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Nissan Plans to Put Electric Vehicle on Market in 3 Years

25 November 2006

Nissan Motor plans to put lightweight, subcompact electric cars powered by lithium-ion batteries developed in-house on the market in three years, according to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

Nissan will also reportedly roll-out its gasoline-electric hybrids—possibly with plug-in capability—based on its own technology by 2010. (Earlier post.) The 2007 Altima Hybrid is based on technology licensed from Toyota. (Earlier post.)

Nissan is projecting a driving range for the electric vehicle of about 200 km on a single charge. Mitsubishi Motors and Fuji Heavy Industries are also developing electric cars for the mass market.

Nissan developed its first electric car in 1947. It developed a two-passenger small electric car—the Hypermini—in 2000, but the model could travel only just more than 100 km on a single charge and never made it to the mass market. It was tested in several US fleets.

Nissan will also accelerate the expansion of its diesel lineup, and, with the help of Renault, also enhance its development of flex-fuel vehicles.

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November 25, 2006 in Electric (Battery) | Permalink | Comments (31) | TrackBack (0)

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Which market? Japanese or American? This is good news! With a rivalry shaping up between Nissan and Mitsubishi it's even better news: competition is always good for the consumer, price and inovation-wise. Hopefully other major manufacturers will enter the fray soon. Isn't this what we've been hoping for for years?

I suspect with the large gas tax the Canadian government gains from all its petrolium sales, it won't allow us to import these electric vehicles into Canada a few years from now either. Ridiculous. Hopefully they will loosen their import regulations sometime soon.

Well, it seems 2010 is the magic year for plug-in hybrids. Having Nissan competing with Toyota is definitely a good thing. Year 2010 is not that far away; we are almost into 2007 already.

Sweet! Finally they are getting it! Or is it because LiIons have hit a certain price point / stability?

In the coming years... we of the netroots community should be pushing:

1. a credible, open source implementation of V2G. Something manufacturers could simply download, create & deploy.

2. our cities to begin installing V2G compatible charging stations around town.

3. Our states to begin installing public charging stations at restaurants along highways. With 20 - 30 minute charging on advanced LiIon batteries, I think long-distance charging will happen at restaurants.

4. Our cities / local car share organizations to consider streamlining the process of picking up a car rental for the weekend.

Coming soon, in some form, from some source, to some destination, sometime in the future.

Consider the sophistication and abilities the EV-1 possessed a decade ago. Then consider the improvements in materials, design, manufacturing and electronics since 1996. Then ask yourself if it makes sense that it will take a few more years to produce a subcompact EV that may or may not be exported to the US.

The point about road taxes and electric vehicles is important. Will an inability to tax EVs impair their acceptance?

Let's hope for the best. 2005 should have been the "magic year" for fuel cell powered vehichles...

I do not know about V2G (putting power back on the grid is the normal defintition) with batteries that have limited charge/dicharge cycles. What am I doing, selling back power I bought minus loses? Reducing the number of charge/discahrge cycles for transportation? If you had an SOFC that could run on anything from methanol to CNG, I would say sure.

I think these cars are intended for city use and commuting rather than road trips.
I imagine they will mainly be charged at home and (if you are lucky) at work.
You might be able to prolong the battery life in this way.
What people might be able to do would be to hack a generator and use them as serial hybrids. Obviously this would consume most of the boot; but that is the price you pay for being bleeding edge.
Most people would just use them around the town.
I just hope they look like normal cars and not the usual electric horrors you see as "city cars".
If they were based on the current Micra (Perhaps March in Japan) they would be fine.
If they were based on the micra they could leave the fuel tank in in case people wanted to make serial hybrids out of them. If you used diesel it would be safe. Better still they could have a generator as a Nissan option and do a nice job of it.
You wouldn't have the "double up" power of a parallel hybrid but it would be much simpler.

Interestingly, Carlos Ghosn, CEO of both Nissan and Renault, has been explicitly lukewarm about hybrids. He seemed to be saying that Nissan only came out with the Altima Hybrid because the ZEV regs forced his hand, net because of any opportunity to turn a profit. Has he changed his mind as a result of the insights gained during the abortive talks with GM?

