, use energy, the cycle becomes, use energy, produce energy, then reuse that recycled energy along with less new energy to take off again; what a concept!
The next concept is, with electric motors, we are less limited to a central drive train. That is we do not need this one large power plant to power the whole vehicle, with all of it's torque and frictional issues of distributing that energy to external propulsion points. Electric motors adapt readily to small confines and are already round in the shape of the wheel that we use to propel the vehicle. In other words, putting the motor right in the wheel it is powering greatly reduces the torque and frictional losses needed to propel the vehicle, which equates to needing less energy. Now take that same concept and apply it to all wheels and you reduce frictions even more. But powering more then one wheel or propulsion point brings into play other problems. Consider that no two motors will ever be identical, no matter how identical you try to make them. You are always going to have differences in the conductance of your conductor to some degree, likewise you are always going to have differences in the magnetic properties of the metals. And all of that is to say nothing for human error or worse, manufacturing variances, or tolerances. You can work to match them as best you can, but differences there will always be, which results in two drive points fighting each other, and applying motors to all four wheels only more greatly complicates those differences. However with todays computer technology such differences can be monitored and controlled very simply, making this technology a reality.
Anyhow in purchasing a motor (or motors, one for each wheel maximizing efficiency and performance) we again ran into serious interference. Again flat out refusal to sell at any price. That is we are looking at the fastest motors built giving the longest range, ie a light weight, high performance, recharger. The motors exists, and they exist in the application we like, several companies build an equivalent, but again it looks as if it can only be bought if you are Research and Development, not for an actual product. We can buy lessor motors and make this project happen, but it is just disappointing to not be able to buy the best.
Ok, so back to the beginning. We all know it takes money to make money, and we all know that the most expensive venture in any business is Research and Development (cost at risk of total loss, and only at best a long term chance of profit). So how do companies, whole companies, exist on just Research and Development. Well certainly you have Research and Development companies where others farm out their Research and Development to them, but to never have a produced product, except for maybe once it becomes obsolete? The answer is simple, donations and grants. These companies exist solely because you and I fund them. We want electric cars, and we have wanted them for generations, and believe it or not our politicians do actually sometimes listen to us (if they didn't listen, there would not be any grants for Research and Development). And not only do our politicians listen, but the amount of money spent by government on Research and Development of electric vehicles would stager almost anybodies imagination. Yet electric vehicles are yet only a novelty, and absolutely not a serious contender in the Automobile Market.
»T-shirts« ~NudeAutoMall~ »T-shirts«
Return To The
Frias E-zine Frias Network
Daisy Dukes & Paola Rey at New Sensations Tahni
| Store | Classifieds | Car Show | Garage | Models | Boards | Search | Main |