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Power Hardware Technology

Zero-60 in 3.1 Seconds, Batteries Included 230

FloatsomNJetsom writes "Popular Mechanics has a very cool video and report about test-driving Hybrid Technologies' L1X-75, a battery powered, 600-hp, carbon-fiber roadster that pulls zero-60 in about 3.1 seconds, and tops out at 175 mph. Of course, there are few creature comforts inside, but that's mainly because the car's 200 mile range is meant for the track, not the road. Nonetheless, Popular Mechanics takes the car for a spin up 10th Avenue in NYC. Oh, and the car recharges via a 110 outlet. They also test-drove Ford's HySeries Edge, a hydrogen fuel-cell powered, plug-in series hybrid that, unlike the L1X-75, is unfortunately at least 10 years away from production and nearly 100 mph slower."
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Zero-60 in 3.1 Seconds, Batteries Included

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  • Not bad at all. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @12:58PM (#18656451)
    How would a bike version do? Existing litre bikes can manage around 2.5 seconds... Or is gravity the limiting factor here, I have hellish problems keeping my front wheel on the ground.

     
  • Wrightspeed X1 (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:06PM (#18656515)
    The Wrightspeed X1 goes from 0-60mph in 3.07 secs... Not much faster but certainly a cooler looking car. Not to mention that the X1 HAS turn signals..

    More info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrightspeed_X1 [wikipedia.org] and http://www.wrightspeed.com/x1.html [wrightspeed.com]
  • by writermike (57327) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:09PM (#18656533)

    Of course, there are few creature comforts inside
    The high-G force helps add to the notion of "few creature comforts." ;-)
  • by Nom du Keyboard (633989) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:17PM (#18656599)
    Oh, and the car recharges via a 110 outlet.

    Yes, and in how many days to pass that much energy back into your car. Not exactly a candidate for a quick pit stop, unless they can swap the entire battery pack in 10 seconds.

    • by vertinox (846076) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @03:16PM (#18657433)
      Well... If you are rich enough to buy a six figured electric car, might as well buy two.
    • by Soulslayer (21435) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @05:51PM (#18658331) Homepage
      The new nanophosphate based Lithium-Ion A123 [a123systems.com] cells can be recharged in under 5 minutes (about as long as it takes to fill up the twin 20 gallon tanks in a behemoth SUV) if an appropriate capacity charger is available. These are the batteries powering the Killacycle [a123racing.com] electric drag-bike to 8.16 second, 156mph, 1/4 mile EV records.

      Even the older VRSLA batteries (like those used to start your ICE) used in most home-brew conversions can be recharged in 3-4 hours off a 30A circuit (dump charging from one battery pack to another can recharge those batteries in under 10 minutes as well). Most EV drivers simply plug there cars in at home overnight. It's the equivalent of having someone come to your house and fill up your gas car while you sleep. And if you run out of fuel somewhere all you have to do is find a power outlet. No need to hoof it to the nearest gas station.

      Electric cars aren't at a point where they can replace the ICE vehicle entirely, but they are certainly feasible for 90% of the driving that 80% of the US population does.

  • by polar red (215081) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:20PM (#18656633)
    There's a reason the TGV is electric
    • by AJWM (19027) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:12PM (#18658473) Homepage
      There's a reason the TGV is electric

      Now if we can just get them to string overhead wires on the Interstates...
      • Re:electric (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hey! (33014) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @07:36PM (#18658987) Homepage Journal
        Why not convert our cars into gigantic slot cars while we're on the Interstate? Our electricity use would be metered and read off when we take the exit using the same technology used in wireless toll passes.

        Actually, I'd go farther and have autopilot too, so the cars can draft on each other safely. But then you have to convince people that an automatic system that occasionally fails and kills people is better than a manual system where you're only as safe as the worst driver on the road and which routinely kills people.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:25PM (#18656659)
    Wired had an article a couple of years back about a guy that was making electric race cars. His whole philosophy was that to sell electric cars, you have to make them cool.

