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Geneva Motor Show 186 mph electric Kaz steals limelight...

TZERO electric sports car smacks the a!*se (US=a!s) of a Ferrari in San Francisco.

Oxford pollution equivalent to 61 cigarettes a day

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         (Click here for News from Nov 2005 onwards>>> )

November, 2005

Superlight / fast "SIE" Li-ion ebike just got even better !

Superlight/fast SIE Ebike

Two years ago we rated it - kilo for kilo - the best electric bike in the world by miles - in terms of both mph and miles per charge.
Well now Barcelona-based self-builder Roger Layola( has contacted us again to say he's further supercharged his incredible, minimalist Lithium-powered "SIE"("Superlight Integrated Electrobike").
Range is now a whopping 56-168 miles(90 - 270 km) and top speed 40 mph* (64 km/h).
Breathtaking! What a tour de force - now we can all pretend to be Lance Armstrong...

Roger - who's putting together a step-by-step DIY guide for us - tells us he's still using Thunder Sky's Cr-F-Li batteries but has switched to the TS-LCP50AHA model:
"These TS-LCP50AHA Cr-F-Li batteries are better at motor discharges, the results are incredible." he says.

*Legal note regarding the SIE's 40 mph top speed:
...according to EU lawmakers, bureaucrats, commissioners etc. by far the most energy-saving way to travel from A to B is to simply have one's private secretary or personal asistant call for an EU-taxpayer-funded limousine - preferably a diesel of course - if you 're a practicing and devout EUtopian...
Remember: "Drive a diesel, aka 'oil-burner', to save the planet - you know it makes sense."
- See Top Gear for further BBC-approved, public service guidance and advice on road-speed and the law.(What do you know - it's apparently not illegal in the UK to own and drive a car that's capable of 150+ miles per hour...)

November, 2005

EVUK among Top 5000 sites - in Good Website Guide 2006

Good Website Guide 2006

 "The completely revised best-selling guide to over 5,000 sites"(Harper Collins: ISBN 0-00-719385-8.)
Available for a stocking-filler price of £4.79 from Amazon)

Please forgive this rare(?) trumpet-blowing moment...Blow Your Own Trumpetbut - given
that Google now catalogues and searches well over 8 billion webpages - we are, quite frankly, tickled pretty pink to have been singled out for this year's next year Guide.
Yes - there's no denying that the book's back-cover blurb has gone straight to our heads(though sadly not yet to our bottom-line or cash-flow...) :

"The very best sites in each category are chosen and reviewed with many other sites featured because they are unique or have something about them that stands out."
"A must-have for parents and children alike."

Amen and Hallelujah !  Could this mean that fame and fortune(sustainable and $$green - naturally) - not to mention real, long-range, affordable EV's - might be just around the corner at last?

Even more encouraging and unusual for this type of compendium(contrast with the uninspiring Rough Guide Website Directory) is its new-found environmental focus - as author Graham Edmonds( explains in the Guide's introduction :

"Despite the bright red cover there's a 'green' tinge to the book this year as we've included a section listing all the sites covering environmental issues and help."

So now that a major publisher like Harper Collins has seen the green light - how much longer can carmakers, oil companies, governments and the media continue to dither at  red  and  amber ?

- EVUK's Good Website Guide entry can be found on P.65 of the Guide under "Cheaper & Greener Fuels" - that's two full pages before...ahead of...prior to...Top Gear...and one page ahead of What Car? and Auto Express magazines. Priorities? Sorted !

- Why not join us in contacting Rough Guide( publishers urging them to take a (green) leaf out of Harper Collins' book?  And suggesting, perhaps, that they get on track and up to speed - on environmental issues in general and on clean, alternative transport in particular?

October, 2005

BBC's Jonathan Ross buys wrong car - for the right reasons?
(..for his wife and the planet - allegedly)

  In last week's "Friday Night with Jonathan Ross"(Oct 21), JR tells his peak primetime TV audience - with the aid of family photos - that the REVA G-Wiz he just purchased for his wife(below) not only looks funny and sounds like a (...wait for it) milk-float - but is also hilariously slow on hills. To a crescendo of laughter he finally lets rip with a few trademark expletives when recalling how G-Wiz suppliers had asked him for a quote - a celeb endorsement - for their website.

So why, dear Jonathan, did you decide to buy the car at all? Did you not see it or hear it or test-drive it before making the purchase?
And given that you began your meteoric TV and radio career as a researcher - did you not think electric vehicles before buying?

 Did you not, for instance, stumble upon EVUK and see what your A-list Hollywood guests and chums - like George Clooney - are driving these days?
(Watch/read most recent Jonathan Ross / George Clooney interview)

Come on Jonathan - are your wife and the planet not worth the price of a 150 mph Tango from Prodrive of Banbury - that's around £49,000...or just 5-10% of your reputed annual income?

Why not pick up the phone and give Clooney and Prodrive a call - and show us all that you care more about your wife, your children's future and the planet than you do about cheap laughs at the planet's expense?

Then at some point you could perhaps set the record straight by regaling your audience with rib-tickling anecdotes about how you always get the last laugh in your Tango(0-60 in 4 secs) when :
a) you leave peeved Porshe, BMW, Jaguar - and even Kia - drivers for dead at traffic lights
b) you don't have to pay congestion or parking charges in central London
c) petrol prices are pumped up yet again......

We feel sure that BBC governors and their corporate/government bedfellas would jump for joy at the mere thought of such jolly truth-telling on primetime TV...

(If the Tango's not to your taste, Jonathan, then how's about - at less than half the price - a 125+ mpg plug-in(able) Prius+ hybrid from Amberjac Projects in the UK?)

  ...all of which leads us seamlessly to the G-Wiz and BBC Radio 4's "EV Virgin/Ingénue Extraordinaire" Peter Day - presenter of
"In Business".
Listen to "In Business" on the G-Wiz and EV's(20 Oct '05).

  Our verdict ? Quite frankly, the only part of Peter Day's report that is genuinely bold, refreshing and bang on the money is the contribution from GoinGreen 's Keith Johnston(pictured) who dares, albeit tentatively, to touch on a few uncomfortable political/corporate home-truths and taboos and also mentions REVA's 125 mile per charge 75 mph NXG prototype as well as confirming that the range and power of the current G-Wiz will be boosted in 2006.
(So how's about giving Wossy's wife a free upgrade next year - on condition he then sets the record straight on national TV?)

Apart from that, the BBC's persuasively posh Peter Day is clearly determined - despite all the conspicuously unreferenced EVidence to the contrary - to advance the yawningly familiar herd-trap fallacy that pure battery EV's are - and should remain - short-range, low-speed
niche-only little city-cars which - phew! - will by definition pose little or no threat to the ICE- and oil-rigged status quo. Well that's all right then, isn't it?

Volvo 3CC
Now who on earth would want a non-niche EV like this
180 mile/charge, 85 mph Li-ion Volvo 3CC - what with soaring petrol prices, global warming, wars for oil, local air pollution, noise pollution, congestion-charging..?

Sadly, like so much mainstream media output this timid BBC radio offering is infinitely more interesting for what it leaves out than for what it leaves in: you will for example wait in vain for any reference to any of the following long-range advanced EV's or prototypes: the all-electric RAV4, Nissan Altra, TZero, Mercedes "A" Class, Horlacher Sport, Solectria Sunrise, Venturi Fetish, Volvo 3CC, Mitsubishi Eclipse/FTO/Lancer, BlueCar.

And surely the "EV Understatement of the Decade" comes from Autopolis's John Wormald when he says "I have always felt that Europe would be a more natural venue" for EV's.
Bingo !
The reality of course is that if a global player like Toyota had genuinely wanted to break through the politics and popularize cheap-to-run, green EV's like the electric RAV4 in the late 1990's - they obviously would have publicized and marketed them first and foremost in $4-5 a gallon, eco-conscious(so they say..) Europe - and not exclusively in $1.50 America and Japan !

Beyond niche and cliché: REVA's 125 mile per charge, 75 mph NXG prototype

Related Links: Alternatively: BBC complaints at:

        Horlacher Sport - a lightweight, aerodynamic, visually stunning EV - way ahead of its time. Set a world EV single-charge distance record of 541 km in 1992.

Horlacher Sport
Horlacher Sport - set 541 km range record in 1992

My...what a long way we have come in 13 years - thanks to the environmental commitment, courageous leadership and long-term vision of our political, media, corporate, educational
- and religious - establishment.
What a mess the planet would be in without them!

Joking aside, there is indeed a tantalizing connection between the 541 km(max) Horlacher Sport and the 64 km(max) REVA G-Wiz: Click here to find out what it is.

(Would you like to comment on this article? Why not visit Britain's leading - EVUK-linked - EV Discussion(& Media Watch) Group Electric Cars UK?)

October, 2005

From Banbury to Burbank: Clooney with new Tango T600
Plus: Commuter Cars CEO wings it through LA traffic(see exclusive Q & A below).

Tango with Clooney in Burbank
Star attraction - a Hollywood 'Herbie' for the 21st century?
Click star/car to watch Tango in autocross action(..or watch this extended TV News report)

0-60 mph in 4 secs, 150 mph, 3 hour recharge(80% in 10 mins), 39 inches/1 metre thin , range 60-80 miles: with its phenomenal performance and outrageous manoeuvrability the Tango is a motorized maverick that breaks the (ground-)rules at every turn - hugging the road as if on rails.

And as for looks(the car's - not Clooney's), let's just say: you don't have to be beautiful, do you, to be a beautiful dancer - or to dance a cool Tango/Fandango...

