Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Electric cars, Good news bad news

Electric cars today are at a tipping point almost at the stage where manufactures are wondering if they should introduce a electric alternative or carry on, knowing full well that petrol prices are steadily rising. Battery technology and other costs for the entire lifespan of the electric car needs to be weighed against the petrol car. Also during these times its best to find out any news on the current state of electric cars. One or the fore runners of electric cars is tesla motor with good news.
In Hawthorne, Calif, Tesla Motors introduced its Supercharger, a glittering monolith capable of bringing the battery of a Model S sedan from flat to full in about an hour.
Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, made an introduction of the 480-volt Supercharger. Mr. Musk said the chargers would dispense free electricity generated without emissions through a partnership with SolarCity, a builder and installer of photovoltaic equipment led by Peter and Lyndon Rive, cousins of Mr. Musk. The Tesla executive is also SolarCity’s chairman.
The Supercharger will be installed at solar carports loosely resembling filling stations and are capable of charging several vehicles simultaneously, as well as returning surplus power to the grid. Khyati Shah, a spokeswoman for SolarCity, wrote in an e-mail that two of the six Superchargers already installed had solar capability, with the others running off of grid power. One solar unit is 24 kilowatts and the other is 26.
Mr. Musk said the Supercharger network would address some anxieties that might be inhibiting wide consumer adoption of electric vehicles, including concern about power-plant emissions related to charging; the cars’ inability to travel long distances; and operational costs. The Supercharger will charge at 100 kilowatts and eventually up to 120 kilowatts, he said. “What it means is that you can drive for three hours, stop for less than half an hour, recharge, and be ready to go again,” Mr. Musk said. A Model S would reach a state of half-charge in 30 minutes.
The system is not compatible with existing Level III fast chargers. It complements elements of the company’s charging system unveiled earlier, including the high-power wall unit and plug design the company demonstrated for Wheels last year.
Tesla has six Superchargers in operation, all in California, with more to come in the state by the end of the year. The first stations are expected to be opened to the public in coming weeks.
Mr. Musk said the company intended to have Superchargers installed across much of the United States in the next two years and to have the entire country, and the lower part of Canada, covered in four or five years.
The ability to connect to the Supercharger will be standard on Model S cars with the 85-kilowatt-hour battery, the highest-capacity battery marketed by Tesla, and would be optional for buyers of the sedan fitted with the 60-kilowatt-hour pack. That said, Model S sedans equipped with the 40-kilowatt-hour batteries, and the existing fleet of Tesla Roadsters, will be excluded from using the Supercharger.

Bad news Toyota, which had already taken a more conservative view of the market for battery-powered cars than rivals General Motors Co and Nissan Motor Co, said it would only sell about 100 battery-powered eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an extremely limited release.
By dropping plans for a second electric vehicle in its line-up, Toyota cast more doubt on an alternative to the combustion engine that has been both lauded for its oil-saving potential and criticized for its heavy reliance on government subsidies in key markets like the United States.
"The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge," said, Takeshi Uchiyamada, who spearheaded Toyota's development of the Prius hybrid in the 1990s.
Toyota said it was putting its emphasis on that technology, an area in which it is the established leader. Toyota said on Monday it expected to have 21 hybrid gas-electric models like the Prius in its line-up by 2015. Of that total, 14 of the new hybrids will be all-new, the automaker said.
Pure electric vehicles, like the Nissan Leaf, carry only lithium-ion batteries. Consumer demand for the vehicles has been capped by their limited range and the relatively high cost of the powerful batteries they require. The decision to drop plans for more extensive rollout of its eQ city car leaves Toyota with just a single pure EV in its line-up. The automaker will launch an all-electric RAV4 model in the United States that was jointly developed with Tesla Motors. Toyota expects to sell 2,600 of the electric-powered sports utility vehicle over the next three years. By comparison, Toyota sold almost 37,000 Camry sedans in August alone in the United States, the automaker's largest market.
Toyota is also far from its plug-in hybrid sales target. The automaker planned to sell between 35,000 and 40,000 Prius plug-in hybrids in 2012 in Japan. So far it has sold only 8,400, or about 20 percent of its target.
A broad industry consensus sees plug-in cars accounting for only a single-digit percentage of total global sales over the next decade. Nissan remains more bullish, forecasting that by 2020 one-tenth of all cars sold will be electric. Globally, Nissan has sold about 38,000 Leaf electric cars since the vehicle's launch at the end of 2010.
While on the horizon, BMW's Megacity Vehicle is finally taking shape. The electric car well before its 2013 arrival. Until now, BMW's Project i has merely been vague talk about future mobility concepts and electric vehicles for major urban areas.
The Ford Focus electric, has a 6.6 kW battery on the vehicle which renews the depleted charge at almost double speeds as that of the 3.3 kW batteries. The 3.3 kW batteries are used on the Nissan Leaf and it takes seven hours to charge the vehicle, and is also expected sometime next near. Although its price tag is expected to be in the region of £25,000.
New Electric cars from next year will be adding to a changing market, I am unsure if the supercharger refueling infrastructure in the US, will be a universal connection to allow any other cars to charge. I am Hoping that car manufactures like BMW Nissan and Ford can find success in the electric car business,and one day will trickle down to the average consumer.

         

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