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Electric Car Faster Than A Ferrari or Porsche 741

Posted by Zonk
from the quite-a-cart dept.
jumpeel writes "CNN's Business 2.0 has photos and video of a Silicon Valley-made electric car with a 0-60 acceleration rate that's faster than a Ferrari Spider and a Porsche Carrera. From the article: 'In fact, it's second only to the French-made Bugatti Veyron, a 1,000-horsepower, 16-cylinder beast that hits 60 mph half a second faster and goes for $1.25 million.' The X1 is built by Ian Wright whose valley startup WrightSpeed intends to make a 'a small-production roadster that car fanatics and weekend warriors will happily take home for about $100,000 --a quarter ton of batteries included. The X1 crushed the Ferrari in an eighth-mile sprint and then in the quarter-mile, winning by two car lengths.'"
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Electric Car Faster Than A Ferrari or Porsche

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  • by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman&gmail,com> on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:52AM (#15270521) Homepage Journal
    a Silicon Valley-made electric car with a 0-60 acceleration rate that's faster than a Ferrari Spider and a Porsche Carrera.

    Any engineer worth his salt can tell you that electric motors put out a hell of a lot more torque than gasoline engines. Gasoline engines are restricted by the tolerances of their mechanical parts, even if the engine is capable of producing more horsepower under load. That's why raw horsepower figures are often a poor indicator of a vehicle's acceleration.

    Diesel Locomotives [wikipedia.org] were making use of this fact long before the electric sports car showed up. By transferring the power from the Diesel Engine to an electric transmission, modern locomotives are able to smoothly apply power curves of well over 300KW without any of the slippage or rough starts associated with the Steam Engine.

    Honestly, this entire story isn't anything new. The TZero [forbes.com] was trouncing expensive sports cars long before the X-1 was introduced. The only difference I can see here is that the owner of the X-1 appears to be looking to build a replacement for Formula-1's rather than creating a slightly more practical Porche type of vehicle.

    More info on TZero [wikipedia.org] (The article has links to the TZero outaccelerating several fancy sports cars.)
    • by Oldsmobile (930596) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:30AM (#15270853) Journal
      You are correct, nothing new.

      There is really no reason why even a less racy looking EV could not be as fast as a Ferrari or Porche, even more pedestrian EV's are quite peppy.

      The problem is range and battery performance. A range of 100 miles is mentioned, but this does not mention driving style or ari temperature (sure to be nice and hot, since it is a permanent convertable).

      Here is an interesting video blog by a guy who owns a small EV and drives it around London." [dannyscontentment.net] He gets free parking down town and pays no congestion charge. [wikipedia.org] Other good things mentioned is the durability of the car and the fact that is very cheap to own and operate.

      The problem is, his range becomes very limited, especially in the winter he can only do 25 miles. Another problem is the 16h equalization charge he has to do every month. These could of course be because of the specific battery technology used in his particular model of car, but I'm sure similar problems exist with other EV's.

      I guess these are the reasons that EV's never really caught on.

    • Ok, I think this is pretty impressive for an electric drive package (not the car itself...the gas Atom is definitely faster than this electric conversion), but to say it's the second fastest car in the world is ignorant. They compared it to two cars that are in the low 4 second times for 0-60 (actually, I'll bet it could only beat a Carrera GT on driver error). The Ferrari Enzo and McLaren F-1 both come come in on the order of half a second faster. This is just for "production cars." And as fun as the Atom
    • by Phanatic1a (413374) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:44AM (#15270988)
      Gasoline engines are restricted by the tolerances of their mechanical parts

      Well, so's an electric drivetrain. The big difference is the torque curve. An internal combustion engine at 0 rpm stalls out, providing absolutely 0 torque, so you need some way to couple non-rotating parts (red light!) to an engine that has to idle at some minimum rpms. And then the engine delivers more torque as you spin it up.

