back to article Blighty's electro-supercar 2.0 uncloaked today

Here at the British Motor Show in London, there are lots and lots of cars to see. Quite a few of them have electric or part-electric power trains. A few of these use or plan to use advanced battery technologies such as lithium-ion. Only one has moved on further still, to a technology which promises genuinely usable electric cars …

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  1. Peter

    available to view now

    its 11:30am, and just looking at the website, you can see it now.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sounds impressive but...

    how far can it go on a full (or 80%) charge? If it's only as far as the next Tesco I'm less impressed than I might have been.

  3. Booty Inspector
    Happy

    LOL...

    ...their website says it comes with a:

    "Programmable external engine sound generator".

    Cool.

    I want mine to sound like a Vespa.

    Or Ivor The Engine.

  4. bigolslabomeat
    Thumb Up

    The games up!

    Loks like the website went early, you can see it on there now.

    Very pretty, but £120k?

  5. dervheid
    Thumb Down

    Electric cars = Total COCK!

    Look, it's all very nice producing a super-duper leccy sports car or two, but tell me this...

    Who is going to produce an economically viable electric car, capable of carrying the average family and their luggage the entire journey from central Scotland to Cornwall (530 miles), in reasonable, air conditioned comfort, in a journey time of just under 9 hours (not including breaks), that won't need to be recharged en-route?

    That, my friends, is what's known as 'real-life' motoring. Until then, you can shove your electric (and hybrid) cars where the sun don't shine!!

    (BTW, Journey both ways, recently carried out, with an average speed of 60mph, and an average fuel consumption of 51mpg, diesel of course!)

  6. Stef
    Thumb Up

    The saviour of the planet is here...

    ... and it costs only £120,000. A low enough price tag to ensure that the average Joe can once again be shafted by the rich "What are you doing to save the planet you filthy prole? I've just bought a Lightning and offset by private jet by spending half a million on Carbon Credits. I say, put down that pie you oik, don't you realise that pie was delivered to the supermarket in a CO2 guzzling lorry?"

    Or something like that.

  7. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Happy

    Designed by petrolheads, not electrogeeks.

    The petrol Lightning looks like a proper GT, so I'm hoping the Electric Lightning will be as good a bit of eyecandy and not look like the bastard child of a milkfloat and a campervan like the Prius does.. One worry would be that if they put the electric motors in the front wheels as well as the rears that the steering will be a bit heavy or lifeless. I suppose we'll have to wait for Jezza to drive it to get a really objective (and probably entertaining) view.

  8. James Owen

    Cross between ....

    It looks like a cross between a Lotus Elise, and Chrysler Crossfire, but will obviously have the power and speed of a Prius!

  9. Greg

    Hmmmm

    Thanks to my brother's sound/lighting career, we have a three-phase socket coming out of our garage wall right underneath the main fusebox... Interesting...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    The battery's called WHAT?!

    So it uses LI-TIT batteries? Neat! Perhaps Jeremy Clarkson should be their spokesman.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Charging cables

    To recharge the battery in a few minutes the cables will have to be very thick or superconductive.

    Imagine the car requires an average of 15hp to run - this is ~11kW - and it drives for say 3 hours discharging the battery. Then to recharge in say a couple of minutes will need around 100 times the power to go back in - i.e. ~1.1MW -

    So at 1V this is 1.1MA, 10V, 110KA, 100V etc..

    Obviously you could use higher voltages to reduce the current but then you would need a transformer onboard to handle 1.1MW.

    How do they do it?.....

    Anon in case it is obvious...

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    So that'll be an English Electric Lightning...

    Mine's the Mach 2 60's silver one....

  13. David Ritchie
    Coat

    Pretty Car

    Very impressive

    How long till we see the Stig going round the Top Gear test track in one?

    Mine's the one with the spare £120,000 in the pocket (I wish)

  14. John Latham

    According to my crap calculations...

    ...the 36kwh battery pack weighs 360kg and contains as much energy as about 3-4 litres of petrol/diesel.

    Unsurprisingly, details about anticipated range are not easy to find.

    Will be fun on a trackday, recharging after each couple of laps. Hopefully a trailer hitch will be an option, so you can tow the diesel generator.

  15. Roni Leben
    Thumb Up

    First production car with 4 in-wheel motors?

    By Roni Leben

    Posted Tuesday 22nd July 2008 11:44 GMT

    Great job Lightning!

    Hope they make it into production; Tesla is, sadly, still not there after 2+ years of delay...

    A Subaru Impreza & PML's Mini used 4 in-wheel motors, but no production car yet (AFAIK). In PML's case they probably used their Mini to test the motors for the Lightning?

    480kW @ wheels is very impressive. Assume "36Kw of power" for the battery should be 36kWh (of energy)?

    Only (very small) minus I can think of: The car shows is a derivative from petrol engine version and it shows; it has a large forward engine bay which looks it could house a V12 ICE... With in-wheel motors, designers can be more innovative since engine bay is needless & the car design could be quite different. In-wheel motors + fast charge Li-ion is quite enough of boldness for now, so innovative design can wait till the next model.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @Booty Inspector

    I want mine to sound like a squadron of Lancasters.

  17. Chris Campbell

    Range on one charge

    It's not easy to find, but it's listed as 200 miles on a full charge.

    On 'Home' > 'Electric vs. Petrol':

    "True to its name, the Lightning GT could be charged in approximately 10 minutes for up to 200 miles of motoring, which would make long journeys a breeze."

    Not sure long journeys would be 'a breeze', my daily commute is 120 miles...

  18. Peter Leech Silver badge

    @ MahatmaCoat

    I want to mute mine to save the battery?

    :)

  19. Fluffykins Silver badge

    @MahatmaCoat

    Lancaster? Nah. Gotta be a Spitfire.

    That luvly Merlin sound...........................

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @dervheid

    Not sure I really understand your point. On such a journey, especially with kids in the car, you'll want to stop two or three times at least for lunch and to stretch your legs - so why does the car need to go that distance without refueling? You pull up at the motorway service station, connect to the charger then go and have your coffee and/or toilet break - by the time you get back it's fully charged and ready to go the next 200-300 miles.

