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#1592 of 1623 The Toyesla
Apr 14, 2011 (8:19 am)
First drive of the RAV4 EV being built with Tesla:
By MARK VAUGHN on 4/14/2011
For the most part, we're still looking off into the future when it comes to EVs. Right now, the only mass-produced electric car you can actually buy from a major manufacturer is the Nissan Leaf. But next year, the market will be crawling with them. Toyota will have three if you count the plug-in: the Scion iQ, the plug-in Toyota Prius and the Toyota RAV4 EV.
We had a long-term plug-in Prius prototype a few months ago. We haven't driven the iQ yet, and this week, we got to drive a five-mile suburban loop in a RAV4 EV prototype. We found it just about ready for market right now.
But we're easier to please than Toyota, apparently. The production version of the RAV4 EV won't arrive for another year, but the prototype was so close to production standards that other car companies could learn a lot from Toyota.
Both Tesla and Toyota are hoping to learn from each other in this partnership. Tesla, which makes the powertrain for this battery-electric car in a partnership with Toyota, is hoping to learn about manufacturing. Toyota, for its part, is hoping to learn about electric cars and also about how to make a corporate decision in less than two years and with fewer than 16 layers of management, each layer of which is desperately trying to preserve its job and not rock the boat.
It could be a marriage made in heaven, or at least in Fremont, the northern California town where these things will be made.
The drivetrain shares a lot of componentry with the Tesla Roadster, including the power control module that sits topmost in the "engine" bay and the lithium-ion battery packs that ride slung beneath the front and rear seats. Specific parts of the powertrain will be different from those in the Tesla Roadster, but we will get details on those closer to production.
The prototype RAV4 EV weighs about 3,860 pounds, which is 220 pounds more than the gasoline-powered RAV4. The extra weight comes from the lithium-ion batteries carried in two modules beneath the front and rear seats. Toyota says there are 37 kilowatt-hours of "useable" power in those batteries, no doubt referring to the top 80 percent of capacity, below which engineers prefer not dipping in order to preserve battery life. So we could probably round up battery capacity in this rig to 40 kilowatt-hours, which is substantial.
That battery is about 50 percent bigger than the one in the Leaf, and Toyota says to expect 100 miles-plus of "real-world range" despite the RAV4's heavier curb weight.
There was a fairly high amount of regenerative braking dialed into the RAV, which really slowed the car as soon as we lifted off the accelerator. But the production version will likely have far less regen. When we suggested a thumb wheel to adjust regen on the fly, so that you could coast or decel depending on what was most efficient, we didn't get any takers among the Toyota techs present. So don't look for that feature come 2012.
There was no output listed for the motor on the prototype. The Tesla Roadster's motor is 185 kilowatts, but a production SUV would almost certainly have a lower peak output than that. We'll find out soon enough.
Despite the extra weight of the electric version, Toyota claims a 0-to-60-mph time of 9.3 seconds for the RAV4 EV, which is only a tenth slower than the smaller, lighter Nissan Leaf we just tested. Though we brought our test gear to the drive, there was nowhere on the route flat enough and straight enough to try a 0-to-60 run of our own. But it felt about that quick, maybe quicker.
The RAV4 EV felt perfectly fine accelerating away from stoplights and in pseudo-passing maneuvers. Toyota lists top speed at a more-than-adequate 100 mph.
Packaging the batteries under the floor left the luggage space unencumbered in back, one of the advantages to this relatively large vehicle. And seating for five was perfectly up to the standards of the class.
So here we sit, at least a year ahead of the coming wave of electric cars and plug-in hybrids from manufacturers all across the board. For those car buyers eager to recharge instead of refuel, that's a long way off. But the early indicators are all pointing to nicely finished, entirely useable, real-world "cars."
