EVWorldblogs had an update on the Subaru R1e electric car development, that I mentioned in my earlier post that it would have a 125 mile range. Treehugger reported that the car was 3.3 m (11-foot) long and that the battery lifespan is greater than 150,000 km.
Subaru is one of the first car makers to take advantage of the promising new developments in lithium ion batteries. They are teaming with NEC to use their fast charge batteries, for which there is very little technical information, except that they can be charged in five minutes to 90% of capacity and have a high energy density - sounds very similar to the A123 technology. All Bill More of EVWorldblog could say was that they could be as small as a briefcase, depending on the requirements of the vehicle.
The R1e is front wheel drive and has an AC permanent magnet motor with a maximum output of 40 kW. Subaru says that if they can develop a high efficiency, high performance and low cost battery, they believe the potential for the electric vehicle will grow since EV's have a simple structure and design. The battery can also be used in both the ICE and fuel cell hybrid electric vehicles. So they are focusing on the development of the battery technology. They have recently decided to develop 10 units as test vehicles for the Tokyo Electric Power Company for delivery by the end of March 2006. Timing for the U.S. market launch has not been determined.
After Gutenberg also has a post about this car.
I have come to believe that if a low cost EV with a range of 60-100 miles can be developed it will have a good niche market. As our concerns about energy use become greater a personal car like this could have a place, as a second or third car, in the suburbs for commuting and local trips. With a five minute charge the versatility is increased greatly. The primary car would then be a plug-in hybrid for longer trips.
Subaru Electric Car Q&A, EVWorldblogs, November 29, 2005