Oxfordshire Map   Even more extraordinary - and deliciously ironic - is the fact that the Tango is designed and built for Commuter Cars Corporation("CCC") in the US by race-car specialists Prodrive in Banbury, rural Oxfordshire...
 ...which - would you believe - is just 10 miles or so up the road(A361 - see map) from Jeremy Clarkson's own comfortably detached(..from reality?) abode in the (previously)green & pleasant, idyllic village of Chipping Norton(also in Oxfordshire - see map)...and a mere 20 miles from Oxford Brookes University in Headington, Oxford...
...which(stay with us here..) is just a coincidental stone's throw(or honorary pie-throw) away from Oxford's Cowley Car Works(est. 1912) where the BMW Mini is now produced.
(Brookes...Cowley...Clarkson:: join your own luminous dots.)

...All of which leads us to a dream of an Oxfordshire(or LA) duel - a fantasy dead-cert, hair-raising head-to-head - that we(though perhaps not BMW..) would love to see (BBC?) :

George Clooney     Antique 3 Fantasy face-off!

Tango(of Banbury) vs. Mini(of Cowley) - a 3-part challenge.. with Clarkson in the Mini - and Clooney(or Clooney stunt-double) - in the Tango:

Challenge 1: Straight 1/4 mile sprint. Obviously no contest:
Tango'd - by a wide margin!

Tango Race Smoked  Tango Parked

(Oh dear - the quickest BMW Mini - the Cooper S Works - can almost reach 150 mph...but needs 6.5 secs to shift from 0-60. What's more, the Tango, like all EV's, is always in - ha! - top gear - so no need for all that frenzied, Freudian knob & stick yanking...)

Challenge 2: Parking(Park & Hide?) in Oxford City centre - or downtown LA.  Tango'd again for sure - with room to spare!
Note: Oxford - world-renowned seat of academic/automotive
cross-purposes - is Britain's most polluted city - touché LA ! See "Oxford Tops UK Air Pollution List".

Challenge 3: Getaway vehicle for fantasy bank job (Italian/Caine-style, perhaps?) or casino heist(Las Vegas...Ocean's 13...unlucky for some?).
Again - surely no contest. Tango'd thrice - wealth through stealth!

Italian Job Minis  Oceans 13

Tango & Stash - the movie. Will it ever happen?

Note: would-be Caine copy-cats should be sure to park their disappearing act removals van/bus - with Tango-ready ramps - no more than 60 miles(range!) from the scene of the heist.
Also: please charge the Tango with green energy - let's make this a clean getaway - the cleanest in history !)

Italian Job Tango'dItalian Job Tango'd
Tango & Stash - the cleanest getaway in history!
Click image to watch Italian Job(Caine version) classic clips now!

Unfortunately, most of us mere mortals would really need to hold up a bank to afford the Tango T600's $85,000 price-tag.
Either that - or hold out until the promised $20,000 mass production version hits the streets.

Q & A exclusive (25 Sept, 05)
- with CCC Founder and CEO Rick Woodbury :

EVUK: It seems unclear from all the reports we've read where exactly the photos of George Clooney with Tango were taken. Was it perhaps at his home in Italy(Lake Como) or in the US?

Rick Woodbury: Neither. It was at the Smoke House restaurant in Burbank California across from Warner Bros. Studios. He was interviewed by "Interview" magazine. The current issue has a full page photo of him with the Tango. My son Bryan shot the photo that's on our web page in between shots by "Interview" mag.
I just flew through Los Angeles traffic the last couple of days driving George Clooney's Tango. I don't think I've ever had more fun behind the wheel of a car, and I've raced Porsches even in pro races. It's like playing a video game as you pick off cars. It accelerates so quickly through small gaps and between cars that you can really get some satisfaction out of a traffic jam.

(EVUK Ed - postscript: Rick tells us he initially felt a little uncomfortable about allowing us to publish the above "...because I didn't know how "GC" would feel about me having so much fun in his car. But in my defense, how could I test and debug it without pushing it to its limits? Besides, his assistant didn't think there was any problem with publishing my feelings about driving his car.")

EVUK: We can't seem to pin down where Clooney really lives - or where he lives most of the time. He has the famed house in Italy - but does he also have a place in LA - Beverly Hills perhaps?

RW: I just spoke to his assistant. She said that we should state that he lives in the Los Angeles area, and not to be more specific than that. George did make a comment to his assistant last week that he's not a spokesman for Commuter Cars - that he merely bought a car. But he is happy that we're getting publicity - and we're not paying him to be a spokesman.

Tango with Clooney in Burbank

EVUK: Do you know of any UK/European mainstream motoring journalists(TV or print) who have actually tested and reviewed the Tango at all? We can't seem to find any. We're guessing the BBC's Jeremy Clarkson who lives just 10 miles from Prodrive in Banbury has never driven one?

RW: The car was not ready for a show like Top Gear when it left Prodrive. Besides it was a customer's car.

EVUK: And not just any customer. Finally, we're just wondering if the Tango is actually available to buy here in the UK and Europe - given the fact that it is built here in the heart of Britain?

RW: Yes. Certainly. It was designed to meet the UK's SVA certification for street use. It would be a shame if no one there wants one - it's so much fun to drive.

Coming soon! (Oct 7, 05)
Clooney - Good Night/Luck All this week Clooney has been charging around - in the Tango we hope - plugging...his latest movie Good Night, And Good Luck"(watch trailer) which deals with the media and truth(!).
So a very short film then, you might quip.
But seriously, Clooney - who also co-wrote it - deserves an Oscar just for tackling the subject.

See also: EVUK's Hollywood pages.

October, 2005

TV Alert!  Scrapheap's EV Challenge

  EVUK was first approached by Danny B. and Nicki D. of Scrapheap Challenge production company RDF Media in January this year asking if we could advise on an upcoming show to be based around....(please - no!) milk-floats!

Well, they might just as well have added that:
"...we'd like to do what we can to reinforce all those EV stereotypes that carmakers, oil companies, carmakers and crank-n-piston fundamentalists everywhere(esp. in the media) hold so dear. And we were even thinking of running Benny Hill's "Fastest Milk-Float in the West" on an endless and extraordinarily hilarious loop throughout the show. Now how does that grab you?".

Fastest Milk Float  Tom Hanks in his Rav4 EV
Will Channel Four deliver more than just milk? (World's fastest milk-float and Tom Hanks with electric Toyota RAV4)

You may recall EVUK's disguised "no names " reference to this TV development in our January piece entitled "TV's EV Awakening?" and "Milking the Joke":

"...we do feel fairly confident that we have succeeded in positively influencing one future edition of a very popular TV show in particular which - you guessed it - is to revolve around souped-up(duh!) milk-floats: we have - fingers crossed - persuaded the producers to include at the top of the show a fast & furious whisk throughème de la Crème of record-breaking and/or stereotype-crushing EV's such as the Ferrari-thrashing, Porsche-pasting TZero, the 315 mph Buckeye Bullet, the 106 mph Venturi Fétish as well as(hopefully) Tom Hanks' favourite car the Toyota Rav4 EV. (All too predictably, as far as we could tell, no-one at this particular TV production company had ever heard of any of these EV's...)."

But having received reassurances that the producers would now indeed widen the scope of the show beyond comedy milk-floats and negative stereotypes, we agreed to help put together a short-list of potential candidates for the show - the Battery Vehicle Society being very near the top of said list(sorry BVS - but no-one at RDF Media had ever heard of you at that point - but no matter: your '15 seconds'( repeats) of national TV fame is now in the bag, right?)

A couple of months later(March) we were again contacted by RDF: "Help - we need an adjudicator for the show - an EV DIY guru with personality...".
This time we decided to widen the net - we went transatlantic.
Boy - what a response! (Thanks guys - you know who you are - we passed on all your details to RDF. A special mention though to Roderick Wilde(formerly of Wilde Evolutions in the US) - sorry, we did our best - you deserve your own TV series!).

But we also gave BVS's Paul Compton another call - a one hour call as it turned out. Paul was as keen to play judge and jury as everyone else and we can now reveal that...he did indeed get the gig...

We have not yet seen the end-product and Mr. Compton has not contacted us since we put the adjudicator proposition to him - so it remains to be seen if RDF Media have indeed delivered on their promise to demolish rather than reinforce those EV myths.

You can deliver your verdict on that question and be your own judge and jury when the programme airs on Channel Four on Sunday Oct 9 at 17.30 - and again on Oct 13 at 04.45.(It may or may not be worth recording.)

September, 2005

Jeremy Clarkson- and BBC - get just desserts

  Or: Oxford Poly - aka Oxford Brookes *'pretend' University - presents bar-stool bigot with 'pretend' degree for services to self, fossil fuel fundamentalism, Formula One etc.
OK - those weren't quite the official reasons - but who on earth believes official truth, official justification any more...especially where oil and the Internal Combustion Engine are involved?

(*You may find the above comments offensive, ungracious, un-PC - in fact almost Clarkson-esque. when do we get our pretend degree - and our own BBC TV series - please?)

Clarkson Pie in Face

  See - among many others - Times Online and the Daily Mail for delicious details.
See also:
EVUK's/Transport 2000's
sTop Gear campaigns.

It's amusing/amazing, isn't it, to see how all the reports about this incident predictably focus on the environmental yobbery of Clarkson - diverting attention as usual away from the BBC who continue, defiantly, to provide the petrol-headed "icon" that they created with a two-hour-a-week primetime TV platform...

Clarkson Pie in Face
Click image to view forty more of Adrian Arbib's exceedingly tasty Clarkson Pie photos...

Another spooky EVUK coincidence?
Would you believe it? EVUK's Moira G. herself graduated from Oxford Brookes - with a very real and hard-earned degree - many years ago when it was just good ol' "Oxford Poly"(-technic). A few months ago she fired off a succession of outraged emails in the direction of the decision-makers at Brookes. But did her outrage stop there? Hmmm...

(Shout out! If anyone does possess a TV news clip/video etc. of the incident we'd like to post it up on this page permanently:

(Would you like to comment on this article? Why not visit Britain's leading - EVUK-linked - EV Discussion(& Media Watch) Group Electric Cars UK?)

