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Published on November 23rd, 2008 | by Nick Chambers

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Nissan Stealthily on Track for Electric Car World Domination

November 23rd, 2008 by  
 

As the dust settles out from the 2008 LA Auto Show, Nissan has clearly emerged as the car company to beat in our transportation future.

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From a green perspective, even though the Mini E is getting the most hype, the Mitsubishi i MiEV is one hell of a fun car to drive, and the Honda FCX Clarity is cutting edge, those are just cars. The true measure of a car company lies in its strategies, and, after Nissan’s recent media blitz, the company has shown that there is not a single other auto manufacturer out there who “just gets it” like they do.

“What’s so cohesive and salient about Nissan’s big-picture strategy,” you ask? Here are some snippets:

  • Nissan is bringing the first of their electric cars to market by 2010 in many locations around the United States. According to Alan Buddendeck, Nissan’s VP for North American Corporate Communications, this car will be priced between $22-$25K and have at least a range of 100 miles.
  • By 2012, Nissan will be bringing an entire lineup of affordable electric cars (sedans, minivans, compact cars, and sports cars) to the world market. This isn’t just some limited roll-out, and they’re beyond serious about it. Their overarching business plan has been re-written to focus on zero emissions vehicles.
  • Nissan has rolled out a rather ingenious plan of collaboration with as many state, local and federal organizations that are willing to cooperate with them to develop the infrastructure needed for an electric car-based society.
  • They have taken much of their top-level engineering and marketing talent and fully diverted them into the electric car project. Besides allowing Nissan to reach their goals, this strategy seems to have energized and remoralized the company as a whole — you can see it in the way they present themselves.
  • In addition to diverting huge amounts of resources to the project, Nissan has made the conscious decision to open otherwise proprietary information to their partners. Essentially it seems that Nissan has gone mildly “open source” in their approach to Getting Things Done. Power to the people.

It’s actually this last point that convinced me Nissan is the one to beat — the dominant force to follow into our seemingly overwhelming challenge — and I’ll tell you how I got clued into this reality. While I was down in LA last week, I had the chance to talk with several high-ranking project management types from many different companies

When I asked Peter Krams, the engineer in charge of the Mini E project, if Mini was interested in conducting the same partnerships as Nissan and what he thought about Nissan’s strategies, I was surprised by his answers.

Mini is of the mindset that all of their development should remain in house to protect their bottom line and that Nissan’s strategy is stupid because it doesn’t maintain their intellectual property. So, essentially, Mini wants nothing to do with the sharing of ideas because they think they won’t maximize their profits if they do. That’s so f-in old school, it drives me nuts. My immediate thought was, “I guess we’ll be seeing you in the junkyard then.” Mini will be left in the dust with this mentality.

Likewise, when I talked with David Patterson, Mitsubishi’s senior manager for regulatory affairs and certification, and asked him about Nissan’s strategies in Oregon, his reaction showed that perhaps Nissan had beaten them to the punch and he wished Mitsubishi had had the idea first. In fact, after Nissan’s announcement of collaboration with Oregon, apparently Mitsubishi called up some officials in the state to see if they could get a piece of the pie. While it’s exceedingly cool of Mitsubishi to realize how good Nissan’s strategy is, at this point they’re playing catch up.

One final point: If the Big Three are swirling the toilet bowl drain getting ready to be flushed, Nissan represents the exact opposite. In fact, Nissan could be the blueprint for the Big Three US automakers to pull themselves out of their nosedives and stop bellyaching about this or that problem that has held them down.

Look, if GM, Chrysler and Ford would put out a plan like Nissan’s, they’d find much less resistance in the public towards a bailout. How difficult is it really? In a way, Nissan’s plan is simply common sense orchestrated on a grand scale and communicated precisely.

Which is why it strikes such a chord with the public. It does the world a true service while at the same time positioning Nissan for automotive domination. In many cases, people simply need to see good leadership and they’re convinced. In fact, as I hinted at before, we may be witnessing the birth of a new paradigm in corporate strategy, the introduction of “open source” business planning.

If I’m right, It’s a bold new plan for this brave new world and I wish Nissan all the best — but, from what I’ve seen, they really don ‘t seem to need it.


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About the Author

Not your traditional car guy.



  • ChuckL

    Well Nick, there is a major problem with what you are calling “the big picture”. The range of only 100 miles means at least 10 recharging stops to visit any of my relatives. This is simply NOT FEASIBLE.

    Then we have the marketability of these cars. They require major subsidies which should not be provided by governments trying to recover from a government induced financial disaster by creating jobs. Subsidies to overseas manufacturers just won’t do that.