  21. Fluffykins Silver badge

    Car sound

    Actually, what about a Tardis recording?

    With a proximity detector triggering a good ol' Dalek "exterminate" when parked. Especially for parking wardens*.

    *Lovely people actually; salt of the Earth.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tools company used this technology

    DeWalt has been using this tech for a while... great to actually see it in a car. http://www.dewalt.com/us/batterytech/default.htm

    Now lets just hope that affordable car companies sees the light with this technology...

    Paris, because the unspoken analogy...

  23. Sam
    Happy

    @MahatmaCoat

    Nah, bagsy the Spitfire.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    RE:Electric cars = Total COCK!

    Yes, because early petrol cars were owned by all. Also, your avrage car will not do that journy without a fillup. Dose that make all petrol cars and Motorbikes pointless?

    As with everything, the price starts high for somthing crap, and then comes down, and the product gets better. Just look at Apple.

  25. SpeakerToAliens
    Black Helicopters

    I want mine to play...

    ...Ride of the Valkyries.

    Black helicopter because... well, you know.

  26. Damian Gabriel Moran
    Coat

    @Booty Inspector

    No i want mine to sound like a TIE Fighter!

  27. John Tuffen
    Alert

    @dervheid

    "Who is going to produce an economically viable electric car, capable of carrying the average family and their luggage the entire journey from central Scotland to Cornwall (530 miles), in reasonable, air conditioned comfort, in a journey time of just under 9 hours (not including breaks), that won't need to be recharged en-route?"

    Well, surely whilst you and the family are stopping to eat/go to the loo, the car can recharge? I mean we're only talking 10 minutes after all...

  28. Luther Blissett

    When the pedal hits the metal

    I thought it was only the hippies that needed lessons on the Laws of Thermodynamics. But it seem that in an age of "children first", all valorizations are to be taken care of by Santa Claus (aka the Fed to some grown-ups).

    So when the peddle hits the mettle, then the poodles hit the noodles.

  29. David Evans
    Thumb Down

    Very pretty, but...

    ...is it real? Come back when there's a working demonstrator and then you can start making comparisons to the Tesla. Right now this is about as real as Doc Brown's Mr.Fusion-powered DeLorean.

  30. David Evans

    @Fluffykins & Sam

    The Lancaster and the Spitfire both used Merlin engines...

  31. Simon Wilkins

    Cannot charge in 10 minutes

    Assume 80% discharged, so need 29kWh to charge.

    From a typical 400V 16A 3phase outlet this will take 156 minutes at 100% efficiency.

    If could connect at 400V 200A 3phase you could do it in 13 minutes at 100% efficiency.

    However, that would probably be about half the total connected supply of a supermarket, and more than the total supply to a typical garage forecourt. Apart from which, you couldn't lift the cable.

    Somebody is talking absolute nonsense.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    just out of curiosity

    but could the batteries be charged whilst the vehicle was in motion in a similar manner to how the dynamo on my old bike made the lights work?

    (anon because I am not the brightest bulb in the box when it comes to this electrickery stuff)

  33. Norbury

    Lovely

    I'd love one. Electric engines beat petrol ones in so many ways, it's only battery technology that holds them back. As for the range, hardly the point of a sports car is it? Watching an old Top Gear on Dave the other day, when Jeremy Clarkson was asked about the range of the GT40 he was buying it was 74 miles!

  34. Adam Foxton
    Coat

    @Fluffykins

    You'd have to have either the daleks saying "KEEP BACK!" (series 1 of new lot, episode 6 "DALEK") rather than just EXTERMINATE.

    Mine's the wheelchair-friendly black one with the cool chrome clips.

  35. TeeCee Gold badge
    Happy

    Charge times.

    Ten minutes on the forecourt with no petrol around? This could be just the catalyst we need to make smoking trendy again. A place to spend an enforced ten minutes with a roof to keep you dry and no walls to invoke the ban.

    Every cloud has a silver lining.

  36. Sam

    @David Evans

    ..and the Mossie had two, but out of 'em all I think the Spit sounds the most menacing.

    Chocks away!

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    Good article

    Having been a frequent past poster about electrified transport and alternative fuels, mostly disagreeing with the author, its nice to see Lewis is writing researched, informative and even reasonably balanced articles on electric cars .....

    Ahhhhh. My work here is done!

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    @ WWII plane geeks

    There's no sound quite like the Battle of Britain memorial flight; it has three Merlin-powered planes *drool*

    According to IckyPedia the following all used Merlins:

    * Armstrong Whitworth Whitley

    * Avro Lancaster

    * Avro Lincoln

    * Avro York

    * Avro Tudor

    * Boulton Paul Defiant

    * Bristol Beaufighter

    * Curtis P-40 Kittyhawk

    * de Havilland Mosquito

    * de Havilland Hornet

    * Fairey Barracuda

    * Fairey Battle

    * Fairey Fulmar

    * Handley Page Halifax

    * Hawker Hurricane and Sea Hurricane

    * Hispano Aviacion Ha 1112

    * North American P-51 Mustang

    * Short Sturgeon

    * Supermarine Seafire

    * Supermarine Spitfire

    * Vickers Wellington

    * Westland Welkin

    Mine's the leather flying jacket, helmet and goggles.

  39. Uwe Dippel

    Can anyone do a proper calculation in ElReg? No!

    Okay, I'll do it for you:

    If the engine consumes N kW, and one recharge takes m minutes and lasts for d hours of driving, the recharge power needed is N x (d/m) x 60 kW.

    Example: 20 kW, charge time 5 minutes, lasting for 4 hours of driving:

    The recharge power P needed is 20x(4/5)x60 = 960 kW.

    At 3x400 V, each Ampère delivers 1.2 kW. Meaning that for a recharge power P one needs a current I of P/1.2 Ampère. For a paltry 960 kW as above, 960/1.2 = 800 Ampère are needed.

    For those weaklings in math, here is the combined formula for the current needed:

    I = 20x(4/5)x60/1.2 (in Ampère). Good luck!

