September 29, 2011

Are electric vehicles fun to drive?

Yes. It looks like they're much more fun than conventional gas vehicles. The technical details: Power equals torque. ICE engine ratings traditionally are for peak torque. For EVs, we see that immediate torque is more important (both at zero speed and at mid-range speeds). That instant power just makes EVs more fun to drive.

Plus, they're quieter, have less vibration, and the battery weight lowers the center of gravity and provides great traction:

"There are many reasons why we call the Chevrolet Volt the best car in the world, but the fact that it can handle 1,100 miles driven at or near 73 MPH in flawless comfort and yielding close to 37 MPG, is one of them. The marketing folks at Chevrolet need to stop comparing the Volt to only the Prius, and focus just as much comparing it against other types of premium cars such as the Volvo C30, Audi A4, Mercedes C-class and BMW 3-series -- but with the fuel economy for long trips only 10 MPG behind the Prius, instead of 20 MPG for the others.

What is the bottom-line verdict of this review? If you are okay with a modestly sized four-seat car with modest cargo space, the Volt is the market's best premium car today. With tax incentives, the car may cost you close to $40,000, which compares reasonably with other performance/luxury sedans in its class.

I give it a perfect 10 out of 10 -- a verdict I have never given to any other car, ever. It's all about superior, and in this case unique, technology."


"The car is so pleasant to drive that I can’t imagine finding early adopters to be a problem. But after that, I’d like to see the Volt become available to the rest of us. Which is why we should hope for a kind of EV arms race, for a significant drop in battery prices and a rapid expansion of plug-in infrastructure. Because after putting a couple dozen highway miles on a vehicle like the Volt, plenty of people simply won’t want to go back to a conventional car."


"The revelation of driving the Tesla is that electric cars make really fun toys. The Tesla uses electric motors and software instead of pistons and displacement to generate its super-torquey, race-car performance. But behind the wheel, you don't miss the gasoline. "

"The experience was exhilarating. "
Monday, January 25, 2010
"910 Miles Per Gallon*"
Consider how much time, capital, and engineering brainpower was invested to get the Porshe 911 to 0-60 in under 4 seconds: the first model rolled out in 1963 and they broke through the 4 sec barrier around 2005.

Tesla was founded in 2003. By 2009 it released the first roadsters which also did 0-60 in less than 4 seconds.


In November 2010 DESIGN NEWS an article by Sr. Technical Editor Charles J. Murray, Electronics entitled ‘Chevy Volt Goes Beyond Green’ reports GM engineers saying VOLT OUTPERFORMS gasoline burning vehicles. The story line underscores Pamela Fletcher’s experience with testing VOLT across the Rockies.

Murray writes: “Clearly though, its [VOLT] much more than that”’s the point, VOLT comes out as being another whole driving experience, a dimension unlike anything ICE.

September 24, 2011

What kind of car should we buy?

It seems to me that some kind of a variation on an EV (hybrid, plug-in hybrid, extended range EV, or pure EV) is the sensible answer to reducing and then eliminating oil consumption for personal transportation.

Consumer Reports said that a Prius was cost competitive at $3 gas; Kiplinger just said that the 5 year Total Cost of Ownership of a Chevy Volt is within $1,500 of a much inferior Chevy Cruze.

I only drive about 1,000 miles per year - I mostly use electric trains. Otherwise, I'd invest in something new and electric.

What do you drive?