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/7.03/drag_pr.ht ml [wired.com]
    • by 0racle (667029) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @02:05PM (#18656967)
      They never sound right so it will never be cool enough.
      • by rossifer (581396) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @03:30PM (#18657511) Journal

        They never sound right so it will never be cool enough.
        I think silence and/or natural noises (wind noise) are pretty damned cool. But then, I prefer sailboats over motor boats, vibrating phones over polyphonic ring tones, opening the window over central heating/AC, backpacking over theme parks, reading over television...

        So, I'm a wierdo. But I did manage to find a wife who agrees with me on noise, so I'm not alone, just outnumbered.

        Less glibly: I would love to be able to eliminate my motorcycle tailpipe and make it completely silent. I've heard that this would make me less safe, but I've noticed that when driving, I've never heard a motorcycle coming up behind me. Even the ones with loud pipes.

        Regards,
        Ross
        • by BoberFett (127537) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:04PM (#18658399)
          I hate phones that play pop songs, and I prefer opening windows to A/C as well. I love the sounds of nature, chirping birds and a gurgling stream are music to my ears. But I do love the sound of a big V8 rumbling by my house, and the sound coming out of the aftermarket pipes on my bike still makes me giddy every time I fire it up. The two are not mutually exclusive.
      • by AJWM (19027) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:18PM (#18658503) Homepage
        They never sound right so it will never be cool enough.

        Oh, man, think of the choices! Without the noise of a combustion engine, you can hook up a sound system and generate whatever sound you want -- UFO, pod-racer, F-4 on afterburners, TIE fighter, you name it...
    • by mandos (8379) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @02:25PM (#18657097) Homepage
      Funny enough gas cars weren't popular alternatives to carriages when they first came out. Henry Ford got his start making race cars. I wonder if the Tesla Motors folks are hoping to do the same with electric vs. gas as Ford did with gas vs. horse. Regardless, electric cars are gaining momentum these days (pun intended). (Also, it seems odd that we're still measuring electric motor power in "horse power".)
    • by Soulslayer (21435) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @05:01PM (#18658013) Homepage
      While the article isn't online, the same gentleman, John Wayland, was featured in this May's Car and Driver magazine. He got 4 pages worth of astonishingly positive article (C&D has a history of negative response to electric vehicles) with some excellent photos.

      John's website is http://www.plasmaboyracing.com/ [plasmaboyracing.com] . There you can find videos of his latest races (and other escapades). This year he expects to be breaking into the mid-11's in the 1/4 mile. Not bad for a 1972 Datsun 1200 with no transmission powered by two modified forklift motors.
  • by icepick72 (834363) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:30PM (#18656707)
    Ben from Popular Mechanics, before taking the test drive, says he's going to "hand the mic over and take this thing for a spin". The next shot is of him driving with the microphone. Hahahah Both key factors continuity and safety are thrown completely out the window so to speak.
  • Tesla (Score:2, Informative)

    by Idbar (1034346) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:39PM (#18656763)
    The Tesla [teslamotors.com] that appeared in the last IEEE spectrum issue is also a nice looking car with also good specs when compared to this one.
  • More info (Score:5, Informative)

    by laing (303349) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:41PM (#18656787)
    Some real specifications are here [hybridtechnologies.com]. It's not quite as fast as PM is claminig and it has only half the range.
    No price mentioned other than "six figures".
  • by viking80 (697716) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:47PM (#18656853) Journal
    With electric cars, the h.p. rating it typically limited to overheating the motor. As opposed to a motor with brushes, a brushless motor can take as many amp as you will as long as it does not overheat. That means a lot if you only want to accelerate for a few seconds. The same goes for the control electronics and batteries.

    So while you may have 600hp to accelerate, you may only have 50hp of continuous power. This may be exactly what you want in a car, but the term may be somewhat meaningless.

