Modec Electric Van Now on the Road


Before the fabulous Maker Faire last weekend I had a chance to see "Who Killed the Electric Car?" at the San Francisco Film Festival. Of the intertwining stories told in this artful documentary, the one about hydrogen fuel cell as red herring is one of the most compelling. The Bush administration and many environmentalists alike continue to talk about fuel cell cars as if they're about to pop up at our local dealerships, poised to solve our ills at any moment. In a news conference at a Washington gas station this week, House Speaker Dennis Hastert touted fuel cell cars as bringing relief to current high gas prices. He then rode off around the corner in a fuel cell car, but quickly hopped out and back into his waiting SUV (see the lovely photo montage). Electric vehicles and PHEVs (more commonly known as plug-ins) on the other hand are available now and can also provide relief for gas prices and environmental problems. The newly unveiled all-electric Modec delivery van is a case in point.Earlier this week we got a glimpse of Mexico's first hybrid delivery truck. Now comes the Modec. Currently available in England, the Modec has a 100 miles range, a top speed of 50 mph, and over two tons of carrying capacity. The Modec's 70kW Zytec electric motor is powered by twin 288-volt sodium-nickel-chloride batteries (Li-Ion coming next year) which are partially replenished by the van's regenerative breaking system. The battery pack sits behind the cab and can be swapped out for its eight-hour charge time. Modec is marketing their "economically, ergonomically, and environmentally friendly" electric commercial van as a money saver that dodges London's congestion tax as well as road tax, goes 20,000 miles between services, and whose motor has only three moving parts. The Modec starts at $41,100 and comes in several configurations such as flatbed tipper. As an insightful person recently pointed out to me, electric vehicles are the only vehicles that can actually get greener as they get older. How? As the power in the energy grid gets greener, so do the cars that are powered by the grid. :: Modec

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