September, 2005

Mitsubishi's mighty Lancer Evolution MIEV at Shikoku EV Rally
(See official Mitsubishi press release)

..but sorry - we too still have no post-event report or pictures to post - though we're hoping soon to see an official Mitsubishi press release(as in previous years) here:

Mitsubishi Lancer EV
Trailblazing, space-saving all-wheel Li-ion/MIEV drive:
155 miles/charge - 112 mph

Internet coverage aside - for us the especially encouraging news is that this week you can walk into any high street newsagent here in Britain and pick up(who knows - even purchase) a copy of a mainstream motoring magazine and read one of the most exuberant and enthusiastic pieces of EV reporting from Britain's mainstream media we've ever seen: we're referring to the current edition of Auto Express(Aug 31-Sept 6, issue 873, Page 16) and Sam Hardy's
"Electric Evo leads the Charge" (oh dear - watt revolting punnery...).
The opening few sentences set the unusually positive and bullish tone:

"Take at look at the most 'electrifying' Evo ever. This sensational car is part of Mitsubishi's plan to be a world leader in battery-powered vehicles.".

For some historical perspective, long-time EVUK'ers will recall our March 2004 report describing the Mitsubishi Eclipse EV's record-breaking(400 km/charge) performance in the 2001 Shikoku rally - see Mitsubishi's own Shikoku 2001(post-event) coverage.

August, 2005

Mitsubishi EV to launch 2 years early - a result!

(...but no official Mitsubishi press release to date - see:

Mitsubishi i EV 2008
Mitsubishi EV will reportedly be based on the "i" Minicar(Daily Yomiuri)

When in May this year Mitsubishi Motors(MMC) announced plans to launch a battery-powered EV in 2010, our response, in a nutshell, was:

"Great - but 2010? What's with the 5 year delay?"

And, for the record, that's exactly how we(and we alone - as far as we could tell...) reported the announcement in our May 2005 feature "Mitsubishi Colt EV - range could be greater than 150 km". (extract):

  "Unfortunately, it has to be said that all motor industry(ditto political) pledges of the 5-years-from-now variety should carry a health warning and be greeted with a fair degree of scepticism.
  Unlike those of a 3-year time-frame: with just three years to deliver on its promises a company knows that a vigilant public and media will keep eyes fixed firmly on the ball - counting down each of those 3-2-1 years until launch date.
  But with 5-years-from-now pledges, companies can rely on fading memories and once widely-applauded plans can be quietly shelved without causing too much consternation."

So 2008 it is folks - let the 3-2-1 countdown begin !

For once a little honest constructive criticism and scepticism appears to have hit the mark. was that we were saying about "MIT-subishi" sLimcells ?

(EVUK's Moira G. has just this week flown back from a six week educational, campaigning and fact-finding assignment in Japan - so are we talking spooky coincidence or real influence here, Moira?)

Mitsubishi "i" EV details: 250 km max range using Li-ion batteries and rear in-wheel motors. Recharge time: 4 hours.
Cost around $18,000.

Mitsubishi Colt EV  
Note: MMC have been using the Colt(pictured) as a rolling testbed or "mule" for its proprietary MIEV technology - but the 2008 MIEV-based EV will reportedly(we emphasize!) be based on the 4-seater "i" Minicar.

Also confirmed(quite surprisingly): Subaru's 125 mile/charge
Li-ion R1e
will launch in 2009
- hot-on-the-wheels of the Mitsubishi.   See Gizmag's recent, refreshingly excitable R1e coverage and comments as well as our own unexpectedly(..false modesty?) prescient March 2004 report "Japan's battery-powered revival - is a lithium dawn about to break?" with exclusive quote from Mike Whelan, National Manager, Corporate Communications, Subaru of America, regarding the R1e's then(2004) paltry projected battery range of just 100 kms/62.5 miles.

August, 2005

California Roadster EV wows Porsche owner, Mini driver - watch/read KATU TV News(US) report

California Roaster - KATU TV video
Click to watch KATU TV News report

" was interesting to watch the crowd that the cars attract...While I was there today, one man stopped in an Austin Mini Cooper 'S' to look at the cars and shortly later another potential customer pulled up in a brand new Porsche."
(Read KATU TV's Aug '05 report)

Yes - say goodbye to road-rage forever with this magical little EV roadster!
Because let's face it - you really would have to be beyond clinically depressed if you could drive this dizzy car-toon of an EV - shades of Roger Rabbit and Bob Hoskins - without sporting an ear-to-ear grin of Toon Town proportions.
It's "titillation therapy" on wheels, folks!

California Roadster
California ROASTer!

Cruising speed(it's surely all you'll want..): 35 mph
Range: 70 miles
Lightweight composite construction, 4-wheel brakes and independent suspension - and so much more.
Price (in the US): circa $8,000

- While it certainly makes our job a whole lot easier with pictures like these speaking so much louder than words - we never like to miss an opportunity to put wild ideas into people's heads..., in that spirit, we'd like to suggest for example that world-leaders and delegates at post-Kyoto eco-summits be provided with colourful cavalcades of these California Roadsters(or the VIP limo version, pictured) in place of the utterly uninspiring, par-for-the course golf-carts that are usually rolled out for those seemingly obligatory eco-transport photo-ops.

California Roadster

And to any billionaire entrepeneur planning to create an eco-paradise retreat for his/her staff - Richard Branson's Makepeace island resort off Queensland Australia springs to mind - what better way to demonstrate and propagate those all-important thinking-outside the-box principles and values than with a customized fleet or two of these topless little beauties?

California Roadster   California Roadster

Link to :California Roadster/ACG Inc., Chino, California: "We have a worldwide customer base". Inquiries from would-be dealers and distributors always welcome!
Update:   Dan Hoogenraad of ACG/California Roadster recently
(15 Aug '05) told EVUK that the company is currently in talks with prospective dealers in Western Australia and S. Africa...and that the most recent personal export to Europe was to a customer in Germany.

July, 2005

Paris to host Michelin Challenge Bibendum 2006
(June 9-12)

(Or: London Olympics 2012 - who needs that poisoned chalice?)

Bibendum: Oui a Voitures Propres! Congratulations and félicitations to Michelin and to France - a country which, following EVS21 in Monaco in April, has now surely positioned itself firmly at the very epicentre of Europe's green "Axis of EVol-ution"!.....

But we'd like to focus attention here on the other major challenge confronting major ZEV event organisers - the media challenge.

Bibendum Rally Kyoto Japan 2005

To date it would appear that the only
sure-fire way to persuade the UK/European media to do more than just show up at Bibendum Challenges and Electric Vehicle Symposia - is to stage your international clean vehicle event, if at all possible, in boom-time China.                  (Bibendum Rally Kyoto Japan 2005)

Yes - experience unfortunately shows that if you want mainstream journalists like for example the Daily Telegraph's Andrew English to actually report back - and report back in depth and in earnest - to their domestic audiences, it's probably advisable, again if at all possible, to stage your Shanghai for example.

See Andrew English's surprisingly considered (one-off?) piece
"Feeding the Dragon" from the 2004 Shanghai Challenge Bibendum as well as EVUK's accompanying comment in:
"EV / ZEV Broken Promises: EVUK and The Daily Telegraph"

See also: Auto Industry UK press release(July 25, 2005):
"Paris to host 2006 Challenge Bibendum".

- Let's please all do whatever  we can to ensure that Challenge Bibendum 2006 in Paris gets all the mainstream media attention and coverage it deserves - TV, radio and print!

July, 2005

Progress reports(x3) : Electrovaya EV, Honda FCX, DoE's $195m funding for EV's etc.

1) Electrovaya-Led Consortium Receives (Canadian) $1.7M Support From Sustainable Development Technology, Canada

Electrovaya Maya 100   Great news then, indirectly, for Miljobil(Norway) and for real EV prospects in Europe - see recent EVUK report with video clip: "Electrovaya ties Norwegian knot"

2) Honda Delivers FCX Fuel Cell Vehicle to World's First Individual Customer
- or, to be more specific, to the Spallino family of Redondo Beach, California.

Honda FCX first - Spallino family

OK - as exhaustively expounded elsewhere - we are not, for sound scientific reasons(well-to-wheels inefficiency and complexity = greater personal/global energy cost etc.) , the world's most blindly devoted fuel cell vehicle evangelists.
That said, it is good to see that Honda are now at last apparently beginning to deliver on their "Power of Dreams" promises - with a little butt-kicking assistance from Governor 'hydrogen highway' Schwarzenegger and his good, Kennedy-Democrat wife Maria Shriver.

And let's be sane and sensible about this:  if, twenty years down the road in 2025, half of all Zero Emission Vehicles(ZEV's) sold or leased in N.America, Europe, China etc. are Fuel Cell Vehicles(FCV's) and the other half BEV's(Battery EV's..) - we'll be more than happy.
And what's more, if at least 2 out of 5 of all new vehicles sold in 2025 are ZEV's - electric - and not petrol-powered - we'll be laughing.(If we reach that point 10 years earlier in 2015 we'll be ecstatic - or more likely dreaming...)

In the meantime, it'll be amusing to see if Britain's haplessly ZEV-resistant, yet Kyoto-committed, media and politicians(script: "hydrogen technology's at least 10-15 years away") are also able to ignore or downplay this latest landmark America first clean car breakthrough.

3) USCAR and U.S. DoE(Dept. of Environment) to Invest up to $195 Million in Batteries Research and Lightweight Materials.

sLimcell MIT detail Will a slice of that pie, we wonder, be heading in the direction of MIT's Professor Donald Sadoway for the development of his research team's remarkable, ultra high-energy (potentially 300+ miles/charge) Li-Polymer sLimcell batteries?
(See EVUK interview with Professor Sadoway, May 2005)

(Would you like to comment on this article? Why not visit Britain's leading - EVUK-linked - EV Discussion(& Media Watch) Group Electric Cars UK?)