      Electric motors deliver their maximum torque at 0 rpm, and then it drops off as mechanical friction starts acting as a parasite. And since you don't need to worry about mating non-rotating to rotating parts, your drivetrain can be more efficient overall, since you can get out some of the lossy linkages.

      You're right. This is nothing new. I saw a video online of an all-electric car beating a Ferrari off the line years and years ago (And not just beating, dominating). But at the end of the quarter-mile it needed a recharge. There are a lot more obstacles to electric cars replacing IC cars than just performance.
      • Electric motors deliver their maximum torque at 0 rpm, and then it drops off as mechanical friction starts acting as a parasite.

        That second part is not true. As the motor speed up it generates back-emf which reduces the current thru the motor. Motors are current flow operated devices. This also limits the maximum motor rpm with no load.

    • I've long thought that the electric/hybrid car marketing was completely stupid and backwards. Who do they market to? Two groups: environmentalist wannabees and a few gadget and tech obsessed folks.

      This is stupid. For a couple reasons. How many upper-middle class folks are environmentalists or gadget obsessed geeks? Dozens!

      How many upper-middle class folks are car nuts? Judging by the number of performance package BMW's I see running around, lots. A lot more than there are environmentalists, by a fac
      • Build me a 350Z, not a Previa. Build me an NSX, not a Civic.

        Wow, and people look back to when they thought the earth was the center of the universe and think that is silly now.

        They make 350Zs and NSXs. And, yes, they both are killer cars.

        However, hybrids are doing well, despite the fact that you don't want one. Take a look at http://www.greencarcongress.com/sales/index.html [greencarcongress.com]

        Hybrids are good cars, and getting better. I've heard of people using their Prius as a quiet and efficient generator after a massive
  • Seen it before (Score:5, Informative)

    by thanuk (620203) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:53AM (#15270531)
    That's not a new car - that's the Ariel Atom with an electric motor in it. http://www.arielmotor.co.uk/ [arielmotor.co.uk]
    • Re:Seen it before (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Miniluv (165290)
      The article even indicates he's using off the shelf components. Ariel doesn't make an electric Atom (I can't fathom why), so this guy is filling a gap.

      The funny thing that the article fails to notice is that with a 100 mile range and only 4.5 hour recharge (if this guy hits his targets) means this car would be practical as a daily driver for virtually everyone.
  • No Shit, Sherlock! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrchaotica (681592) * on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:54AM (#15270539)
    The problem with electric cars was never performance, it's range. And this car doesn't solve that problem, although the range isn't that bad either (100 miles). Being an open car, it's not exactly a daily driver though.

    Also, if you look at the pictures this is actually just an electric Ariel Atom [arielmotor.co.uk], which is also faster than a 360 Spider or Carrera GT.

    Don't get me wrong -- this is cool. It's just not nearly as revolutionary as the article writer thinks it is, and it certainly won't "save the planet--fast!"
    • For ACP's machine.
      • I was going to point that out too, and 300 miles is fine for normal daily commute--even for a couple days. The problem comes in when you need to make a longer trip--like a vacation or visiting relatives. What we need is a hybrid car where the electric engine is the primary one and gas (or hydrogen) is the backup, rather than the other way around (since I'm pretty sure all hybrids right now depend on gas if you're going over 35 or something like that). Or if they can get an electric car that can do 600+ mile
        • You can get an add-on trailer for the ACP which generates electricity to drive/charge it. Fill up at any gas station.

          Because it's fully electric you can use anything which can produce electricity. Hell, you could have a wood powered steam engine powering the generator on the trailer and cut down trees as you go. Run electric and piss off the environmentalists at the same time.

          It's actually quite an elegant idea, modular power generation and it means the car itself should be serviceable for the forseeable fu
          • "It's actually quite an elegant idea, modular power generation and it means the car itself should be serviceable for the forseeable future."

            No it isn't, the power generation isn't going to be very efficient and this shit'll never scale large enough to provide a real-world solution.