    We are apparently in agreement on the protection of so called “Intellectual Property”, which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Of course, Orwell’s thought police would be happy to disagree.

    Unfortunately the U. S. auto industry did not get to rebuild from scratch after World War II, but they did have social engineering laws that required them to negotiate with one union for all of the industry while facing threats of legal action against the Cartel if they joined together to obtain equal bargaining power. Much if not most of the problems that the auto industry in this country has is tied into law that requires them to continue to pay excessive amounts of money to terminate the contracts of dealerships that they no longer can use and former employees who refused to be retrained. They have been saddled with government designs of cars that simply were not good engineering practice. I know that Ford has a Fiesta that gets incredible mileage, but to meet U. S. safety requirements they would have to sell 300,000 of them to pay for the modifications needed. They are very unlikely to get real relief from the newly elected socialist party that calls itself “Democratic”. The 73 MPG Fiesta does have a few non-conforming problems. It’s not a hybrid, nor is it electric. It’s just a diesel.

    Because of the laws that they were build to meet, the U. S. Auto Companies have true labor costs that are close to twice that of the foreign companies. Because of the distances that we drive, especially on vacations, cars are big to provide room for full sized adults. That means about 2 meters tall and about 90 Kg in weight. Then many of us tend to tow travel trailers. A light one, mine is light, gross at about 4800 Lbs. (about 2200 KG)

    The inclusion of “light trucks” which category includes Ford pickups through at least the F-250 are work vehicles that can not logically be expected to attain anywhere near the desired fuel mileage.

    I should personally like to have a Ford F-150, with the twin turbo diesel that is used in the Jaguar XF-2.7-D and a transmission that I could control both the shift points and the torque converter lock up as long as I didn’t try to keep the RPM low enough to harm anything. I should expect about 30+ mpg empty and not less than 20 while towing.

    Gas 2.0 has been a good source of information on economical vehicles and trends, but there is too much emphasis on mileage to the exclusion of usefulness.

  • ChuckL

    Well Nick, there is a major problem with what you are calling “the big picture”. The range of only 100 miles means at least 10 recharging stops to visit any of my relatives. This is simply NOT FEASIBLE.

    Then we have the marketability of these cars. They require major subsidies which should not be provided by governments trying to recover from a government induced financial disaster by creating jobs. Subsidies to overseas manufacturers just won’t do that.

    We are apparently in agreement on the protection of so called “Intellectual Property”, which is an oxymoron if I ever heard one. Of course, Orwell’s thought police would be happy to disagree.

    Unfortunately the U. S. auto industry did not get to rebuild from scratch after World War II, but they did have social engineering laws that required them to negotiate with one union for all of the industry while facing threats of legal action against the Cartel if they joined together to obtain equal bargaining power. Much if not most of the problems that the auto industry in this country has is tied into law that requires them to continue to pay excessive amounts of money to terminate the contracts of dealerships that they no longer can use and former employees who refused to be retrained. They have been saddled with government designs of cars that simply were not good engineering practice. I know that Ford has a Fiesta that gets incredible mileage, but to meet U. S. safety requirements they would have to sell 300,000 of them to pay for the modifications needed. They are very unlikely to get real relief from the newly elected socialist party that calls itself “Democratic”. The 73 MPG Fiesta does have a few non-conforming problems. It’s not a hybrid, nor is it electric. It’s just a diesel.

    Because of the laws that they were build to meet, the U. S. Auto Companies have true labor costs that are close to twice that of the foreign companies. Because of the distances that we drive, especially on vacations, cars are big to provide room for full sized adults. That means about 2 meters tall and about 90 Kg in weight. Then many of us tend to tow travel trailers. A light one, mine is light, gross at about 4800 Lbs. (about 2200 KG)

    The inclusion of “light trucks” which category includes Ford pickups through at least the F-250 are work vehicles that can not logically be expected to attain anywhere near the desired fuel mileage.

    I should personally like to have a Ford F-150, with the twin turbo diesel that is used in the Jaguar XF-2.7-D and a transmission that I could control both the shift points and the torque converter lock up as long as I didn’t try to keep the RPM low enough to harm anything. I should expect about 30+ mpg empty and not less than 20 while towing.

    Gas 2.0 has been a good source of information on economical vehicles and trends, but there is too much emphasis on mileage to the exclusion of usefulness.

  • Nissan has realised that EVs are the vehicles of the future and that there is tremendous demand in the market for alternative fuel vehicles and EVs in particular.

