graylion (graylion) wrote,

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Thoughts on cars

Land transport wise we are living in exciting times. The dawn of the electric car is breaking be in the form of the serial hybrid or the purely electric car.

A serial hybrid is a car that is electrically driven and has an internal combustion engine that kicks in when the battery is reaching low level (30% in the GM Volt). We have two cars being publicly developed currently that do this:

1) A family sedan, the GM Volt, which can run 60 km on battery and then a 1.4l 4 cylinder kicks in as a generator. If you can only have one car I think that is the one. Shoping and commute on electricity, travel on petrol. The specs are quite entertaining, the acceleration quoite impressive. It is supposed to drive like a 250 hp regular car.
2) the luxury version of the same principle is the Fisker Karma, just much faster and bigger and more expensive ;)

Looking at these what I see is stored energy that gives us instant (from 0 RPM) and brutal torque, ie acceleration but actually not all that high maximum speed (Karma gues 200 km/h), which means that the range extenders can be much more sensible engines than let's say the engine in my pesonal wet dream, the Maserati Quattroporte, with a displacement of 4.2l and 400 hp. Yes it gives you nice acceleration and it also gives you a gas guzzler and a car that has so much power that the ax speed gets limited to 250 km/h. What is the point? Yes i know a motorway where i can do that not only legaly but also actually and safely, but outside Germany? Nope. Acceleration is what we want and if anybody has doubts about the acceleration of an electric car, Clarkson was rather blown away. Sadly the video is not available on youtube.

OTOP there is now also a purely electric car that I kinda covet: The Nissan Leaf. 160 km range, 30 minute 80% recharge on three phase, 8h full reload over night on 240V, 140 km/h top speed. If I had a second car for SCA/long distance this would so be my everday day motor.

Anyway: Welcome to the electric car :D

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