    And here, finally, the diameters required to carry those currents:

    1 cm of diameter of the copper core is good for around 200 A. Since we talk 3 phases here, 200 A need 3 wires, with 1 cm of copper core each. 800 A will be four times that, that is 4x3 = 12 wires of a core of 1 cm, plus insulation. No, seriously thicker cables won't do, because of some effect called skin-effect.

    I'll leave it to someone else to calculate the weight of 12 copper cores of 1 cm diameter, including insulation. I bet, that half a meter of it will go through as murder weapon.

    In short, the car of the future will need an 11kV-plug for fast recharge.

    Have Fun!

  40. JDub
    Coat

    Remember this day...

    ...when they put up leccy top-ups to £30 per minute at the forecourts...

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    10 minutes to recharge ?

    Given how busy my local tescos is, I can see the queue for recharges stretching out over the horizon if it takes each one that long.

    All these hybrids, fuel cells and leccy cars generally just prove how good Petrol and Diesel really are for transport uses.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    If Top Gear get their hands on one....

    ..... they will test it against a bloody milk float to see how many pints it will hold!!!

  43. Gavin McMenemy

    Give a whole new meaning to car rage?

    If it's got a speaker to play sounds can you imagine the sorts of "engine tones" people might want to put in it?

    Crazy Frog anyone?

  44. dervheid
    Joke

    Recharge times

    To all who replied to my original in the same vein;

    My point was that all these 'sports' and 'urban' (e.g. the G-Wiz) electro-cars are utterly irrelevant to the vast majority of the motoring populace, who require their car of choice to be far more than any of these offerings.

    Thanks go to the various contributors for pointing out the "practicalities" of a 10 minute / 200 mile recharge.

    And as for their 'green' credentials, where exactly does most of the electricity (currently, at least) come from to recharge them...

    That's right! Fossil Fuel!! Very fucking 'Green'

    Joke. That's the current state of electric cars.

  45. David
    Joke

    Charge times - rubbish

    Assuming this has a similar capacity to the Tesla (53 kWh), then to charge it to 80% in 3 minutes would require a current of over 2000A, even on three phase.

    No one has that kind of circuit available, and even if it were allowed by health and safety, you'd never be able to lift the cable!!!

  46. Adam
    Thumb Down

    The one thing missing

    OOOOh look how fast it is...but nothing about the range.

    You would think they would try and come up with the Ford Focus of the electric car world, not some pathetic excuse for an eco-friendly penis extention.

  47. W
    Thumb Down

    "Programmable external engine sound generator" = $£¥€ opportunity.

    Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you... "RevTones"!!!

    All now ™, ©, ®, etc of me, obviously.

    Dear lord, no! Walking down the street will be like permanently sitting near 100 gits on the back of the bus.

  48. Michael C
    Stop

    fighting FUD

    Dervhied: 530 miles? Neither my Van, nor my wife's car, nor for that matter any car I have ever owned but one, could go more than about 400 miles on a complete fill up. The point is not "can we make it non-stop" but "can we make it in the same time vs. a conventional car, and do so greener, and for similar or less cost"

    With Lithium-Titanate batteries, you can recharge in 5-8 minutes to full. About the same amount of time it takes to hook up to a gas pump and fill my van with 19 gallons of fuel. (plus a piss break for the family). These batteries are the same size and just slightly lighter than lithium ion (less than half the size of current hybrid batteries, and are typically mounted under the floor, not in the trunk, so you still have all your cargo space, and the car is balanced very well with the bulk of the weight near the center and close to the ground instead of all in the rear like most hybrids today.

    The range of this sportster, on batteries alone, is reportedly 100-200 miles. However, less expensive systems using hybrid gas/electric can go 400+ miles, assuming you sacrifice the 0-60 in 4 seconds or less and high end features of a supercar. The gas engine gets great economy because it has no connection to the drive train. It simply runs at peak efficiency generating additional electricity. It is merely for convenience to keep you from having to fill up, and to make those long hops down lonely cross country roads where gas stations might only be 200+ miles apart (upper Canada, Midwest USA, etc).

    With a car like the GM Volt, on short, daily trips (60 miles or less total) you will be able to use ZERO gas. On longer trips, if you can stop frequently, you also use zero gas. If you let the engine run to keep the car going longer and avoid stops, you'll get about 60-80 MPG while the engine is running (depending on other electronics, headlights, DVD, etc in use while driving).

    the GM Volt will be available in 2009 now according to recent news from GM, should be about $30,000 (USD), and will go 360 miles AFTER the batteries die completely, on a "less than a 12 gallon tank" Originally, they planned a 600 mile range "after the batteries were empty" based on a 14+ gallon tank, but they recently decided to shrink the tank to reduce vehicle weight figuring more than 10 gallons on one trip would only be needed infrequently and carrying that weight year round would be a waste of efficiency. If they offer choose to offer a Li-titanate battery option as well as Li-Ion, you'll have the option of the 10 minute or less fill up (at 3 stage power locations), 2-3 hour fill-ups if you have a high amp direct line at home, or 8-10 hours on your garage 110volt outlet.

    The carbon cost of electricity will be is than half of that used in a gas engine (even better as we expand with more wind, solar, and other 100% carbon free solutions), and the cost per mile on electric will also rival even highly efficient cars (and will remain relatively consistent in price over time on green energy as fuel costs continue to skyrocket)

    Sure, the Volt is a bit small for my family, but I'm absolutely certain a crossover SUV will be available a year or two after the volt (it;s already been seen as a prototype), running on a similar platform, and still costing under $30K. GM makes many chassis that could easily be converted to the Volt's power train system, as do other vendors.

    electric cars in every garage? Well, in 30-50 years when that's likely we'll have in place a national super grid. It's already under construction, and is not only feasible, but profitable to install when considering how power companies expect to get cheap energy in the future. There's already a section ONLINE in Long Island, so I don't want to hear about how it's "vaporware." The energy costs to keep the lines super cooled with liquid nitrogen to 200+ degrees below zero is less that the average current loss over high power lines in use today, and we can run these lines hundreds of miles (potentially near a thousand) instead of our current limits of about 150, with no generated heat and conduction losses of a fraction of a percent.

