NAEVI 99'Atlanta Nov 17-20
Technical Improvements

Click Here for Great Pictures of the Atlanta NAEVI"99"
November 21, 1999

All the major manufacturers of EV's were displaying their vehicles,
Honda, Ford, DaimlerCrysler, GM, Toyota, and Nissan. None of these were for sale however. Only Ford had a lease program that the general population could buy although on a limited basis.
The now Ford Th!nk may be available in 2001. The two hybrids,  which were essentially high mileage gas vehicles were for sale. The Honda Insight $18k 70 mpg (EV1 2-seater lookalike) available  in December and the Toyota Prius $22k 55 mpg (four door family sedan)  in July 2000'.

I asked a Nissan spokesman why the ICE and hybrid vehicles are  always available as soon as they come out and the same EV's I have  seen for 5-10 years are always "under development" and "not for sale to the general population". He said that the major manufacturers have no intention of directly selling EV's and that they will always be leased on a limited basis due to battery exchange requirements and high voltage liability. A GM spokesman said that they loose money for every vehicle leased so they don't want to mass sell (loose money) on a wide scale.

This goes back to reducing cost through high volume sales which won't occur unless excessive gas prices or government subsidies. He said they were presently meeting government requirements for EV introduction. Only Solectria and smaller converter companies were selling vehicles outright. Contact for a complete listing of available vehicles. Kits of course for those inclined.
Another EV manufacturer was AVS buses (was GE-EV, sold to VPT, sold to AVS)  who built their 100th bus this week. Half were pure electric and half hybrid.  Another zero-pollution technology that I found very interesting was compressed air vehicles, which the two attending spokesmen I met from Zero Pollution Motors, Inc ( said was "disruptive technology" since it didn't fall into any pre-praddled category and didn't use batteries. Mike Frippel and Shiva Vencat showed me a video of their vehicle and gave me a spec claiming 60 miles range at 60 MPH or 120 miles at 30 MPH after a 4 hour compressed air charge from an onboard 240V 5.5kwh compressor generating 812 cubic ft/hr. This is accomplished with 3 carbon fiber tanks under the vehicle pressurized to 3200 cubic feet @ 4500 psi. (160 cubic feet @ 5k psi = 1kwh of energy stored).  This is about 20 kwh stored similar to an EV without the additional weight.

