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back to article Toyota kills city 'e-car for everyone'

Who killed the electric car? This time round, Toyota did. It said today it will not release its proposed mass-market mini e-car, the eQ. The reason: there's no demand for it, not while battery technology is failing to provide comparable range to a tank of petrol. "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet …

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Gosh. Someone gets it. Finaly

So does this mean the electric bandwagon/gravytrain can be parked up for a while until the technology catches up?

"The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs," said Toyota vice-chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada, Reuters reports, "whether it's the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge."

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Re: Gosh. Someone gets it. Finaly

You might not need it.

But I reckon that most second cars do less than 10 miles a day.

The only killer is the cost - and that won't come down until a manufacturer bites the bullet and mass produces something. If they got together and designed batteries that could interoperate then we might see appropriate economies of scale - and the ability to upgrade your battery chemistry as needed.

Then all we need is a "dirty" fuel cell (yes, I just made that up) that will run on petrol.

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Re: Gosh. Someone gets it. Finaly

What I want is a second car for short trips around the city - 50km range would be sufficient.

I don't want a second engine for increased range. If I want increased range then I have a nice petrol SUV for that.

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Facepalm

Re: Gosh. Someone gets it. Finaly

That's just dandy, assuming that you can afford to purchase and run two cars and have the space to park them.

The problem with "short trips around the city" is that this usually means that "home" is within said city and the end result is more arsehats with two cars parked on street, as if that were not enough of a problem already. The plug-in hybrid wins again.

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Re: Gosh. Someone gets it. Finaly

+1 to TeeCee

I'd be a perfect customer for an electric car.

I live in the city centre, I travel about 30miles a day, I dont have a family. So a small electric would be fine for me.

However....

I dont have a parking space at home, most days I'm forced to park at least one street away.

As far as at work, as with most cities, the local council has dictated you get parking for about 30% of your office space. So its a battle to park at all, so I'd never get to park in a space with a cable at work either.

So I'm never going to get to re-charge it.

The solution? Move to somewhere I'd get a parking space? Spend more on the priveledge to park than the car cost? Move further out of town to get an affordable place with parking? Spend more time driving? Or end up with range anxiety.

In order to be able to use a lecy, I stop being an ideal lecy customer.

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Re: Gosh. Someone gets it. Finaly

"Then all we need is a "dirty" fuel cell (yes, I just made that up) that will run on petrol."

Or natural gas. They already exist (but not at sizes suitable for cars), but tankage is an issue (same as hydrogen)

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Re: Gosh. Someone gets it. Finaly

If 95% of your running is urban, why not hire something when you have to make longer trips?

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WTF?

Re: Gosh. Someone gets it. Finaly

Well yes, when electric cars were slightly in vogue last time around, they came with poles to charge from the trolleybus and tram overhead cables, especiaslly in the USA. well this was the end of the 19th century after all.

Now where is that trolleybus?

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Bod

2nd cars

The world's environment isn't going to be saved by rich folk buying EVs as second cars.

And as reported elsewhere recently, those are exactly the people buying such cars, and given taxpayer's money to do so.

Wealthy middle class liberals feel smug and happy that they're doing their bit for the environment (though I bet their carbon footprint is high in many other areas of their lives), but other than that, EVs are doing absolutely nothing else.

I'm not anti-eco, and would welcome EVs when it's going to work and be practical for everyone, but at present buying one doesn't do the job of boosting the take up of EVs and decreasing the use of poluting cars, but would simply do the job of emptying my bank account (though they are utterly impractical for where I live anyway).

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Alternatices

We know electric has three main problems - range and refuel time and limited lifespan of the batteries which add hugely to the cost.

Hybrids overcome one of those - range - by allowing you to top up from petrol/diesel/gas... but that means carrying the extra weight of an engine (and not normally something nice and lightweight like a gas turbine) which reduces the range on battery only to peanuts and drags down the fuel economy generally.

I would like to propose an alternative that is valid. Steam. (There are already compressed air cars in France but the energy density from this is not as high). A tank full of water/steam (normally you aim to start with around 80% water) at high temperature and pressure. You can plug the car in - preferably with a timer - so that the car is ready to go in the morning (nicely steamed up :) ). More importantly a top up could be achieved at an 'energy station' (no longer selling just petrol/diesel) in a matter of seconds (possibly even faster than filling with petrol). The heated water/steam can be produced using 'green' electricity. There is no need for mega amounts of very rare 'rare earth metals' for batteries and motors. Further the technology is tried and tested (fireless steam locomotives existed for use in dangerous places like munitions works, coal mines, gas works, flour mills etc etc ). It would be cheap and simple to put together, no real chance of any patent wars (fireless locos are not new, steam cars are not new...)