            I do have to admit that on the individual level it could be fun, but it won't work for the masses.
        • If you could charge them quickly, the 300 miles wouldn't be a problem. My gasoline powered car gets roughly that, but only takes a few minutes to fill up and be on my way again.

          For electric cars to work we'll need better infrastructure. something like those propane tank exchange thingies would probably do nicely.
    • by Rei (128717) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:04AM (#15270616) Homepage
      That's why there's the big rush to move to fuel cells. Being able to convert hydrogen to electricity at 70% efficiency or ethanol to electricity at 50% efficiency lets you use high energy fuels instead of low energy batteries. Hydrogen has greater difficulties when it comes to density, obviously, but if they can be resolved (and the tech is progressing steadily), it's a great solution (second only to having your car get its power straight from the grid).

      Fuel cells aren't very heavy or bulky, but they still don't put out as much power as batteries (and they don't even approach ultracapacitors). Thus, an ideal situation would have fuel cells charge batteries or ultracapacitors, producing electricity faster than it's used at cruising but slower than it's used during acceleration.
    • although the range isn't that bad either (100 miles)

      Hum, no...
      FTA, emphasis mine :
      "With $8 million in funding, he says, he is convinced he can put a consumer version of the X1 into production that meets federal safety standards, has a 100-mile range, and recharges in 4.5 hours."

      IOW, given that money he thinks he can achieve an autonomy of 100 miles.
    • It's not just not as revolutionary as the article writer things. It's not revolutionary AT ALL.
      Electric motors generate peak torque at 0 RPM. Yes, they can accellerate like mad, but they use a ton of juice to do it. Then they are spent. Anyone could do this at any time. It's not news.

      So it can do a quarter mile fast. Ask anyone who does open wheel racing (formula 1, etc), and they will tell you, "drag racing is for pussies". Anyone can slam down their foot and go a short distance in a straight line. N
    • by goombah99 (560566) on Friday May 05, 2006 @12:16PM (#15271329)
      When a hybrid is traveling on a highway for an extended period, 100% of it's power is coming from the engine. To push a modest car (honda accord) down the road a 55MPH requires about a 30-40 HP engine. You probably want a larger one so it does not wimp out if you want to go faster for an extended period.

      The batteries in hybrid cars are only used for acceleration in city driving and short periods of excess speed on highways. They are NOT used for anything else because ultimately 100% of the average power comes from the gasoline.

      Thus the sole benefit of hybrids is that it turns city driving inefficiency (stop and accelerate) into the equivalent of highway driving since the engine can run at a constant, efficeint, tuned point almost continuously. For people who actually stop and leave the engine running for long periods, the hybrid can save a few sips by shutting down the engine. Also the hybrid can make use of engine type not associated with sexy car performance, like diesel.

      But anyhow it cant avoid getting 100% of the energy from the gas.

      What about charging the batteries off the grid? That will not work if everyone tries to do it.

      If you wanted to be able to pull your car into gas station and gas it up in under 10 minutes to a range of 300 miles like you can with gasoline then the gas station would have to deliver power to your car at a rate of a megawatts. Besides the absurdity of delivering that over the powerlines, any practical battery would explode when charged that fast.

      Okey you say, well what about trickle charging it overnight or while you are parked for a long time at work. Well that would work, for you. But if everyone else in your neighborhood did it, then we are back to delivering many megawatts to every neighbor hood. that simply is impossible until we have underground superconduction transmission lines in every city in america.

      Thus electric cars re nice show pieces but cannot replace gasoline on a large scale at this time.

      Thus the only way to charge an electric car is to have distributed power production or distributed chemical fuel delivery.

      So this can mean: 1) hydrids that burn fuel like now. 2) hydrids that burn hydrogen like fuel cells (make the hydrogen at nuclear plants and ship it as chemical energy not over wires)

      or charge batteries at nuclear plants and ship them in trucks to refueling stations where you swap batteries.

