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Will Green Cars Be Exciting To Drive And Enjoyable To Own?

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  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    domestic automakers and their new "green" drive to pull us all their way, comes this heartening breaking story about the 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Which, interestingly, also sells for around $28,000 bucks.

    Apparently a crack team working with the car has drove it 1000 miles on one tankful of ghastly. And...there's a third of the tank left. They're still on the road. Check it out here.

    http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/1020289_ford-fusion-hybrid-breaks-1000-miles- - - - - -on-a-single-tank-of-fuel-one-third-of-tank-remains

    They're claiming 80 mpg using "eco driving techniques." Whew-please splane that to us. :D

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    One of our old posters here at Edmund's, Wayne Gerdes, is part of the program. That should help Ford immensely in this down market. I like the looks of the Fusion a lot better than any other hybrid on the road. Will it be fun to drive is the big question in my mind.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,690
    Well, it's a midsize sedan WITHOUT the sport package that is available on some trims of the Fusion. So will it be fun to drive? Not much, I would think.

    But will it have the power of a V-6 with the fuel economy of a subcompact? Yes it will.

    Tesla has barely begun its trip down Electric Ave. It and others like it will mass market a car under $40K within ten years I bet. Perhaps under $30K, which is where they would need to be for wide acceptance. But the point is, the potential of the electric powertrain is high, and barely tapped thus far.

    And Audi's R10 diesel should make a believer of anyone who contends that diesel power can't be fun.

    And in all of this, never forget that less than 10% of all new car buyers place "fun to drive" in their top five priorities when car shopping, and automakers are well aware of this, so fun green cars will only arrive slowly over time.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    I don't know if you've read my posts earlier in this thread on new all-electric cars from Pininfarina-Bollore with their BlueCar(formerly called the B0, until it drew too many laughs and P-F needed to change it) and BYD of China with their e6, but I've got both of those cars squarely in my sights.

    I'm like a kid in a candy store when researching all-electric cars. Almost as much fun as when researching online for my 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS. Almost as much fun!

    The BYD e6 is my front-runner for future possible purchases because it will go 249 miles on one charge. That's BYD's claim, anyway. 0-60 in 8 seconds and 99mph top speed. Seats 7-it's a crossover bodystyle. Rumoured to retail for around $28,000 USD. Subject to a Barack Obama "green car" rebate of some $7,500 bucks. It's a 2011 model that will arrive for sale in the U.S. in 2010. Needs to pass safety tests, yes.

    image
    2011 BYD e6

    The other car is a collaborative between Bollore (battery maker) of France and Pininfarina of Italy(the famous body design studio and carmaker). Called the BlueCar, Bollore of France claims they've spent 15 years developing the lithium metal polymer battery. Test mules have gone 120,000 kilometres with no trouble and no maintenance required. Seats 4, goes 85 mph top speed. 0-60 in about two hours. Just kidding! The 2010 Pininfarina-Bollore BlueCar has a range of 153 miles. So it's currently in my runners-up slot for futures purchasing. Said to retail for around $24,000 bucks, minus a handsome rebate.

    image
    2010 Pininfarina-Bollore BlueCar

    Around Nov.-Dec. of '07 I had had enough of the stupid greedy oil companies and the dorky oil futures traders. I would love to wean myself off of ICE transportation. And, considering that man had invented electric cars around 1907 anyway, this shouldn't be a race to be the smartest car rocket scientist on the planet type of thing, should it?

    I'm a sponge for soaking up all-electric powertrain vehicle news right now. Hybrids aren't the same kind of fun-they don't count. Bring on the all-electrics! This is gonna be a gas! Pardon the pun. :blush:

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,690
    Yup, I've read your posts on this pair. I know you are genuinely interested in them.

    I think it would be a mistake for Chinese auto manufacturing if the first Chinese-built cars on our shores are these things, but I am prepared to be proven wrong. People need to get used to the made-in-China thing when it comes to their new car, and the best way to do that is with cheap durable gas cars that prove to be very reliable and establish Chinese cars as NOT junk. Which brings me to point two...

    ....I wouldn't buy a new alt-powered car from a Chinese company building them in China. That's just me perhaps, but I want iron-clad warranty and service coverage from a company I have many years of familiarity with, located on American shores and which I trust, when I buy my first electric car. Which is why the Tesla early adopters are very brave in my view. But I think if Tesla can get a track record of ten years that looks good, I would be ready to deal with them.

    I have the same type of doubts about the Pininfarina, if this Bollore company I have never heard of is the one doing the guts. And if it's Pininfarina doing the guts, that doesn't inspire me to much extra confidence either.

