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While the Barker Hanger was still mostly empty on Friday, the day before the Alt Car Expo starts in Santa Monica, I caught up with the Phoenix Motors and Altairnano crew standing next to the electric Phoenix SUV prototype. Bryon Bliss and Daniel Elliot of Phoenix Motors said the SUV is currently going through safety testing, just like any other vehicle destined for commercial sales. In fact, that was their main message, that the electric SUV will drive and feel like an ICE SUV. The 480 ft lbs. of torque and the rest of the powertrain have been electronically adjusted to make the vehicle feel "normal." One slight difference: while the prototype model doesn't beep when backing up, the production model likely will, otherwise you might not know it's coming. Expect the Phoenix SUV in the second quarter of 2007.

I also spoke with Roy Graham, Senior Vice President for Commercial Development at Altairnano, about the nano-titanate lithium-ion batteries I first wrote about at the EDTA Conference. You can listen to Graham explaining how the batteries will work in the Phoenix SUV here (~5 min. interview, 1.3 MB file). Also, check out a picture of the batteries under the hood after the jump.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      The charging stations are infrastructure changes, but not really major obstacles. The amount of paperwork required to build a new gas station are huge with step by step inspections to ensure containment and safety and a huge closing cost.

      Comparatively hooking up a commercial fast charging station is nothing. It would be sweet to go hom and get an instant charge, but going home and plugging in at night and never having to go to a station except for long trips would also be very nice.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So has anyone gotten any more information out of these guys about how the rapid charging is going to work?

      Since it requires special equipment are they planning any kind of infrastructure? Or are they selling some kind of rapid charge home kit or kit for the garage of all the fleet buyers who they are targeting as the first buyers?

      Without the rapid charge - which has far as I can tell will be virtually non-existent for the average buyer (not that they are targeting the regular consumer market at first but...) - this vehicle is just like every other EV and requires 5-6 hours of charge time.

      Plus, for this technology to take off Altairnano needs to license the tech to other companies to try and get this as the standard.



      • 8 Years Ago
      I talked to them at the Altcar expo about charging infrastructure. They would like to involve utilities as well as stores such as StarBucks for setting up fast charge stations. I don't know how successful they will be but it would be great if they could pull it off.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Aubrey Simon: Phoenix Motors is not yet in production, and their financial model is, to put it mildly, a bit iffy. It is possible that their production costs might actually be above the proposed sales price. They were hoping to subsidize the operation by selling "zero emissions credits" to other auto makers, but no such deal has appeared.

      Their initial sales were to be to fleet operators, with a planned purchase of 20 vehicles, that sounds like you. I'm suprised they didn't respond, not even so much as a "were not ready yet?"

      If you don't hear from them soon, perhaps it won't happen, start looking elsewhere.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Unfortunately, at this time -- May 20, 2008 -- there are no electric cars on the US market. Currently we have a choice between golf-carts --NEVs don't work in normal driving conditions -- and ferrari-type electric cars which only a few can afford. So much for innovation that is available and makes sense to the average person.

      • 8 Years Ago
      I double-checked with Phoenix Motors at the show, and the expected cost is indeed $45,000. Get out your checkbook!
      • 8 Years Ago
      if this and the truck model only cost 45k sell them to the general public. I would buy the pickup and SUV in a heartbeat if there numbers on those batteries come close to what they are saying.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I need 10 SUT's and 10 Suv's. I've emailed, spoken and gone to their shows and no one is answering me.
      WHY/
      • 8 Years Ago
      If you carefully dig through their web site, you will find that the quick charger draws 250KW, that's about the same as 5 houses draw in one day. So I expect you won't be seeing many home or even neighborhood quick charge stations. That kind of power is really only available to larger commercial sites.