#1593 of 1623 Re: The Toyesla [larsb]
Apr 14, 2011 (8:22 am)
I bet it will be a very short list of models that you can actually buy outright and not be forced to lease.(with no ability to buy it at the end)
#1594 of 1623 save 50%-90% going EV dudes
Jul 21, 2011 (8:25 am)
According to Northeast Group (NG), an energy sector research and consulting firm based in Washington D.C., it's "always cheaper to recharge an electric vehicle than to fuel a conventional gas-powered vehicle." In fact, NG claims that in some scenarios, charging a plug-in costs one-tenth as much as fueling a conventional vehicle. Here's NG's exact wording:
In all scenarios we studied, the costs to recharge an electric vehicle were cheaper than fueling a gasoline-powered car. In the most likely electric vehicle charging scenarios, costs were approximately one-tenth to half the costs of fueling a conventional vehicle with gasoline.
NG briefly justifies its claim, stating:
Electric utilities in the U.S. are encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles by rolling out electric vehicle-specific tariffs to their customers. These tariffs take different forms, ranging from time-of-use (TOU) tariffs to flat rate tariffs. With the TOU tariffs, customers receive cheaper rates when they charge during off-peak times. With the flat rate tariffs – i.e. $40 per month – all charging is typically covered.
The study, titled "United States Smart Grid: Utility Electric Vehicle Tariffs," (pdf order form) includes a breakdown of the electric vehicle tariffs from ten utilities in six different U.S. states (California, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon and Texas) and proves (again) that plug-ins are remarkably cheap to charge.
[Source: Northeast Group | Images: Copyright 2011 Jeff Glucker / AOL]
#1596 of 1623 Re: Going the distance [rorr]
Aug 24, 2011 (5:20 am)
EVs face significant battery-related challenges:
Driving range. Most EVs can only go 150 miles (or less) before recharging—gasoline vehicles can go over 300 miles before refueling.
Recharge time. Fully recharging the battery pack can take 4 to 8 hours.
Battery cost: The large battery packs are expensive and usually must be replaced one or more times.
Bulk & weight: Battery packs are heavy and take up considerable vehicle space.
Researchers are working on improved battery technologies to increase driving range and decrease recharging time, replacement frequency, weight, and cost. These factors will ultimately determine the future of EVs.
#1597 of 1623 Re: Going the distance [goldenfuel]
Aug 24, 2011 (9:30 am)
USA drivers are spoiled and selfish is one problem.
Well, a huge part of it is that people need to understand that RIGHT NOW, an EV is unlikely to function in most families as a PRIMARY CAR.
It can serve a HUGE number of families, as is right now, as a second car, a "commuter" car.
The fact remains that the average round-trip commute is 46 minutes.
Almost everyone who falls under that category, and who drives to an office with less than 4 people, could use a Volt or a Leaf for that commute, right now.
The high cost is a problem, as is the charging requirement.
Many commuters (especially in big urban areas) live in apartments, condos, or in a living situation which does not give them the option for overnight charging.
Virtually anyone in the USA who:
1. Owns a home (or has access to a garage or a carport), and
2. Can afford a $350-$400 car payment, and
3. Has a commute of less than 100 miles round-trip, and
4. Travels to work with 4 or fewer people (including the driver), and
5. Does not need to haul or pull something
could use a Leaf or a Volt right now for their commute.
That's a BIG number.
The EV marketers need to do a better job of getting the word out.
Battery technology needs to improve also.
#1598 of 1623 I guess it's a good safety tip
by pf_flyer HOST
Nov 01, 2012 (10:14 am)
See the story about the 16 Fisker Karmas that burned up in NJ after being flooded in salt water because of Hurricane Sandy? At $100K a pop, that's serious money!
#1600 of 1623 Electric - too good to be true?
Nov 06, 2007 (2:16 pm)
This all electric car seems too good to be true. I wonder if it will live up to it's expectations. No price tag listed. I love the fact that it's a cruck (car-truck), even with living up to he hype, would the cost of electricity recharge at night be too costly?
#1601 of 1623 They are all
Nov 08, 2007 (6:55 am)
They are all "too good to be true" until they start landing in driveways.
This one looks as promising as any I have seen. Maybe they can keep the price under $30K and actually sell some of them.