  • Nissan has realised that EVs are the vehicles of the future and that there is tremendous demand in the market for alternative fuel vehicles and EVs in particular.

  • FerdieS

    Wow, Nick – this is a good start. I for one is of great belief that the car in the future sees no touch whatsoever in the exclusive, traditional fossil fuel type. I mean if Nissan is pushing the levers upstream to electric dimensions, some form of momentum has to keep it rolling. Good that Mitsubishi is feeling the drag; I hope that other leading car makers would follow. Honestly, though, I agree with ChuckL above that the “limitation” these type of vehicles run with pose some hassle on the users. So my sixpence solution is on a form of mechanical-electrical “sharing” of energy generation to run cars. I mean, instead of “external charging” as it goes with Nissan’s, it would be “internal charging” mechanism. My point is – there will be a mix of Eastern and Western “technology” to do this. The Chinese put it on toys. And about a decade or so ago, some places in Africa used the technology (benefiting from the support of UN volunteers) to renew the power of their portable radios (obviously they can’t buy their own battery to power on such “luxury”). I said above about a mix in east and west. So about the west, well, the electrical and electronics advancement in the last two decades is very well ripe to harness this technology. Sorry to keep you guessing. Perhaps a few correspondences will bring this about. I’m just thinking where to work this out – whether in the motor industry or the academe first. More power to you and Gas 2.0!

  • FerdieS

    Wow, Nick – this is a good start. I for one is of great belief that the car in the future sees no touch whatsoever in the exclusive, traditional fossil fuel type. I mean if Nissan is pushing the levers upstream to electric dimensions, some form of momentum has to keep it rolling. Good that Mitsubishi is feeling the drag; I hope that other leading car makers would follow. Honestly, though, I agree with ChuckL above that the “limitation” these type of vehicles run with pose some hassle on the users. So my sixpence solution is on a form of mechanical-electrical “sharing” of energy generation to run cars. I mean, instead of “external charging” as it goes with Nissan’s, it would be “internal charging” mechanism. My point is – there will be a mix of Eastern and Western “technology” to do this. The Chinese put it on toys. And about a decade or so ago, some places in Africa used the technology (benefiting from the support of UN volunteers) to renew the power of their portable radios (obviously they can’t buy their own battery to power on such “luxury”). I said above about a mix in east and west. So about the west, well, the electrical and electronics advancement in the last two decades is very well ripe to harness this technology. Sorry to keep you guessing. Perhaps a few correspondences will bring this about. I’m just thinking where to work this out – whether in the motor industry or the academe first. More power to you and Gas 2.0!

  • whatsupschuck

    Chuck, you seem to blow the whole concept of ZEV without even considering some well known solutions to extend the 100 mile range.

    First, we’re already seeing a charging station infrastructure going in around the San Francisco Bay area, Portland and Las Vegas and will likely be ubiquitous in a short time since they can compliment existing gas stations and this was alluded to in the article. Since you seem to be ignorant of this potential solution I’ll inform you that unlike a home charging unit that runs on 110 or 220 volts and takes many hours to charge, the commercial charging station operates at a significantly higher voltage and most models can be completely recharged in less than ten minutes which is probably only slightly longer than you will spend pumping gas and buying a coffee. In fact, you’ll probably spend about half that much time waiting in line or waiting for somebody to get out of the bathroom at a gas station already.

    Secondly, for infrequent long-haul trips another commonly suggested solution is a tow-behind rental battery pack that could extend the range to beyond five hundred miles. It would be prohibitively costly to put that much battery capacity in each car for daily use, but for long road trips there’s absolutely no reason why it wouldn’t solve your problem. Alternately, if storage space was not at a premium in the trunk then a rental trunk unit could be added for those long haul scenarios. Try to think out of the box Chuck bro, this is an important in a way that getting thirty miles to the gallon in your F150 is not. The time for incremental change is already past.

    And this is not even getting into the carry-over effect that electric vehicle technology would have in creating the basis for a smart grid.

  • whatsupschuck

    Chuck, you seem to blow the whole concept of ZEV without even considering some well known solutions to extend the 100 mile range.

    First, we’re already seeing a charging station infrastructure going in around the San Francisco Bay area, Portland and Las Vegas and will likely be ubiquitous in a short time since they can compliment existing gas stations and this was alluded to in the article. Since you seem to be ignorant of this potential solution I’ll inform you that unlike a home charging unit that runs on 110 or 220 volts and takes many hours to charge, the commercial charging station operates at a significantly higher voltage and most models can be completely recharged in less than ten minutes which is probably only slightly longer than you will spend pumping gas and buying a coffee. In fact, you’ll probably spend about half that much time waiting in line or waiting for somebody to get out of the bathroom at a gas station already.