    But both of those companies have gone a long way to proving this new technology, and for that reason I'm glad they are out there, and hope they garner a few sales from it too. :-)

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    my wife and I only have 35,235 miles on our '08 Mitsu Lancer GTS, and the car is a great car, so, it would take a lot of leaning to lean that far as to really make a purchase. We've got scads of miles left on the Lancer GTS, and, it would make a lot more sense to wait and see how these companies cars work out over here. I tend to get umm...overly enthusiastic about new cars at times. I'm sure you've never noticed such a thing. :D
    I spose the reason I'm as excited as I am is that both cars are affordable (especially minus the $7,500, or at least a partial amount of that, BO "green" rebate) and look to be everyday-driver type cars, that are available within a short period of time.

    I wonder about Warranties for both cars and about a more "connected" and available "re-charging" system for taking long vacations. I mean, even if I wanted to head west to see The Tragically Hip in concert in L.A., that's 558 miles west for us! The BYD e6 will go about 249 miles on one charge. Three all-electric carbuilders are now offering their infamous "quick-chargers" that bring your all-electric back up to around 80% of top fill within a very short amount of time, we're talking about 15-30 minutes here. One could grab a burger while their electric car charges up over at Autozone. I would have to research, call ahead for charging station locations, their availability to me, etc. I love my Lancer GTS so much, and I would very much trust Mitsubishi and their i-MiEV. I was thinking that I could stop at Mitsu dealers along the way, and, in exchange for being an early participant in their all-electric i-MiEV sales program in the U.S., charge-up my 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV at their showroom/service centers along my travel route, whatever I was in the midst of. Now, that is a deal that might work for me right there. I mean, this is infancy time, they are gonna have to bend over a bit for this idea to grab hold fully-completely, yes? The i-MiEV has a range of around 105 miles per charge.

    One west coast city taking the lead in this development is Portland, OR. I would think Seattle would start working on these things and SF as well. It's not like it's some "secret" technology. And, as I mentioned, between 1900 and 1910 there were a bunch of these electric cars in development. I don't know how many actually made the grade and were available for purchase, though. But you get my drift, eh?

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    I had the same kind of doubts about the Prius technology as you have about a Chinese EV. I would be a lot more likely to buy one of the BYD models shown above than any Hybrid. I like the car also. :shades: An EV is far less complex, with a lot less to go wrong. Battery life is the biggest what if in my thinking. If they have the same 10 year warranty I would feel at ease. I don't think they will have that kind of warranty, as the hybrid batteries. That was forced onto Toyota and the others by CARB, to get the AT-PZEV rating.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    tell ya what, if BYD offered the same 10 year Warranty I have on my '08 Lancer GTS, I'd really perk my ears up. Someone tell Warren Buffett to speak loudly about this and perhaps it will get done. :)

    Yeah, it's those three EV's I'm interested in, but the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, the more established carmaker, only gets about 105 miles per charge. That's pretty good, but not good enough.

    So the BYD e6 gets top-nod from me. I think that Pininfarina-Bollore and their BlueCar would really face some hurdles in getting Americans to trust their build quality. Mitsu has the edge there.

    BYD has an American as a 10% shareholder, might that help quell the nerves of Americans just a bit? I read a quote from a BYD exec that the sorta-high price of $28,000 for the e6 may make the car a candidate for taxi fleets. To start out. Might scare some people off. Humm. But if BYD can buck up and offer at least a 7 year, 125,000 mile Warranty it might be a lot more presentable package for us to get our heads around.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    Oh please dear God, I hope not! I still remember my Dad's anemic 1981 Ford Thunderbird with its wussy 255 V-8 I had to floor just to get up a modest hill! Shoot, my 1968 Buick Special Deluxe with a mere 230 hp felt like a muscle car compared to it.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    Living in such a world, I'd just reach for the pistol in my night stand drawer to say "good-bye" to it all but the New World Order Orwellian Elitists will have confiscated it too! :cry:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    I remember a story about a man who never owned a car, but instead spent money that would've otherwise been spent on a car on nice suits. He bought them from the same men's store all his life. The guy must've had a different suit for each day of the year. He never left the neighborhood. Alas, he is long dead and the men's store from which he purchased his clothes is out of business.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,690
    Well, the thing with the all-electrics is how enthusiastic they want to get with the batteries and battery usage in terms of eking out gains in operating range. Note that Mitsubishi, the only one with an all-electric that has something to lose in terms of reputation, only draws 105 miles out of its model.

    In the others my worries would be evenly divided between poor heat control of the battery pack leading to fires (Li-Ions being what they are presently), and exhaustion of the battery pack in 50K miles or less because the operating range draws it down too far in every cycle.