    Any major store with high voltage parking lot lighting in place could offer fill-ups on 3 phase lines (walmarts, targets, etc). The power cords are NOT "unliftable" as many would lead you to believe. When they claim they are, they're referring to the long distance lines used on poles, which are designed not only to carry the electricity 24/7 without heat build-up, and with as little current loss over extreme distances as possible, but also to carry their OWN weight from pole to pole, over hundreds of foot spans. 3Phase lines of the kind needed for rapid fill up are used in theater stages, industrial lighting, and common commercial building construction today, and when hung properly from a spring assist, could easily be maneuvered into filling position by the elderly. These are also the kind of lines used in high power electric welding equipment as another example. The cords are not that much larger than you'll find on high power, 3 phase, shop equipment, like large band saws, or metal benders, equipment you'll find in any common high school shop.

    Instead of gas from oil, we can use WindFuels, aka petroleum made by combining H2 (made using wind energy) with wasted carbon stock from coal plants, and completely eliminate the use of oil from all society. Check out www.dotyenergy.com for more infor on WindFuels!

    Do the research and STOP SPREADING FUD!

  49. Michael C

    80% in 3 minutes...

    Well, to fill my gas powered car, which has a 19 gallon tank, which I typically find I'm only adding 15-17 gallons to (since I don;t want to risk running out), on average I'm standing at the pomp for 7 minutes, with about 1 minute of that answering "no, I don't want a car wash, yes I do want a receipt,..."

    If I can get 80% charge in 3 minutes, that's FASTER. Even if I took an extra couple of minutes to take a piss, and grab a drink and a snack, I'm completely OK with that. I don;t see how this will dramitally increase lines at pumps...

    ...not to mention, THERE ARE NO PUMPS, just a cord and a way to put in a credit card. EVERY parking space on the lot could dispense energy. A typical gas station near me has 12 pumps (of which 1-2 always seem out of order). On the same lot, I could imagine 20-25 electric filling stations. Since electricity also doesn't have EPA regulations to be concerned with, we can turn every grocery store parking lot into a filling station, heck, I could even have low power outlets at the office in the parkign lot, keyed to employee ID cards. (I work 8 hours, low power fill-up is 8 hours, this seems logical! Holy Shit, it's a miracle solution!)

    On a side note, as for the emissions sounds, I like the idea of that guy from the Police Academy movies faking engine sounds lol.

  50. David
    Thumb Up

    Profit margins people

    @ Dervheid, Adam et al...

    These guys are selling fast, expensive stuff first because the profit margins are much higher and you don't need to set up a complex production line.

    Once these companies establish a firm financial footing, I am sure we will see them come "down market" in terms of what is on offer. Oh look, that is exactly what Tesla are planning.

    If you can produce a Ferrari-beating supercar with a decent range then it should be a doddle to make a family hatchback do the same. The big boys know this and they know the game is up, which is why you will see a glut of lithium ion powered regular car concepts in the next couple of years. Once they get going in this space, the "boutique" manufacturers will have a tough time competing, which is why they need sports car reputations to fall back on long term. They have to establish that reputation now.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Top end first

    I can see why the industry is starting with the high end cars that cost a fortune. It's very very simple and if you can't see what it is then it's probably not worth my explaining it, but I will...

    Innovation starts and the high end and filters down. Did electronic engine management originate on a basic, low end city car or was it an expensive, high performance car? Were power steering, power windows, air conditioning

    Rich people are willing to pay for innovation, the impecunious aren't. Of course the rich people are also paying for the R&D which means the technology will gradually get cheaper and then it will be financially viable to produce a cheap(ish) car that can do 500-odd mile trips in 9 hours. Without starting at the top end.

    Or to put it more succinctly one should think before typing.

  52. Antoine Dubuc

    @David - Charge Time

    David,

    This is NOT using the same battery technology as the Tesla...

  53. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Engine noise

    You want the sound of the most appallingly loud, buttock-clenchingly badly tuned, polar-bear drowningly inefficient engine ever to come out of 1970s Detroit.

    Then pull up next to a lentil knitter's recumbent bike and watch them keel over from a heady mix of malnutrition and apoplexy.

  54. Jon Kale
    Stop

    @Dervheid

    "capable of carrying the average family and their luggage the entire journey from central Scotland to Cornwall (530 miles), in reasonable, air conditioned comfort, in a journey time of just under 9 hours (not including breaks), that won't need to be recharged en-route?"

    To the best of my knowledge, the only land vehicles extant that fit that description used to be made by the old BREL and are now built by GEC Alsthom, Bombardier et al. They've also got the upside that you can have a relaxing pre-holiday beer or three en route without incurring the wrath of the rozzers ;-)

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Pirate

    My Bugatti Veyron

    ... burns over 2 MW worth of fuel at full pelt.

    1000+bhp= approx 1000kw (1MW) output as drive + the same and then some again out of the exhaust, radiators, gearbox fluid, intercooler etc .... interesting (and utterly irrelevent comparison) over the energy calculations on here ... or maybe they have a rack of Veyron engines flat out driving generators. I'd be sat on a deckchair with my sarnies to hear that chorus.

    Charging these cars quickly is possible, and not via cables. It's more likely to be some kind of induction based system (as was used on the GM impact). Keep well away from pacemakers though. Also the re-fuelling points could potentially use some kind of capacitance to recharge themselves between cars meaning the peak supply to the station is reduced.... this is where things are heading ... the future is definitely not going to be based on hydrogen, far too tricky to move around in big enough quantities.

  56. Jamie
    Paris Hilton

    Cost...

    One thing that doesn't seem to have been mentioned much is how much it's likely to cost to charge the darn thing up...

    I'm on the train at the minute but I might have a think when I get home if no one's beaten me to a calcuation...

    Paris, cos she'll have worked it out by the time I get home.

  57. Neil Greatorex
    Coat

    @ By Michael C

    Good man, nice to see someone engage brain before posting :-)

    Remember peeps this is not /.

    I'm gone already.

  58. SnowHawk
    Stop

    Hate to piss in anyones Corn Flakes, but...

