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Re: [future-fuels-and-vehicles] Which EVs Are Presently Available To Londoners?

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  • Lee Dekker
    In trying to track down the Smart EV, I found talk of selling it in the UK but was never able to ascertain whether or not it was actually being sold there. And
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 7, 2008
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      In trying to track down the Smart EV, I found talk of selling it in the UK but was never able to ascertain whether or not it was actually being sold there. And I emphasize the word "sold". This made me wonder what's so special about the UK and why the Smart company wouldn't first export to California.

      Not sure if trucks qualify for your research but two British companies do appear to actually be making and selling all electric delivery trucks there.

      http://www.smithelectricvehicles.com/

      http://www.modeczev.com/uk/


      murdoch <murdoch@...> wrote:
      I was speaking with a colleague in London who had ridden in an EV
      there and thought that there are actually highway-capable EVs
      available to buy there. This sounded a bit dubious to me. Can anyone
      shed some light? I know the EVs in London are generally smaller
      vehicles (and apparently their safety is under some review) but I am
      trying to get at their top speed as it relates to utility. Can any
      of them be taken out to the suburbs of London on a higher speed road?
      Are any of them equipped with desirable advanced batteries and
      comparable in some ways to the better California ZEV Mandate EVs?

      This quote is something that acts as a starting point as I research
      the matter:

      http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/fleet/technology/lowcarbonvehicles/electricvehicles/

      >In the UK, there are a small number of distributors and
      >manufacturers of EV's. In terms of passenger vehicles, the
      >Reva G-Wiz, the NICE MEGA City and the Sakura Maranello4 are
      >becoming common in inner cities, particularly London. As
      >these vehicles fall under the 400kg weight threshold, these
      >three vehicles are classed as quadricycles and have
      >different standards for safety. Because of this, the
      >Department for Transport is seeking a review for the
      >European regulations got quadricycles after initial tests of
      >their safety performance. Additionally, Smart has launched
      >the Smart EV which is classified as a car and is available
      >for companies to lease.

      Tracking down the four vehicles in question:

      The REVA G-Wiz on sale to Londoners:

      http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/content/gwiz_techspec/
      http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/content/gwiz_faq/
      Top speed: 50 mph, range 35-45 miles typically.
      lead-acid batteries
      Price:
      About 8900-9700 GBP new
      http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/product_list/68/
      About 4000-7200 GBP used
      http://www.goingreen.co.uk/store/product_list/69/

      The Nice Mega City, claimed 10,847 GBP,
      claims 40 mph top-speed, 40 mile range
      batteries?
      http://www.nicecarcompany.co.uk/megacity/performance_36.html

      Sakura Maranello: pricing?,
      claimed 45 km/h = 27.9 miles/hour, 40-50 mile range,
      gelled-lead-acid,
      http://www.sbsbsb.com/electriccarpages/features.html

      Smart EV:

      I am not readily able to find info about the Smart EV.

      This article, seemingly from 2006, gives some info about the REVA and
      the Smart 200-vehicle program mentioned in news from 2006, indicating
      the Smart could do 70 mph.
      http://www.myhybridcar.net/electric-cars.html

      So, what is going on with that whole thing? Maybe Zytek could
      clarify? Their page from 2006 only mentions 100 vehicles, with about
      74.4 mph speed, 68.2 mile range. They are talking about a Sodium
      Nickel Chloride (Zebra) battery. I test-drove one once at a show in
      2003. A lesson is that it is a warm battery and we needed to nail
      down if it is consumer-appropriate, or not.
      http://www.zytekgroup.co.uk/Default.aspx?tid=153

      So:

      1. What is going on with the Smart EV? The specs are heavyweight,
      but the lack of transparent availability makes me very skeptical,
      based on experience in watching the California and other situations.
      2. Are the REVA and NICE, faster than the Sakura, good for many
      purposes? Are there safety or quality tradeoffs? Which types of
      buyers would find those tradeoffs acceptable?

      jl





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    • murdoch
      On one of the issues raised here about London, I d like to see if somehow also we could track down an update on the Smart/Zytek effort. Information on this
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 7, 2008
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        On one of the issues raised here about London, I'd like to see if
        somehow also we could track down an update on the Smart/Zytek effort.
        Information on this seems to have run dry.

        I must confess, this is not entirely surprising. Let's put ourselves
        in the position of a plug-in developer in a developed country (whether
        in the Americas, ASOC or EMEA, I don't think it matters for all
        purposes). Where can you go for a battery? Judging by some of the
        very minor amount of evidence that I have been able to pick up over
        the years, it is either hard or impossible to get a good NiMH battery.
        One US-based very credible developer commented many years ago (and
        this has always stuck with me) that they had some doubts about the
        availability of NiMH if it came time for mass-production, and that
        furthermore the price quoted them to just get one into testing was so
        high that it amounted to a "brush-off" (my word). Also, this
        particular developer needed for the battery to have off-the-shelf
        commoditized availability as one of their criteria, which NiMh has
        never had for the larger format versions.

        In any event, if we see a seemingly good firm like Zytek turning to
        the Zebra battery, which has some issues that might get in the way of
        broad consumer acceptance, then why couldn't they turn to NiMH? Didn't
        NIMh work so wonderfully in the California vehicles?

        Then, recently, we have Energy Conversion Devices being sued by their
        own business partners, Innovative Transportation Systems, to whom they
        said they would provide NiMh batteries when the time came for small
        European vehicles.

        http://www.evworld.com/blogs/index.cfm?page=blogentry&authorid=51&blogid=564

        I conducted this brief test-drive and interview in November 2003, and,
        as I say, somehow it is just not entirely surprising to me that we do
        not seem to find the vehicle widely for sale with these batteries.

        http://www.herecomesmongo.com/evs20/Main%20Article/documents/smart%20composite.html

        I liked the vehicle and the company and in the hands of the right
        consumer, I think it would perhaps be fine to have a Zebra battery. I
        don't know if Zytek had to turn to the Zebra battery because of
        getting any sort of runaround from European NiMh manufacturers, or if
        they just chose it. I think it might be humanly possible to get
        plug-in-suitable NiMh batteries in Europe, even including a reasonable
        promise of actual real-world increased-volume delivery, if and when
        the time came. However, I am not certain (particularly when I take
        into consideration the recent lawsuit).

        There seems to be some mystery that hangs over the decision-making
        from the developer's point of view. To some of us the mystery is
        thin... we believe that NiMh is either not REALLY available for
        developers to consider, or, at very best, it is difficult for them to
        consider. I liked the vehicle and I would like to figure out what has
        happened here. It is 25-35 mph faster than the next-fastest consumer
        vehicle available to Londoners according to the articles. So, as I
        hope for Th!nk city sales someday in London, and maybe nail down the
        availability of these Smith Electric trucks for general consumers to
        get to work, I also went to keep in mind this Smart/Zytek EV.




        [Default] On Mon, 7 Apr 2008 08:16:46 -0700 (PDT), Lee Dekker
        <heprv@...> wrote:

        > In trying to track down the Smart EV, I found talk of selling it in the UK but was never able to ascertain whether or not it was actually being sold there. And I emphasize the word "sold". This made me wonder what's so special about the UK and why the Smart company wouldn't first export to California.
        >
        > Not sure if trucks qualify for your research but two British companies do appear to actually be making and selling all electric delivery trucks there.
        >
        > http://www.smithelectricvehicles.com/
        >
        > http://www.modeczev.com/uk/
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