A pure BEV is mechanically much simpler than a hybrid, of course. In Japan, consumers are anxious not to give offense by making noise or emitting (visible) pollution. In addition, traffic jams are very frequent and average speeds very modest by US or European standards. A subcompact pure commuter vehicle might do well there, if it is priced reasonably. Northern California is another obvious candidate market, because ARB awards more ZEV credits for true BEVs than for hybrids.

There are still some technical hurdles to overcome, though, including proof that high volume production of automotive Li-ion packs does not lead to laptop-style PR fiascos and, low-temperature power rating (for both propulsion and heating of the passenger compartment in winter).

If anyone is interested in seeing the driving conditions in Tokyo they can watch Jeremy Clarkson's visit from 1995.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8701392936812760087

SJC - "What am I doing, selling back power I bought minus loses? Reducing the number of charge/discahrge cycles for transportation?"

With the new LiIon batteries from AltairNano with 15 000 cycles then the cycle life is not important. This represents 20 years of daily discharges.

You buy the power overnight at off peak rates, here AUD$0.06 per kWh and sell it for peak rates of AUD$0.18 per kWh so there is substantial profit to be made. Also utilities will pay for 'spinning reserve' capacity just to be available without actually tapping the power.

Those wonderful batteries are press releases. Until we see independant lab verification of anything close to 15,000 cycles, those are just words.

As far as charging overnight, the whole world does not charge overnight. Some people have to "fill up" during the day, because they drive more than the 100-200 miles range that the batteries give them.

When the cost gets down to 1/2 lead acid prices, maybe $2000 for 50kwh (about 1/10th of the price now), then maybe. With people fast recharging, you are going to have millions of cars trying to charge 50kwh in 5 minutes. Try handling a grid that has that much unpredicatability in it.

SJC -

it is possible will be prepared to pay a higher premium for advanced batteries than you suggest. It depends on the price of electricity vs. the price of fuel, measured in terms of $/mile driven. While many consumers do not make purely rational choices when it comes to their transportation needs, the total cost of ownership of a BEV need not be better than that of an ICE-power car. Right now, of course, it is still far worse (cp. 100k for Tesla Motors' very limited edition roadster).

As for rapid charging, I expect that those would want that convenience in a BEV would need to pay a hefty premium for it. The charging station would most likely have to operate an efficient genset on site; this might make sense for commercial fleet operators who can use the waste heat to heat or cool (via absorption chillers) their facilities. The engine could be fed natural gas or else biogas from fermenters or special gases (at landfills, sewage plants, coal mines, coking plants etc.) Some thermal management would be required to keep the exhaust aftertreatment system hot enough (except if the intervals between cars coming to fill up were predictably short).

The primary upside is that the fleet operator gets to use inexpensive but hard-to-transport and possibly not street-legal primary energy sources. Fringe benefits include the PR value of an all-electric zero tailpipe emission fleet plus use of the waste heat streams.

SJC - "As far as charging overnight, the whole world does not charge overnight. Some people have to "fill up" during the day, because they drive more than the 100-200 miles range that the batteries give them."

Sure however if you are doing that many miles then you would almost certainly have a plug in hybrid rather than a BEV. Only a small minority of people do anywhere near that distance per day and even if they do surely this is not a thing that should be encouraged in the future.

"When the cost gets down to 1/2 lead acid prices, maybe $2000 for 50kwh (about 1/10th of the price now), then maybe. With people fast recharging, you are going to have millions of cars trying to charge 50kwh in 5 minutes. Try handling a grid that has that much unpredicatability in it."

Most cars are parked most of the time, they actually spend very little of their life actually driving. This is quite easy to establish statistically and is quite predicatable. On average the will be lots of cars charging however because of the smarts that will be built into the new grid this will occur only when there is a surplus of generating capacity which happens quite often with wind. All parked cars will have preferences set to ensure that sufficient power is left for the drive home. With millions of cars this is still a huge capacity for evening out the fluctuating grid.

SJC:

Unfortunately, you are right. Developers of batteries for vehicular applications have a long history of overoptimistic claims, concealing of drawbacks, or even downright disinformation on their batteries. Hyped PR about 200 miles range often does not include information about poor low-temperature performance (Valence), high self-discharge (Ni-Mh), fast deterioration (A123), or unsafe operation (Sony). Theoretically Li chemistry battery could overcome all this limitations (supposedly what Altair did, except for mediocre energy density), but the question of the price remains mystery for all of them. Current developments indicate that Li batteries approaching tipping point in ironing their teething problems, and indeed EV looks much more realistic now then 10 years ago.