July, 2005

Welsh(Pembrokeshire) National Park staff swap cars for ebikes

Welsh Harbour Village of Solva - National Park
Cyclists - non-electrified - in Welsh National Park harbour village of Solva

For those who want the gain(health, time/energy-saving closeness to nature...and so much more) without the pain - why not follow the fine example set by the National Park's recreation management officer Charles Mathieson(below left) and solicitor David Prescott?

Welsh Park ebikers
Charles Mathieson and David Prescott on their electric bikes

Many of you will have seen the recent press releases covering this story - unfortunately no photos or details of the ebikes themselves were included in any of them.
So in the search for pictures and more information we contacted Pembrokeshire Coast National Park as well as Bierspool Cycles(Tel. 01646 681039 - sorry, no website!) who supplied the ebikes.
The ebikes in question are the Giant Twist Lite and the Giant Twist Comfort. (Both ebikes are also available from EbikeCentral, London)

Although these NiMH-powered ebikes may not be the trendiest, sexiest or most macho ebikes out there, it seems the National Park staff are particularly impressed not just by their range and power but also by how light and easy to handle the ebikes are - almost like conventional bicycles in fact.

July, 2005

Watch DW TV video now! World's first virtual green/clean power plant

Plus: the world's most efficient solar power plant.

Watch two TV RealPlayer reports(in English) from the June 2005 edition of Deutsche Welle(DW) TV's "Tomorrow Today".

Bingen Virtual Power Plant     Pyron Solar Power Plant
A power revolution - the world's first virtual power plant and the world's most efficient solar power plant

Oh dear - oh yawn! Wind turbines and nuclear power - good or bad?
Nice or nasty?

Sadly, that's just about it as far as the clean energy "debate" goes here in Britain...

By contrast, Deutsche Welle's "Tomorrow Today" perfectly embodies the kind of brained-up, innovation/ecotech-oriented programming that UK TV companies - including most conspicuously our own publicly-funded public service BBC - simply refuse to provide.(Just how much longer will the British public - pressure groups, educators, media watchdogs, politicians - allow the BBC to get away with this neglect?)

Click here to watch these two eye-opening reports from the June edition of  Tomorrow Today(DW TV "Video on Demand" - free and instant)

Please Note : these two reports begin 16 mins 5 secs from the start of this 26 minute edition of Tomorrow Today - so please move(click and drag) the play-marker forwards 16 mins once play starts.
(Full RealPlayer mode is available by clicking on the icon below the lower right corner of video window)

Read DW TV video report summaries:

1) World's first virtual power plant linking 1,000+ clean/green decentralized micro-power units - coming soon!
Key link: Bingen University of Applied Sciences, Germany.

2) World's most efficient solar power plant - coming soon!
Key link: Pyron Solar, USA.

Pyron Solar Power Plant
Pyron's advanced multi-junction cells 'produce 800 times more electricity than conventional non-concentrating cells.'

June, 2005

Robrady/Vectrix "rMoto" Superbike gets green light(Gizmag)

rMoto (Robrady/Vectrix) Electric Superbike
The rMoto Superbike - hot on the heels(make that wheels..) of the widely-acclaimed Vectrix Maxi(400cc equivalent) electric scooter

Yes - forget all those familiar, frustrating "five years from now" EV-industry promises - according to Gizmag UK's refreshingly informed, evangelical article and interview with Robrady principal and namesake Rob Brady, the rMoto could indeed be just around the corner - quote:
"...a prototype is to be constructed for unveiling in January 2006".

Brady's people-powered, democratic design strategy for the rMoto seems just as revolutionary as the bike itself (politicians and corporate decision-makers please take note !) - he tells Gizmag that:

"...the progress of the development will be well documented and we're going to keep posting images on the site to keep people up to date with what we're doing. We'll also be involving people in the process - we want interaction and opinions and ideas and we're very receptive to hearing what the motorcycle fraternity wants."
(You heard the man! :

(Note: EVUK has spoken to Vectrix UK's Alex Bamberg to ask if he will be looking to market the rMoto in the UK if or when(here's hoping !) the bike eventually makes it to production.rMoto (Robrady/Vectrix) Electric Superbike But though clearly excited by the rMoto project, Bamberg told us(June 23) that he will need to consult with his Vectrix USA counterparts before making any official on-the-record comment. We'll let you know as soon as we hear anything.)

Related links - scooters/e-Vespas:

1) Vectrix UK. See also: Vectrix Maxi scooter in the UK press(Independent, Telegraph, Auto Express etc) and video of Vectrix scooter in action.
Top speed/range: circa 60 mph / 60 miles.

2) - newly-launched website is as flash as the rMoto itself.

3) ScootElectric(UK) - stylish, performance electric scooters(49cc equivalent). Less flamboyant but considerably less expensive than the Vectrix Maxi show-stealer - but will still turn heads and cut through the gridlock. Top speeds/range: circa 30 mph / 30 miles.
See EVUK's 2004 interview with ScootElectric's Tony Cheverall

June, 2005

Watch now! Roger Moore 007 in French Fetish heaven! (Fifth Gear, Channel 5 TV,UK)

Jason Plato Fifth Gear Ch 5  But first - Fifth Gear's Jason Plato(he's also a race-track pro - pictured) is clearly in urgent need of a little Fetish-oriented correction: for while we certainly appreciate the Monte Carlo-resident journalist's more than Platonic infatuation with the Fetish, his effervescent EV-newbie zeal appears confidently devoid of any knowledge of recent EV history and developments(never let research get in the way of a good story?):

"This is the first electric car that it's cool to be seen in and establishes Venturi as the absolute electric experts"
    - gushes Plato at one point - ever so knowledgeably.

Um - sorry Jason - but the Fetish's world-beating state-of-the-art powertrain and Li-ion battery/control systems were supplied off-the-shelf by one of the world's most celebrated "absolute electric experts" LA-based AC Propulsion and are virtually identical to those used in the stunningly cool limited production, Li-ion TZero - an electric supercar famous for thrashing a Ferrari, a Corvette, a Porsche, and a 500 bhp Dodge Viper over the 1/8 or 1/4 mile stretch(See video-clips below).

And of course the newer, again limited production, Li-ion TZero actually outperforms the (still) phenomenal Fetish on two counts: 0-60 in under 3.6 secs(Fetish: 4.5 secs) and a range of around 300 miles(Fetish: 200 miles).

Roger Moore and Venturi Fetish     Venturi Fetish in Monaco
Click star or car  to see - and hear - Roger Moore bonding with Fetish in Monte Carlo.

Anyone who - apparently like Mr. Plato - is not familiar with AC Propulsion's ultra-cool pre-Venturi Fetish TZero might like to race through the following video clips:

Li-ion TZero  
Li-ion TZero vs. 500 bhp Dodge Viper(2004 History Channel/EV Charger News)

Red TZero on mountain trail  

Red hot TZero hits mountain trail

- More TZero video clips:

TZero v. Ferrari

TZero v. Corvette

TZero v. Porsche Carrera

Red TZero v. Corvette

Li-ion TZero and Ferrari Enzo
(Discovery Channel 2003. Clip takes 20 secs to start...but is definitely worth the wait!)

So finally - our verdict on Fifth Gear's report: beautiful car, top star, magnificent location and - Sacré Bleu et Mon Dieu - a British TV motoring journalist and professional, career boy-racer sees the light....the electric light !
Jason Plato Fifth Gear Ch 5 → See the Electric Light!
But what a pity Plato seems so unwittingly keen to reveal that he knew nothing about cool EV's until the Fetish burst onto the scene and landed almost literally on his doorstep in Monte Carlo where both he and Venturi are based.
Yes - all the indications are that if the Fetish had been developed elsewhere(USA, Canada, Norway...) Jason would likely still not know of this cool car's existence.

Tom Hanks in his Rav4 EV

Perhaps at some point the intrepid Fifth Gear reporter could hook up with another star and his electric car - Tom Hanks(pictured) and the Toyota RAV4 EV for example - and let the actor know that "in fact" the Fetish
"is the first electric car that it's cool to be seen in(!)".

No wonder mainstream journalists like to warn the public not to trust the internet - and thank goodness we can rely on highly-paid(enough to "reside" in Monte Carlo!) professionals to sort fact from fiction for the rest of us poor amateurs!

June, 2005

125+ mpg plug-in(able) Prius+ to go on sale in UK/Europe in 2006 !

- there's just no stopping this Saphion Li-ion-enhanced Toyota hybrid...

Valence Saphion Pluginable Prius

- For all you planet-friendly and alert little darlings looking to dramatically reduce what you 'pay as you drive' : here's an absolute must-read press release  from Amberjac Projects(UK).

Related links:

1) UK Govt Ministers belatedly opt for the now passé Prius - perhaps they should have waited for the 125+ mpg Prius+ ?
See The Independent UK(31 May 2005):
"Ministers abandon Jaguars for green and trendy Toyota".
(Trendy? Oh dear - journalists and politicians - technologically behind the curve and non-plussed again?)

2) EVUK interview (Dec 2004) with Amberjac Projects' Simon Sheldon re Valence's groundbreaking Saphion Li-ion.

3) As stated in our ticker - the term "plug-in hybrid" (ie. ultra fuel economy/low emissions) is still(as of June 2005) completely taboo in Britain's mainstream media - not in the US of course: see NY Times article "Hybrid-car tinkerers scoff at no-plug-in rule".

4) Homepages: Amberjac Projects aka Plug In Hybrids.

(Would you like to comment on this article? Why not visit Britain's leading - EVUK-linked - EV Discussion(& Media Watch) Group Electric Cars UK?)

May, 2005

Electrovaya ties Norwegian knot

Toronto-based Electrovaya announced earlier this month(press release) that it is linking up with Miljøbil Grenland AS of Norway "to market Electrovaya's Maya 100 electric vehicle and promote the business of zero-emission electric vehicle technologies in Norway and neighboring countries."
(Neighbouring countries? But we're surely all neighbours now in this Kyoto-committed European Community - this veritable Family of Nations, are we not?)