    Instead of a gas engines power/torque curve vs rpm, a power curve vs time would give us this information.
  • When? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sithkhan (536425) <sithkhan@gmail.com> on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:49PM (#18656875)
    When will we be allowed to build a sufficient number of nuclear reactors to power these vehicles? I enjoy the feel of my internal combustion engine, but for the efficiency of nuclear power for electricity, I'm ready to switch.

    Free the atoms! Free the atoms!!
    ---
    When you want to type a double-quote use " instead
    Generated by SlashdotRndSig [snop.com] via GreaseMonkey [mozdev.org]
    • by dbIII (701233) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:49PM (#18658749)

      When will we be allowed to build a sufficient number of nuclear reactors to power these vehicles?

      When we have a tested reactor design that is not a 1960s dinosaur that can only break even by selling weapons materials at 1960s prices. For civilian purposes it currently is just an expensive way to boil water. The future is to advocate research into something better and not the current lobby tactic of pushing bad designs for a government handout. It also isn't that the plants are not allowed - it has been the case that the companies that would want to construct them would have to pay for it themselves. That has stopped it dead for civilian purposes.

      Nuclear power advocates should also pay attention to current events - military and civilian operations are still combined in the two nuclear plant operations that are currently in the news. In 2007 it's still about the bomb becuase that is what is being paid for - it's worth paying attention.

  • MSRP? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by prisoner-of-enigma (535770) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @01:50PM (#18656889) Homepage
    When I can buy one of these for under $40K, call me. Until then, this is a neat idea which requires much more development before anyone will be interested.

    I'm all for green power, green transport, et. al. But if it costs me more than my house, what's the point? Nobody will buy it because nobody can afford it, good intentions or not.

    Now if all automakers would suddenly convert over to pure carbon-fiber bodies, CF production costs would (eventually) plummet to the point where it's the same cost (or cheaper) than steel. But that's not likely to happen anytime soon.
    • Re:MSRP? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bazorg (911295) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @03:47PM (#18657649) Homepage
      Sometimes conquering a specific 5% of total users means selling way more than 5% of the total market value. This is very clear on the beer market, I'm not sure about the automotive business. What I do know is that F1 racing has an impact on what may turn up on production cars some years later. If a company delivers an electric car that has extra performance compared to the usual suspects in the high-performance segment: Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW... they have a chance to get the attention of the people who are more willing to invest in bringing the tech to other market segments. Besides, all high performance vehicles put together might have a larger impact on emissions than a lot of regular cars. Selling these cars for more than what a house costs may be a first step in a desirable direction.
    • by Zobeid (314469) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @05:58PM (#18658371)
      By your line of reasoning, Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini should have gone out of business decades ago, since "nobody" can afford those cars, and they clearly require "much more development before anyone will be interested".

      Yet, somehow those companies manage to stay in business. I wonder how that is possible?
      • by BoberFett (127537) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:08PM (#18658437)
        Did you even read the GP? He didn't say anything about companies going out of business. He said nobody will buy them, which is true. What percentage of the market does Lamborghini have? 0.001%? If you really think that electric cars having that kind of market share will help reduce carbon emissions, I'm not sure if there's any hope for you.
        • by Zobeid (314469) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:25PM (#18658563)
          Did you even read my post? I never said anything about reducing carbon emissions, and neither did the poster who I was replying to, and neither did the original article as far as I noticed. I personally think global warming is a big scam, it doesn't even interest me.

          So. . . He says nobody will buy them. That's demonstrably untrue, since over 350 people have already put down deposits to reserve Tesla Roadsters. In the world where I live, nobody means nobody, it doesn't mean 350 people. I don't know what Laborghini's market share is, I'm sure it's quite small in the total global car marketplace. I'm also sure it's not zero. Common sense would tell you, you can't have a car company that doesn't sell any cars -- not for long, anyhow.