      Thus you can only transport the power needed for typical driving as chemical energy.

      30 HP = 22,371 watts

      300 miles @ 55 Miles/hour = 19,636 seconds

      30hp for 19636= 43,9285,090 joules

      delivering 24 mega joules in one minute requires

      7,321,418 watts from "pump" at gas station to recharge one car.

      If a gas station was a busy one and was processing one car per minute all day long then it would have continous feed of 7 megawatts.

      The total capacity of the US for power production is 300 terrawatt hours. so that would mean that if we doubled the entire electrical capacity of the US we could build less than 10,000 gas stations, ignoring all the transmission problems.

      • A mild correction (Score:3, Insightful)

        by raygundan (16760)
        Thus the sole benefit of hybrids is that it turns city driving inefficiency (stop and accelerate) into the equivalent of highway driving since the engine can run at a constant, efficeint, tuned point almost continuously.

        None of the currently available hybrids use a setup where the gas engine can run at constant RPM.

        The benefits of the current drivetrain designs are as follows:

        1. Your engine is the same total power, but now has two pieces. You can turn half of it off when both are not needed, such as when c
  • by DaHat (247651) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:54AM (#15270540) Homepage
    Maybe I'm just crazy... but I'm sick and tired of hearing about new and grand vehicles that could potentially reduce our dependency on foreign oil, or make the environment clean or run a bajillion miles to the gallon... I don't really care about the theoretical, research side or first builds that cost more than a single family house... I'd like to be able to find such a vehicle reasonably priced at my local car lot in sufficient shapes and sizes that I drive off with one without feeling crammed into a matchbox and as if I just shelled out far more than I could afford.

    Wake me when they are affordable and widely available will you?
    • by Rei (128717)
      [quote]I'd like to be able to find such a vehicle reasonably priced at my local car lot in sufficient shapes and sizes that I drive off with one without feeling crammed into a matchbox and as if I just shelled out far more than I could afford.[/quote]

      Ever been in a Prius? They're surprisingly roomy. Yes, they're over 20k, but when you look at the features that come standard (just ignoring the efficiency), and the sort of warranty you get, there's not that much of a hybrid surcharge; you'll easily make it
    • Because R&D always has to come first before a final product hits the market? I mean, duh... You think the Civic Hybrids just suddenly appeared out of nowhere one day?
    • by Tweekster (949766) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:24AM (#15270804)
      I think we just need to charge any vehicle that gets less than 25MPG an extra 2 dollars per gallon of gas.

      Seriousely. Those people that get 15 to the gallon raise the global demand by consuming far more than they need to. They drive up the price of gas.

      They should pay more and the rest of us that are responsible people that give a damn should not have to subsidize their selfishness.

      SUV's should flat out be banned. Trucks should be restricted as work vehicles or heavily taxed for personal use.

      There is absolutely no reason why you cant get away with every personal use vehicle getting at min 25 to the gallon. I just bought a brand new corolla. 41 to the gallon, just a standard, rather roomy vehicle. There are tons of cars that use regular gasoline that get great mileage.
          There is no reason to be buying SUV's other than to look retarded (SUV's are rather ugly)

      Either ban those vehicles or make them pay $5 a gallon. Let the rest of the country enjoy lower prices because we act responsible.
      • Computers that use more than 25W should also pay extra for electricity. You should pay a 30% surcharge on electricity for entertainment, or incandescent bulbs. Overclocked, noisy, water-cooled gaming machines should be banned. Those people should pay more and the rest of us that are responsible people that give a damn should not have to subsidize their selfishness. People shouldn't be allowed to run home machines 24h per day. There is no reason to be buying Alienware PCs other than to look retarted.

        Con
    • Do you also wait until software is 100% finished, completely bug free and blazingly quick before you use it?

