Recharge Wrap-up: EV torque secrets, UC Davis maps future of biofuels

New Street-Legal Polaris Utility EV; Formula E Is Free At Long Beach

Fiat 500e
Fiat 500e
View 7 Photos
A UC Davis white paper maps out "Three Routes Forward for Biofuels," balancing investment risk with carbon benefits. The first option is "incremental," in which we tinker with the existing biofuel manufacturing infrastructure for small improvements over time. The "transitional" plan suggests integrating cellulosic production and other innovations with existing operations. The third route, called "leapfrogging," would mean building refineries based on new technology such as cellulosic and algae-based biofuels. The paper suggests ways the US could use these three routes together in different areas, and predicts the payoffs in terms of carbon emissions could be significant if the right people are willing to risk the capital. After all, financial advisers are always telling investors to diversify their portfolios to manage risk and rewards in the same way. Read more over at the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies.

The Formula E Long Beach ePrix will offer free admission. The seventh round of the inaugural all-electric race season, which was moved from Los Angeles to the streets of Long Beach, will offer fans free grandstand and general admission. The race, which takes place on April 5, 2015, will use a 1.6-mile portion of IndyCar's Grand Prix of Long Beach. Read more at LA Times.

Polaris is now offering its 2015 GEM electric vehicles, including the new street-legal eM1400 LSV. The passenger and utility vehicles come in two- to six-passenger configurations, many of which are street legal on roads with posted speed limits of up to 35 miles per hour. The eM1400 LSV utility vehicle seats two, offers 1,250 pounds of payload, 1,250 pounds of towing capacity, a top speed of 25 mph and a range of up to 45 miles. Its on-board charger plugs into any standard 110-volt outlet. Read more at Hybrid Cars and check out all the different configurations yourself at the Polaris website.

In EVs, more torque does not always equal faster. Green Car Reports found this out when driving the Fiat 500e (with 147 pound-feet) against the similarly weighted Chevrolet Spark EV (with 400 pound-feet). The secret is, at least in part, in the gearing. The Fiat has a 9.6:1 reduction gear, making it quicker at lower speeds despite having far less available torque, while the Chevy uses a 3:1 ratio. The trade-off though, is in top speed. Furthermore, Chevy electronically limits the torque delivery at low speeds, as 400 pound-feet is a lot of launch for the little Spark EV to handle. Learn more in the article over at Green Car Reports. It's enlightening.

Share This Photo X