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The plug-in aficionados of the Japan Electric Vehicle Club hit the track this weekend in a Daihatsu Mira Van with a 74 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery to see how far they could go on a charge. The last time the crew attempted this, in November 2009, they managed to squeeze out 345 miles before running out juice.

This time out the members reduced some mass with new features likes a carbon fiber seat and even lower rolling resistance tires from Toyo. The van used the same Sanyo battery as the previous record drive and continued rolling for 623 miles before running out of electrons.

Seventeen drivers participated in the 27.5 hour drive with an average speed of just under 25 miles per hour. While getting over 600 miles on a charge is certainly impressive, we aren't likely to see many 74 kWh batteries in production vehicles anytime soon because of the cost. Plus, the driving style on the closed course was likely extremely conservative, which doesn't match real-world conditions. A tip of the hat to Paul!

[Source: Electric Vehicle News]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The numbers are:

      A regular EV like the Volt/Roaster uses around 200 wh/mi which is approx 125 wh/km. The Mira EV used as little as half that 60.5 Wh/km (varied with driver).

      The previous record of 555.6 km (345 miles) was set with the same car on public roads in 'real' traffic. The Mira runs a DC motor but it's not known if it has regeneration.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is that Kim Jong Il in the passenger seat?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kudos to the team on their record! Pushing the boundaries of any technology is an excellent way to move the whole industry forward.

      • 4 Years Ago
        • 4 Years Ago
        Think (read) before you type:

        "One of the key reasons why engineers chose the route from Fairbanks, Alaska to Vancouver is that Canada allows mobile re-fueling of high-pressure hydrogen vehicles along its public highways. Without a network of hydrogen fueling stations every 300 miles, mobile refueling was a necessity.

        Two companies were enlisted to assist with mobile refueling. Linde, a German company based in the U.S. provided the rolling supply of hydrogen, while Canadian-based Powertech Labs supplied a self-contained re-fueling station. Mounted on two separate flat-bed trucks, the refueling team moved in advance of the Highlander FCHV, setting up shop at pre-determined intervals. ""

        source:
        You provided the link
      • 4 Years Ago
      Let's figure an EV needs around 250 watts per mile. Toshiba -- with whom Tesla is now in a technology development relationship -- is claiming its new 18650s have around 250w/kg energy density. So, this next generation is around 2 pounds of battery per mile -- let's call it 3 pounds per mile to allow for upper and lower charge limits (i.e., not 100% filling and not 100% draining), module carrier weight, wiring, cooling, and whatnot. So, if Tesla says 300 miles for the optional S (needing a 75WKH pack), then you'll have a pack weight of 900 pounds -- which is lighter than the pack in the Roadster. Of course, these batteries are the newest and bestest (until tomorrow's newerest and even-more-bestest), so you pay a price premium, but you'll not pay much of a weight premium.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I have experience driving an EV for 3 years, 10,000 miles.
      60 miles real range is plenty for almost all daily commuting and driving around town, especially if you can opportunity-charge when needed.
      I guess that is also why the S has a 300 mile range option so that when a prospect customer with range anxiety (planted by anti-EV crowd) walks in, they can say "yes, you can get 300 miles".
      After that most owners will choose to buy the lowest cost, shortest range version and find out that it is plenty for over 95% of their daily driving.
      Sometimes you may need more, just like when you have a sedan and you need a pickup or a box truck to haul stuff. You borrow or rent it, like always.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Cor, I think you're right that 60 miles actual range is well suited to most peoples actual driving, including me.

        On the other hand, auto makers have to overcome the FUD being spread daily by uninformed people in the media and others who engage typing fingers before engaging thinking caps. It is positively stupid that so many people believe the lies and half-truths of the forces of the status quo but that is the reality.

        With that in mind, I think Nissan is on the right track starting off with a 100 mile vehicle and plans to increase the range by 2015 to 200 miles. By then there will be a confluence of installed Level 2 / Level 3 chargers and vehicle effective range that will be the tipping point for mass adoption of the electric vehicle. Look for an explosion in demand around that time (so get one well before then if you want a good price).