      Because if so how the hell did you manage to post this?
  • ...the looks, it looks ok, but it is nothing compared to the Bugatti and the bugatti is faster; also I'll never be able to afford either.
  • Ariel Atom? (Score:5, Informative)

    by albino eatpod (242140) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:54AM (#15270544) Homepage
    The chassis on that looks exactly like the Ariel Atom [arielmotor.co.uk]. The Atom is a very slick, road-legal, car fitted with a Civic Type-R engine that's then supercharged. It produces more power-to-weight than an Enzo, I believe. They're also very cheap (It think the basic model is around £20k here). That'll also do 0-60 in 2.5 seconds (faster than the Ferrari).
    • That'll also do 0-60 in 2.5 seconds (faster than the Ferrari).

      Sounds fast than the ~3second claim for the electric car as well...

      Not that I don't think a fast electric car is cool, but the mis-placed bragging certain detracts from the coolness a lot...

  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:55AM (#15270547)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AC_Propulsion_tzero [wikipedia.org]

    The original lead acid version was even earlier than 2003.

     
  • by murderlegendre (776042) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:56AM (#15270559)

    Electric Car: "I'm an electric car, I can't go very fast, or very far.. and if you drive me, people will think you're gaaayyyyy...."

  • They're comparing this vehicle to complete passenger cars (although ultimate luxury sports cars). It would be more appropriate to compare it to something like a 7, or an Ariel Atom [arielmotor.co.uk], which is faster than the Veyron 0-60 anyway.

    Don't get me wrong, I love electric cars, and plan to convert my own some day, but don't compare apples-to-oranges, article.

    -Jesse
  • Nice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GmAz (916505)
    100 mine range and 4.5 hour recharge. I would own one, if the price was reasonable. I work a few miles from home and if I get the new job I am going for, it will be a about 30 miles back and forth to work. This car would be great. Come home, plug it in and voila, all charged. Imagine being able to have a small solar array in your backhard to charge it with too. Not bad for people that drive excessively far for work.
    • Re:Nice (Score:3, Insightful)

      Problem with the solar panel idea is getting 4.5 hours of sunshine _after_ work.

      However, this may be feasible by using a spare battery charging during the day and swapping (in smaller-than-500lbs increments).
  • I'm not impressed. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JesseL (107722) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:57AM (#15270564) Homepage Journal
    I've got a vehicle that quick. It'll do 0-60 in 3.5, I've gotten 50MPG cruising on the highway at 80MPH (admittedly with a little tailwind), it goes about 200 miles on a tank of gas, and it cost me $2000 used.

    It's a 600cc sportbike.
  • by ZSpade (812879) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:57AM (#15270570) Homepage
    It may be speedy, but is this car going to be of any practical use, or is it simply going to be a novelty item, used for racing or showing off your newest toy to the other bajillionaires?

    Also, as an obligatory point... Where are they getting the electicity to run this thing? Most of the US still get's it's power from Gas run power plants. It's good to see improvement in the tech though, so when we do have other methods of power generation we'll be ablt to take full advantage of them.
  • Acceleration Range (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ThosLives (686517) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:58AM (#15270576) Journal
    Sure, an electric motor can beat out a gasoline due to torque like we all know. However, I will not use any alternative system until:

    The solution allows at least 350 highway miles per charge and can be fully recharged in 5 minutes or less.

    As far as I know, no current or on the horizon electric-only system can do this. Hydrogen / fuel cell are close, but that is something that just cannot be done with chemical batteries in the mass market (I have heard of research into areas of fast charging, but I know I don't want to have to stand near an electric supply that is transferring at over 6 MW (10 gallons in 3 minutes of gasoline is just over 6.3 MW equivalent energy transfer).

    • by mspohr (589790) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:08AM (#15270653)
      "The solution allows at least 350 highway miles per charge and can be fully recharged in 5 minutes or less."

      I think you're being a bit unrealistic here. What you describe is the typical characteristics of a gas powered vehicle. However, how many people need to drive for 6 hours and then refuel in 5 minutes (so they can drive another 6 hours)?