Electrovaya Maya 100     Toyota RAV4 EV party Santa Monica
Maya 100(left) combines the mini-SUV looks of the Toyota RAV4 EV - with maxi 230 mile/360 km range. Click image(left) to watch video of Maya 100 in action in Manhattan and at Tour de Sol.

Dr. Sankar DasGupta, CEO of Electrovaya, sees Norway as an especially ZEV- and EV-friendly country(cf. Ford Th!nk Norway):

"We are excited to be working with the very experienced team at Miljøbil and their partners to market Electrovaya's Clean Electric Car, Maya 100, and develop Electrovaya's proprietary and award-winning Lithium Ion SuperPolymer(R) battery technology and systems designs for a long range, ultra-safe zero emission vehicle into the most receptive market in Europe for clean transportation."

So are we all agreed then? The average Italian, Brit or Spaniard would not be very "receptive" to the Maya 100 - whereas a normal...Norwegian would?
Do the people of Norway really want EV's more than the rest of us? Possibly - but this can be put down to the Norwegians' enhanced "EV awareness" following the country's long-running, high-profile campaign to firstly promote and then to save the home-grown Ford Th!nk.
And what exactly is meant by a "receptive market" anyway?

Because we really have to distinguish - and we hope and trust Electrovaya and Miljøbil will do likewise - between a "receptive market" and "receptive consumers".
For the fact is that once consumers do break through the corporate media's (now) slowly crumbling wall of silence and misinformation - when the people actually discover the truth about EV technology and see for themselves what's really out there and what they've missed - the majority of consumers, Norwegian, European or otherwise, tend to become almost evangelically "receptive".

So - to spell it out: 200+ miles per charge, 80 mph, a couple of Euros to recharge(no petrol-pump rip-off...) and, in the UK, no road tax and no congestion charges to pay in London. No, we just can't Th!nk why on Earth non-Norwegians would be at all "receptive" to the Maya 100, can you?

So come on, all you non-Norwegian EVUK'ers, why not let Electrovaya and Miljobil know just you all are to the very idea of low-cost, stylish, green motoring? , ,

Why not email them something along these lines perhaps? :

Hi !
- I'm not Norwegian or Swedish or Scandinavian and am therefore quite un-receptive to the idea of driving the Maya 100.

   I would not for example enjoy waking up every day with a full 200+ mile(2-3 Euros) "tank" of electricity - this would deprive me of my weekly opportunity - during my leisurely and relaxing commute to work - to spend a few life-enhancing, soul-enriching, male-bonding minutes("petrol-station quality time") not to mention 40-plus Euros - at my local (or not so local...) filling-station.
How could I possibly fill this "petrol-station void" in my weekly routine?
Petrol Pump Death Wish Where else would I find my petrol-station's uniquely wholesome range of fresh produce, healthy snacks and literature - and all at such bargain prices?
Do you seriously expect sane and normal people to swap a weekly visit to all those fragrant and reviving petrol-station oases for the inconvenience, hardship and sheer stress of having to, manually, put a plug in a socket once - perhaps even twice(for 400+ miles) - a week?!

You see - call me me nostalgic - but I also particularly enjoy oil changes and replacing wrecked exhaust pipes and clutches and other rotted, worn-out or vibrated-to-pieces car parts.
I would miss all of that so very, very much. Who wouldn't?

And like those all-knowing and ever-so manly presenters of the BBC's "Antiques Road Show" - sorry, I mean "Top Gear" of course(they're so hard to tell apart these days...), I would feel so much less of a man without the idea and "feel" of potent pistons and crankshafts thrusting ever-so manfully in and and out of hot throbbing cylinders - wantonly and recklessly gushing their spent, dirty emissions into the innocent faces, throats and noses of pedestrians, cyclists and children in pushchairs. (Sorry - I got carried away there - I don't know what came over me...)

And my heart also goes out to oil company bosses and government petrol-tax collectors - just how would they cope with the huge loss of revenue if millions of people around the world were to switch to vehicles like the Maya 100? Have you no compassion?

I am also concerned - like the responsible and altruistic Jeremy Clarkson - about the many blind children I will inevitably mow down as I drive silently and unheard through town and country - the same concern that I feel for those many silent cyclists who are inadvertently "doored" by deaf, dumb or blind parked drivers who understandably have not heard the two-wheeler's dangerously and carelessly silent approach.

And as for all that girlie nonsense about "climate warming" and "global change" and the so-called "hothouse effect"(or whatever!) - come on! Get a life!
Life's too short! You've gotta live for the moment, right?

Car-pe diem and all that!

Yes - no wonder the idea is scoffed at or ignored by those wise and exceedingly masculine(sorry - did I mention that already?) presenters of the BBC's acclaimed public service "Antiques Road Show". I mean "Top Gear" of course. (And to think that some people actually accuse those guys, those BBC public servants, of talking out of their collective rear-ends at BBC licence-payers' and the planet's considerable expense!)

       Sincerely and unreceptively yours,

          Etc. Etc.

See: Transport 2000's Campaign to scrap or replace BBC TV's Top Gear!
Contact Top Gear: or BBC complaints/feedback at: ,,,,

Antique 1   Antique 2   Antique 3
Above: a collection of costly antiques (yesterday)
Below: a car of the future (today)

Maya 100
Maya 100 - click to activate

May, 2005

Roger Moore and Channel 5 TV get into Fetish Gear

Roger Moore and Venturi Fetish

   Roger Moore flaunts Fetish in Monaco...

Venturi Fetish in Monaco ...and Channel 5 TV(UK) gets into French Fetish Gear on Monday 23 May(Fifth Gear, 20.30 UK time..repeated Friday 27 May 19.30 - video-recorders at the ready everyone!).

Keanu Reeves, according to Fifth Gear's Jason Plato, has also taken a fancy to the Fetish. But Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio, Tom Hanks and many other Hollywood celebs have similarly deviant tendencies: see our Hollywood pages.

May, 2005

Mitsubishi Colt EV - range could be greater than 150 km

Mitsubishi Colt EV   Whatever next? Yes, even ITV Motoring and ABC News Online reported the news this week that Mitsubishi have plans to launch a pure electric lithium-powered Colt by( albeit disappointingly distant) 2010.
But only the Japan Times reports the even more heartening news that(quote):

"At present, Mitsubishi's prototype EV is equipped with a 150-kg battery and runs 150 km per charge. The company plans to extend that range."
(Hmm...are you thinking what we're thinking?
"MIT-subishi" sLimcells anyone?)

The company says - again disappointingly - that they are undecided about overseas sales but, on the plus side, do predict that, based on a production volume of 5,000 units a year for the domestic Japanese market, the in-wheel-driven Colt EV could sell for under $19,000.

So we can only speculate as to how that price might drop should the company decide (in its infinite wisdom?) to ramp up production to, say, 30,000 cars a year to meet the increasingly frustrated and pent-up demand for "real", advanced EV's in $5 a gallon Europe(pop. circa 500 million) and $2.50 a gallon($5 by 2010..?) America and elsewhere.
But it is difficult to understand the five year wait until 2010: as reported extensively in EVUK (see News March 2004), Mitsubishi have been testing a number of Li-ion prototype EV's for almost a decade already - and setting impressive 24 hr distance and range records with them.

Mitsubishi FTO
Mitsubishi FTO EV - 2,142 km in 24 1999.

Unfortunately, it has to be said that all motor industry(ditto political) pledges of the 5-years-from-now variety should carry a health warning and be greeted with a fair degree of scepticism.
Unlike those of a 3-year time-frame: with just three years to deliver on its promises a company knows that a vigilant public and media will keep eyes fixed firmly on the ball - counting down each of those 3-2-1 years until launch date.
But with 5-years-from-now pledges, companies can rely on fading memories and once widely-applauded plans can be quietly shelved without causing too much consternation.
(After all, in 1999 - and until around 2002 - many, if not most, leading carmakers were confidently vowing to have fuel cell vehicles market-ready/fleet-ready by 2004. Needless to say, the media and the public appear to have obligingly forgotten those 5-years-from-now promises.)

In other words , this is a very welcome announcement - but what is really stopping Mitsubishi from shifting production into the fast-lane...and aiming for 2007/8?

Related links:

1) "Mitsubishi Motors Switches Focus Away from Fuel Cell Vehicles to EV's" - Fuel Cell Today's heart-warming "Colt EV" headline is definitely worth repeating and savouring.

(Would you like to comment on this article? Why not visit Britain's leading - EVUK-linked - EV Discussion(& Media Watch) Group Electric Cars UK?)

May, 2005

MIT's 300+ mile/charge bendable dream cells - manufacturers wanted!

- We talk to Professor Donald Sadoway(MIT School of Engineering)

Sadoway MIT sLimcell   "Vastly thinner, lighter power sources are destined to make our electric dreams come true" wrote Guardian reporter Alok Jha tantalizingly, sensationally even, in the introduction to his surprisingly evangelical article The Beauty of Bendable Batteries" earlier this year(Feb 24 '05).

We were especially intrigued, though, by Alok's choice of the phrase "are destined": could we really rely on "destiny" to deliver these latest miracle batteries to the marketplace?
More about destiny later - but here first are a few key extracts from Alok Jha's must-read "Bendable Batteries" article:

"For personal transportation, it's lunacy that we don't have electric vehicles," says Sadoway, a professor of materials science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His remarkable idea is a battery which is as thin as a crisp(US='potato chip') packet and is as cheap, well, as the crisps in them..."
sLimcell MIT detail  sLimcell MIT detail 2
Roll up! Roll up! sLimcells safely pack 3 times as much energy as current Li-ion

The Guardian continues: "The Slimcell, as Sadoway calls his invention("S"limcell? - see below. EVUK Ed.), is a sandwich of lithium and a special type of Perspex..."
"...At (an energy density of) 125Wh/kg, you can drive a car 125 miles
( least! -EVUK Ed.) on a single charge - that's not good enough( is if price is low! -EVUK Ed.)," says Sadoway.....We've got batteries in my lab right now that are 300Wh/kg and I can see the possibility of breaking 400Wh/kg."