    Will these issues be resolved with advances in technology in the next few years? Sure they will. But for now I'm not convinced they are ready.

    The thing about the first hybrids was they were produced by car companies that had A LOT to lose in terms of reputation if they were duds or dangerous, and which were long-established and provided a warranty for the new hybrids that was even longer than their gas-powered cars. That's a big difference to me, but wouldn't be to everybody, I understand that.

    Toyota, if it stays on track, looks prepared to offer a plug-in Prius late next year that will offer 50 miles of gas-free operation, with the usual hybrid-gas power kicking in after that. They will offer this product with all the backing of Toyota Motor Corp and the 150K-mile warranty that Californians get for the electric portion of the powertrain. Now THAT'S something I could get behind.

    (Of course, I still have to resolve my aversion for automatics before I can truly go green, as it appears no green cars will offer manual transmissions except diesels. Maybe by then we will have more diesel options available. I am still waiting for the diesel GTI to appear, and for Honda to revive its small diesel program)

    On a sidenote, I don't mean to chastise, but it seems somewhat distasteful to introduce the news piece on the bus crash, when its connection to this topic is questionable at best and when a number of people have lost their lives in this accident.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • steverstever Ex Yooper, en route to New MexicoPosts: 40,499
    Thanks for getting us back on topic.

    "First and foremost, it's a real car," Dominique said at a media event here in which journalists drove a Nissan Cube propelled by what is a close facsimile of the electric driveline slated for the production EV."

    Nissan: EV Business Will Be "Real" Business (AutoObserver)

    I don't know if the Cube will be exciting to drive but it looks enjoyable enough for those of us who like boxes on wheels.

    image

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    In the others my worries would be evenly divided between poor heat control of the battery pack leading to fires (Li-Ions being what they are presently), and exhaustion of the battery pack in 50K miles or less because the operating range draws it down too far in every cycle.

    Those are very big concerns of mine also. They would have to have a 10 year warranty from a large corporation, other than GM. I would never park a car with Ii-ion batteries in my garage. Plug it in out front. I do like the EV concept. Range is not a big issue for me as 99% of my errands would be less than 50 miles round trip. I'm not sure I would go for the high price currently anticipated.

    PS
    Sorry for the detour. Just could not help myself.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    I don't know if the Cube will be exciting to drive but it looks enjoyable enough for those of us who like boxes on wheels.

    I love boxes on wheels. I thought the original xB was great. Scion managed to screw it up with goofy styling. The roominess for stuff is what I like. In an errand runner. I would buy a Ford Flex if they put a small diesel in them.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    apparently the Pininfarina-Bollore will not be the standard Li-Ion battery a lot of EV builders are using. Read this:

    A the heart of the BLUECAR lies its battery, the source of the car’s power but also of its outstanding driving experience thanks to the use of a unique technology. Basing itself on its know-how as the world’s leading maker of polymer fi lms for capacitors, another energy storage component, the Bolloré Group launched a research programme nearly fi fteen years ago to develop a battery based on a radically new concept: Lithium Metal Polymer (L. M. P.) technology.

    Produced at BatScap, a subsidiary that was set up specifi cally for that purpose, the L. M. P. battery provides a number of advantages: it can store fi ve times more energy than a traditional battery weight for weight and can be recharged in a matter of hours. Its “solid-state” technology makes it safer too and its lifespan should outlast that of the car that it powers.

    Last, but not least, by combining an L. M. P. battery with an array of super-capacitors, the outcome is greater power for acceleration, a longer range thanks to the recycling of braking energy, and a longer lifespan for the battery thanks to the smoothing out of sudden power drains.


    That's taken right from the P-F BlueCar website. They claim to be getting exceptionally good test-mule results, i.e. 120,000 km's with no maintenance needed nor any repairs required. They have spent 15 years working on this battery/supercapacitor system. The battery system does not need maintenance, say goodbye to not only constant ghastly stops but oil changes as well.

    They are claiming a battery lifespan of 200,000 km's. The car is so quiet going down the road that they fit it with a "fake" road sound that is utilized to let pedestrians and bikeriders know you are near with your BlueCar.

    P-F calls it the "soft sound" button, and it gives out a gentle, humming sound to the outside world around your BlueCar. Smashing! ;)

    Just FYI-Pininfarina-Bollore is still supplying the BlueCar with the standard horn on the steering wheel, in case you were wondering. Love to know what kind of Warranty and officially-released MSRP P-F is offering and charging for this all-EV.

