Japanese electric car 'goes 300km' on single charge

May 18, 2011
"SIM-LEI"

Japanese developers have unveiled an electric car they said Wednesday can travel more than 300 kilometres before its battery runs flat.

Electric vehicle specialist SIM-Drive, which hopes to take the car to market by 2013 but gave no projected cost, said its four-seater "SIM-LEI" had motors inside each wheel and a super-light frame, allowing for 333 kilometres (207 miles) of motoring on one charge in a test.

Its designers say they hope the prototype, a joint project among 34 organisations including and engineering firm IHI, will be sold to car manufacturers for mass production.

Japan's auto venture SIM-DRIVE's prototype model of the electric vehicle SIM-LEI, which is expecting to go on sale in 2013, is unveiled in Tokyo.

Automakers such as Nissan, which launched its all-electric Leaf last year with a 160-kilometre range, are gambling that with zero tailpipe emissions will catch on and, some time in the future, start to drive traditional petrol-guzzlers off the road.

Electric cars still face key hurdles such as costly batteries and the lack of conveniently-located recharging points, which limits their operating radius.

Explore further: Researchers achieve 'holy grail' of battery design: A stable lithium anode

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maxcypher
1.5 / 5 (4) May 18, 2011
Given recent bio-engineering developments in generating hydrogen cheaply and cleanly, I think that we will eventually replace the batteries in electric cars with hydrogen fuel cells.
TabulaMentis
5 / 5 (4) May 18, 2011
Given recent bio-engineering developments in generating hydrogen cheaply and cleanly, I think that we will eventually replace the batteries in electric cars with hydrogen fuel cells.
Yep, in about fifty years or less!
david_42
5 / 5 (3) May 18, 2011
Hydrogen will require a completely new distribution system, as existing pipelines cannot handle H2 without major upgrades. Plus, the on-board storage problems haven't been solved. The infrastructure for electric vehicles already exists and most houses (in the USA at least) can handle a fast charging station. Add a simple signaling system to control how many stations are operating at one time and the potential of overload becomes minor.
that_guy
5 / 5 (1) May 18, 2011
200 mile range is starting to get to a reasonable point. If they can get the charging time to 15 minutes or less, or increase the mileage to over 300 miles, you may get a car that is viable for many people for daily drivers.

As for hydrogen, the hydrogen tank/fittings are more expensive than the battery pack, and you only get 80 miles a tank. So yeah. hydrogen is currently retarded.
that_guy
3.2 / 5 (5) May 18, 2011
oh, and why did they make this thing so damn ugly? It's like they're trying to turn us off to electric cars.
kaasinees
4.8 / 5 (4) May 18, 2011
oh, and why did they make this thing so damn ugly? It's like they're trying to turn us off to electric cars.

I don't find it ugly at all. And probably has to do with manufacturing.

Also this car has been on physorg before. -.-

Given recent bio-engineering developments in generating hydrogen cheaply and cleanly, I think that we will eventually replace the batteries in electric cars with hydrogen fuel cells.

Hydrogen is horrible. It will never be used in cars, and it has the same problems as any other fuel engines.
fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (1) May 18, 2011
With volume production starting next year, you can buy a Model S Tesla sedan with a 300 mile range for $70K (after $7500 tax credit). or get a 160 mile range Model S for $50k. Simple math would suggest that the battery pack for the 160m car costs about 20K and the battery pack for the 300m version costs 40k. If you want a cheap electric car, cheap batteries are a must.
dnatwork
not rated yet May 18, 2011
First, it reminds me of Woody Allen's Sleeper. He should probably get a royalty for the design.

$that_guy: You really think most people commute 300 miles in a day? I'm pretty sure that the car manufacturers have studied this and found that a large majority (over 80%?) of people drive less than 40 miles a day. That's why the Chevy Volt has that range.

Given that, overnight charging should be perfectly fine for most people. 15 minutes is complete overkill unless you are driving all day and need to recharge at a rest stop on the highway. For that, yeah, the need a solution. May I suggest, take the train.
that_guy
not rated yet May 18, 2011
@fmfbrestel - You have a good point - but to put it in perspective, the nissan leaf is 25k. Tesla always had a shaky business model. But yes, range/price are still very important to work on.

@dnatwork - I don't ever recall saying most people commute that far, because I didn't. I said as a daily driver, not for a strictly commuter car. I think most of us with good jobs commute 30-80 miles in a day (50-60 for me), however, sometimes we have errands to run, sometimes we want to go out with our friends at the edge of town, sometimes we take day trips, sometimes we will forget to charge our cars and do not want to end up stranded somewhere. Since it is not as convenient to recharge away from home, the extra mileage is very useful, and especially important to get past the american psyche. What is the inconvenience factor if you don't follow the right schedule one day.

also, I live in america - taking a train is not very useful for many people here.
fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (2) May 18, 2011
@dnatwork: Just dont drive your leaf through the Nevada dessert, it will shut off on you, and if its cold outside you will only get a small percentage of your range. So if you dont want to be stranded on the side of the road, either buy a car with gasoline backup (volt), or a car with temperature controlled battery packs (tesla).
fmfbrestel
not rated yet May 18, 2011
errr... too late to edit, should be directed @that_guy
that_guy
not rated yet May 18, 2011
@fmf
ok. I'm not sure if you're trying to argue with me or against me. The volt seems to be a good compromise except it is still expensive...not that fully electric cars are completely practical or cheap.

price wise, we have a ranger and a civic (which both get in the neighborhood of 30mpg) and skipped the hybrids, because they are at a premium unless you drive over 20k a year. (We did the math) So until price or practicality come up, or gas spikes a bit higher, these alternatives will stay in the minority.