However, there is a problem. New technology is inherently more expensive. To compensate for this, cutting edge vehicles should be used as much as possible to maximize fuel savings and compensate for initial high price. This is exactly the case with hybrids: in my Vancouver couple of hundreds of Priuses are working as taxis 24/7, and for 3-4 years useful life ticking amazing one million kilometers, without any reliability problems and delivering substantial savings to operators. Due to limited range, long charging time, and absence of charging infrastructure pure EV could be used only sparely during the single day.

I believe that initial purchases of EV will be limited to governmental agencies and some corporations (like utility), and city delivery vehicles. Market for personal transportation will follow in couple of years. Or not.

I´m soooo tired of waiting for the clean alternatives. Tired of reading about consept cars coming within a few years...Why don´t the manufacturers see that we are millions of people willing to get rid of our gasolin cars and ready to put a big share of our salary on a clean veihecle right now !!!!!. Please, give us the alternatives noooow !!!! Pleeease

New autos represent about 3% of the total number of registered automobiles. Electric cars, will, at best, be a minuscule part of the market. Their intended target, slow in city driving, can be accomodated by other approaches like buses, light rail, walking, bicyling, and scooters, including electric. And, besides, in our congested cities, whether or not a car is electric or not, will not change the congestion.

If we are relying on more efficient automobiles to fix the problem, we will be waiting decades.

SJC writes (trolls?):

When the cost gets down to 1/2 lead acid prices, maybe $2000 for 50kwh (about 1/10th of the price now), then maybe.
Lead-acid batteries are currently below $80/kWh, retail.  Figure half that at wholesale.  We're already there.

What we really need is something like Firefly Energy's cells, which are going to cost somewhat more.  However, they'll pay back mighty fast in savings.  If you pay $4000 for a set of batteries but they save you 80% of your fuel requirements at 13,000 mi/year, 30 MPG and $3/gallon, that's $1040/year savings.  The batteries would pay off before the car loan did.

I don't see advanced batteries at $40 per kwh. If you know a battery that cheap, light, available in mass quatities, widely used and long lasting, please post the links.

Total NET cost depends to a large extend on the price of gas/diesel oil. Cheap gas (up to $3/gal) does not help the introduction of Hybrids, PHEVs and EVs.

Why can't Americans and Canadians pay the same price as Europeans do (about $6/gal)? Of course, a major change in fuel tax level would have to be progressive (over 3 to 6 years, well advertised and with enough lead time for buyers to change their attitude.

Secondly, people would have to see where the extra taxes are going.

Why not ask THEM?

The extra tax $ billions could go to various programs such as : to reduce the Federal deficit, lower income taxes for low salary people, more support for hybrids, PHEVs and EVs to reduce the Total Net cost differential with ICE equivalent vehicles to near zero etc.

"Lead-acid batteries are currently below $80/kWh, retail. Figure half that at wholesale. We're already there."

AFAIK, at the current deep cycle life of lead-acid, those batteries would only last about one year.

That's why you need the Firefly Energy cells.  With carbon foam instead of lead as the mechanical support and electrical interconnect, they're not subject to most of the failure modes of the classic design - and they're far lighter.

sending a link conserning the issue of low cost batteries: www.effpower.com

What about hipercapacitors?

Does anyone know what happened with EEstor's revolutionary capacitor??? Their web site is still "under construction" !?!?

Harvey: Canadian gas taxes are higher than the U.S.. Last time the Canadian government tried to raise gas taxes to any kind of reasonable level people started driving south of the border to tank up.

Neil:

Today's regular gas price, around our place, is equivalent to $3.15 USD/gal or about $0.954 Cdn/Liter. It peaked at about $4.13 USD/gal last summer. Sales of SUVs dropped but nobody panicked because everybody expected about $5 USD/gal. The newspapers had done a good job.

By the way, stats indicate that people movement between Canada and USA is almost neutral and even in favour of Canada lately.

Both countries could have business as usual with gas price going up about 4 cents/gal per month for the next 4 to 6 years or until $6 USD/gas is reached. We would adapt as Europeans and Japanese + others did.

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