Woah! OK - let's not get carried away here - but if these electrifyingly high numbers don't hit you with that special "Wow!" factor - then just exactly what kind of fantasy batteries are you pipe-dreaming of?!

But all this hyperbole begs the (strictly rhetorical) question: why are battery manufacturers, venture capitalists and journalists(Alok Jha excepted..) - apparently so very reluctant to touch this supercharged next generation battery?
Why - in May 2005 - more than two months after the Guardian "dared" to print Professor Sadoway's true-but-taboo comment that:

        "It's lunacy that we don't have electric vehicles."

- why is the internet - or even the global EV community - by now not fully charged-up and stoked with Slimcell-spawned speculation, chatter, follow-up features and interviews?

(Things might be very different of course had the New Scientist rather than the still very artsy Guardian carried the Slimcell story in February ...and of course, if we were talking here about a "Slimfuelcell", even our own corporately correct(sic) and on-message BBC, Times etc. would have leapt on the hype-bandwagon by now.)

In any event, it was high time, we decided, to present our ever-lengthening list of unanswered questions (re: charge times, cell life expectancy, Chinese partnership, nanotechnology and much more..) to Professor Sadoway - and we're pleased to report that the potato chip packet visionary readily agreed to a grilling from EVUK's Paul Govan:

Q&A with Professor Donald Sadoway

EVUK: I notice - thanks to Google - that the term or name "Slimcell" is already being used in other technology areas - so I use the word provisionally, so to speak.

Donald Sadoway: A couple of years ago I had an application for the US trademark on sLimcell but abandoned it when the costs became unbearable. I use lower case except for the second letter which draws attention to Li, the chemical symbol for the element lithium.(EVUK Ed. - so sLimcell, not Slimcell)

EVUK: As I've said, there are a few(well - five or six...and counting!) points in the February 2005 Guardian article I'd like to press you further on if I may.
Firstly - I'd like to respectfully take issue straightaway - not with your words - but with those of the article's author Alok Jha when he asserts that:
"..lack of academic and commercial interest in the (battery) field, and the concentration of what effort there is on developing fuel cells and hydrogen cars, means innovation has hit a wall."

- I have to say I would be far from alone in saying I couldn' t disagree more!

Although I would certainly have agreed with Alok's observation three or four years ago - it is surely the case that over the past two years or so we have witnessed almost space-race-style competition between Li-ion battery manufacturers and developers who are clearly also being spurred on by the "threat" posed by ongoing advances in fuel cell and especially micro fuel cell technology.
Sorry - that wasn't a question - but what is your response to Alok Jha's assertion that Li-ion battery development still hasn't advanced beyond the "wall" it admittedly did hit 4-5 years ago? All the signs surely are that it has found its second wind over the last few years. We could even now be into the home straight - don't you agree?

DS: Sorry, but in spite of enormous effort, the capacity of Li-ion batteries remains in the 125 - 150 Wh/kg range. In parallel, many researchers have shifted their attention to fuel cells because quite frankly that's where the money is going. We need a quantum leap to put rechargeables into the 300 - 400 Wh/kg range. Most of the effort instead is directed at reducing costs, largely through the elimination of cobalt-based compounds in the cathode.

EVUK: But many EV-watchers would argue that cutting the cost of EV Li-ion is not such a bad mid-term goal - the 125 mile/charge Bluecar with its low-cost Batscap batteries being a case in point. You say that a range of 125 miles "is not good enough" but we have no doubt at all that the Bluecar would be more than just viable should it ever actually go on sale in $5-a-gallon Europe or in $2.50-a-gallon America - as long as it's reasonably-priced. Just look how popular the not-so-cheap Toyota RAV4 EV was and is still.

Bluecar with sLimcells?
Bluecar's 200 km range is impressive - but with sLimcells it could exceed 500km...

And, yes, of course we'd all love to see quantum leaps - the sooner the better - but according to the Guardian article you believe that the sLimcell is at least 5 years from being commercially available - this despite the fact that (quote) "it is light and easy to make".
And what's more, despite competition from start-ups like Voltaflex for example or the fact that Varta are already mass-producing their own variety of flat flexible solid electrolyte Li-Poly batteries - "Poliflex".
Do you not believe that Varta or a rival company might be interested in fast-tracking the (potentially) vastly superior sLimcell - given the intensifying competition between the world's leading battery and (micro) fuel cell manufacturers?

DS: You'd have to ask Varta that question. My experience is that no one inside the industry has the desire to take our materials and try to commercialize them. I don't know why this is so. (EVUK's italics!)

EVUK: For reasons mostly already alluded to I can tell you that very many people - not least in the global EV community - will be particularly perplexed and bemused to read that you and your MIT team "see problems in finding a market(for the sLimcell)".
I don't really have a question - I simply find it impossible to understand or even relate to the notion that finding a market for this technology could be problematic! Are you saying that the Guardian's Alok Jha was over-optimistic to write that the sLimcells "are destined to make our electric dreams come true" ?

DS: The EV is a very difficult application for a new battery technology owing to combination of severe performance requirements while expecting to pay next to nothing. Batteries for laptops command $5000 - 10000 / kWh while for automotive traction the car makers are expecting 40 kWh - 60 kWh packs at a price point of $100 - 200 / kWh. I'd start in a market where the battery will command a high price, build the business, refine the technology, reduce costs of production, and ultimately address the EV market.

EVUK: Referring to the Guardian piece again: I certainly agree with you that there was indeed widespread pro-NiMH resistance to Li-ion battery technology , especially in the US and to the use of Li-ion in electric vehicles. But from around 2002 resistance faded rapidly - the chief hurdle now is surely dollar per kWh cost.

DS: Don't forget safety. Li-ion with liquid electrolyte(ie. unlike the sLimcell - EVUK Ed.) must be handled with great care to avoid mishaps provoked by thermal excursion. Effective, failsafe thermal management comes at a great cost which prices the technology out of the market.

EVUK: But several companies - Valence and Toshiba(see link below) for example - say that their cells' in-built thermal stability avoids or reduces the need for expensive thermal management.
See EVUK's Valence interview feature for this quote:
"Safety: no thermal runaway issues when the battery cells are exposed to abuse conditions such as over charge, penetration or crash damage".

DS: There are other sources of thermal runaway, e.g., charging at too high a rate as is the case when people mix up their chargers.

EVUK: You say that "It will take a specialized niche to make the sLimcell viable" and that "whoever develops it commercially needs to find applications for which dedicated batteries don't yet exist - medical devices, for example."
Medical devices? Why not electric vehicles - or automotive applications generally? Surely if the sLimcell were to be sold initially into the prestige, premium-price medical market this would simply perpetuate Li-ion's entrenched, premium price / prestige product status and image?

DS: I can only repeat the reasons I have already given for the medical device strategy. But, in all fairness, I do not consider myself a businessman.
My thoughts on how to bring the technology to market should probably be viewed as simply one man's opinion. It's true that I am a professor at MIT, but my position is in the School of Engineering, not the Sloan School of Management.

EVUK: We're surprised to see that the sLimcell appears, so far at least, to have sparked so little reaction throughout the global EV community. One of the few noteworthy comments I have found - and which I would like to put to you - comes from the widely respected EV Digest Discussion group"(Read msg) - it is as follows:
" The thing is, though, that in attempting to create a battery that is cheap to manufacture (or perhaps for other reasons), they've foregone Cobalt. LiVOx suffers from low-rate, and the best they've done is get 1.6C out of it. You'd need to have some kind of assist to put this in an EV."

DS: We used VOx because we could produce it in dense thin films (this simplifies coin cell testing by obviating the need for binding a powder into a proper cathode) in our laboratory by sputtering metallic vanadium and converting same to the oxide by thermal oxidation. There is no reason to take our choice of VOx for research purposes to represent our favored cathode material in an eventual commercial battery.
The purposes of our cycle-test experiments were to demonstrate that an all-solid-state cell could cycle at room temperature at respectable C-rates and to determine the extent of capacity fade under those conditions. Remember, the USABC(US Advanced Battery Consortium) specification is C/3, and so our tests were designed to exceed that rate. We never set out to determine the maximum C-rate that the cell could take. It's something to add to the agenda.

EVUK: I see no reference at all to any use of nanotechnology in any description of the sLimcell design. Can you comment at all?

DS: Of course, we see attempts to invoke nanotechnology as though this will be a panacea.
(EVUK Ed: Ah - the "panacea put-down"! No - like most people - we just want real progress and technological breakthroughs...not perfection!)

While it is good engineering based on sound materials science to reduce diffusion lengths and therefore strive for smaller particle sizes for the electroactive materials, this is not nanotechnology properly speaking. By the way, true nanotechnology is many things, but one of them is not cheap.
Nanotechnology has always been at the very heart
(*see below -EVUK Ed.) of the copolymer electrolyte which consists of two mutually insoluble homopolymers that phase separately giving the material microstructural features that repeat periodically on a length scale of some 10s of nanometers. The two homopolymers are liquid at service temperature, yet the copolymer is solid. It is precisely the nanoscopic periodicity that gives rise to the seemingly contradictory combination of solid-like mechanical and thermal properties with liquid-like electrical properties.

EVUK: So - just to clarify: you would not describe sLimcell's "nanoscopic" features as - to cite your earlier comments - expensive("not cheap") "true nanotechnology" ?