          Let the free market decide whether these things are viable or not! It's way too early to declare failure.
          • by AK Marc (707885) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:59PM (#18658795)
            Well, then you are a slave to useless rhetoric. It's obvious that "nobody" did not mean "not a single person" but that it was "nobody" in the sense it would be irrelevant to the industry. Yes, I understand the meaning of the word. I understand that the usage is contrary to the meaning of the word. However, it is obvious what his meaning was to everyone. Given the number of people that have corrected you in it and no one else with your point of view, I can assume that you now know what he meant and don't like his misuse of the word, and even though you understand you will continue to argue the point.
  • Ford Hybrid (Score:4, Insightful)

    by drix (4602) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @02:11PM (#18657011) Homepage
    Ten years from production don't mean shit when your company is three years from oblivion.
    • by jo7hs2 (884069) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @03:12PM (#18657393) Homepage
      You really believe that Ford will actually disappear? If things get bad enough for them, somebody will buy them, or the Feds will bail them out. Simply put, domestically owned domestic automobile production is a defense asset, and I don't believe the government will allow either Ford or GM to collapse.

      If I were Toyota, I'd be cutting back US sales, because if things get bad enough for GM and Ford, both the unions AND the money will be lobbying for tariffs and other protective measures. And don't think Toyota's American plants will protect them, either. They will find a way to hit them. That is a risk you take when doing business on your competitor's home turf.
      • Re:Ford Hybrid (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Catbeller (118204) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @03:29PM (#18657507) Homepage
        Ford as a nameplate will always be around, but the company/with factories will not. They've screwed the pooch, along with all the other auto execs in Detroit. They believed their own PR about the world never changing from big gas-fueled hot rods, and now they are toast. Chrysler is the first to go on the chopping block. There is no recovery plan, as they *have no cars* the new world market demands -- electric, non-polluting, cheap, very low margin. They still want to make Americamobiles. Their only chance is a government that wants to bail them out -- not impossible, considering the clout they wield over elections.
        • by jo7hs2 (884069) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @04:13PM (#18657773) Homepage
          While it is a remote possibility that Ford's car factories could be shuttered permanently, I find it unlikely that their truck factories (which DO produce an excellent product) will be closed, even if Ford was purchased. Chrysler is already dead. That Diamler-Chrysler "merger" was the death of the company, they are now just a nameplate to be bought and sold. Ford can still turn the trainwreck around. They do still make the occasional shocker, look at the initial sales of the Focus and the Fusion. Ford's problem is that it is a quirky company with no memory. They quickly forget their mistakes, and are easily distracted. Perhaps their resurrection of the Taurus name suggests that Mullaly is changing this mentality, perhaps not. Realistically, Ford NEEDS to come out with the next bestselling CAR. They still hold the truck market, and that is all that is keeping them alive right now, albeit on life-support. They NEED to gamble, like they did in the 80's with the original Taurus.
          • by Catbeller (118204) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:33PM (#18658623) Homepage
            There is a further consideration, which I strongly believe, that Ford and the other auto companies are walking into a perfect economic storm. The national debt, borrowing, and spending, coupled with twenty five years of "right-sizing" the work force, outsourcing the manufacturing to foreign companies, depressing wages, disappearing cheap credit, and feeling the violent increases in real estate and rental costs, are creating a "all curves down" depression of consumer spending. Only 10-20% of American workers can really afford those monster trucks when the job market collapses into sub-Mcdonald wages, Couple that with the tax-cut piper coming to the economic door, wanting to be paid. Ford and the others are really producing luxury items in the forms of the trucks; they aren't content with the low margins cheap cars give, or more accurately, Wall Street won't let them be content with just making cars for low income people. They are never quite rich *enough*, so they keep chasing ever-bigger spenders. At a point, you just don't have enough "wealthy" customers ready to buy a 35,000 dollar truck in a given year, and boom, instant karma. Chinese and Korean car companies aren't chasing the same markets in the same way, so they will eat the lower-income segment, leaving Ford etc. chasing the same upper income spenders.