Some people are probably already whining on about the dangers of a pressure tank - but come now batteries do explode really spectacularly when shorted out as could happen in an accident, petrol and gas can go bang quite well and we cope with that danger - a pressure tank can be built really quite solidly - as was demonstrated occasionally when a steam train derailed and fell off bridges or down embankments without blowing the boiler up.

Time to consider a better alternative and stop pandering to the bull that says it can't be done... steam can be done, fireless or otherwise - fireless can save a lot of CO2. It is not beyond our whit to get together a group to build one!

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Re: Alternatices

So, instead of using electricity to power the car, you want electricity to generate steam to power the car? Tell you what, lets make it even easier - as somebody mentioned above, air powered cars!

You use green electricity stored in a, I don't know, battery or something, to heat water to boiling point. This steam then runs a powerful compressor that takes in atmospheric oxygen and compresses it and uses THIS compressed air to run the car.

OR we can use the electricity to generate steam to compress air to push water through a hydrogen cracker to separate the components and push them through a catalytic convertor to generate electricity to run the car!

I'm onto something here! (Runs off to patent the electric steam air hydrogen electrolytics powered car)

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Coat

Erm...

Steam sounds great at first go, but isn't water vapour supposed to be a worse greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide? And don't you have enough fog in the UK already without adding to it?

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Headmaster

Re: Alternatices

Granted this is from watching Jay Leno and his steam cars, but physics is still the same... apparently it does take quite the while to build up enough of a head of steam to go anywhere.

I figure modern microcontrollers can take care of the long fiddly process of lighting it and messing about to get it started, but you still need time to heat some water. It was on the order of 20-45 minutes.

Once you get it going, it's the absolute shit. It's totally noiseless, and according to Jay, one of his cars has enough torque to spin the rims inside the tires. One of the cheap cars was a "total loss" system where the used steam went out the exhaust and had a very short range, but one of the expensive ones had a condenser to mostly reuse the water vapor, and he said it had a longer range on 30 gal of water than his normal gas cars. I think they used natural gas to heat the boiler.

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Re: Alternatices

Oh yeah, and in case it's not obvious, I REALLY want a MODERN steam car.

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Anonymous Coward

No wonder

Not many play golf in the rain.

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Anonymous Coward

Obvious

Here in Finland only 33 all-electric cars were registered last year, of which only 2 were bought buy private persons. Of the 126000 new registered passenger cars these 33 are quite a minuscule amount.

The biggest problem probably is the climate. In a car show they reviewed a Nissan Leaf (AFAIR) and it didn't produce warm air in the cabin during winter time. It also had an extra electric heater that warmed the car up when plugged in, but the air cooled soon after... Also, the batteries were depleted much faster in cold weather. No wonder Nissan didn't even bring the car to Finnish market.

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Coat

Re: Obvious

The obvious answer is to wear warm clothes in the car. That way you don't feel cold when you step out of the car. It works on a motorcycle, why not in a car?

Mine's the one with goose down filling.

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Re: Re: Obvious

He's talking about Finland in winter. I'd wager that lack of heating in the car doesn't mean "must use warm clothes", it means "cannot use the car for long trips or at night without risking death".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Obvious

Obviously, warm clothes are worn inside the car during cold weather here in Finland.

Obviously, your goose down filling provides warmth to your torso, but not your fingers, legs or - especially toes.

Obviously, you should try sitting still for an hour in cold weather, start with -20 C which isn't nearly as cold as it gets in the north...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Obvious

One solution for heating is too keep a few curling stones in an oven. Don't know how long they would stay hot. Better than nothing at all.

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Anonymous Coward

Going about it the wrong way.....

...we are still stuck in this..

Use electric for X miles / speed, then let fossil take over.

Surely we need to look at an old tech, such a diesel/ electric, worked for a few years now in those train things.

Some work is being done by the likes of BMW and Lotus and is by far the most sensible for now, until battery tech is where we need it.

http://www.lotuscars.com/gb/engineering/range-extender-engines

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Anonymous Coward

http://www.teslamotors.com/

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Anonymous Coward

Elon Musk says Tesla will introduce a $30,000 electric car in 2015. Waiting, waiting......

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Mushroom

cheap electricity?

"Cheaper electricity will increasingly favour plug-in hybrids over other types, and over petrol- and diesel-only vehicles."

won't happen in Blighty as the beggars will find some way of taxing you for it...

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Goddam :( I've seen supermarkets with electric charge points, and so I thought we'd be seeing leccy cars within a year.

Sadly, it needs a company to mass produce, fail, and then a chinese company to come along, copy the idea, fix the problem, and then work. :(

Actually quite disappointed. I could never afford one, but was looking forward to something second hand ;(

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