        As to charging, I've posted this link before. Here is a company that will give any business, community, organization or gov't agency electric vehicle chargers for free. Look for these to pop up at the beach, shopping centers, medical buildings and hospitals, parks, attractions like zoos/amusement parks, etc. They have Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 chargers listed on their site.
        "The charging stations are provided and installed by Car Charging, Inc. at no cost to the business/property owner."
        http://www.carcharging.com/
        "The benefits for the host is the ability to provide his customers or constituents with the service of convenient car charging and at the same time benefit from a percentage of the revenue from the station."
        • 4 Years Ago
        And since the Model S will have battery swapping available... most people will just get the 160 mile version and then rent the 300 mile pack when needed.
      • 4 Years Ago
      and btw, very bad autoblog that you didn't use this opportunity to use a metric distance rather than the idiotic imperial units when the headline could read Japan EV club drives more than 1000km on a single charge.
      it's really time to wake up Sam.
      this is a global forum after all and USA is very wrong in its devotion to those idiotic units.
      let's say yes we can on this one
      • 4 Years Ago
      That is 8.42 m/kWh (13.47km/kWh). That is a fantastic range even if it wasn't a real world application.

      I assume they did nothing but just drive it at a constant 25mph without ever changing speed except to change drivers?

      Back to the real world: I still disagree with most people that a 300+ mile range is needed in most EVs. I think that people will learn that even a 200 mile range is sufficient and that you can charge at home at night. If you really do travel further than that to go on vacation or to visit grandma, then a second car or even a rental will do just fine.

      How many times a year does the avg person really drive over 200 miles in a day?

      If you travel for a living and regularly do travel 200 or more miles a day than clearly an EV is not for you. So? Not everyone needs and SUV or a two seat sports car. Why do we hold EVs to some artificial standard that they have to be the right car for everyone?


        • 4 Years Ago
        A fuel cell as a range extender in a serial hybrid makes no economic sense.

        The purpose of a PHEV (serial hybrid, EREV, whatever you want to call it) is to have an "All Electric Range" that will take care of 90% of driving needs.

        Why pay $1000 per KW for a range extender?
        *That is industry cost.... it is $3k/kw for "off the shelf" fuel cells that you and I could buy*

        Range extenders need to provide at least 25 KW to function at highway speeds. $25,000 is a lot of money to spend for only 10% of driving trips. Especially with the EV drivetrain with a 40 mile AER costs already.

        The cost of hydrogen over gasoline will not save enough to warrant a fuel cell.

        And the cost of the needed infrastructure is ridiculous at over $2 million per station (and $250k/yr for taxes and maintenance).... and since this is for range extender use, it makes even less sense to build hydrogen stations. 10% of driving means only those lucky few stations will even have customers. Nobody is going to build any stations with such high financial risk.

        I know, I know... the price of fuel cells are going to drop once they mass produce them. But what is the incentive to mass produce fuel cells if they are only going to provide EVs with miles ABOVE their daily use? Essentially only for road trips.

        -------------

        Just leave it gasoline (or flex fuel)! It is cheap, the infrastructure is already there, and since it is only used for long distance travel (less than 10% of driving), the emissions are still very low.

        ------------

        As batteries get better and better... PHEVs with an AER of 50 miles or more will be easily and cheaply achieved. At that point, automakers will choose the cheapest range extender they can because they know that it will only exists to alleviate range anxiety and to handle those rare road trips.

        Simply put, for the light-duty market... EVs will rule and PHEVs (using gasoline extenders) will fill in the gaps.... and FCVs or FC extenders will have no place to go.
        • 4 Years Ago
        David M,
        I understand what you're saying, but I just don't see it ever making economic sense. Even the most optimistic fuel cell advocates won't claim anything before 2015. Too many other factors will converge during that time frame so that it will probably never happen.

        On the PHEV side, we all know that the 40 mile AER will cover ~80% of our daily trips. So you end up with an "effective" 200+ miles per gallon with a simple, very common ICE. We could make it a flex fuel ICE so that hopefully it will run something other than oil but still very cheap, very simple and very available. I talked with the Lotus guys after the announced that dedicated engine for series hybrids and they said that the target manufacturing cost was "below $2,000". And it can run on ethanol, methanol, butanol, gasonline or even CNG.