    The ICE is not going anywhere soon. The electric grid in the US, arguably one of the most robust and capable in the world, is completely inadequate to the task of supporting large numbers of electric vehicles, even if they were all charged overnight during off-peak hours. This is not going to change in the next few decades. Have you seen the opposition to even small projects to improve our grid? Google "Sunrise Power Link" for an example of the problems encountered in even a small addition/improvement to distribution infrastructure.

    This Li-Tit battery (I love that name, thanks AC) looks promising, and in fact has tested well at Argonne Laboratories when used in a Prius in place of the NiMH from the factory. Hybrids, with optional plug-in charging, are likely to be the best we can get in the near term, since they rely primarily on currently installed infrastructure.

    There are multiple projects in the works to support and sustain the oil economy. A promising technology is Algal Oil (A petroleum product produced by algae) that is being pushed by companies like Sapphire Energy. SE has already made 91 Octane Gasoline with it's process, and is currently working on scaling up the process. It can produce oil from algae directly at a cost competitive with deep sea drilling and the yields per acre are a several orders of magnitude larger than any proposed ethanol projects.

  59. Mike Hocker
    Boffin

    Calculations

    "Example: 20 kW, charge time 5 minutes, lasting for 4 hours of driving:

    The recharge power P needed is 20x(4/5)x60 = 960 kW.

    At 3x400 V, each Ampère delivers 1.2 kW. Meaning that for a recharge power P one needs a current I of P/1.2 Ampère. For a paltry 960 kW as above, 960/1.2 = 800 Ampère are needed.

    For those weaklings in math, here is the combined formula for the current needed:

    I = 20x(4/5)x60/1.2 (in Ampère). Good luck!"

    Well, lets skip the 3ph, and use just 1ph.

    30KW is a better average to use for continuous power with all the electrical stuff now a days.

    4 hours is a reasonable driving time (350KM), recharge is 10 minutes to 80% and use the 80% to provide 350KM (that is, ignore the 20% final charge that takes a long time, and one cannot use on a long trip anyway w/o waiting more than 10 min to recharge).

    P = (30KW)((4hr)(60min/hr)/(10min)) = 720KW (rate for 10 min, or in energy, 120KW-hr).

    So, for a 240 mains, for 720KW, I=3000A (for a 10min recharge)

    For a 7700 feed (pretty common), I=94A, reasonably low

    Out of curiousity, a typical house with 200A service (about 50KVA) would take around 2.4hr to charge the runabout at 100% utilization. Don't everyone in the neighborhood plug in together, or the area will go dark due to overload....

    More reasonably, at 240v/50A (12KW), it would take 10hr to recharge 120KW-hr (100% efficient recharging etc.).

    As for refueling stations, we don't know now what the best architecture for power conversion is-- but it probably is not a high current feed with expensive thick metal cables, and we certainly don't want more mass in the runabout for thick intermediate cabling. More likely is a long multicontact rod or maybe a multicontact slide in plate with multiple taps that mates closely to the battery pack (minimise mass in the vehicle, protects the contacts from electrocuting bystanders, has multiple taps to reduce the weight of the multiplicity of converters (lower voltage differential, lighter converters, vs. more then one of them), etc.). Indeed, the bulk of the converter mass ought to be off vehicle so that the (generally unused) mass isn't toted around while driving...

  60. David
    Paris Hilton

    Paris dont surf?

    @SpeakerToAliens

    I love the smell of LI-TIT in the morning!

  61. Scott

    Two Cars?

    "Or to put it more succinctly one should think before typing."

    If we did that, at least 95% of the content on the internet wouldn't exist.

    On another note, I wonder how much of a challenge it would be to set up my home's electric wiring to allow two of these cars to completely charge (out of necessity, my wife and I each have a car). I can't imagine that it would be very cheap to do so.

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Is everyone missing the obvious flaw?

    Trousers Brown is bent on everyone driving an electric car. I'm all for clean energy, however, what does he think will happen when everyone plugs in their car at night? The power grid is struggling to meet current demands as it stands. How will the power grid be able to handle the increased load? Never mind the fact that the majority of electricity production isn't clean. The nimbys sucessfully block most energy projects, regardless of how clean they may be. The other factor that people forget to consider is that emissions don't just come from the tailpipe. The whole lifecycle of the car must be considered. In the case of an electric car, the batteries require massive amounts of energy just to be built.

    Politicians need to think things through before making such sweeping policy decisions. Having necessary infrastructure in place before demading reliance on it would be a good place to start

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Jamie

    > One thing that doesn't seem to have been mentioned much is how much it's likely to cost to charge the darn thing up...

    That one's easy. Say a 36kWh battery (the lower figure given above), 100% efficiency (yeah), 10p per kWh (check your electricity bill), that makes £3.60 per charge, perhaps only half that if you're charging overnight on a dual-rate meter.

    If the range is 200 miles as specified, that would be 1.8p per mile, or £216 annually for 12,000 miles.

    Judging by how manufacturers rate laptop batteries, I'd be inclined to halve the advertised range. That's still only 3.6p per mile.

    With petrol at £1.20 per litre / £5.45 per gallon, a 50 mpg car will cost 10.9p per mile, or £1308 for 12,000 miles.

    But given that the tax rate on electricity is 5%, and the tax rate on petrol is what - 300%? - it's not exactly surprising that electricity has the edge. Electric cars are being massively subsidised.

  64. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Out of the mouths of babes and...

    I can see nobody on here has a clue about how 3phase supplies work.

    Hint: It's not a linear addition/subtraction.

  65. Uwe Dippel
    Heart

    @Will Godfrey

    Lucky, to have the expert around!

    Can you please enlighten us about the non-linear features of 3 phases, or at least point to a link that allows us to read up on our shortcomings?

  66. Jon Tocker

    @ dumbhead

    By dervheid

    Posted Tuesday 22nd July 2008 15:01 GMT:

    To all who replied to my original in the same vein;

    My point was that all these 'sports' and 'urban' (e.g. the G-Wiz) electro-cars are utterly irrelevant to the vast majority of the motoring populace, who require their car of choice to be far more than any of these offerings.