    Still waiting for my e-mail's inbox to be graced with the "test market" information for the U.S. in 2009. I'm referring to the 3 U.S. test-market cities P-F is bringing a small chunk of these cars to "test-market."

    L.A. is going to be one of those cities. In the movie 'The Italian Job' you may remember that the trailer info. on the video mentioned that to go into underground L.A. to shoot the movie, the producers/creators of the movie had to retrofit the ICE BMW Mini-Coopers to have all-electric powertrains. Director/Producer's say the team responsible for this worked swiftly and did an accurate job, too. Wonder who they hired. There's a lot of people in the U.S. tinkering with all-electric conversions as I type this out right now. Actors and the rest of the group driving the 27 Mini's for the movie claimed they drove like little champs. This was a surprise to the Director, the need to get these electric Mini's prepared. They were going to just drive ICE Mini's down there.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,690
    GEM car to hit our markets will do so in May. It's called the Wheego Whip.

    http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/02/17/wheego-whip-electric-car-coming-to-u-s-i- n-may/

    Word is this manufacturer (Chinese, I believe) is working on a 99 mph version of this car that will meet all U.S. safety and emissions regs for street cars.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,704
    Another Chinese knock-off...maybe they copied the Smart's safety cell structure, but I can't say I trust Chinese metallurgy. Next will be a Geely hybrid fake MB or Rolls :lemon:
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,690
    Well, the Chinese are coming to the U.S. auto market, that's for sure. And they do like styling their cars to imitate those of other manufacturers. But then, they do say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, don't they?!

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,704
    I don't think the copycat designs are made as a compliment so much as taking the expensive design step out of the equation. Then remove the expensive ideals of social and environmental responsibility, and you have Chinese manufacturing in a nutshell. A race to the bottom doesn't produce progress.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,690
    Well the American consumer may yet reject Chinese cars when they arrive. Although I suspect they will not if the price is super-low.

    OTOH, the Chinese could be a boon for green cars, since they will have the ability to significantly reduce the price to buy alt-powered vehicles, most likely. If so, alt-power adoption by American car buyers will happen earlier and more quickly.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,704
    Agreed, the price will do the talking, especially as real incomes and standards of living continue to devolve.

    Indeed China can reduce the price...pirate some technology and use 19th century labor standards. Reminds me of Fat Tony from 'The Simpsons' talking about how his house didn't cost as much as one would think: "Actually, you can really keep costs down when you don't pay for materials, or labor, or permits or... land. "
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    The ironic thing is the Chinese production of "green" cars will probably cause untold environmental damage on an astronomical scale. Chernobyl would be like a primordial forest compared to the area around a Chinese "green car" factory! :sick:
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Might that make them a tougher sell, though? The customer supposedly cares more about that stuff.
  • nortsr1nortsr1 Posts: 1,060
    The Whip is an NEV (neighborhood electric vehicle). A glorified golf cart that can only be driven in "designated areas".
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    Shoot, in that case, wouldn't the greenest thing to do is simply walk to your destination? Heck, if something is within my neighborhood, I walk there.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Gotta think of the old fogies that can't necessarily walk as far...

    Very much a niche market.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,991
    if something is within my neighborhood, I walk there.

    In CA they can be driven on any street that is posted 35 MPH or less. There are some retirement communities that are miles around. My tax man moved to the VIllages in Florida. He parked his Lexus and drives the golf cart everywhere. Including the 28 golf courses he has access to. That is about as green living as it gets. 504 greens to be exact. :shades:
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,162
    ...Size of…Some Really Big Thing

    At his suburban Nashville home, Ex-Vice President Al Gore enjoyed the Oscar awarded to “An Inconvenient Truth,” the documentary on global warming in which he starred. But the Tennessee Center for Policy Research gained access to Gore’s utility bills for two years and published the gas and electric bills for his 20-room home and pool house. It turned out the home devoured nearly 221,000 kilowatt-hours in 2006, more than 20 times the national average of 10,656 kilowatt-hours. The Center’s president, Drew Johnson said, “If this were any other person with $30,000-a-year in utility bills, I wouldn’t care. But he tells other people how to live and he’s not following his own rules.”
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,699
    enjoyable to own and drive.

    image

    Mitsu will sell 3 types of chargers, and the car will weigh 2,300 lbs. A 120-volt charge-up will take about 12 hours, but a 220-volt charge takes only 7 hours. A quick charger will be for sale with your i-MiEV that will enable an 80% re-charge in 30 minutes.

    63hp and 133-ft.-lb.'s of torque. RWD, rear-mounted "motor". 330 Lithium-Ion battery pack. Range is 80-100 miles.

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

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