            If one had wanted to prevent this from happening, I could only imagine that we should have closed the domestic market from foreign labor competition. We would have had higher prices for what we sell -- maybe, because almost all those savings from labor cost cuts went into pure profit -- but we would have had a workforce capable of buying the products we made at home. Now we have neither the manufacturing capabilities NOR the customers with sufficient income to buy products, a lose-lose situation, and it will get much worse. Nobody wins in the long run except the very wealthiest players who gamed the entire situation for the last thirty years.
      • by drix (4602) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @04:06PM (#18657743) Homepage
        No, I don't think Ford will disappear. 100 years' worth of brand equity is certainly worth something, even if the last 30 are synonymous with ugliness, unreliability and inefficiency. Someone--Toyota?--will come snap them up in a few year's time, scrap the entire product line, and sell rebadged versions of their own products--a foreign car in disguise. In fact I've heard rumors that Toyota is absolutely champing at the bit to do this, because it would remove the last major hurdle for a lot people to buying a Toyota.

        But the Ford as know it is a dead duck, as is US auto production in general. American deindustrialization is a trend that will carry forward as far into the future as you care to look. If you really believe politics can stand in the way of that, ask yourself how we got to where we are today, when 60 years ago Americans produced nearly every car in existence, Union membership was probably 6x (at least three [trinity.edu]) as high as it is today, and UAW was one of the most powerful lobbies in Washington. Efficiency, capitalism, big business and money run the show in this country, and together they demand that our autos be made somewhere where the reservation wage is a lot, lot lower than Ohio or Michigan. And I also question the political feasibility of a protective tariff anyways, when half the cars we buy [automotivedigest.com] are made overseas. Also, the US is already on record with the WTO as opposing tariffs on auto parts when China tried to do just that.

        Your point about homeland security is well taken, but really, how tenuous are our trade relations with Asia (excepting China)? How much does this impact homeland security preparations? Whatever the case, I still don't see this issue standing in the way of the triumphant march of the almighty buck.
  • by Shadowlore (10860) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @02:20PM (#18657069) Journal
    It's old news (Wow bet you are suprised! ;) ). It isn't the first, and any car that weighs in under 1200 kilos and has 600 HP damned well better pull that kind of time. The Electric Ariel Atom smokes this car. Of course the Ariel Atom pulls sub-3 second 0-60 times (2.8) with a mere 300HP motor. And yes again the key factor is weight: It weighs in at just under half the weight of this car - about 500 kilos. The electric one pulls 3 seconds in the 60 and weighs in at about 700 kilos. The fact that the two variants of the Atom are so close in performance is testament to the impact of the vehicle's weight on the performance of the vehicle more so than power source.

    I don't car what your power source is. If you have a car priced at $125,000 with 600HP of power that weighs a mere 1200 kilos you better pull times like this. Otherwise go back to the drawing board. The Corvette Z06 weighs in at a hefty 3100 pounds, has 500 less HP and pulls 0-60 times of 3.2-3.8 with 3.5 being the official result.

    Drag racing, especially 0-60 times, is all about power to weight. Source is irrelevant outside of that.
    • by hamburger lady (218108) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @03:30PM (#18657513)
      If you have a car priced at $125,000 with 600HP of power that weighs a mere 1200 kilos you better pull times like this. Otherwise go back to the drawing board. The Corvette Z06 weighs in at a hefty 3100 pounds, has 500 less HP and pulls 0-60 times of 3.2-3.8 with 3.5 being the official result.

      the corvette does all that with only 100HP? that's amazing.
  • by K8Fan (37875) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @02:24PM (#18657089) Journal

    For those of us who are not total gearheads, how is 3.1 seconds for 0 to 60 compared to internal combustion engines? Anyone have a chart of 0 to 60 times for Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche and various types of race cars?