    Thanks go to the various contributors for pointing out the "practicalities" of a 10 minute / 200 mile recharge.

    And as for their 'green' credentials, where exactly does most of the electricity (currently, at least) come from to recharge them...

    That's right! Fossil Fuel!! Very fucking 'Green'

    Joke. That's the current state of electric cars."

    You seem to have a serious bee in your bonnet when it comes to electric motors - is the fact that they have better performance, efficiency, and torque- and power-curves that your beloved infernal combustion engine?

    People obviously better at thinking things through than you have already mentioned why the main thrust is currently towards expensive supersport vehicles - nice to see the rich are useful for something (mind you, that's always been the way, I guess. We get cheap and useful gadgets because the rich paid the higher prices first which paid for most of the development costs early and made the technology more cost-effective in the long run.)

    Personally, I find no problem with a 10 minute break for a piss, a coffee and a ciggy every 321.8kms or so - in fact, I tend, when travelling with kids (as per your example), to stop for rests even more frequently to stop them from getting stir-crazy. (well, actually, to take a break for a well-needed ciggy after every hour or so (80-100kms) of driving.)

    As to fossil fueled power stations, they're a damned-sight greenER than a fleet of fossil fueled vehicles - running at optimum performance and efficiency most of the time and fitted with far better exhaust management systems than any vehicle on the road.

    Your argument is: electric vehicles are not 100% green because they rely on electricity produced (in part) by the most efficient and "eco-friendly" fossil-fuel engines on the planet so therefore we should forget them and continue using fossil-fuelled vehicles of varying efficiency with substandard exhaust systems.

    Yeah, brilliant. That's right up there with "there's so much shit in our food we might as well forget eating the healthiest food we can find and chow down on cyanide."

    Nothing is 100% "green", not even living in a cave and subsisting on wild plants. Everything has a cost to the environment and if we want to make sure that environment is going to continue to sustain us, we'd be best served taking the least harmful options.

    The "it only takes the source of the pollution away from one area (the cars) and puts it in another (the power station)" is the stock argument of morons and liars (those with a pro Oil-Industry agenda) it omits the fact that the pollution in the "other" area is typically less for the same amount of energy produced and fuel consumed. (and the ratio of energy produced to fuel consumed is far better).

    Also, there are other means of generating power being worked on and developed.

  67. Mr Larrington
    Dead Vulture

    Horse

    "You're never more than 15 minutes from a Tesco in this country"

    Utter cock, and never mind northern Scotland; it can take longer than that to drive to the nearest one to Larrington Towers in London.

  68. Steve

    @JonTocker

    Is all that true once you take into account the efficiency of the transport mechanism for the power, and the efficiency of the storage and conversion to motive power?

    Is it even true in the first place, when coal is a much dirtier fuel than petrol?

  69. michael

    diffentley the way forward

    @pepol complaningin about the range

    if it realy dose have a 200 mile range on a 10min charge that that is what is required to make electric cars work my petrol car will do 350 miles max on a full tank and it takes me 5 mins to fill up and that is tech that has had dechades of development (my car that was 10 years older only dose 250 miles on it's tank) so the range of this cars is comprable to the range of petrol cars

    @ pepol complaning about lekky infructruer

    if we get more electric cars we will get the infstructor to suport them this is how it works I know it seames backwords but that is echomonics for you

    @ pepol complaning about the fact it is a £120k sports car

    GET OVER it. it is obvisoule a proff of concept modle sell the proto types to the rich and then fund the devlopment of the mass market modles

    @ pepol complaning about durty lekky

    I have said on other comment threds they are meny more whys of genrating clean lekky then clean cars

    ( suspect all thouse pepol are the same peroson)

    and as a last thought can I have my enging sound simlator sound like a putput schooter so when I burn pepol up at the lights it is ironic

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Sweet!

    I'm not really worried about the comparisons between petrol and electric, the impact on the environment at the moment or the price tag.

    Sure, I can't afford it but someone can.

    Let the rich pay for the R&D then when things have settled down, regular efficient and reliable cars will arrive for the masses and all the little kinks will be ironed out.

    Just how it was when the Car was first invented. The main population used Horses and Cars were toys of the rich.

    If people expect everything to just change overnight or complain about the progress in one embryonic field vs 100 years of R&D in another very well established (albeit stagnated) field, then their logic is a little messed up.

    And this car looks the total business.

  71. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Im going to slap the next person

    who thinks that something with a lower rate of tax than something else is "subsidised".

    E.g. Red Diesel is not "heavily subsidised", it's simply taxed less than regular DERV diesel. Electric cars are not "heavily subsidised", the electricity is taxed less per MJ than petrol is.

    "Heavily subsidised" means the government (or somebody else) actually contributing toward the cost, NOT adding less tax than usual to it.

    /flames due to discussion of highly flammable (but not subsidised) hydrocarbons

  72. masterpikey

    Fluffykins

    lancaster or spitfire dosent matter, the both use RR merlin engines

  73. dervheid

    Oh dear!

    I seem to have upset another one.

    "As to fossil fueled power stations, they're a damned-sight greenER than a fleet of fossil fueled vehicles - running at optimum performance and efficiency most of the time and fitted with far better exhaust management systems than any vehicle on the road."

    Not the two big coal fired fuckers close to me matey! Until recently, their operator used to simply pay the massive fines for causing a whole shitload of acid rain, until they were finally told that they'd HAVE to fix the problem by installing exhaust gas scrubbers and de-sulphurisation or face being shut down.

    BTW. did you actually bother your arse to read and comprehend my original post;

    "..produce an economically viable electric car, capable of carrying the average family and their luggage the entire journey from central Scotland to Cornwall (530 miles), in reasonable, air conditioned comfort, in a journey time of just under 9 hours (not including breaks), that won't need to be recharged en-route?

    That, my friends, is what's known as 'real-life' motoring. Until then, you can shove your electric (and hybrid) cars where the sun don't shine!!"

    Of course, on reflection, I maybe should have emphasised the "Until then" a little more.

    Or were you, as were a few others I suspect, simply incensed by the inflammatory title?

