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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This was probably mentioned before but it shocked me:


"Elect'Road is a plug-in series hybrid version of Renault's popular Kangoo. It began selling in 2003"

http://www.whatvan.co.uk/newvans_s.asp?id=3979

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elect'road

The first plug-in serial hybrid in production! The reason I ran into this article was I was looking to see if anyone built a Limp-Home Hybrid (LHH). I think I just coined that because I didn't get any hits on Google. Anyway, what the heck is a LHH? Quite simply it's a BEV with a genset just powerful enough to keep you going at a slow speed on the highway (legal minimum) and to get you home when your batteries die out. This will give drivers that worry about the limited range of the BEV some relief. I like to think of it as better than the BEV but way cheaper than the PHEV or E-REV.

Why was I wasting my time thinking of this concept? Well, I was researching the new lithium-ion phosphate batteries that are about to go on sale to the general public and started looking at the price of these things. I'm also waiting for some quotes to get back. However, I did get a whiff of the price and. Here's what I found:

Valence Technology's new EPOCH Lithium phosphate batteries are supposed to go on sale this month! Yea! 12.8 V and 19.2 V up to 390 kWh can be linked together with their integrated system. Oh, I'm getting excited. They basically are the same size and form factor as a standard 12 Volt battery but look much cooler. I want! Over 2000 cycles of life. Nice. The E27-12-122 has 122Ah or 1562 Wh and only weighs 40.9 lbs. Man, only 33% the weight of lead acid.

Let's compare this to the most popular battery used for electric car conversions - the Trojan T105. This 6 Volt golf cart battery has 225 Ah or about 1,350 kWh but weighs 62 lbs. "Crappy lead acid", I think to myself. The life cycle is also 750 cycles. "Ha, that sucks!"

I'm now ready to sign the check. "How much is the Trojan T105? Hmm, $145 each. That is friggen cheap!" I'm almost afraid to see the cost of the lithium-ion. Yes it's light, powerful, can stop a speeding bullet and not explode etc. but it really can't be that much more expensive than the lead acid. Can it? Gulp... $1500! "What!!??" Ok, it's only an estimate and I didn't hear it from the horses mouth but OMG. Yes, it has a smart battery management system but the lead acid doesn't even need one. The lithium-ion cannot be used below a given percentage (unknown) but I assume that is taken into account. I hope. Anyway, that just price has got to be wrong. Please, someone wake me from this bad dream. I almost cried myself to sleep last night (not really).

Why this long and drawn out story. Well after I picked up my jaw from the ground I decided that lead acid and older battery technologies are here to stay for a few more years. All those guys doing electric car conversions use lead acid to get the job done. However, I want a plug-in hybrid to get more range and I don't want to be stuck in the middle of the street. I don't need a fancy range extender I thought. Just something to get me home... Yeah, a limp-home hybrid! Brilliant! I don't care if I can't drive 75 mph on the highway because I rarely take long trips in my car. When I do, I would not mind at all driving like a grandmother. It would give me time to relax and smell the flowers.

At the current gas prices I wonder if others would not mind limited long-range driving performance. Yeah, a weak hybrid. Let me see if someone else thought of this so I can just buy one and not build the thing myself. Sure enough. I found the first plug-in serial hybrid from a real automotive company, Renault. This car was brilliant. The batteries were said to last for 40 years! You had to have them watered every 5000 miles or so and it was important to have them recycled at the end of their life but so what. The range extender only produced about 10 kW of energy. Like a motorcycle engine. I just love this idea. Dear Renault, Please bring it back and sell it in the states! We could all be driving a plug-in serial hybrid next month. I heard the new version has lithium-ion batteries and a bit stronger ICE. I say, why not use older battery tech (less expensive) and keep the limp-home concept (less gas, lighter, and cheaper). Kind of like the People's Plug-in Hybrid. Why did they kill it?