    • some context (Score:3, Informative)

      by hc5duke (930493) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @02:48PM (#18657241)
      • Ford Mustang GT = 4.9 seconds ($30k)
      • Chevy Corvette Z06 = 3.4 seconds ($70k)
      • Lambo Murciélago LP640 = 3.3 seconds ($300k)
      • Enzo Ferrari = 3.14 seconds ($650k)
      • Bugatti Veyron = 2.46 seconds ($1.5MM)

      The Veyron is the so-called "most expensive production car", so 3.1 seconds would be considered very good. All speed numbers from Wikipedia. Anyone in the world can write anything they want about any subject -- so you know you are getting the best possible information.

  • by Stevecrox (962208) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @04:02PM (#18657715) Journal
    One thing thats been bothering me for a while, is every electric car or hybrid I've seen lacks solar panels. To me that makes perfect sense, quick charge battery's have a short life as well as being as it being difficult to find a charge point and cars like the above use standard connections but obviously the charge time is long enough to be annoying.
    I know solar cells have a dubious enviromental advantage but a small set on a spoiler or on the roof (silicon or the new type which is less efficent) would provide a constant small charge during the day, I know most car journeys seem to be work runs or school trips where the car spends a great deal of time inactive. I know that you can buy portable solar cells like the following http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=96902 &criteria=solar%20cells&doy=8m4 [maplin.co.uk] ass you place three of those on a spoiler thats a steady stream of 54watts to charge your motors and is effectivily 'free' energy, adding something like that as an optional extra and I'm sure it would pay for itself in added range/costs over the lifetime of the car.
    • by Zobeid (314469) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @05:51PM (#18658337)
      It makes no sense. You just can't collect enough solar energy on the tiny panels that can easily fit on a car. Your example module produces 54 watts . . . The Tesla's battery pack (for example) stores about 50,000 watt-hours of energy. So, it would take about 925 hours of full sunlight to charge. A good sunny day might get you a mile and a half down the road. Meanwhile, you have to leave your car outside exposed to the elements all the time. So the weather is taking its toll on your paint, it's taking a toll on your interior.

      You'd be far better off keeping your car sheltered in a garage or at least under a carport, and put large solar panels on the roof of the building, tied into your regular charging station.
  • by suv4x4 (956391) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @04:14PM (#18657781)
    I never understood why people watch the 0-60 timing and top speed of a car. On the road, what you need is a stable, safe, efficient vehicle.

    Noone really want to go 0-60 in 3.5 seconds and reach 175mph, unless they're looking to die, and do it as fast as possible.

    • Re:I don't get it. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wolfier (94144) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @04:34PM (#18657875)
      First, because a lot of people also want to drive their cars on the tracks.

      Second, people who want a stable, safe, efficient vehecle doesn't mean they'll also want it to be slow.

      Lastly, just because you don't want to do a 3.5 second 0-60 to reach 175, doesn't mean that "noone" wants to. Open you eyes.
  • Please add regenerative braking to this car! Get some extra mileage!
  • Electric Car Roundup (Score:4, Informative)

    by Zobeid (314469) on Sunday April 08, 2007 @06:08PM (#18658435)
    Many of these are more-or-less performance oriented vehicles. . .

    Tesla Roadster: http://www.teslamotors.com/ [teslamotors.com]

    Tango: http://www.commutercars.com/ [commutercars.com]

    UEV Spyder: http://www.universalelectricvehicle.com/spyder.htm l [universale...ehicle.com]

    Wrightspeed X1: http://www.wrightspeed.com/x1.html [wrightspeed.com]

    ZAP-X: http://www.zapworld.com/ZAPWorld.aspx?id=4560 [zapworld.com]

    Silence: http://www.silenceinc.ca/accueilEN.htm [silenceinc.ca]

    VentureOne: http://www.venturevehicles.com/ [venturevehicles.com]

    Phoenix SUT & SUV: http://www.phoenixmotorcars.com/ [phoenixmotorcars.com]

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