Sunday, August 15, 2010

Interesting electric concept

After finishing my previous article, I got to looking at the Zap! electric vehicles website, and came across the Alias.

If it's not just talk, this could be a step in the right direction. It's still a plug-in electric and doesn't answer the problems of pollution from power plants, or the price aspects, but it does address some of the performance concerns, and a range of 100 mpc (miles per charge) is better than most other electrics. They make the claim that they are in collaboration with Lotus on the design aspects, which is promising.

It's a classy looking vehicle in the photos (though the above photo was obviously computer manipulated: the lighting and shadows aren't right).

If they can pull it off, and put a more affordable pricetag on it, the Alias might just be the ticket.


kz1000st said...

I have to say you've judged the Prius unfairly Paul. My Brother in Law owns a 2004 version with over 100,000 miles on the original battery pack and it shows no sign of quitting just yet. He gets upwards of 50 mpg usually which is close to my motorcycle and he can carry four people in it, takes trips from Meadville to Gettysburg annually and hasn't suffered major techno breakdowns.

BTW-what about the Nissan Leaf?

kz1000st said...

Answered my own question about the Leaf.


zero tailpipe emissions
100% electric – no gasoline required
high response synchronous AC motor 80kW
range –100 miles/charge based upon US EPA LA4 City cycle2
speeds up to 90 mph
5 passengers, 5 doors
Nissan Navigation System

About 100 miles/charge from $26,000 car

Paul said...

KZ, on the surface I don't have much of an issue with the Prius itself. It's more with the mindset that many owners have that they are somehow saving the planet by driving one. I find it incredibly ironic when I see the back-end of a Prius covered in "green" bumper stickers. Yes, they are pretty good on gas, but they still have an effect on the environment at some point.

I'm glad your brother-in-law's experience has been a good one, but eventually, all mechanical things break down and that battery pack will end up in a landfill, eventually leaching its contents into the groundwater. This is the biggest flaw with electric vehicles in general, and is what most of the earthy-crunchy types seem to ignore when approaching so-called green vehicles.

I think the Prius is a step in the right direction, but not where we need to be. A purely electric vehicle still suffers from this trouble, and taken to its logical end, any vehicle out there will have some ecological impact in its creation, use, and eventual decay.

Being a hunter and fisherman, I look at the long term effects on wildlife and fisheries and I am concerned. Certainly, our streams, rivers, and forests are arguably in better condition than they have been in the past, but will that continue to be the case?

As for the Leaf, thank you for bringing it to my attention. I was not aware of it. It does look pretty good. I know Ford had a prototype electric car as well, though I know little about it.

What I would love to see is how much electricity it takes to charge one of these cars overnight. Will it really be less expensive in the long run, or will the cost of transportation simply transfer from the gas pump to the electric bill?