    Secondly, for infrequent long-haul trips another commonly suggested solution is a tow-behind rental battery pack that could extend the range to beyond five hundred miles. It would be prohibitively costly to put that much battery capacity in each car for daily use, but for long road trips there’s absolutely no reason why it wouldn’t solve your problem. Alternately, if storage space was not at a premium in the trunk then a rental trunk unit could be added for those long haul scenarios. Try to think out of the box Chuck bro, this is an important in a way that getting thirty miles to the gallon in your F150 is not. The time for incremental change is already past.

    And this is not even getting into the carry-over effect that electric vehicle technology would have in creating the basis for a smart grid.

  • Sane

    “This is simply NOT FEASIBLE.”

    Not for you maybe but why should everyone should drive big gas guzzling pickups just because you want to?

    Even in america the majority of people wouldn’t need to travel more than 100 miles on a day to day basis.

    If you need to travel further than there are other options.

    Talk about selfishness.

  • Sane

    “This is simply NOT FEASIBLE.”

    Not for you maybe but why should everyone should drive big gas guzzling pickups just because you want to?

    Even in america the majority of people wouldn’t need to travel more than 100 miles on a day to day basis.

    If you need to travel further than there are other options.

    Talk about selfishness.

  • Robby

    Chuck,

    While I’m actually in the same situation (long commutes for various tasks), we aren’t, and shouldn’t be considered the majority market. There can’t be an all or nothing approach.

    100 miles per charge will satisfy millions of people who don’t have that type of commute. It’ll also break congestion pollution in dense areas as sitting in traffic could be considered pollution free.

    It could be said the main win this type of car could have is a second family vehicle, where it doesn’t need to satisfy long trips anyways, just mild commutes.

    The thing is, if you can break into the public perception and create segments on how much you *need* a car and for what type of trips (as opposed to size (suvs etc) = less mileage) you can break the market into maintainable chunks.

    Those who don’t *need* a car that can take extended trips can use an electric model, those that do can define a market that includes other options – hybrids, diesels, etc.

    When we hit a utopia approach that gas was thought to be, we can approach it differently, but if Nissan can use short range electric cars to effectively bring the conversation to be what it should be (need vs want), we shouldn’t get worked up on the market it’s not useful.

  • Robby

    Chuck,

    While I’m actually in the same situation (long commutes for various tasks), we aren’t, and shouldn’t be considered the majority market. There can’t be an all or nothing approach.

    100 miles per charge will satisfy millions of people who don’t have that type of commute. It’ll also break congestion pollution in dense areas as sitting in traffic could be considered pollution free.

    It could be said the main win this type of car could have is a second family vehicle, where it doesn’t need to satisfy long trips anyways, just mild commutes.

    The thing is, if you can break into the public perception and create segments on how much you *need* a car and for what type of trips (as opposed to size (suvs etc) = less mileage) you can break the market into maintainable chunks.

    Those who don’t *need* a car that can take extended trips can use an electric model, those that do can define a market that includes other options – hybrids, diesels, etc.

    When we hit a utopia approach that gas was thought to be, we can approach it differently, but if Nissan can use short range electric cars to effectively bring the conversation to be what it should be (need vs want), we shouldn’t get worked up on the market it’s not useful.

  • Gareth

    With all due respect, perhaps you should consider taking less 2,000km roundtrip vacations? Here in New Zealand, that would be an obscene distance to drive on a regular basis. The ethos behind such a vehicle is that 90% of people will drive less than 100km in a given work day 95% of the time. I would sacrifice some distance in return for saving thousands of dollars in my fuel bill every year – most people would. You may continue to drive huge cars with full petrol engines but cars like this will be the future.

    I’ve seen one too many people stick up for the “big 3” now. The cars are gas-guzzling and unreliable. The rest of the world has known this for quite some time and laughed a little on the inside whenever we saw and imported GM or Chrysler roaming our roads. Whatever arguments you may have, the cars simply don’t sell to what the public wants now.

  • Gareth

    With all due respect, perhaps you should consider taking less 2,000km roundtrip vacations? Here in New Zealand, that would be an obscene distance to drive on a regular basis. The ethos behind such a vehicle is that 90% of people will drive less than 100km in a given work day 95% of the time. I would sacrifice some distance in return for saving thousands of dollars in my fuel bill every year – most people would. You may continue to drive huge cars with full petrol engines but cars like this will be the future.