        Why would anyone bother with something as expensive and complex as a fuel cell under those circumstances? They would have to develop an infrastructure for the H2 as well. It's not remotely that it can't be done, but why would you? There is zero economic incentive so why?

        The only reason I can see is to have zero emissions for city driving but a VAST majority of the time, city driving would be done under battery mode so we'd be spending a fortune for a tiny percent of the usage.

        • 4 Years Ago
        I can see a 200 mile range for battery EV's but more with presently mastered technology is difficult.
        This is good, but less than ideal, as a nominal 200 miles might decrease to around 150 miles if going at speed on the highway, only a couple of hours or so of cruising, and in cold weather even less.
        There are several possible solutions. One would be the production of lithium air batteries, which have a high enough energy density to cope.
        Another would be the use of plug-in hybrids, but conventionally you build in a lot of complexity as you have an ICE and an electric system.
        A third way is the use of fuel cells in conjunction with a plug-in battery, like the Peugeot convertible prototype.
        This would use around a 13kwh battery, about a quarter of that needed for a 200 mile battery EV.
        Assuming 200wh/kg that is 65kgs, as against about 250kg for the pure battery alternative. I am using figures for something like the AESC battery due in about 2015, as that would be the first where 200 miles in a fairly reasonably priced car might be do-able.
        The fuel cell is about 1kw/kg, so that is another 20kgs for a 20kw output.
        You have some other ancillary equipment but the main other weight is for hydrogen storage.
        Taking the storage as being 7% by weight, then the 4.2kg of hydrogen in the Peugeot might involve storage weighing around 60kg.
        Total weight then is something like 145kg for a far better long range alternative than the 250kg all battery alternative.
        If we can use an alternative to hydrogen then we can do better yet.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Another would be the use of plug-in hybrids, but conventionally you build in a lot of complexity as you have an ICE and an electric system." -David

        You mean the complexity of a genset? Something that has been developed for nearly 100 years?

        Versus the simplicity of a fuel cell with a compressed hydrogen tank?

        I think the engineers got that one down to a science. AC Propulsion was able to throw a simple motorcycle engine and generator onto a little towable trailer. Just because GM had a hard time, does not mean others will.... GM is so fat and bloated, they cannot tie their shoe laces without getting winded.

      • 4 Years Ago
      This is an excellent achievement! I wonder what the range would be at "highway" speeds? Nobody wants to drive so slowly when going a long distance.

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        Hi Kert,

        It probably isn't the best, but it probably isn't the worst Cd, either. Some smooth wheel covers and maybe a belly fairing and a bit of a Kamm back, and maybe it could go ~400 miles at say 55-60mph?

        Neil
        • 4 Years Ago
        It would be a function of Cd, which the Daihatsu Mira would probably suck at.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "we aren't likely to see many 74 kWh batteries in production vehicles anytime soon"

      Sam, how can you say that without at least mentioning the 300-mile pack option on the Tesla S? That's sure to be at least that big.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Jim Motavalli has now gotten Tesla's chief technical officer, J.B. Straubel, to give a first public estimate of how big the 300-mile pack will be: 85 to 95 kWh. "

        "Straubel's response: we have three years to figure this out, and battery technology advances quickly."

        http://green.autoblog.com/2009/08/25/report-tesla-model-s-could-have-95-kwh-battery-pack/

        --------------

        I am thinking that they can get 300 miles EPA rated at maybe 82 kwh. A lot is happening with batteries right now... and their numbers were still using those 18650 cylindrical cells from laptops. Once they go prismatic, who knows.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was about to mention that too, I expect the 300 mile version to sport a 100+kWh pack, but in fairness I have also said I believe the model S to be going the wrong way by making it that heavy (maybe 1800-1900kg for the 300mile) so we probably wont see that many 74kWh pack EVs in mass production soon.
        also futher unlikely if/when the automakers wake up and start building cars with strong light materials so the packs can be even smaller.
        that said, battery tech seem to keep improving, which does help make larger capacity packs more likely.
        a 600kg fiber aerodynamic 4 seater with a 74kWh pack would sure be quite a car. could have a city range above 1000km. not at all unthinkable tech.
      • 4 Years Ago
      623 miles is an amazing feat. With that kind of range in an EV I could drive for two weeks before needing to recharge.
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