Gas2 Week in Review, September 3: Which Electric Vehicle Type is Right for You?
This week on Gas2, each of several stories captured a different electric vehicle type, which piqued our collective curiosity. From electric trucks that you allow you to haul goods sustainably, to mass electric transportation with the grandeur of a U.S. National Park behind you, to panoramic glass roof of solar panels that free up the main electric power systems, to an oldy-but-goody auto model reimagined in electric form, and to a electric bike that incorporates 48 volt technology— each electric vehicle type opened up a new way for us to think about emissions-free transportation.
And why not? We’re really fed up with traditional transportation systems that come along with a wide range of problems. Let’s see how many we can list: global warming, environmental degradation, health implications, and emission of greenhouse gases. We live in a time when transportation contributes 23% of the globe’s greenhouse gas emissions due to reliance on fossil fuels. The greening of the transportation sector revolves around efficient and effective use of resources, and we are, oh, so ready.
Whew! Doesn’t it make sense that our Gas2 readers are hungry for info about different electric vehicle types? When EVs’ power comes from from renewable technologies like geothermal, hydroelectric, solar power, or wind turbines, there’s much about which to be hopeful.
Here are those hope-filled stories about different electric vehicle types in this week’s edition of the “Gas2 Week in Review.”
We live in a time in which there are more technologies than ever coming into economic relevance. And some companies thrive when technologies are shifting. At least that’s how the folks at Cummins feel, and their unveiling of the all-electric Class 7 electric truck on August 29 seemed to confirm their optimism. They’re a company that makes the power trains that make trucks go. Their all-electric Class 7 electric truck has expected production date around 2019. By then, the company envisions charging times with drop to around 20 minutes. That will contribute to an all-electric truck range of up to 300 miles that will slash fuel consumption by 50% compared to trucks with conventional diesel hybrid power.
The company is targeting truck and bus manufacturers whose needs are limited to short range capability. Their version has a 145 kWh battery and can haul a 22 ton trailer for up to 100 miles. With its advanced technology, recharging takes only an hour using a 140 kW charger. Then, about a year later, Cummins will also offer a version with an on-board diesel range extender engine. Unfortunately, Cummins CEO Thomas Linebarger says the technology isn’t there yet for a Class 8 electric truck with long range capability.
Absorb yourself in a setting where ancient native people and pioneers walked. Gaze up at massive sandstone cliffs of cream, pink, and red that soar into a brilliant blue sky. Experience wilderness in a narrow slot canyon. Identify unique arrays of plants and animals.
And now you can immerse yourself in Zion National Park tours alongside lower ambient noise levels and emissions in a Proterra E2 electric bus in order to appreciate the tranquility of this sanctuary, this “place of life and hope.” Buses at Zion routinely carry up to 105 riders per service hour, which has altered the experience of the park with noise and fumes. This pilot program will provide necessary data to determine if a fully electric fleet can reliably support the 5,143,148 riders who were transported last year under the extreme conditions of the desert.
The German car manufacturer, Audi, has just revealed that it will be adopting solar panels to help power one of its future electric vehicles. Rather than seeking to energize the main electric power systems, these solar panels will provide power for non-essential car systems, such as seat heaters and air conditioning. Alleviating these needs will increase range for the electric vehicle.
Audi will collaborate with Alta Devices on this project. Interestingly, Alta Devices, which calls itself “the world’s most efficient solar,” is a ubsidiary of Chinese solar cell firm Hanergy. Hanenergy’s mission statement includes the goal to find “the ultimate solution of energy use and ensure the shift from indirect to direct energy use.” Audi sure has surrounded itself with a bit of hubris here, eh? And what better way is there to build a sustainable future than to surround oneself with confident people who believe they can accomplish an objective to return our planet to health?
The Mini — that small economy car produced by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000– is still considered an icon of 1960s British popular culture. Well, fast forward to 2019, as that’s when the next gen “MINI ELECTRIC CONCEPT” (yes, all caps) will be unveiled.
Many are skeptical, what with the constant influx of new electric concept cars that never quite make it off the design board. But isn’t the Mini exactly what cult cars are about? It’s one of a small group of cars that, no matter how seemingly irrational it may be, will always be in our memories, as it has the potential to sneak us back to a yesteryear in which we were idealistic and strong. So follow along when this newest electric concept car makes its debut at the IAA Cars 2017 show in Frankfurt in a couple of weeks, starting Saturday, September 16th.
Riding a bicycle as a replacement for driving a car is quite appealing as a way to eliminate the atmosphere of greenhouse gasses. This green transportation mode is faster than walking, is a form of workout, and connects us more to our surroundings than does an enveloping car. So it made sense that Continental’s reveal at Eurobike: The Global Show would spark lots of interest. The large supplier to the auto industry is now leveraging its 48 volt experience to provide two new drive options for electric bicycle manufacturers: the 48 Volt Revolution and 48 Volt Prime models.
Each is designed for low chassis mounting to keep the weight of the motor close to the ground. That avoids the potential flywheel effect sometimes associated with wheel hub motors. And the Revolution offers a fully integrated step-less automatic transmission with continuously variable planetary gearing and a 380% ratio range.