    I’ve seen one too many people stick up for the “big 3” now. The cars are gas-guzzling and unreliable. The rest of the world has known this for quite some time and laughed a little on the inside whenever we saw and imported GM or Chrysler roaming our roads. Whatever arguments you may have, the cars simply don’t sell to what the public wants now.

  • If you need to go 1000 miles there are many options. Take a train. Fly a plane. Rent a hybrid car for the weekend.

    For 90% of Americans, 90% of the time – a 100 mile range is optimal.

    You seem to be making a lot of excuses when in reality we need action.

    It is easy to blame the labor unions, but the fact remains that even if the junk that the big three puts out was $3000 less per vehicle, it would still be junk – so your point is moot.

    As for the Fiesta, a few modifications have little to do with not selling them here. Americans don’t buy diesel.

    I applaud Nissan for their visionary thinking and am excited to trade in my Maxima for one of their next gen offerings.

  • If you need to go 1000 miles there are many options. Take a train. Fly a plane. Rent a hybrid car for the weekend.

    For 90% of Americans, 90% of the time – a 100 mile range is optimal.

    You seem to be making a lot of excuses when in reality we need action.

    It is easy to blame the labor unions, but the fact remains that even if the junk that the big three puts out was $3000 less per vehicle, it would still be junk – so your point is moot.

    As for the Fiesta, a few modifications have little to do with not selling them here. Americans don’t buy diesel.

    I applaud Nissan for their visionary thinking and am excited to trade in my Maxima for one of their next gen offerings.

  • Mike

    Being “open source” is not a guarantee of business success or dominance. That is, unless you think IBM still dominates the PC world.

  • Mike

    Being “open source” is not a guarantee of business success or dominance. That is, unless you think IBM still dominates the PC world.

  • Darris

    Dude, it might not work for you, but in Los Angeles and New York City and other huge cities like that, 100 miles on a charge is extremely feasible. Going out of town could be done through public transit and rent-a-cars.

  • Darris

    Dude, it might not work for you, but in Los Angeles and New York City and other huge cities like that, 100 miles on a charge is extremely feasible. Going out of town could be done through public transit and rent-a-cars.

  • BreaksWind

    I haven’t purchased anything out of Detroit since 1987. They tend to follow the paradigm of “if at first you don’t succeed, do it wrong again”.

    For 50 weeks of the year I drive less than 100mi. a day. For 2 weeks I may or may not drive over 100mi a day, making a rental or commercial carrier a viable option.

    If the production costs come down, it’s a “no brainer”

  • BreaksWind

    I haven’t purchased anything out of Detroit since 1987. They tend to follow the paradigm of “if at first you don’t succeed, do it wrong again”.

    For 50 weeks of the year I drive less than 100mi. a day. For 2 weeks I may or may not drive over 100mi a day, making a rental or commercial carrier a viable option.

    If the production costs come down, it’s a “no brainer”

  • JOshua

    What a very well thought out writing! Instead of operating our lives completely focused upon ourselves and strictly how much profit we will gain individually. We need to concentrate upon what outcomes our actions will produce. For us and the rest of our world!! All of this B/S about labor unions and CEOs being paid enormous sums of money is a waste of time!!

    The simple fact is that the money our manufacturing companies save. Frome the improvement in efficiency and cost savings of a more robotic and advanced manufacturing process. Is wrongfully being HoGGED (OINK OiNK) by money addicted arrogant CEOs and their pals in our government.

    IT is a fact that the rapid growing improvement in the technology used to produce our vehicles. Has eliminated jobs and freed up money that goes into the wrong hands!!

    It is complete B/S that the manufacturing technology that eliminates costs and employees in an ever increasing speed is producing more jobs! Because as our ability to streamline the manufacturing process grows. The amount of people needed to be involved lessens.

    We are past a point where technology creates more jobs. The difficulty to manipulate and utilize our new tech is becoming increasingly simple! This is common sense!!

    The real problem is the arrogance and fear of the upper and mid management levels in industry. That continue to exist in a dangerous state of DENIAL. These sad specimens are realizing that technology is not only replacing the low level manufacturing jobs.

    But has also begun to eliminate many of the top level jobs!

    The fact of the matter is that much of our manufacturing technology has become so simple to operate that my 12 year old cousin could operate it.

    The CEO’s and their crooners in Washington and their attempt to cover up their arrogance theft are right at this moment! Trying to cover up the harm they have been causing the world!