The other stuff you say I understand, but why would your leaf shut down in the nevada desert? Are you saying because of the distance?
fmfbrestel
5 / 5 (1) May 18, 2011
@that_guy: the leaf wont make it though the dessert because the battery pack will overheat and the car will shut down to prevent an explosion -- lap tops used to do this surprisingly frequently.

Anyway, just saying the leaf is cheaper because they use primitive battery technology that works fine so long it isn't summer in the south or winter in the north. So if you live in San Diego, no worries. If you live in Atlanta or Minneapolis, you might want to think twice.

But batteries are getting cheaper at a pretty quick rate, but yeah, for the next 5 years or so there are plenty of 35-40mpg gasoline cars that make more economic sense. In the mean time electrics are either going to be expensive (tesla) or somewhat impractical (leaf).
Skepticus
5 / 5 (1) May 19, 2011
Good points about unpredictability about driving distances, planning, memory, out of places like Nevada desert,ect. But, electric vehicles are in their early days, and you have to think ahead abit. Nobody took their T-Model Fords driving for hundreds of miles and across desert when they just came out, so don't whinge, please.
plasticpower
5 / 5 (1) May 19, 2011
Why or why must they make it look so awfully ugly?! We already have the PT Cruiser and the HHR, we don't need another rolling eye sore, electric or not, on the roads. Other than that, 200 miles is promising!
MarkyMark
5 / 5 (1) May 19, 2011
Why or why must they make it look so awfully ugly?! We already have the PT Cruiser and the HHR, we don't need another rolling eye sore, electric or not, on the roads. Other than that, 200 miles is promising!

I disagree it looks pretty nice to me! Anyway i personally think that the E car is still a few years away mainly de to the distrubution of charging stations and the price. However with techs like agnetic induction and improving attery designs tat are better and cheaper and of cours cars like this show that the E car will happen soon.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) May 19, 2011
Nobody took their T-Model Fords driving for hundreds of miles and across desert when they just came out, so don't whinge, please.


Actually, the T-Ford was designed to be as much a car as a tractor engine, so people did use them for a lot of purposes that cars were never even "meant to do".

They would drive the car down a logging road, then pop off the rear wheel and put a belt on the axle to drive a circular saw to make planks. Then they'd use the very same car to haul those planks out of the woods. A lot of the time they'd simply disassemble the car and use the engine and drivetrain for pumping water or running a small factory.

And I bet someone took one for a desert ride as well. Cars then had to be tolerant to abuse, because fixing one was a far greater ordeal than it is now.
that_guy
not rated yet May 19, 2011
so don't whine, please.

I fixed your spelling.

Actually, as far as i could tell, this actually somehow devolved into an intellectual discussion before you came in. We were discussing pros and cons, drawbacks and advances. This is rather rare in the comments section lol.

electric cars are still in their infancy

let me qualify that - modern electric cars are in their infancy. electric cars have been around longer than gas powered cars.
33Nick
5 / 5 (1) May 20, 2011
Why use hydrogen as an energy medium? It makes no sense. Battery technology are evolving leaps and bounds. IBM and Google are working on prototypes that best 3 to 10x the best lithium chemistry today. What's the hang up with hydrogen? Is it the space age word? Hydrogen hasn't kept up because it makes little to no sense using a gas to make electricity when battery store electrons much more efficiently. And anyway, follow the money trail behind hydrogen. That should suffice...
Mayday
not rated yet May 22, 2011
Electric cars will stay niche vehicles as long as their use is limited to people who can park their car in a private locked garage. The vast majority of cars are parked outdoors. And many of these outdoor parkers do not have ready access to secured electricity. Coming outside in the morning to discover that your vehicle was unplugged, either intentionally or accidentally, would be a huge inconvenience.

IMO, this issue far outweighs the range chatter. 100 miles is plenty, but the charging mechanics make the whole category a toy.
holoman
not rated yet May 22, 2011

Hydrogen fuel cells can go 260 miles.

They take 5 minutes to refuel.

Anything with a battery will prove unreliable compared to
German engineered fuel cell cars like Mercedes, BMW, etc.
cyborge
not rated yet May 23, 2011
There where parks in the US at the time that required Model T drivers to be equipped for repairs in remote areas... imagine what that means... try that with the Electric- Car.
And you have to mate 2 transmissions to get the low gear required for a Model - T Tractor... the skinny tires are good in the mud, apparently.
A back up power unit is a must for the electric car. Small gas fuel engine or highly compressed air tank might work (compress the tank, same time as charging??), maybe it only assists the drive train to extend range. Put a crank on the compressor so you can hand crank your way out of the Desert in about a week.