Bombardier NEV Has Writer Eating Crow
To: EVL <>
Subject: EVLN(Bombardier NEV has writer eating Crow)-long
From: Bruce {EVangel} Parmenter <>
Date: Sat, 04 Dec 1999 23:20:33 -0800
Organization: EV List List Editor, EAA Board member
EVLN(Bombardier NEV has writer eating Crow)-long
[The Internet Electric Vehicle List News. For Public EV informational
 purposes. Contact publication for reprint rights.]
 --- {EVangel}

WHEELS Bombardier builds practical EV - but not for our roads ---
Perky little Neighourhood Vehicle got me around Shannonville
12/04/1999 The Toronto Star 1 Copyright (c) 1999 The Toronto Star
Technolog Gerry Malloy. P.Eng.  That chewing sound you hear is me,
eating crow.
For decades I've scoffed at the prospect of practical electric
vehicles.  According to their promoters, EVs have been just around the
corner for decades, but there they've been destined to stay from my
Their problems of limited range, slow recharge rate and excessive
weight have relegated them to the realms of science fiction.  So I was
surprised to learn find that not only is there a practical electric
vehicle on the market, but it is also designed and built in Canada.
It is not a car as we know it. My misgivings about the practicality of
EVs as conventional automobiles are still intact.  But it is a vehicle
- and one that can practically serve the function of a car in the
environment for which it was designed.
In fact, it probably does so better than any conventional car. The
object of my enlightenment is called the NV, for Neighbourhood
Vehicle, and it is a product of Canada's Quebec-based transportation
giant, Bombardier.
The NV came to my attention at the recent AJAC (Automobile Journalists
Association of Canada) TestFest, held at Shannonville Motorsports
Park. It was not a competitor in the Car of the Year program - it
would not be eligible because it cannot be licensed for street use.
Rather, fellow Wheels contributor Marc Lachapelle trailered it in from
Montreal, on loan from Bombardier, for my personal use at the event.
Given that I'm temporarily relegated to crutches, he rightly reasoned
that it would expedite my organizational duties.
It did much more than just that. It clearly demonstrated that EVs can
have a place in our transportation infrastructure.  The TestFest
environment, with a need for multiple short trips within the confines
of Shannonville's grounds, closely parallels that of the NV's target
market areas.
It was designed from the outset for use within the gated communities
now common and rapidly spreading throughout the U.S. Sunbelt.
Conventional cars are either not allowed or out of their element in
those confined spaces, but some form of transportation is still
With short travel distances, low driving speeds and benign weather
conditions, golf carts have become the wheels of choice in such
communities.  The NV ups the ante.  Neither a golf cart nor a
microcar, it is something of a cross between the two. Its most obvious
difference is its appearance.
Designed by Paul Deutschman of Montreal, well-known for his work on
the Callaway Corvette and other exotic vehicles, the NV looks like a
short, tall car without doors rather than a typically industrial golf
The base body colour is white, with gray bumpers, but different roof
and instrument panel colours are available, as are decorative decals.
In length and wheelbase, the NV is about two-thirds the size of a
Suzuki Swift, although it is proportionately wider and substantially
Like a car, it is equipped with head- and taillights, plus brake
lamps.  A windshield wiper, outside rear-view mirrors and a locking
trunk lid (instead of golf bag holders) are optional.
Colour-matched soft doors and rear window for use in inclement weather
are also available. So is a package for golfing that includes "turf
tires" and a Sport model.  The NV's huge door openings make entry and
egress easy, and two contoured seats provide adequate comfort for
short periods.
A centre console, moulded into the plastic lower bodywork, houses a
parking brake lever, four cup holders and trays for incidentals. The
right side of the instrument panel forms a deep tray big enough to
hold several grocery bags.
As with most EVs, turning the key starts the NV. It also engages the
transmission - or at least selects your direction of travel, since
there is no transmission as such.
In addition to Reverse (R), you have a choice of two forward drive
modes, Drive (D) or Golf (G).  In Golf mode, the maximum speed is
limited to about 25 km/h - thus extending the battery life - but in
D-mode the NV cruises at a governed speed of 42 km/h.
The electric motor, which drives the rear wheels, is a 72-volt DC
shunt type, developing 4 kW (5.3 hp) of power.  Six conventional
lead-acid storage batteries supply energy to the motor, while a
seventh powers electrical accessories.
They can be fully recharged in eight hours from a normal 110/120-volt
electrical outlet.  An overnight charge was sufficient to keep our NV
making short trips all day at TestFest.
Because electric motors develop maximum torque from stop, initial
acceleration seems sprightly.  Accelerating the 580 kg NV from 0-to-40
km/h took 6.0 seconds flat, with just a driver on-board - not that far
off the times of some economy cars.
With four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes, as well as regenerative
rear-wheel braking that helps recharge the batteries, the little
vehicle stopped from 40 km/h in 9.0 m. That's not sports car
performance, but adequate for its intended use.
Stopping was easier, I learned, if I didn't hit the closely spaced
brake and accelerator pedals at the same time.  The NV's chassis
boasts fully independent suspension.
Its steering is extremely quick, necessitating smooth initial
application to keep from feeling jerky.  But it cornered with enough
brio to make occupants appreciate its standard three-point shoulder
belts, and on gravel it could be slid around without fear of tipping.
Although the NV is not actively marketed in Canada, it has been
approved for specialized local use in some Quebec communities (for
police use, for instance).  Bombardier is in discussion with Transport
Canada on possible ways to broaden its application.
The current price is under $10,000.  It is unlikely the NV, or
anything like it, could be made sufficiently compatible with
conventional vehicles to permit their use in normal traffic.
But, with a few modifications for climate, even here it could form the
basis of an effective personal transportation system within a confined
area: perhaps as common-use vehicles within a condominium community,
for example.
It's something for planners to consider when designing new
communities.  Pass another piece of crow - and some ketchup, please.
Freelance writer Gerry Malloy, P.Eng., is a weekly contributor to
Wheels. HIS KIND OF CHARIOT: Wheels' Gerry
Malloy, who broke his leg in a fall earlier this year, relied on an NV
at the recent AJAC Car of the Year event.
Toronto Star
{Statements may not be my Employer's}_____ Bruce {EVangel} Parmenter
~/__|o\__        EV List News Editor
'@----- @'---(= Get Amp'd   'Electric cruis'n the Santa Clara Valley'
SJEAA EVents officer
Renewable Energy News Editor               :: Remote in Sacramento ::