• May 4th 2012 at 7:48AM
  • 20
Karabag has been selling conversions of a few Fiat models for a while now, but a new configuration of the 500, along with a low lease price, could see them moving more out the door. The new Karabag 500e makes use of the same electric drivetrain components that German forklift maker Linde Materials Handling employs to move about its precision workhorses.

The supply arrangement allows the elektrofahrzeug-maker to offer the Italian retro-cute for €34,999 ($46,000 U.S. at today's exchange rates) or lease it for a modest €299 ($393) a month. That price, they say, makes it cheaper to operate than the gas-powered version. (You can see how they calculate that at this Google-translated page from their website).

While the price may be moderate, so is the performance. The new 500e puts out a peak 28 kW (37.55 horsepower) and allows for a top speed of just 105 km/h (65 miles per hour). Acceleration is, um, leisurely, with 50km/h (31 mph) coming 8.5 seconds after lift off. The 11-kWh lithium-polymer battery is said to offer 100 km (62 miles) of range.

Linde has also lent a drivetrain to another vehicle with much (much!) better performance. The Linde E1 electric go kart has made the Guinness Book of Records by accelerating faster to 100 km/h (62 mph) than any battery-powered cart ever before: 3.45 seconds. If only it were street legal.

Hit the jump for videos of both the Karabag 500e and the Linde E1 kart, along with a longer, bonus video from Linde detailing its history and products, that also features the electrified Fiat and the kart.

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PRESS RELEASE


Electric vehicles don't need to be expensive

Karabag New 500 E: zero emissions at competitive prices - with Linde drive technology

Hanover/Aschaffenburg, 22 April 2012 - It is a commonly held perception that electric vehicles are "too expensive". However, with the New 500 E, Germany's market leader in the electric vehicle sector, Karabag GmbH, has launched a vehicle whose leasing cost of € 299 per month is comparable to that of a "normal" small car. This has been made possible thanks, in part, to proven series electric drives from Linde Hydraulics.

251 registrations per year may be a drop in the ocean in the automotive market as a whole, but in the emerging market of electric vehicles, it was enough to secure the number one slot in terms of registrations during 2010 for Hamburg-based Karabag GmbH and they kept this pool position in 2011. As Germany's largest supplier of FIAT commercial vehicles, Karabag GmbH has been building and distributing electric vehicles since 2008. The company is now unveiling a new model that costs not more than a comparable vehicle with a combustion engine.

The Karabag New 500 E is based on a Fiat 500 and uses economical and highly efficient electric drives with a comparatively inexpensive lithium-polymer battery. Karabag was supported in the design and optimisation of these drives by Linde Material Handling GmbH, whose Linde Hydraulics business area has built around 3.5 million electric drives over the past 40 years for mobile work machines such as forklift trucks and electric tow tractors.

When Linde engineers began their collaboration with Karabag, the basic concept already in place left room for optimisation. The drive specialists replaced the original plan for a nominal 30 kW cooled drive with a far lighter, uncooled 28-kW motor and optimised the functions of the electronic control unit. As a result, the Karabag New 500 E comfortably outperforms the older, supposedly more powerful, version.

In addition to the drive unit for this project, Linde Hydraulics is supplying a package consisting of the motor, converter, fan and control unit. The LINC 1 control unit, which has a successful track record in forklift trucks, communicates with the on-board computer, the battery management system (BMS), a gateway and the instrument panel display.

The result of this joint development project is a vehicle with a top performance of 28 kW that can reach speeds of up to 105 km/h and accelerate from 0 to 50 km/h in 8.5 seconds. Furthermore, its cruising range of 100 km makes it perfectly suited to meet urban mobility needs.

Just as impressive as these statistics is the cost comparison with a FIAT 500 with a combustion engine. Karabag has calculated that a FIAT series model incurs total costs of €412 per month, while the Karabag New 500 E will cost only €370.40, based on the monthly leasing fee of €299 with no special payment and with a four-year guarantee. As a result, Karabag has achieved its development goal far sooner than many experts had expected.

