The state of the auto industry is quite sad. Take a look at these electric vehicles from Chrysler.
You won’t get far by picking a stupendously inefficient vehicle architecture (A SUV, Jeep or a big sports car) and sticking it full of batteries. Completely traditional construction.
What the heck are they thinking? Or are they thinking at all? Sigh. I guess they want to just use existing production lines.
It seems completely new companies will have to enter the market to get something reasonable, a sensible complete system that is optimized as a whole.
This reminds me of how the first jet engines were put on front piston engined fighters, resulting in something like this:
Needless to say, completely new craft were quickly designed that had vastly superior performance. Those companies and designers who could not make the paradigm change, were left at the wayside.
Anything battery electric, whether a conversion or ground-up design is a good thing, the faster they would be able to market them the better. Ground up design obviously takes longer and costs more.
Plus, Lotus light chassis is actually a pretty good choice for energy efficiency.
Would you rather have a “retrofit” electric vehicle supported by major manufacturer sometime soon ( like Mitsubishi MiEV that is coming in 2009 ) or a perfect design way later ?
Plus, take a look why electric AWD makes sense:
( there are four clips, the fourth one is actually the most impressive )
The insane torque available and potentially ininitely precise 4WD control without huge mechanical tranmission setup just plain makes for a better all-terrain car.
Actually, having now looked at Chrysler’s and Dodge’s vehicle lineup, they don’t have a single light vehicle available. (And I don’t count golf carts.)
Their best fuel efficient thing achieves 30 mpg or uses 7.8 liters per 100 km on highway. I don’t know what the Euro standard fuel use would be (which is balanced highway and city drive tests) but it can’t be small with a V-6 of about 150 kW (200 horsepower)
Regarding all wheel drive, since modern permanent magnet AC electric motors are light and have good torque, it is a serious possibility to put the motors straight to the wheels. And your vehicle design changes a lot since you can put the batteries anywhere.
Still, there are volunteers over here who, since electric cars are not available, are working on converting some 2003 Toyota Corollas to electric. A compromise, but a quick solution.
There are some things which are a bit weird about the project but I’ll keep on watching what they do. They are working on presenting all the data openly and freely so everyone can go on converting vehicles by themselves anywhere in the world.