Image credit: CNET
How Many Electric Cars for $13bn?
It's been a while since we checked in on Dale Vince's electric sports car project, but it looks like things are still storming ahead. Dale may not have decided on a name yet (he is asking for suggestions), but he does have the wheels turning. The Guardian's formidable environment editor, John Vidal, visited the project to dish the dirt on some of the technical details about the wind-powered car, and to ask what Dale would have done with the auto bailout money. Click below the fold for the results.
To convert the Lotus, the engineers lengthened the chassis by 90mm, there are 96 lithium-ion polymer batteries, two brushless motors, a completely new transmission, and a lot of electronic wizardry hidden in boxes marked "test". The car's centre of gravity has been lowered and shifted forward, and because the engines have only one moving part and do not need cooling, the engineers have dispensed with the Lotus air ducts and bumps.
The consensus is that no large auto company could have developed anything like this so fast or for the modest £200,000 it has cost. "If this were Ford it would have taken years and millions of pounds to develop. Big car companies are very conventional. We can keep it small and can make decisions quickly. They get bogged down in management systems and find it hard to be innovative," says Ian Doble, the project leader. He also points out that they have created their new car without having to invent any new technology. "The batteries came from Korea, the brushless engines from America. Everything is now available off the shelf."
As for the bailout question, click on the video below to meet Dale's team, and find out what he'd do with $13bn. And check out the links below for more on Dale Vince, Ecotricity and the wind powered car.
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