      Most people drive less than 100 miles a day commuting and have all night to recharge. This car meets these specs just fine.

      If you're driving cross country, rent a gas car.


    • The solution allows at least 350 highway miles per charge and can be fully recharged in 5 minutes or less.


      I think you could solve the charge problem by having multiple battery packs.
      Then it's just a matter of how fast you can change the battery.

      Still have a range problem though, and there's also the cost.

      -- Should you believe authority without question?
    • I think many people would be willing to buy a car with a long recharge as long as the range was higher. Particularly for people who own a commuter car and a driving car. A 360 mile range would take care of nearly the longest of daily commutes (probably 98%) combined with forgetting to plug it in one night.

      But you really need to have a hard shell around it, and all the usual safety features that people like.

      And one strategy for 'fast charging' is to have lightweight batteries that you can easily swap out.
    • Why 5 min refuel? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by maddogsparky (202296)
      I can understand wanting a short refuel time if on the road. But requiring a 5 minute recharge on an electric vehicle wouldn't be required very often. Assuming that most daily round trips are under 100 miles and most one way trips (e.g. traveling somewhere for the weekend) have recharge capablity at both ends, there are usually several hours of downtime between trips of significant length.

      The 5 minute charge seems to just be a requirement left over from mandatory trips to the gas station. Most people, I

  • But the pragmatist in me goes, "Yeah, but they can make it burn a VW Golf in the quarter-mile for under $10,000?" Because that is the Goose that lays the Golden Egg, my friends.
    • Mmm, VW (Score:2, Troll)

      by joe_n_bloe (244407)
      As long as it crushes the spirit of VW's target demographic* that's fine by me.

      * 25 year old pasty white geekboys dressed in black with "WARDRIVER" window stickers
  • After all, it was an electric car that, for the first time, beat the 100 kilometer-per-hour speed record [about.com]. And that was at a time (early 20th century) when cars were much heavier and bulkier than what is possible now.

    Most people seem to have forgotten that, prior to WWI, and the improvement to the internal combustion engine, there was a lot of debate between which engine was the best. Internal combustion won, because it offered longer range, not necessarily better performances.
  • DOA (Score:5, Funny)

    by LaRoach (968977) on Friday May 05, 2006 @10:59AM (#15270591)
    Meh. It's cute, but as soon as you add airbags, side impact beams, rollover protection, 1500 watts of stereo with a subwoofer, make it pass US crash rules, etc. it will weigh 3000 lbs and have a range of 50 feet.
  • Instant torque (Score:5, Informative)

    by katorga (623930) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:01AM (#15270596)
    Umm, eletric motors provide instant torque with equals massive acceleration from 0. It takes a combustion engine time move to high rpms.

    The best work truck you can get right now is a Dodge "Contractor" model with a 6 cyl cummings diesel and four electric motors. Instant torque combined with the long haul power of a diesel. It gets 24mpg and has an internal 20Kw generator that can power four 3000 sq ft homes. It can run on Biodiesel too. Now THAT is a hybrid.
    • Re:Instant torque (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      show me a dealer you can buy that truck at... They never went to production on them.
    • Have any links? Even if they just sell to contractors, it isn't all that difficult to become a contractor. Lots of people have done it just to build their own home.
  • by Bromskloss (750445) < ... <at> <gmail.com>> on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:02AM (#15270600)
    Engineer Ian Wright uses processors, flash memory and software to get top performance out of standard parts.
    :-) Hehe, the people at CNN really know their technology, don't they?
  • Most people can't afford a $40,000 car, let alone something that's 2.5x as much. Plus, people feel that their car is less powerful if it's completely silent. Just look back to electic motorcycles, they had to add artificial noise-makers so people would accept them.
  • Basically, they used a metric their engine is well suited to winning... and won!

    Electric engines have a huge amount of torque, which helps you get off the line faster. I would be impressed if this car could do this, and still be usable later.

