Could it be that the forward march of the EV crowd is finally going to produce mass-produced cars that will not be oddities on the road? Reva, the Indian car company that is a partnership of a US-based company and an Indian company (http://www.revaindia.com/), has announced new models that will increase their driving range, as reported in earth2tech this morning (http://earth2tech.com/2009/01/05/reva-to-boost-range-with-lithium-ion-battery/). They will also be throwing their hat into the Li-ion ring, having been a firmly lead-acid car maker in the past.
UPDATE/2:26PM EST: more information, this time from GreenCarCongress, including fast-recharge station: http://www.greencarcongress.com/2009/01/reva-introduces.html
Simultaneously, UK car makers Lotus and Ginetta announced that they will “go direct” to the market and begin selling their own EV models (http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2009/01/05/lotus_ginetta_leccy_plans/). Lotus has been OEMing chassis models for the high-profile Tesla roadster and the Dodge EV from Chrysler (http://www.lotuscars.com/). Lotus Chairman Michael Kimberley told the FT last week that Lotus will be debuting an EV that “will become one of the showcases for the world of what you can do with electric vehicle technology.”
The Ginetta (http://www.ginettacars.com/) entry will have a range of 250 miles on a full charge, and will be capable of 120mph, a fit competitor for the sexy-looking Tesla. The Ginetta G50EV drive train will use “state of the art brushless DC motor technology” designed and manufactured by Zytek Engineering (http://www.zytekgroup.co.uk/).
The British entries are high-end, fast-lane cars, and the Reva is anything but that, but between the two of them, they almost book-end the market. It makes the desperate situation at Th!nk Electric seem less horrific upon reflection. It is our hope that Reva does not abandon its commitment to lead-acid, which is a less expensive, better-tested and fully recyclable alternative to the more costly and less-tried exotics like Li-ion. We hope they will look at new technologies like the PbC carbon-based battery line from Axion Power (http://www.axionpower.com) and even the earlier-stage technology carbon-based technology from Firefly (http://www.fireflyenergy.com/), though we understand it may have patent problems with the earlier art of Axion.