The three vehicle types used in Europe were a London Taxi version,  a small delivery van and a pick-up all with a 1100 lb payload.  The vehicles weighed 1543 pounds due to no battery to carry around. I asked them about what happens in an accident and Mike  said due to the construction of the carbon fiber tanks they emit a loud hissing sound when punctured but no explosion since compressed air is non-combustible. The vehicles will sell for about $14k in the US Mike said.
Test Drives:
The EV-1 drove with sports car like performance with its 102kw motor at 312 volts. The most potentially affordable looking car was Toyota's e-Com (since 97') and the Th!nk (since 95') (formerly Pivco Citybee).
The Ecom generally appeared to be the favorite car due to its styling and two seater commuter car design. The Ecom handled a little better around corners but both were good designs and would make a nice daily drive to work car but alas not presently for sale.
The DaimlerCrysler E-van handled remarkably well for a 5k pound vehicle. A Chrysler spokesman said that these vans will only be sold to airports and military bases where they make sense. They will never be sold to the general public since vans are used for trip vehicles.
Typically the 2k pound vehicles (most aluminum) were .3 kwh per mile and 4k pound vehicles were .6 kwh per mile requiring 240V charging, double size controllers/motors/batteries. This was especially true for the ICE converted vehicles like the E-van and Ford Ranger. Thus the lightest vehicles made the most cost effective commuter cars. All were AC drives which drives up the cost $3-10k per vehicle over a similarly DC shunt drive control at same 95% efficiency.
Toyota's Ecom switched to inductive charging which will add some cost  if they decide to sell the vehicle. Both hybrids operated seamlessly from electric to gas drive. Both the Honda 2-seater Insight and the Toyota 4-seater Prius were parallel hybrids.
The Prius was more complicated under the hood but ran quieter from outside the vehicle. Other aluminum fuel efficient cars are the Audi A2, Opel G90, BMW Z8 and Z9. It is noted that direct injection diesel engines using no-sulfur fuel for no particulates (if available) can get similar mileage and pollution levels as hybrids with substantially reduced cost and complexity. Presently no-sulfur diesel is only tested in California and the oil companies don't want to make it due to the additional refining process.
Conference Summary:
Mike Anderson with Georgia Power (part of Southern Company) introduced 400 more EV's into their fleets, more than Southern Edison and presently have the largest employee lease program. Georgia governor Roy Barnes said that Atlanta is 3.5 million and will grow to 20 million in 20 years surpassing New York so we must turn to pollution free vehicles. This will be a mix of vehicles, hybrids for trips, EV's for commuter vehicles etc. Air quality will effect economic development so alternative vehicles will be put into operation in order to continue expanding.
Dr. Peter Horrup from England had a EV marketing survey which showed that presently Fork Lifts are the dominant EV sales but will become less significant in the next 10 years as EV drive trains will be required for hybrids and pure EV's. In ten years EV sales will go from 13.5 billion to 44.5 billion annually. John Wallace with Ford said we have to start selling EV's for a profit in order to grow the market and this will be done with hybrids which will fall out cheaper parts for lower volume pure electrics. All of these vehicles must be made with aluminum frames. Hybrids will be profitable presently and fuel cell vehicles won't be for 10 years.
Ron Cogan with Green Car Journal said that the major barrier to EV sales is the cost and must come down to $10k for a small commuter vehicle to be purchased on a mass scale.
Mike Clemer with DaimlerCrysler said their Epic minivan now has 200 miles with NiMH batteries and is used for the Post Office, airport shuttles and government/military fleets.
Mark Perry with Nissan added 300 R&D engineers to work on hybrids and EV's. Their Altra EV uses Lithium-ion batteries and sold 130 to utility fleets with a 80 mile real world range. The Hypermini (similar to the e-Com) has a 70 mile range with a CVT (constant variable transmission) he said.
Doug Anderson with Solectria said they have sold 400 Solectria Forces (Geo Metro conversions) since 89'. They grew to $10M in sales and now make the drive trains for AVS (Chatanooga and New York) buses (was GE
 drive before GE-EV business was sold).
Bill Biermann with AVS implemented electric buses at Logan airport where they have proven to be 30% more cost effective over gas vehicles. Ground equipment and air-side bag handling equipment is more desirable as EV's since they go inside the airport on pick-up and delivery. American Airlines had the biggest push for 600 EV's. United purchased 475 EV T-135 tractors with Curtis and Sevcon controllers using Advanced DC motors.
Dick Baxter with Tug Manufacturing talked about improving technologies and said that airports are going to electric push-back tugs due to lower maintenance and cheaper operation. The M3A model had a low center of gravity with the batteries between the wheels 50-50 weight distribution like all well designed EV's should.
Joe Furguson with AVS talked about how electric and hybrid buses were more cost effective and lower polluting to operate. He also pointed out that (for safety and fires) when operating any EV at 300V to keep local points away from each other to <75 volts. Thus single wire cables to & from the batteries instead of having dual connectors. The AVS buses got 80 miles range (.8kwh per mile eff) in summer and 55 (1.1kwh per mile eff) in winter. Opportunity charging required weekly equalization charges. If the EV follows the standard dv/dt=0 taper shut off on each cycle then weekly equalization is not needed but never occurs in practice do to between shift charging.
Mike Savonis with the Federal Highway Administration talked about federal funding for EV programs. Look at he said. Dave Rodgers pointed out a good sight for comparing "green" vehicles at The EV funding office is at 1-800-423-1DOE or 1-800-CCITIES. John Wilson head of SCAT talked about how to get government funding for EV projects. for SCAT info.
Last but not least was the battery summary starting with Tadek Borys talking about commercialization of the lithium-polymer battery. Cost is of course the barrier and operation at 60C. He said that the batteries could be brought up to 60C in two minutes after sitting in a parking lot with internal battery box heaters.
Mike Saft with Saft Batteries showed that $150/kwh is the target to make new battery technologies affordable and the 4 market release requirements are volume, technical improvements, cycle life, secondary use markets. Hybrids will bring battery cost down. NiMH is the best with $300/kwh in 3 years.