    I suspect you may require another "well-needed ciggy". Although your penchant for tobacco would seem to be at odds with

    "Yeah, brilliant. That's right up there with "there's so much shit in our food we might as well forget eating the healthiest food we can find and chow down on cyanide."

    and

    "taking the least harmful options"

    And as a smoker, how do you feel about your habit's contribution to global pollution and health?

    ps. It's 'fuelled' not 'fueled'.

    For those interested, using commercially available cable charts

    200A rated cable, 70mm2, 3 core, O/D 32mm, 3.1kg/m

    400A rated cable, 185mm2, 3 core, O/D 45mm, 8kg/m

    800A rated cable, 400mm2, 3 core, O/D 67mm, 15kg/m

    (Connectors not included!)

  74. Mike Flugennock
    Thumb Up

    Hot damn! The Next-Gen Bondmobile, at last!

    Sweet. Sleek. Silver, and everything! Hot damn!

    Dum duh-duh dum dumm, duh duh duh

    dum duh-duh dum dumm, duh duh duh

    Bwahhh-dah, dah-daaaa-aahhh, BAH-DAHHHH, etc.

  75. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @dervheid

    Give the trolling away mate-your just making yourself look like more of a fool with every post, particularly when you regurgitate an already discredited proposition.

  76. michael

    @dervheid

    """..produce an economically viable electric car, capable of carrying the average family and their luggage the entire journey from central Scotland to Cornwall (530 miles), in reasonable, air conditioned comfort, in a journey time of just under 9 hours (not including breaks), that won't need to be recharged en-route?

    That, my friends, is what's known as 'real-life' motoring. Until then, you can shove your electric (and hybrid) cars where the sun don't shine!!"""

    ok it is thurs day morning and I am feeling losey cos of a cold and I am servley dyslexic and can not read well so forgive me but

    3 points

    1 when you put petrol (or desail) in a car you are "recharging" it so I do not think I know of meny cars that can do 530 miles with out "recharging"

    2 I do not know of meny cars marketed as sports cars (witch this is) that can carry a family and all there lugagae

    3 if this press relise if to beleve this car can travle 530 miles in 9h (prob faster) with only stops for brakes (10mins just about enought time for a coffi and etc)

  77. Paul Stephenson
    Stop

    @derv and other bits

    "..produce an economically viable electric car, capable of carrying the average family and their luggage the entire journey from central Scotland to Cornwall (530 miles), in reasonable, air conditioned comfort, in a journey time of just under 9 hours (not including breaks), that won't need to be recharged en-route?

    That, my friends, is what's known as 'real-life' motoring. Until then, you can shove your electric (and hybrid) cars where the sun don't shine!!"

    And how often do you do that? Not ever day I suspect.

    90%+ of my driving time is spent travelling 30 miles for 45-60 minutes from home to Hull, and then the reverse in the evening. consequently, should I have an day when I travel to Wales I'd more than likely be stopping for at least 10 minutes in some motorway services for lunch/tea, at which point the car is plugged in. Why you don't see your breaks as a reasonable point to pop it on charge for a few minutes seeing as you've stopped anyway is beyond me....

    I agree with Jon that the overhead of the extra power produced by fossil fuel based power stations is a much better option if it stops the use of petrol as a fuel for cars. Granted the big coal plants are not the cleanest of places but they are now having to fit FGD (flue gas desulpharisation), etc and have carbon levvy's imposed. Not every power station is a big dirty coal fired plant either, the one where I work happens to be gas. Plus you would expect greener resources to spring up to fill the demand of the extra leccy. I would suspect that solar panels on homes would become more viable as you would not only be saving on household leccy but also the extra demand required to charge the car, thus more return on your outlay. I suspect he money saved from not buying petrol for a year would pay for solar panels anyway, but that's just conjecture I have no real figures for solar panel costs. At the current rate I'm spending about £50/week which by my maths is £2600/year, certainly a nice contribution towards some at any rate.

    The environmental benefits at any rate are far in the favour of regulated, controlled burning of fuels in power stations rather than the masses of cars on the roads. The power station will always aim for the most efficient burning of the fuel where possible, car's have to stop and speed up ,etc.

  78. SImon Hobson Silver badge

    My 2d worth

    5 minute recharge ? Forget it for the reasons previously quoted. There is NO WAY that the distribution network in pretty well any part of the country could cope with more than an occasional charging point (if that) - and definitely not rows and rows of them at Tesco. So we can't generate the sort of power required (not until we've build loads and loads of nuclear stations that the greenies will fight tooth and nail to prevent), and can't transport it to where it's needed - that is NOT going to change without a massive investment in the distribution network at all levels. If you think the roadworks now are bad, just wait till the leccy companies are digging up our streets to put the massive supplies in that these charging points would need.

    Having said that, much of my milage would come in (well) under the "under 200 miles round trip" range. A solution to the longer trips could be to install a portable petrol generator to assist the batteries - and recharge them when required load power is less than genny output. Since the genny would only need to run at full power & one speed, it could be optimised for max efficiency at that speed & power. If you have the opportunity to plug in at the destination then fine, otherwise let the genny run on for a bit to give you enough capacity for the return trip. OK, it's not all that green to run a genny to charge the batteries, but since for many people this is a small part of their total milage, the overall saving would be very significant.

  79. Jon Tocker

    hehehe

    @Steve:

    "Is all that true once you take into account the efficiency of the transport QUOTE: mechanism for the power, and the efficiency of the storage and conversion to motive power?

    Is it even true in the first place, when coal is a much dirtier fuel than petrol?"

    Sorry, didn't realise petrol was teleported to the service stations around your area (or do you fill up at the refinery?)

    Hereabouts, petrol and diesel are delivered to the service stations by fucking-great diesel-powered trucks that I've occasionally had to ride behind, so I can give wonderful first hand accounts of what it's like to get a faceful of rich black diesel smoke (motorcycle helmets aren't hermetically sealed). What, do you suppose, is the energy cost of a fully-laden fuel tanker compared with the losses through an electical conduit?

    re coal being a "dirtier" fuel: Is that with or without proper FGD and scrubbing? It seems dumbhead's beef is with coal-fired plants that were not following proper emission controls in the first place.