    It impresses no one if you race someone at a light, then have to pull in to a station for a recharge.

    Plus, it looks like this thing is just an Ariel Atom [google.com]... which I believe already beats those other cars anyway

  • This is great for street car times, but for sheer speed it totally sucks. A typical top fuel dragster can do 300 miles an hour in under 5 seconds. Is there an electric version of that? When they have an electric car that can tie an 8000-hp nitro drag car, then electric cars will finally have combustion engines on the run. Otherwise, it's still combustion whipping everyone at the strip.
  • by llZENll (545605) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:07AM (#15270634)
    "A car that could save the planet--fast"

    BAHAHAHAH...

    "II. Electric Vehicles

    Electric vehicles are incapable of replacing more than a small fraction (5 or maybe 10%) of the 700 million internal combustion engine powered cars on the road due to the limits of battery technology. Dr. Walter Youngquist explains:

    . . . a gallon of gasoline weighing about 8 pounds has the same energy as one ton of conventional lead-acid storage batteries. Fifteen gallons of gasoline in a car's tank are the energy equal of 15 tons of storage batteries. Even if much improved storage batteries were devised, they cannot compete with gasoline or diesel fuel in energy density. Also, storage batteries become almost useless in very cold weather, storage capacity is limited, and batteries need to be replaced after a few years use at large cost. There is no battery pack which can effectively move heavy farm machinery over miles of farm fields, and no electric battery system seems even remotely able to propel a Boeing 747 14 hours nonstop at 600 miles an hour . . .

    Some promising research into new battery technlogies using lithium is being performed, but even the scientists at the forefront of this research admit, "We've got a long way to go."

    Assumming these problems away, the construction of an average car also consumes 120,000 gallons of fresh water. Unfortunately, the world is in the midst of a severe water crisis that is only going to get worse in the years to come. Scientists are already warning us to get ready for massive "water wars."

    Thus, the only way for us to replace our current fleet of gas-guzzling SUVs with fuel-efficient hybrids or electric vehicles is to seize control of the world's reserves of both oil and fresh water and then divert those resources away from the billions of people who already rely on them.

    Even if were willing to undertake such an endeavor, the problem will still not be solved due to a phenomenon known as "Jevon's Paradox," whereby increases in energy efficiency are obliterated by corresponding increases in energy consumption.

    The US economy is a good example of Jevon's Paradox in action. Since 1970, we have managed to cut in half the amount of oil necessary to generate a dollar of GDP. At the same time, however, our total level of oil consumption has risen by about fifty percent while our level of natural gas and coal consumption have risen by even more. Thus, despite massive increases in the energy efficiency over the last 35 years, we are more dependent on oil than ever. This trend is unlikely to be abated in a market economy, where the whole point is to make as much money (consume as much energy) as possible." - http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net/SecondPage.htm l [lifeaftertheoilcrash.net]
    • I think you've been drinking too much of Matt Savinar's kook-aid. The man is a huckster, the product he's selling is The End Of The World, and he'll apply whatever spin is necessary to make the sale.

      Today's battery technology is the main obstacle to electric cars. There's no question that batteries will improve, the only questions are how much and how soon? And there are alternative technologies. . . Supercapacitors look promising. The newest ones, in the lab, are achieving energy density similar to b
    • If the money buried in oil drilling, distribution and developing, manufacturing and distributing AND maintaining combustion vehicles were poured into electrics, we would be using cars like the one mentioned in the article for fun by now, or as 'classic'.

      The combustion scheme went further than it was capable due to the fact that the governments and big money can control oil production and distribution - whereas any weirdo with the right equipment can produce electricity enough to charge a car - profit los
    • Scientists are already warning us to get ready for massive "water wars."

      Ah, who could forget those?
      And when the sun ducked away, we continued the fight inside, soaking every piece of furniture and carpet, nearly drowning the kitten.
      Then our mother returned from work and broke our water guns.
      But I'm ready.