    Remember that it is not their fault!! this is a completely new problem of society!! In which the amount of physical labor required to run the world has shrunken below the population…

    This is only human Nature! and i Believe that if we quickly move past this mistake. The human race can heal and the mistake can go down in history as the day Humanity joined together and changed all of our lives for the better!

    AMEN! IN These times more than ever we need too express an attitude of compasssion for the real mistake is all of ours!

    DO NOT FING FAULT!! FIND A REMEDY!!

  • JOshua

    What a very well thought out writing! Instead of operating our lives completely focused upon ourselves and strictly how much profit we will gain individually. We need to concentrate upon what outcomes our actions will produce. For us and the rest of our world!! All of this B/S about labor unions and CEOs being paid enormous sums of money is a waste of time!!

    The simple fact is that the money our manufacturing companies save. Frome the improvement in efficiency and cost savings of a more robotic and advanced manufacturing process. Is wrongfully being HoGGED (OINK OiNK) by money addicted arrogant CEOs and their pals in our government.

    IT is a fact that the rapid growing improvement in the technology used to produce our vehicles. Has eliminated jobs and freed up money that goes into the wrong hands!!

    It is complete B/S that the manufacturing technology that eliminates costs and employees in an ever increasing speed is producing more jobs! Because as our ability to streamline the manufacturing process grows. The amount of people needed to be involved lessens.

    We are past a point where technology creates more jobs. The difficulty to manipulate and utilize our new tech is becoming increasingly simple! This is common sense!!

    The real problem is the arrogance and fear of the upper and mid management levels in industry. That continue to exist in a dangerous state of DENIAL. These sad specimens are realizing that technology is not only replacing the low level manufacturing jobs.

    But has also begun to eliminate many of the top level jobs!

    The fact of the matter is that much of our manufacturing technology has become so simple to operate that my 12 year old cousin could operate it.

    The CEO’s and their crooners in Washington and their attempt to cover up their arrogance theft are right at this moment! Trying to cover up the harm they have been causing the world!

    Remember that it is not their fault!! this is a completely new problem of society!! In which the amount of physical labor required to run the world has shrunken below the population…

    This is only human Nature! and i Believe that if we quickly move past this mistake. The human race can heal and the mistake can go down in history as the day Humanity joined together and changed all of our lives for the better!

    AMEN! IN These times more than ever we need too express an attitude of compasssion for the real mistake is all of ours!

    DO NOT FING FAULT!! FIND A REMEDY!!

  • jpm100

    The Honda clarity may be “cutting edge” and technically production, but 200 vehicle leased over three years?

    I wonder if this will turn out no different.

  • jpm100

    The Honda clarity may be “cutting edge” and technically production, but 200 vehicle leased over three years?

    I wonder if this will turn out no different.

  • MaximusExposurus

    I drive over 130 miles per day to and from work – long story why (saving up for a house)… The EV wouldnt make sense for me yet, however I’m sure in this plug n play society a car designer is going to sit down and say:

    “Hey what if we build a modulable vehicle? Like have the hatchback come off with relative ease and have a back attach to the back – this back has a large array of batteries… turning your trusty 100 mile per trip hatchback into a (still) trusty 600 mile per trip station-wagon…”

    All the big 3 have to do is realise that the publics product knowlege is very good these days – many people research prior to purchases now, especially large purchases like (you guessed it) cars… People like stable, effective vehicles.

    So I guess for now I’m stuck with dirty gas car, by the time EV’s are on the road here in Canada I’ll be able to purchase one anyways, and hopefully only living a few miles from work!

  • MaximusExposurus

    I drive over 130 miles per day to and from work – long story why (saving up for a house)… The EV wouldnt make sense for me yet, however I’m sure in this plug n play society a car designer is going to sit down and say:

    “Hey what if we build a modulable vehicle? Like have the hatchback come off with relative ease and have a back attach to the back – this back has a large array of batteries… turning your trusty 100 mile per trip hatchback into a (still) trusty 600 mile per trip station-wagon…”

    All the big 3 have to do is realise that the publics product knowlege is very good these days – many people research prior to purchases now, especially large purchases like (you guessed it) cars… People like stable, effective vehicles.

    So I guess for now I’m stuck with dirty gas car, by the time EV’s are on the road here in Canada I’ll be able to purchase one anyways, and hopefully only living a few miles from work!

  • Chuck, you know you can rent cars now for those occasional trips. Planes and trains are useful for those types of things too.

  • Chuck, you know you can rent cars now for those occasional trips. Planes and trains are useful for those types of things too.