    We use mainly hydroelectric plants here with a few coal, gas, wind and geothermal plants as well and some businesses have solar panels to off-set their draw from the grid (ironically, they're mainly petrol stations).

    The Troll wrote:

    "Not the two big coal fired fuckers close to me matey! Until recently, their operator used to simply pay the massive fines for causing a whole shitload of acid rain, until they were finally told that they'd HAVE to fix the problem by installing exhaust gas scrubbers and de-sulphurisation or face being shut down."

    You've just told me that the issue has finally been resolved by TPTB forcing the operators to take appropriate action. What is the problem, there? The problem seems to be tight-wad, profit-loving operators not shelling out for the appropriate exhaust scrubbing and money hungry people grabbing revenue (fines) when they should have taken the "clean up or we shut you down" route sooner.

    QUOTE: "BTW. did you actually bother your arse to read and comprehend my original post;"

    Yes, and it's complete bollocks.

    "Real life motoring" does not involve trips from Scotland to Cornwall with a bunch of kids - that is not a frequent occurence.

    Real life motoring involves numerouis trips to and from work, the shops and visiting friends and family close by - with the occasional long journey such as you describe.

    Personally, we travel down to Wellington from Hamilton once, occasionally twice, a year, the rest of the time the car does short trips around town to visit friends or family or to do the weekly shopping.

    I commute five days a week by motorbike and make a number of short runs up to the shops to get fresh bread and milk and a 13-litre tank of petrol lasts me around three weeks.

    On those one or two times a year we travel to Wellington we generally stop for more than 10 minutes a number of times along the way. "Real life driving" does not entail around 850kms of non-stop driving - that works out at 8 and a half hours averaging 100kms an hour. Not even long-distance truckers drive non-stop for that long without rest breaks (well, if they do, they shouldn't be as they'd rapidly become a menace)

    QUOTE: "Of course, on reflection, I maybe should have emphasised the "Until then" a little more."

    Why? It's still an unreasonable set of criteria. A car capable of 200 miles on a single "charge" (be it electric or fossil fuel) and an infrastructure to support reasonably quick recharging en route is quite suitable for the task of lugging the kids from Scotland to Cornwall once or twice a year (maybe I should have stressed that more in my previous post) and more than enough for the average daily commute (and a fair few above average commutes).

    There are a number of home conversions with a 70-mile range and those who have built them find them quite suitable for the task of their daily commute with a stop at the shops on the way home - all on a single charge before putting it on the charger overnight. (respectable speeds and acceleration and a reasonable recharge time despite being using sealed-lead-acid batteries).

    Those guys still have to fall back on petrol vehicles for those rare occasions each year that they need to do more than 70 miles in a day - something with a 200-mile range and a 10-minute recharge would mean they could ditch their petrol/diesel cars. I rather doubt you'd hear them bitching that you can't travel 530 miles on a single charge.

    QUOTE: "And as a smoker, how do you feel about your habit's contribution to global pollution and health?"

    Actually, I only smoke in the hopes that trolls will die from passive smoking.

    QUOTE: "ps. It's 'fuelled' not 'fueled'."

    Oh, well, that proves you're right then. My arguments for electic vehicles lie in tatters, I am dejected.

    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fuel

    "1. Something consumed to produce energy, especially:

    a. A material such as wood, coal, gas, or oil burned to produce heat or power.

    b. Fissionable material used in a nuclear reactor.

    c. Nutritive material metabolized by a living organism; food.

    2. Something that maintains or stimulates an activity or emotion: "Money is the fuel of a volunteer organization" Natalie de Combray.

    v. fueled also fuelled, fueling also fuel·ling, fuels also fuels "

    Oh, wait, it's an acceptable alternative spelling. silly me, I mean, silly you.

  80. Disco-Legend-Zeke
    Paris Hilton

    Until Now, you could not charge a battery fast enough to stop a car.

    Some commercially available backup power systems use ultra high RPM spinning carbon fiber cores. In the event of a power failure, a single rack sized storage unit can output 250 KW for 15 seconds, just long enough for the diesel backups to kick in.

    Mass in motion is a very efficient way to store power, And a moving vehicle still containes all the energy that accellerated it. We can slow or stop by converting the motion of our vehicle back into electricity but previous battery technology could not absorb the charge fast enough, resulting in additional losses.

    Li-Tit (horray-at least i won't forget it) will improve the efficiency or regenerative braking, I had a long conversation with the lessee of an EV1, in addition to the incredible accelleration, it had a very reasonable range. EVen with the primitive battery technology of the day, the benefits of regenerative braking gave the EV1 a range of 150 miles. But he told me in order to get much benefit, he learned to let the motors slow down the car as much as possible before using the conventional brakes to stop. Many Americans were somewhat dissappointed with their hybrids because they like to drive right up to the corner and cram on the brakes. Faster recharging means less of a penalty for this driving style.

    As far as range, day to day use of a car is shopping, commuting, taxiing, etc. Longer trips would become possible as fast charge stations came online, but the real savings of regenerative braking show up most in city and suburban driving anyway.

    Paris because she is increasing our alternative transportation options at a Party next Tuesday, where she will be introducing her new line of shoes.

  81. Jon Tocker

    Cheers, Disco-Legend-Zeke

    I hadn't thought of the side effects of fast charge capability on regenerative braking. Wonderful how solving one issue can solve others.

  82. Roni Leben
    Thumb Up

    First production car with in-wheel motors?

    Great job Lightning!

    Hope they make it into production; Tesla is, sadly, still not there after 2+ years of delay...

    A Subaru Impreza & PML's Mini used 4 in-wheel motors, but no production car yet (AFAIK). In PML's case they probably used their Mini to test the motors for the Lightning?

    480kW @ wheels is very impressive. Assume "36Kw of power" for the battery should be 36kWh (of energy)?

    Only (very small) minus I can think of: The car shows is a derivative from petrol engine version and it shows; it has a large forward engine bay which looks it could house a V12 ICE... With in-wheel motors, designers can be more innovative since engine bay is needless & the car design could be quite different. Maybe next time.

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