DS: Our polymer has structural features that repeat on a length scale of some 10s of nm. So, some might call this nanotechnology. But it's not clear to me that we are exploiting physical phenomena that rely on quantum mechanical effects that are manifest only at near-atomic dimensions. So I hesitate to invoke nanotechnology as a way to describe what has been invented here and therefore retract my earlier remark* about nanotechnology being at the heart of the copolymer electrolyte. In answer to your earlier question about no reference to nanotechnology, I say that in our work we drew no inspiration from nanotechnology.

Solectria Force with sLimcells?
EV aficionado Mike Chancey says sLimcells would boost the range of his 1995 Solectria Force to 390+ miles!(Read EV Digest msg.)

EVUK: Can you give some indication as to:
a) the sLimcell's charge/discharge rates(or in EV terms - charge times)
b) life-expectancy(in terms of charge/discharge cycles)?

But please - before you respond to this - I wonder if you have read Toshiba's recent(March 29) press release announcing the development of a "Super Charge" Li-ion battery that - thanks to the application of nano-particles to its cathode - can, it's claimed, be recharged to 80% of capacity in just 60 seconds. To quote from that Toshiba press release:

"A breakthrough technology applied to the negative electrode uses new nano-particles to prevent organic liquid electrolytes from reducing during battery recharging. The nano-particles quickly absorb and store vast amount of lithium ions, without causing any deterioration in the electrode. "
Firstly: do you view this as true nanotechnology?

DS: No. As best I can tell from the brief description, the invention is simply a demonstration of Fick's Second Law, i.e., diffusion time scales with diffusion distance. More precisely, time scales with the square of the distance. So if one reduces the particle size by a factor of 10, the diffusion time is reduced by a factor of 100. This alone is not nanotechnology. But if the particles are on the order of nanoscopic dimensions, i.e., 10 - 100 nm or so, the company is smart to refer to them in their press release as nano-particles.

EVUK: And secondly: although the Toshiba cell uses liquid electrolyte,could nano-particles also potentially be applied to the sLimcell's negative electrode in order to "quickly absorb and store vast amounts of lithium ions" and thus achieve (very) fast recharge times?

DS: Yes.

EVUK: So high energy density and potentially fast recharge times. Well, we may not believe in panaceas - but this certainly looks to us like the nearest anyone has yet come to creating the perfect battery. But what about the sLimcell's life expectancy - in terms of charge/discharge cycles?

DS: Life expectancy is unknown at this time pending a full-scale investigation of failure modes.

EVUK: We're also pleased to note, incidentally, that Toshiba will be focusing primarily on automotive applications - not consumer electronics...or medical devices!

DS: Toshiba has made a business decision. I don't know all the factors that they considered in doing so.

EVUK: Finally, if I could just jump from Japan and Toshiba to China.
- As many of our readers are no doubt aware, the Chinese government has demonstrated a unique, strong-arm commitment to the rapid development of a new generation of long-range advanced battery vehicles - as most recently evidenced by the impressive range of advanced EV's on display at last year's(Oct 12-14)
Challenge Bibendum in Shanghai.

And it's no surprise that Government ministers and scientists have described battery EV and fuel cell development as the "space race for the 21st century" and are, in marked contrast to Western governments, clearly committed to fast-tracking EV development not only in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics but also of course with a view to helping the country meet its long-term Kyoto obligations.

So: given also the fact that so many Chinese companies are now riding the wave of that country's sustained economic boom and increasingly looking abroad for potential joint-venture partners etc - I wonder, not to put too fine a point on it, if you(MIT) would be willing and able to look seriously at any proposals that might emanate from that country?
(I might add that EVUK receives a lot of mail from Chinese EV and battery manufacturers - we know we are widely read there.)

DS: A serious proposal from a credible entity would be given proper attention.

April, 2005

Branson's blue sky brainwave? No - MG Rover were already planning hybrids!

- Richard Branson's "radical" and "original" idea? That MG Rover should produce hybrids! (Independent on Sunday, 17 April)

Branson's Blue Sky Brainwave   Oh dear Richard...EVUK had already reported in February in some detail that MG Rover - with partners MIRA, Powertrain Ltd. and Pi Technology - were, pre-collapse, set to exhibit their government-funded hybrid concept/prototype in some shape or form(MG TF or saloon?) at the upcoming Clean Energy/Transport Expo(May 5-7 2005) at London's Business Design Centre.
Strange then that Mr. Branson should appear to be claiming the idea as his own in this April 17 article in which he says:

"My solution is a radical one, but would help with what I see as Britain's pending energy crisis. We should steal the green mantle from the Japanese and Americans and become the first European manufacturer of hybrid cars."

MG Rover TF hybrid
MG Rover's TF 200 HPD hybrid - terminally "unplugged"?

Now don't get us wrong - we would have given Branson's green "intervention" an unqualified thumbs-up if he had said something to the Independent to the effect that:

"Many people - who know about these things - have long been calling for a transition to electric and hybrid vehicles: I thought it was high time that influential and wealthy entrepreneurs like myself add their voices to the chorus - and put their money where their...etc. etc."

In other words, while it is good to have the Virgin boss on board at last - it's a pity he's been so late arriving at this particular destination...

Team Fate Yosemite/Explorer plug-in
UCDavies' Team Fate's "Yosemite" Ford Explorer plug-in doubles hybrid fuel economy

Now - what are the odds that Branson's next even bigger idea will 100+ mpg plugin-able hybrids - like the 100+ mpg Ford Explorer hybrid - the "Yosemite" - that Professor Andrew Frank has developed with "Team Fate" at the University of California at Davies(see EVUK report Feb 2005) or the Li-ion-enhanced 125+mpg Prius+ hybrid(see Calcars for photos) that Valence-EnergyCS recently presented at EVS21 in Monaco. (Incidentally, EVS21 has - like the twenty EVS's before it - remained almost completely unreported by a mainstream media that appears incapable of moving beyond endless "concerned" reports about the symptoms and effects of global warming - incapable of focusing instead on solutions and prevention...)

Stelios - Easy EV?   "Easy EV" - à propos airline entrepreneurs.
In 2000 - we succeeded in ambushing Easyjet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou at the posh London launch of the Industry Standard Europe magazine(now defunct..) - and spent three minutes at the bar attempting to persuade him that electric vehicles( would offer a great future-proof investment opportunity - especially in London - given the then imminent introduction of Mayor Ken Livingstone's congestion-charging scheme.

Needless to say, Stelios humoured us with his familiar expansive and benign smile and promised - charmingly but unconvincingly - that he would think about it.
So Stelios why not think - blue sky think about it again - indeed why not go one(or two..) better than Sir Richard - fly even higher - with some genuinely "radical" proposals for plugin(able) hybrids and pure battery EV's?

Note: eagle-eyed EVUK'ers may have noticed that an important link(posted in our February news report) to Parliamentary answers re: the UK Govt's back-door/barn door financing of MG Rover" suddenly and mysteriously ceased to function shortly after news of Rover's demise hit the headlines.
Do not despair - we have tracked down this eye-opening little Hansard(UK Parliamentary records) piece again complete with new link: it appears that the original URL - which had worked perfectly - was changed slightly by unseen government hands shortly after the MG Rover collapse was announced at the beginning of April. If this link should mysteriously die again in the next few weeks we will assume that someone may be playing hide and seek with the truth...

Related links:
1) Rover TF 200 HPD hybrid : while it may seem like a contradiction in terms, Rover spokesmen always went out of their way to reassure their ICE-fundamentalist base(as well as petrol-tax-collectors and oil company bosses..?) that the HPD hybrid technology was not about traitorous capitulation to the green lobby eg. boosting fuel economy, reducing emissions levels - but was designed primarily to enhance power, performance, acceleration and muscle (quote) "without increasing the environmental impact".

April, 2005

"Race to the Future" - Watch CNN's electric go-kart report now !

- An adrenalin rush to save the planet?

LadyBird Racing's Becky Beth Cox goes electric For the past month or so the CNN series "Global Challenges"(Sundays 22.00 CET) has included this fast-paced - and by TV standards - environmentally-liberated report into Gordon Foat's(Green Motorsport) hopefully fast-track crusade to clean up not only racing - but the cars we drive and the energy we use to power them.
Although we did ask ourselves at first if we could justify posting this up as a "News" item - we soon decided that any positive TV coverage of battery electric vehicles - especially out of Britain - is eminently newsworthy simply by virtue of its sheer rarity value.

And what's more, unlike our defiantly ICE-blinkered, loyal-to-oil media and politicians we have no problem whatsoever connecting the luminous dots - compare and contrast - between the headline-hogging endgame currently being played out at MG Rover and the subject of this unusually green, technologically evangelical story from CNN.

(.....No - we have little doubt that Rover could have saved itself - and helped save the planet - but it would have required an "abrupt mindset change" - an infinitely more visionary and courageous management team - a "Phoenix-not-Dodo" consortium of Steve Green(Greener Energy") and Gordon Foat "think-alikes" - and a thoroughly "de-ICE'ed" government and media to match. So much for real-world "Vehicle Foresight" in the UK !!)

CNN Global Challenges -battery-powered go-karts   CNN's racey and otherwise inspiring "Global Challenges" report is however slightly spoiled towards the end by the, nowadays, seemingly obligatory inclusion of a conspicous piece of hand-me-down anti-battery/pro-fuel cell spin - you know it's coming the moment the camera begins lurking ominously over an oh-so nasty and dirty little mains plug and lead trailing darkly down to the e-kart's battery charger.
Yes - it's that familiar point you reach in almost every ZEV-related mainstream media report where you feel a sudden uncontrollable urge to scream :
"Well - why don't you sign up for 100% renewable electricity from a top-rated green supplier like Good Energy then!"
"Battery-powered vehicles are more energy-efficient - well-to-wheel - than FCV's ! ...or
"Why can't we have both? Battery and fuel cell vehicles? We somehow manage to live with both noxious petrol and diesel cars don't we ?"