The fate of this car also will extend your knowledge on why the electric car was killed all around the world. Not only was the EV1 and other EVs that were sold in the US killed off but the very promising Kangoo was also killed. I'm more convinced than ever that it was not a conspiracy plot by the US government, GM, or the oil companies. Here was a very good design that had both a pure EV AND ICE design. Even got good feedback from testers!

http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk/~pscbrwm/cbev/Ex_production.html

http://visforvoltage.org/forum/cars-and-trucks/1431


Thus, my feeling now is the the EV was killed by the following factors:

1) Batteries were very expensive compared to oil at the time. If you look at the oil prices during that time you can see that it was flat for many years and had no end in sight.

2) Global warming? This was pre Al Gore and dying polar bears.

3) Peak Oil? You nut. There's more than enough oil for the next 1000 years. Fusion will take over way before that. Idiot.

4) I think the unpredictable battery life scared the companies. How do you warrantee this? You can't just fix it you have to buy a brand new pack. Hummm, if the battery pack went bad right before the warrantee period ran out you would get a brand new pack... Hummm.

5) I wonder if manufactures figured out that these EVs will last forever. If you just swap out the battery you can drive these for a million miles with very little maintenance. No oil, filter, service, etc. It could kill a company's greatest cash cow.

Thus, We had a nicely working plug-in serial hybrid many years ago and it was also killed off. It also sat 5 adults! Too expensive and too radical. Rest in peace EV. I hope the conditions of today will remain so the EV can come out and shine once again. Ten years of development in all of the systems with all of the auto manufacturers fighting away should produce quite a few amazing EVs and Hybrids for all of us to enjoy.
 

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Why doesn't Renault reintroduce this one. Or perhaps Nissan and them may bring this to market?

60 mph and range of over 100 miles. I like it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Texas,

Is this what you really want:

http://www.evnut.com/rav_longranger.htm

??
Ha! Nice pictures. I always hear people talking about getting a genset trailer but never knew one was built for the Rav4. Very interesting and would probably work well for many users. I just wish it could be brought on-board. Also, I'm thinking about half the power rating or around 10 kW. That would make it much smaller, lighter, cheaper and easier to fit on the chassis. Maybe we should call this time EV decade II (or should that be III for a nod to the early days). The Newton didn't make it either but Palm exploded the market. ;)
 

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Actually, outboard makes a lot of sense. Think "rent" rather than "buy." And if rental becomes a fairly significant business, range-extending trailers could be made available in a variety of configurations for carrying some cargo. R/E only and R/E open-top box and R/E enclosed cargo box.

This trailer is about 250lbs. If a lightweight cargo-carrier could be made available that only added 200lbs to the structure weight, a BEV with tow capability of 1000 lbs could pull 600lbs of payload in a combined R/E-cargo trailer.

Those Rav4s are probably good for about 1500lbs for nearly 1000 lbs of payload in a suitable trailer.

And this is a situation where a control and power interface standard would make a great deal of sense, so that you could get your BEV from GM, Toyota, Nissan, wherever, and hook up a rental R/E trailer from any manufacturer, as long as it was proper capacity and within tow limits for your BEV.
 

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"I'm surprised nobody commented..."

Well, OK, then. It was expensive, had very short range and the batteries, which were probably fairly expensive, still, were only warranted for 5 years. NiCads have a real problem with charge capacity over time. I'm sure Renault's NiCads were better and better managed but I find that NiCads I used routinely were done in about a year. NiMH are much, much better. Renault killed it after selling just 500. It's hard to say if it was ahead of its time or just ahead of the battery curve. If they'd used NiMHs (which Toyota had about that time), they might have done better.

It does look like a practical thiing in many ways.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
dagwood, I was not surprised that it was dropped (I posted the reasons in my previous post). I was surprised that people didn't comment that it was a real production serial hybrid. It is able do everything the Volt will be able to do when it hits the showroom floor in 3 years. Sure not with the same performance because it used older battery technology but the basic concept was in production by Renault! Not interesting to anyone?
 