The expertise of Linde Hydraulics and Linde's inexpensive, tried-and-tested electric drives have been instrumental in this success.






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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 8 Months Ago
      if the price is right for Linde parts it could be interesting enough for a light car like a kit
      Nick
      • 8 Months Ago
      My relative was the exclusive distributor or Linde (among other brands) products for several countries and for about 40 years, and told tales about Linde's exemplary quality. I wish this car had a bit more power, perhaps 60-70hp and a bit more oomph, but there's certainly a matching motor at Linde that can do just that.
      uncle_sam
      • 8 Months Ago
      This is the reason why most Germans think that EVs are slow impractical cars, with no highway (autobahn) cabability and will never be sold within 30 years. there are no nissan leafs in Germany, tesla is known to overheat, model s is unknown. you only get electric wheelchairs. so at gas prices from 9$ per gallon get a diesel...
      marcopolo
      • 8 Months Ago
      Linde manufacture excellent products. The sorts of projects are excellent exercises in engineering development. But, I'm afraid as a commercial proposition, Renault, Nissan, Mitsubishi etc win hands down.
      PR
      • 8 Months Ago
      It's a hopped up NEV with the limiter removed. It would make a very nice NEV, and they should sell it as a NEV. It isn't a full highway/interstate ready EV, and nobody should consider it to be one. As an NEV, it is a nice little NEV. As a highway EV, it just doesn't cut it.
        fairfireman21
        • 8 Months Ago
        @PR
        Why would anyone pay $46,000 for such a limited EV when there are cheaper ones out there that are highway useable?
      MTN RANGER
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sigh, and you wonder why the golf cart references are lumped on all EVs.
        fairfireman21
        • 8 Months Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        Lets see, 8.5 secounds to reach just 31 mph. Yea I agree. For $46,000 you get just 60 mile range, and in a horibly ugly 500 at that.
        Dan Frederiksen
        • 8 Months Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        only by ignorants..
      Ryan
      • 8 Months Ago
      There should be more 2 seater cars that look like that being converted to EVs. With $10k of Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries, it should be able to go 60 miles. Add in a $2k motor, $2k charge controller and other EV parts, and $4k for the rest of the frame, seats, safety, and aluminum body panels, and you have a $18k car. Add in the profit, dealer charge, taxes, and retiree pensions (if bankruptcy didn't force the US taxpayer to pick them up yet), and it should be $22k-$24k.
        marcopolo
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Ryan
        @Ryan Ryan, not much point really, when the iMev is pretty close to that price.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 8 Months Ago
      Sounds like an amateur conversion to me.. things like this shouldn't make it to market.. 37 hp is just too low. An EV should not be a penalty box.
      EZEE
      • 8 Months Ago
      At $46,000, does it offer any advantages over the Leaf, or even the Focus EV? Also, if Tesla doesn't end up jacking up their price for the base Model S, it would not be substantially more expensive, but would be infinately better.
      russellbgeister
      • 8 Months Ago
      well it at least it can push two tonne. theres better motors around than this and they are designed for ev application.
      Ele Truk
      • 8 Months Ago
      That's pretty impressive, it can go almost as far as the Leaf with about 1/2 the battery pack.
        Dave
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Ele Truk
        The Nissan claims to have a ~100 mile range but the EPA rates it at 73 miles. This car is claimed to have a 62 mile range. The EPA rating will probably be less than 40 miles. European and Japanese fuel economy ratings are very optimistic, just as pre-'07 US fuel economy ratings were.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Ele Truk
        The aerodynamics of low speed are a wonderful thing.
        fairfireman21
        • 8 Months Ago
        @Ele Truk
        and half the room, and half the comfort, and only about $10,000 more. NO not very impressive!
      Spiffster
      • 8 Months Ago
      Keep that motor in forklifts and go-carts please... or a motorcycle.
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