But all credit anyway to Green Motorsport's Gordon Foat and to CNN for this rare example of  joined-up eco-journalism - and for doing what most TV companies - including our own
ICE-fundamentalist"Kyoto-concerned" BBC, Channel 4, ITV etc. so resolutely refuse to do: bring battery EV's , ZEV's and green micropower right to the heart of the Global Warming debate.

Watch: CNN's electric go-kart/Green Motorsport feature "Race to the Future" - courtesy Ladybird Racing UK.

Related links:
1) MG Rover's much-vaunted breath-of-hot-air 2002 tie-up with China's Brilliance: take an amusing drive down memory lane with this joyous March 2002 BBC report - and weep!

2) ..then contrast that with EVUK's own February 2002 comments on the same Rover-Brilliance news...
...or with our more recent(Feb 2005), pre-collapse, "Rover - throw the rest of us a bone" remarks.

(*Glossary note for non-English / non-jargon speakers:
"ICE" = Internal Combustion Engine!

April, 2005

Toshiba's new nano Li-ion for cars etc. - recharge in 60 seconds...and at least 1000 times !

Toshiba Super Charge Nano Li-ion  Toshiba's March 29 press release makes especially encouraging reading thanks to the unusual and welcome emphasis the company places on the potential automotive(albeit "hybrid") applications of its breakthrough nano-cathode lithium technology:

"Initial applications will be in the automotive and industrial sectors, where the slim, small-sized battery will deliver large amounts of energy while requiring only a minute to recharge. For example, the battery's advantages in size, weight and safety highly suit it for a role as an alternative power source for hybrid electric vehicles."

Whilst several other companies and organisations have also announced nano-Lithium advances in recent months(Altair in particular - see Lithium Hotlinks), press releases have - disappointingly - almost always given primary focus to the technology's potential use in portable consumer electronics - mobile phones, laptops, camcorders and the like.
Toshiba say they "will bring the new rechargeable battery to commercial products in 2006" - but at what point the battery will be released for general sale is unclear.

No indications either as to price at this stage - but with the prospect of high volume production for the auto industry coupled with the increasingly fierce space-race-style competition between the world's leading battery manufacturers - you have to say that the Li-ion price-prognosis has never looked so good.

Toshiba Nano Li-ion Perform Chart  On the crucial question of energy density(read "EV range") - although Toshiba do make reference to the Li-ion cell's "high energy density", no precise Wh/kg figure is given. However the comparative performance bubble-charts provided in the press release(click image above) indicate that energy density/capacity is marginally less than the very highest capacity Li-ion cells currently on the market.

See Toshiba 29 March 05 Press Release: "Toshiba's New Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Recharges in Only One Minute".

March, 2005

EVS21 in Monte Carlo(April 2-6): a quick look ahead - and back.


EVUK spent several months last year working in close consultation with EVS21 Project Manager Simone Mirza in a concerted effort to ensure maximum battery vehicle representation at the coming exhibition.
It had been clear to us from our initial contact with the organisers in mid-2004 that - as we had feared - hybrids and fuel cell technologies were tending to dominate proceedings: knowledge and appreciation of the wider battery vehicle universe among event co-ordinators appeared fairly minimal at that stage. (No surprise really - this general state of off-the-radar BEV-obliviousness is after all precisely what our media and major automakers have worked so hard to create over the years....)

Now, in 2005, the exhibitors' list looks pretty healthy from a battery vehicle perspective - with a few notable absentees: AC Propulsion(TZero,Scion, Tom Hanks etc?), Wavecrest and, ironically, Monaco-based MDI(Air Car), for instance, appear to have chosen to stay away.
But we are looking forward to breakthrough announcements and revelations from a number of exhibitors - in particular from G-Wiz manufacturer Reva(see below) and Valence(Saphion).

REVA recap:
1) India Times June 2003 - REVA MD Chetan Maini talks of plans for a long-range quick-charge EV(quote):

"While I feel an 80-km run will meet 90 per cent of the customer's requirements, nevertheless, we will also offer options of a 250-km drive charge and other option," he added. Besides, quick charging options would also be available, wherein a buyer can charge up to 80 per cent of the battery in 20 minutes."

2) EVWorld confirms REVA's plans in a March 2005 report "REVA to Debut Next Generation Electric Car"

March, 2005

UK race car & aerospace specialist plans novel zero emission Li-ion hybrid.
(EVUK exclusive)

Intrigued? Puzzled? A hybrid with no tailpipe emissions?

Although we have been sworn to near-total secrecy on this tantalizing development(we cannot name the company in question or be too specific about the technology involved...), we can reveal that:

a) We were recently contacted by a renowned UK and US-based low weight vehicle manufacturer and composites/plastics specialist with extensive race car and aerospace experience. It is the company's first foray into Zero Emission Vehicle territory - you will for instance find no prior references to them(yet!) in the pages of EVUK, EVWorld, Electrifying Times etc.

b) Although the company's ZEV hybrid concept cannot perhaps, in the strictest sense, be described as 100% original and unprecedented, the configuration of component elements being proposed is, to the best of our knowledge, unique and certainly refreshingly innovative. (And no - we're not talking flywheels here...)

c) The company expects to have a Ford-based "mule" conversion trialled and tested by the autumn "at which point we will go public and you will be the first to know".

So fellow EVUK'ers - please continue to watch this space for exclusive breaking mule news later this year...

(Note: we will not confirm or deny any guesswork or speculation as to the identity of the company or the technology being developed - but please feel free to email us with your best guesses!)

March, 2005

Batscap/Bolloré unveil long-range Li-Polymer BlueCar (formerly "VBE1") at Geneva Motor Show.

Batscap BlueCar
Batscap/Bolloré's 200 km/charge, 135 km/h Li-Polymer-powered BlueCar

+++ Hot Breaking News +++

The first pictures and full detailed specifications of the VBE1 - now renamed BlueCar - have now been posted up on the Batscap website - however, at the time of writing, no photos have yet been posted on the Geneva Motor Show site itself.
  (Why on earth not?!  Given that the Kyoto Treaty came into full force just a few days ago - amid much triumphant, US-bashing political and media self-congratulation - ZEV's/EV's should surely now be hogging the limelight and the flashlights...and generally stealing the show here in Europe.)

Dispelling another popular myth, Philippe Guédon - BlueCar designer and creator of the Renault Espace - told the Agence France-Presse that:
"Technically, electric cars are slightly less expensive to manufacture than petrol-powered cars. The problem of cost is primarily a result of low production volume."
(Translated from: Autoactu/AFP)

Also: Dassault Group unveils long-range Renault Scenic-based Cleanova III - yes "III" - see Geneva Motor Show's SVE/Cleanova III pages:

   "With the CLEANOVA III, SVE is now introducing an all-new concept and technology compared to traditional electric vehicles, in particular in terms of range, battery loading time, vehicle performance and driving comfort."

Cleanova III
Dassault's long-range Scenic-based Cleanova III debuts at Geneva Show

See also: EVUK's November 2004 "VBE1" report: "BatScap/Bolloré's low-cost, long-range li-ion VBE1 - an update".

Only EV's Pass Department for Transport's New Green Label Test"
- Kyoto concerns aside - here's one more reason why EV's should now more than ever(theoretically at least..) be enjoying the full glare of the media spotlight here in Britain in particular...

DfT/LowCVP colour Coded Labels - On February 9th EVUK was contacted by BBC TV's Six O'Clock News correspondent "Tom S." seeking photogenic EV's(and drivers) for an imminent news item about Alistair Darling's / the Department for Transport's soon-to-be-launched(Sept 1 2005) colour-coded eco-labels for cars(click image for detail). Only battery electric vehicles, he told us, had been awarded a green colour code rating :

"We're trying to put together a piece on the government's new green labelling scheme for new cars. It would go out tomorrow on the Six O'clock News. The scheme has a rating system from A to F, taking into account C02 emissions and other factors. We're interested that the only cars in the A category are battery electric cars. As a result we were wondering if you could put us in touch with an EV owner who might be prepared to show off his/her car and do a television interview. "

As it turned out though - having duly provided the BBC's man with an (inevitably) shamefully short short-list of UK EV's including the e_Mercury, Steve Green's Jester and even the G-Wiz - we were later told that the planned news item had been indefinitely postponed to make way for yet more late-breaking "Charles and Camilla to Wed" titbits and shenanigans....proving once again that - faced with the choice between the future of the monarchy and the future of the planet - our mainstream(aka sideshow) media will go for the royal nuptials every time...

Alistair Darling with Speaking at the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership Annual Conference, Alistair Darling said:

"The labels will send a clear message to motorists that they can make a real difference by choosing clean, fuel-efficient cars."

The glaring irony here of course is that Britain's car showrooms won't be selling any green-labelled cars for many years to come unless carmakers, car-advertisers and their legions of Clarkson-clone media motor-mouthpieces are also pressured by government into genuinely changing their spots and shaking off their barely concealed contempt for (brace yourselves..) "brown-sandal-wearing, nut-roast-munching, tree-hugging bl**dy environmentalists".(We all know those "labels"..)

Until that happens, green labels will merely serve as a graphic reminder of successive governments' chronic failure to turn green rhetoric and green tokenism into certifiably green - ZEV - showroom product.

Related links:

1) BBC OnLine report "Ratings Show How Green Cars Are".

2) DfT press release "Darling Unveils Cleaner Vehicle Labelling Scheme".

3) The DfT reports that car-buyers' interest in eco-information is very low:
"..the showroom research found that, in practice, environmental information is not of widespread interest to car buyers, and that car labels are not important for car buyers or sales staff as sources of information in practice."

Again - the mainstream media alone has the power(but sadly not the will...) to change all that. So just when will Darling & Co. take on the mainstream media - TV in particular? Our publicly funded, ostensibly publicly accountable, public service BBC - and Top Gear - would be as good a place to start as any...

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