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I think Renault and Nissan are to revive the Kangoo EV concept with NEC’s Li-ion cells for the Israel’s state project to electrify automotive transportation there.

dagwood55, if the RAV-4 EV can go up Tejon Pass at the freeway speed, that’s great. Certainly the 500cc 27HP ICE is too small for the job if it is the direct source of propulsion. (It seems the Long Ranger is on the slow truck lane, though.)
 

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I was not surprised that it was dropped (I posted the reasons in my previous post). I was surprised that people didn't comment that it was a real production serial hybrid.
I don't know about the real production point of view. What is "real" mean? Many people have differnt view of what is "real". I would like to add to the list of "The EV was killed by the following factors:"

6) Where can I find the dealer to get car repair local (battery replacement, software update, normal wear and tear parts).

GM may have solve that part for many people cause of the local dealer.
 

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G35X, The purpose of the LongRanger is just to recharge the battery. If it runs as the Rav4-EV attacks the hill and the net charge on the battery drops while climbing because the motor is using more kw than the generator is supplying, that's OK, unless the battery charge gets to zero (or whatever the software defines as the minimum), in which case, yes, you'll have to slow down.

On the other hand, if there's a handful of situations across the US where this occurs, is it a problem? That's why the truck lanes are there.

We owned a rather underpowered van. Ascending the Raton pass, I changed down from 5th to 4th to 3rd and was thinking about 2nd for a while, there. It also slowed quite a bit climbing out of Port Jervis, NY but so did many others. There's a few other places, too, that slowed the beast down quite a bit. However, I didn't consider it a "problem." I'm not sure that a 500cc engine recharging a BEV would be a problem for me, even if I slowed down in places, if the car had other compensations (like good electric range) and wasn't terribly expensive.

The thing about the trailer is, for your daily commute, you don't have to pull it. Or even own it. Your BEV will go further and faster if you can leave 250lbs of stuff you don't routinely need at home. Your BEV will cost less if 250lbs of stuff you don't routinely need can be rented only when you need it.

In fact, the ability to rent different sizes of LongRanger might be useful. If you're going through the mountains, a 4-cylinder, 1-liter LongRanger (engine size like the Volt's) would be best. If you're driving across Nebraska, two cylinders and a half-liter should do it. The trailer should come with its own regen and friction braking and maybe a small battery of its own to store the juice from regen braking (so as not to overload the vehicle charge capacity, feed it out of the trailer battery when convenient).

Route planning navigation software that understands elevation and maximizes battery charge before "gravitational obstacles" would probably help maximize the utility of something like this (it would also enhance the Volt).
 

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Dagwood55 wrote: “Route planning navigation software that understands elevation… (it would also enhance the Volt).”

Excellent idea! Let’s have a route selection button that says “Low Strain” in addition to “Mostly Freeway” and “Scenic” on the navigator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't know about the real production point of view. What is "real" mean? Many people have differnt view of what is "real". I would like to add to the list of "The EV was killed by the following factors:"

6) Where can I find the dealer to get car repair local (battery replacement, software update, normal wear and tear parts).

GM may have solve that part for many people cause of the local dealer.
Ok, How about we say Renault is a "real" auto manufacturer and Zapp is not a "real" auto manufacturer. For one Renault would provide the service network you just listed. Secondly, Renault is likely to be around for the duration of the warrantee period.
 

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I guess you solve the idea of "real" from the point of view from "The EV was killed by the following factors:" number 6. So I guess, I scrach off #6 from the list cause Renault is "real" auto manufacturer base on what is "real".
I guess I don't comment that it was a real production serial hybrid cause it had happen before as EV-1. It just something that had happen in the past long before the EV-1 that can't be change. There are some people still comment EV-1 and it bother many users in this forums. It time to look forward, but learn from the past.
 
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