  • It is good to see that most people here see a 100 mile range as optimal. There are many more options for those that need to travel long distances but for everyday and city driving you cant beat an EV. Ask anyone who has been in a traffic snarl in an electric vehicle and they will tell you what an ideal vehicle this is for city driving: silent, no fumes, no smell and it does not sit there idling in a traffic; it simply switches off when not in motion!

  • It is good to see that most people here see a 100 mile range as optimal. There are many more options for those that need to travel long distances but for everyday and city driving you cant beat an EV. Ask anyone who has been in a traffic snarl in an electric vehicle and they will tell you what an ideal vehicle this is for city driving: silent, no fumes, no smell and it does not sit there idling in a traffic; it simply switches off when not in motion!

  • VicR

    ChuckL, in order to remain objective, you have to throw out R. Limbaugh thinking. You throw politics into science and you end up with a brouhaha and nothing gets done. There is so much good science going on out there stifled by politics. Under the GOP we presently have socialism for the wealthy, while condemning it for everyone else. I assume you are an R. Limbaugh fan from your posting, but just the other day he had to admit on the air that the GOP ‘broke the bank.’ This blog looks like a good venue for progress and politics should be kept at a minimum. I realize that that is somewhat naive and idealistic, but it is a goal.

  • VicR

    ChuckL, in order to remain objective, you have to throw out R. Limbaugh thinking. You throw politics into science and you end up with a brouhaha and nothing gets done. There is so much good science going on out there stifled by politics. Under the GOP we presently have socialism for the wealthy, while condemning it for everyone else. I assume you are an R. Limbaugh fan from your posting, but just the other day he had to admit on the air that the GOP ‘broke the bank.’ This blog looks like a good venue for progress and politics should be kept at a minimum. I realize that that is somewhat naive and idealistic, but it is a goal.

  • Jeff

    The Big Three have missed what a lot of us already knew – Hummers, Corvettes, Suburbans, Escalades, Excursions, etc were wasteful, dead ends. How much wasted funding went into those lines that should have been put into efficient transportation? The day of the one size/type of transpo fits all is dead. Bikes, rentals, hybrids, electrics all will be part of the smart mix.

    Open source didn’t kill IBM’s PC invention, hide bound corporate myopia, inertia, lack of vision and arrogance did. Gates just was more nimble and, vitally, first. Apple stuck with the closed source model and while successful, remains a niche market PC player. Fair disclosure: My first, and fondest and enabling PCs were Apple Macs and one of my all time favorite cars was a ’67 Corvette. Neither are, today, practical for various reasons. Time to move on.

  • Jeff

    The Big Three have missed what a lot of us already knew – Hummers, Corvettes, Suburbans, Escalades, Excursions, etc were wasteful, dead ends. How much wasted funding went into those lines that should have been put into efficient transportation? The day of the one size/type of transpo fits all is dead. Bikes, rentals, hybrids, electrics all will be part of the smart mix.

    Open source didn’t kill IBM’s PC invention, hide bound corporate myopia, inertia, lack of vision and arrogance did. Gates just was more nimble and, vitally, first. Apple stuck with the closed source model and while successful, remains a niche market PC player. Fair disclosure: My first, and fondest and enabling PCs were Apple Macs and one of my all time favorite cars was a ’67 Corvette. Neither are, today, practical for various reasons. Time to move on.

  • Paul Scott

    As one who has been driving a Toyota RAV4 EV for 6 years, I can attest to its viability. We charge it from a 3 kW solar PV system that generates enough energy for our house and car rendering our electric bill to only about $50 per year. Gotta love that.

    We get an easy 120 miles per charge, too, and this is on a nickel metal hydride battery pack, not the lighter lithium ion batteries.

    For long distance trips a plug-in hybrid is the way to go. I envision the future vehicle mix will be something over 50% pure EV and something less than 50% as PHEVs. The Chevy volt is a good example of the latter. With a LiIon battery pack holding about 16 kWh, the Volt will be able to travel a good 40 miles on a charge (it’s actually able to go farther, but the software will limit it from going too close to empty in order to preserve the life of the pack). Since most folks drive less than 40 miles per day, they will not use any gas. Once you drain the battery, a small, efficient gas engine that is attached to a generator will automatically come on generating power to charge the pack and run the motor.

    Some 8 OEMs are in development on PHEVs and at least that many are developing EVs.

    As for our RAV, we’re 65,000 miles on the odometer and haven’t had any maintenance at all. EVs just keep running like new for years and year. Eventually the pack will fade out and we’ll just buy a new one. The motor should last close to a million miles. Doubt I’ll keep it that long:~)

  • Paul Scott

    As one who has been driving a Toyota RAV4 EV for 6 years, I can attest to its viability. We charge it from a 3 kW solar PV system that generates enough energy for our house and car rendering our electric bill to only about $50 per year. Gotta love that.

