• Oct 31, 2006
Surrounded by millions of fossil-fuel-thirsty horsepower in the great hall of SEMA, Ed Begley Jr., the reigning poster boy of environmental activists, asked himself, "The electric vehicle rally was last month. Burning man has come and gone, what are you doing here?"

Heeding the advice of Michael Corleone (Keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer), Begley was promoting the Phoenix Motorcars sport-utility truck and seeking SEMA guidance in the cool factor.

"SEMA has style, innovation and engineering," said Begley. "We need SEMA. We need to work with all the aftermarket to give style to this vehicle. That's what's been lacking in electric vehicles."

Begley touted the benefits of electric vehicles and hybrids, focusing on the economic benefits. "Forget about the environment," he said, noting that it cost him $12 to drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. "It fits my pocketbook."

The Phoenix SUT is based on a rolling platform from an undisclosed Korean automaker. It's fitted with a 200-horsepower Enova motor and powered by Altairnano NanoSafe rechargeable nano-titanate batteries. Altairnano says this technology has advantages over traditional lithium ion batteries, the least of which is generating less heat. The company also says the battery can handle thousands more recharging cycles, so durability and battery life are much longer. The Phoenix SUT is designed with a range of 100 miles and can be recharged in 10 minutes with a fast charger. Otherwise, it takes about 7 hours with a conventional outlet. Top speed in the 3,800-pound truck is 95 mph. The GVWR is 4,800 pounds, which gives the SUT a 1,000-pound payload.

Dan Reigert of Phoenix says fleet operators are the first target as the vehicle starts with a planned 500-unit production in 2007. Vehicles are currently assembled by Boshart Engineering in Southern California. If the technology can be transferred effectively to Korea, production could expand to 6,000 the following year and ultimately to to 100,000 by 2010. Initial starting price is $45,000 but Reigert says the gasoline equivalent operating cost is 30 cents to a gallon of gasoline.


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  • 16 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Add two hundred miles to that range and I will sign on the dotted line.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, Ed. Yeah, you DO need some help in the style department. Maybe you could get some of those door handles that look like Klingon fighting knives.
      • 8 Years Ago
      What seems to be absent from these comments is that Begley is right - every EV so far has been ass-ugly. If they're ever going to be commercially viable, they'll need a little more aesthetic appeal.

      That said, most of the stuff at SEMA looks like the notebook doodlings of a 16 year old boy. Gaudy, expensive, "2 Fast 2 Furious" aftermarket bolt-on crap. Going to SEMA to get style points is like asking Mark Foley to babysit your kids.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Geezzz! Doesn't any on this BLOG read international news. Global Warming will cost the PLANET more than the First, and Second World War, and the Great Depression put together !! We here in Seattle have Also gone into the "Lions Den" as it were... Our biggest Annual EV Show is in the Middle of the States Largest Hot Rod and Custom Car show on Greenwood AV. each year... "Gasless on Greenwood" we call it. HATS OFF to my friend Ed, for going where "angles fear to tread"
      • 8 Years Ago
      The problem with Begley in my view is that he's been a
      unmitigated liar in the past when he's pushed electric cars - as in "Who Killed the Electric Car?", when he said that "the electric car is not for everyone, it only meets the transportation needs of 90% of the drivers." Apparently those drivers never need to travel to destinations 40 miles away, never go on vacation, have $40,000 available for a grocery-getter, etc. The Altair batteries make a viable electric car possible for the very first time - we now have a battery that will outlast your next 4 cars, that can be recharged in a few minutes, which gives the car unlimited range. The quick recharge capability and everlasting batteries is what makes a viable electric car possible.
      I remind you folks that this pickup is aimed at
      commercial fleet owners, like utility companies and
      mainteneance companies. They are not designed for
      cheerleaders. They also have an SUV that doesn't look half bad and will be out next Spring.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Yeah man. Ed Begley. Just the hairy-chested Hollywood type I want as front man for my trucks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      kent beuchert, you have been figured out pal. I know who you are and I hope your stock in oil goes to pants. Have a nice life being poor buddy in the next few years.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "12. What seems to be absent from these comments is that Begley is right - every EV so far has been ass-ugly. "

      Really?

      The Telsa is ass ugly?
      http://www.teslamotors.com

      The Fetish is ass ugly?
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venturi_Fetish

      Those are just the EVs u can currently buy, I could link you to a half dozen other attractive electric cars not currently sold but in limited release for evaluation.

      So what's your definition of non ass-ugly if the Telsa, Fetish and myriad of limited release Nissans, Hondas, Toyotas, et-al don’t count?
      • 8 Years Ago
      so... why can begley succeed in bringing a form of a car usually seen only in foreign markets- a ssangyong- to the the U.S. now, when old Malcolm Bricklin still hasn't brought over his famed chinese cars that are supposed to be oh so amazing value for the money
      • 8 Years Ago
      Just remember the people trying to down-play this electric car are 99% paid oil or auto industry workers.
      Everyone knows that GM and Texaco Bought controlling stock of the NiMh battery technology and immediately banned sales of the large NiMh Electric vehicle batteries in North America.
      I wonder how long it will be before they buy up this technology and ban it too??? We should all keep watch for when (not if) it happens.
      Very Suspicious

      • 8 Years Ago
      That's UGLY! I'll wait for the Tesla sedan thank you very much, or maybe they can come out with something not based on an already-hideous Ssangyong.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ssangyong Actyon SUT is the "unnamed" vehicle. A face only a mother or car hater like Begley could love.
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