  • is its power cord?

  • Can you imagine something like F1 racing but with electric cars? Much less noise and rapid battery changing instead of refueling.

    I suspect you'd have to put speakers in the cars to make the Neeeeeeeeeeeeeeowwwwww noises or it just wouldn't be acceptible.

  • The Tango (Score:5, Informative)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:13AM (#15270694) Homepage Journal
    Dont forget the tango [commutercars.com] that came out in 2004, electric and does 0-60 in 4 seconds. Also kinda neat that it came out in Spokane Washington and not backed by a bunch of Silicon Valley money men.

  • Mmmm. The Bugatti Veyron. You want one. Your dog wants one. If I had the money to blow on a car, this is the ultimate. Even Jeremey Clarkson [google.co.uk], who gets to drive all the nice cars he likes, said it was the best ever. (He says that a lot, but this time he meant it.)
  • This isn't an apples to apples comparison. The stock supercharged Ariel Atom on which this car is based will also smoke a Ferrari or Porsche. Go find the BBC Top Gear video on the Ariel Motors website. I bet the stock Ariel Atom will also beat this electric version - adding hundreds of pounds to a 1100lb car wrecks handling, and sure doesn't help straight line acceleration.
  • Who's the fastest now?

    • Who's the fastest now?

      For the first 450 miles, anyone named Andretti. Then Tom Carnegie utters those four most famous words in auto racing: "Andretti is slowing down".

      (Sorry, but it is May.)

  • I'd still rather have a forty-year-old turbine [john-w.de] to justify my wife's nickname of "Parnelli".

  • Electric motors have much higher torque at low speeds than gas motors. If your electric motor is powerful enough to get your car to highway speeds, its acceleration coming from a stop is going to dwarf a gas sports car's. In fact, electric vehicle designers generally have to limit the car's acceleration, because, unless you've got racing car tires (like this one seems to), you don't have enough traction for the torque.

    A much bigger challenge for an electric versus gas would be 60-90, highest top speed, or a
  • The power to weight ratio of electric motors is much better than gasoline. The stored energy to weight ratio of batteries is still much worse than a tank of gasoline. So if you want to build a car with excellent acceleration but don't care much how far it can go on a single tank/charge then electric is definitely the way to go.

    This power to weight ratio also makes electric motors attractive for helicopters - they simply can't get off the ground unless they exceed a thrust to weight ratio of 1:1. The length
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:35AM (#15270896) Homepage Journal
    "Sweet!" *runs out and buys an eletric car* "With that range, I can charge it overnight and get all my work done without buying an ounce of gas. At $3/gallon and a refill every 5 days, that's saving me $180 a month in gas!"

    *electric bill for $400 arrives* Ah fuck.

  • Gas turbines! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pointbeing (701902) on Friday May 05, 2006 @11:48AM (#15271044)
    Gas turbine engines also produce peak torque at stall (zero rpm). Too bad they're noisy and not really environmentally friendly because they'll burn damn near anything - alcohol, peanut oil, diesel, kerosene, unleaded gasoline - and all without recalibration.

    Chrysler's A831 turbine cars (early '60s) produced 130 horsepower and 425 ft/lb or torque at zero rpm. Their fifth-generation turbine (1981) only made 105 hp but got 22 mpg in EPA fuel economy testing.

    Now all we gotta do is figure out some way to clean up the exhaust from 'em ;-)
  • by saleenS281 (859657) on Friday May 05, 2006 @12:28PM (#15271460) Homepage
    They leave out the fact that with that 100k$ price tag of the X1, you don't get a roof, or last I checked a street legal car. You don't get a stereo, or nice leather seats. You really don't get anything... you get a motorcycle with 4 wheels more or less. The other cars it's "competing" against are real cars, not glorified crotch rockets. Let's try apples to apples my good man.

    The X1 is good as a track car and that's about it. That's definitely not the market bugatti is aiming for.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly

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