    We get an easy 120 miles per charge, too, and this is on a nickel metal hydride battery pack, not the lighter lithium ion batteries.

    For long distance trips a plug-in hybrid is the way to go. I envision the future vehicle mix will be something over 50% pure EV and something less than 50% as PHEVs. The Chevy volt is a good example of the latter. With a LiIon battery pack holding about 16 kWh, the Volt will be able to travel a good 40 miles on a charge (it’s actually able to go farther, but the software will limit it from going too close to empty in order to preserve the life of the pack). Since most folks drive less than 40 miles per day, they will not use any gas. Once you drain the battery, a small, efficient gas engine that is attached to a generator will automatically come on generating power to charge the pack and run the motor.

    Some 8 OEMs are in development on PHEVs and at least that many are developing EVs.

    As for our RAV, we’re 65,000 miles on the odometer and haven’t had any maintenance at all. EVs just keep running like new for years and year. Eventually the pack will fade out and we’ll just buy a new one. The motor should last close to a million miles. Doubt I’ll keep it that long:~)

  • duran

    @ ChuckL

    Don’t forget other big three (Toyota, Honda, Nissan)also under the same US law, but they have the better ways to deal with same problem that Big three facing. That’s the point.

  • duran

    @ ChuckL

    Don’t forget other big three (Toyota, Honda, Nissan)also under the same US law, but they have the better ways to deal with same problem that Big three facing. That’s the point.

  • Ernie

    It is truly sad how even with the real future staring us in the face we continue to think in terms of limitations. This is merely the starting point and there are already technologies that will provide much longer ranges for EVs, check out Magnacoaster Motor Company for starters. The other fact is that the electric motor will provide what ever power one will need, just in case you didn’t know trains are electric hybrids. This is just the beginning of EV’s and the end of internal combustion engines. Start doing your research and you will be filled with optimism. By by BIG OIL

  • Ernie

    It is truly sad how even with the real future staring us in the face we continue to think in terms of limitations. This is merely the starting point and there are already technologies that will provide much longer ranges for EVs, check out Magnacoaster Motor Company for starters. The other fact is that the electric motor will provide what ever power one will need, just in case you didn’t know trains are electric hybrids. This is just the beginning of EV’s and the end of internal combustion engines. Start doing your research and you will be filled with optimism. By by BIG OIL

  • jx

    We have NEVER bought a new car before. You give me a reliable, plug-in, electric vehicle that will carry me 100 miles on a charge…. I will find the $22k, buy it TODAY, and make it work.

  • jx

    We have NEVER bought a new car before. You give me a reliable, plug-in, electric vehicle that will carry me 100 miles on a charge…. I will find the $22k, buy it TODAY, and make it work.

  • Joe B.

    This is laughable:

    The range of only 100 miles means at least 10 recharging stops to visit any of my relatives. This is simply NOT FEASIBLE.

  • Joe B.

    This is laughable:

    The range of only 100 miles means at least 10 recharging stops to visit any of my relatives. This is simply NOT FEASIBLE.

  • Yea – cause everything at the LA Auto Show is clearly coming out tomorrow. Hang on I’m holding my breath….

  • Yea – cause everything at the LA Auto Show is clearly coming out tomorrow. Hang on I’m holding my breath….

  • Carlos – Valencia

    Spain’s President Zapatero has presented a very important plan to introduce electrics, plug-in and hybrid car in Spain. If I don’t remember bad it’s about 1 million cars until 2015.

    The Government go to Seat (spanish car manufacturer sold to Volkswagen some years ago) and Volkswagen for partnership. They were not very interested.

    Then they talk with Nissan-Renault, and as this article says, all were excitement and “let’s go work”.

    So, you can imagine who is going in the best position to sell a million electric cars in Spain, don’t? ;-D

  • Carlos – Valencia

    Spain’s President Zapatero has presented a very important plan to introduce electrics, plug-in and hybrid car in Spain. If I don’t remember bad it’s about 1 million cars until 2015.

    The Government go to Seat (spanish car manufacturer sold to Volkswagen some years ago) and Volkswagen for partnership. They were not very interested.

    Then they talk with Nissan-Renault, and as this article says, all were excitement and “let’s go work”.

    So, you can imagine who is going in the best position to sell a million electric cars in Spain, don’t? ;-D

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