Electric Mini spied in Munich
Punters to get a go?
'Leccy tech BMW's electric Mini has been spotted pootling around Munich, its zero-emission power source revealed by the lack of an exhaust pipe.
That, and the words "Hybrid Test Vehicle" - "Hybrid Erprobungsfahrzeug" - seen written on the sides and the back...
Here's a pic snapped by Car magazine - there are more on its website, but, hey, a Mini's, a Mini.
BMW's electric Mini: motoring in Munich
Image courtesy Car
The mag reckons BMW will announce the 'leccy Mini during November's Los Angeles Motor Show - a good place to do so given California's carbon dioxide-emissions legislation.
In March, BMW announced a plan to create a new vehicle for city drivers, dubbed 'Project i', with a view to coming up with zero-emission urban car for markets around the world.
Project i's development team is head by Ulrich Kranz, who was part of the effort to redesign the Mini. As such, it's hard to imagine the elctric Mini not being part of that Project.
Indeed, Car reckons 500 of the electric Minis will be produced next year to be leased to punters - back of the queue, back of the queue - to give them a real-world road-test.
RE: Manufacturing Costs
> "BTW. Current LiPoly. batteries have a duty cycle of about 1000 discharge-charge cycles."
It's a common misconception - quite forgivable. The limit on charge-discharge cycles is full-charge/full-discharge, not partial-charge/partial-discharge. Lifetime in average "driving stress" is around 150,000 km. And "lifetime" doesn't mean it becomes useless, but rather limited to around 75-80% of original capacity. All electric car battery manufacturers are planning comprehensive recycling. Lithium is not as rare as some people would like to make you think (guess who funds those people). But I agree, wasting Li in supermarket-grade batteries is foolish.
There's actually a much more compelling argument that the platinum in catalytic convertors should be re-captured - platinum is much more rare than Lithium even relative to the planned rate of use.
At the rate battery/electric storage tech is developing, Lithium won't be the only game in town. It will be superseded, but that's not likely to be for reasons of rarity.
> "Of course, we could just wait until someone invents a better battery technology"
Better electric storage tech is already on the way, including higher energy density, and it's not dangerous. Is a car's fuel tank too dangerous? Some people might think so, and people have been burned to death in their cars because of them. So should we ban petrol tanks because "it's chemistry, stupid"?
One more thing - it's unrealistic (some might say foolish in the extreme) to base market projections only on technology demonstrators and initial costs. You'd be laughed out of the boardroom and "let go" with that kind of argument.
I admit I have not studied the overall manufacturing costs, but I'm sure that I have read in a reliable source that the supply of high-energy light metal elements, particularly lithium on this planet is severely limited. And because of their properties (they are very reactive), they tend to be difficult to mine and refine, all of which takes energy.
It is OK to use the current prices at todays demand level, but if we are to have a battery powered transport system, I suspect that the demand for these metals, particularly lithium, will easily outstrip supply. Prices will jump, and the whole technology may become too expensive.
Currently, it is wasteful that battery manufacturers are making disposable lithium AA sized batteries (just look at the supermarket battery section). Because of it's chemistry, lithium is likely to become a much more important across the whole range of manufacturing. We must introduce a lithium recovery programme in the waste stream, and educate users not to throw them in the domestic waste.
BTW. Current LiPoly. batteries have a duty cycle of about 1000 discharge-charge cycles. This means that keeping a car used daily on the road will require the batteries to be replaced after 3 years, with progressivly poorer performance at the end of that time, like your Laptop (current charging efficiency quotes 99.8% for LiPoly. batteries, 0.998^1000=0.135=13.5% of original capacity at the end-of-life of the battery). Good news for the car manufacturers, bad news for residual car values. How does that factor in to the overall cost-of-ownership for an electric vehicle?
Of course, we could just wait until someone invents a better battery technology, but a chemical battery is unlikely to provide that much more energy than is possible using lithium without actually being dangerous (it's chemistry, stupid). I wish Shipstones and micro-pile fusion generators were not science fiction.
more electric cars are gooood.
even tho i think the new "mini" to be an ugly little car and a piece of design vomit!
p.s. stuff and nonsense: http://www.eupeople.net/forum