Bolloré Brings Road-Ready BlueCar EV to Geneva; Plans to Build More
07 March 2006
|Bolloré’s Bluecar EV.|
The Bolloré Group, through its subsidiary BatScap, brought a road-ready prototype of its BlueCar lithium-ion electric city car to this year’s Geneva Motor Show. The BlueCar made its debut as a concept car at the Geneva show last year. (Earlier post.)
In the year since its introduction as a concept, the BlueCar has logged tests on different tracks to validate its performance specs: a range of around 250 kilometers (155 miles), a top speed of 125 km/h (78 mph), acceleration from 0 to 60 km/h (37 mph) in 6.3 seconds and a six-hour recharge.
The BlueCar is a “a concept-car designed around a battery,” according to the company—a product designed to highlight the potential of the company’s lithium-ion battery technology.
The BlueCar uses a 30 kW electric motor powered by a 28 kWh lithium-ion battery pack positioned at the center of the car under the seats and in front of the rear axle.
The Bolloré Group will build six more BlueCar prototypes in 2006. The company is investing €150 million to build a new production site in Brittany with an eventual planned capacity of 10,000 battery systems a year.
The company thinks it could hit a €20,000 (US$23,800) price-point for the BlueCar with the help of grants of around €2,000 to €3,000.
|Peak Power||50 kW|
|Constant power||30 kW|
|Max. torque||170 Nm|
|Max battery voltage||274V|
|Min. battery voltage||243V|
|Battery pack||28 kWh|
|Battery weight||<:240 kg|
|Full recharge||6 hours|
|Express recharge||A few minutes for 20 km|
|Max speed||125 km/h|
|Average range||200–250 km|
I hope it works...range is good assuming it holds up under average road speeds and temperature ranges.
I wonder how much the vehicle weighs
Posted by: Lotfw | 07 March 2006 at 08:54 AM
Everything looked good, until the US price was shown.
Posted by: Mark A | 07 March 2006 at 10:06 AM
Shows you how the price of the battery causes the price of an otherwise "much simpler than a regular car" Battery EV to push so high that it can't compete with a Prius at nearly the same price. For comparison the Prius batter is NiMH technology and only about 1.1 KWHr of energy. The Th!nk City had a NiCad pack with about 11 KWHr and 45 mile range. The City's top speed was about 55 mph (with a favorable tailwind ;-).
Posted by: Ron Fischer | 07 March 2006 at 10:41 AM
I think the EV-1 battery pack (also NiMH) was about 22 KWHr capacity. The EV-1 was a spectacularly efficient design, especially if you compare it to this car.
Posted by: Ron Fischer | 07 March 2006 at 10:42 AM
The car uses a lithium metal polymer battery, which isn't the same as lithium-ion. Lithium-ion is the common ones used in phones and stuff. Lithium metal polymer batteries holds some promise, but have been a research area for decades. It's nice to finally see some progress in LMPBs.
A link explaining their technology:
Posted by: Magnus | 07 March 2006 at 10:48 AM
This one works for me. Wonder when the release date is.
Perfect replacement for my going to work car.
As far as the EV-1 goes, where is it?
Posted by: Bob | 07 March 2006 at 10:55 AM
The price is not that high, at least not when you pay European fuel taxes.
That little car would probably cost about 16.000 € if it was an ordinary gasoline vehicle. The EV variety is 23.000 €.
That's a difference of 7000 €.
Let's see how long it would take until the higher investment would pay off.
Let's say you drive 300 km per week, or 15.000 km per year. The little car might use 0.5 litres per 10 km, or 750 litres per year. One litre of petrol cost about 1 € so that is a saving of 750 € in one year.
But then you have to pay for the power needed to propel the car.
This car has an average range of 225 km during which it consume 28 kWh. This equals 0,0357 kWh per km. If you drive 15.000 km per year it will mean a power consumption of 536 kWh. A kWh cost about 0,10 €, for a total cost of about 50 €.
So the total saving is 750-50= 700 € per year.
So it would pay off in 7000/700= 10 years. Since the average car life is 15-20 years it seems like an acceptable deal, and hence an acceptable sales price.
But then we also have the price of capital. Loaning those extra 7000 € will mean you pay more interest rates which add to the price of the EV.
Posted by: Starvid | 07 March 2006 at 03:10 PM
Then there are other costs of ownering a gasoline powered car, such as regular oil changes, tuneups, repairs when things break, etc. My hunch is that a well designed EV would have much lower ongoing maintenance costs, lowering the total yearly cost of ownership further.
The total electricity consumed in recharging the car would be more than you estimate, because some energy taken from the wall outlet is lost as heat during charging. I've heard that 75% is a good estimate of lithium battery recharge-discharge efficiency. Does anyone have any notion of how well the battery technology in this car performes?
Off-peak rates for electricity could save you money though, if you charge at night and your utility has such a rate-plan.
Posted by: NBK-Boston | 07 March 2006 at 03:42 PM
I'm glad to see all-EV designs getting investment but I have to whine: until companies make EVs that don't look like golf carts or "weird" they will not see mass acceptance at least in N.America. This look like a really nice golf cart. Maybe I'm just cranky today.
Posted by: David M | 07 March 2006 at 04:19 PM
Actually, I think it looks like a very stylish mini (micro?) van. It definitely doesn't look anything like a golf cart and I would have no problem being seen driving this around Boulder, Colorado. I guess it depends upon where you live.
In any event, bring this on. I would buy it if it really lives up to its advertised specs.
Posted by: t | 07 March 2006 at 05:11 PM
I would be fine with a 90 mile range, especially if it was lighter, and cheaper. I wonder if EV makers will offer differing battery size options.
Posted by: Hampden Wireless | 07 March 2006 at 05:16 PM
I think the price of power won't matter that much. I'd worry more about interest rates.
An electric car is a lot like a nuclear power plant. Very high capital costs but the fuel is almost free. So interest rates become vital.
Posted by: Starvid | 07 March 2006 at 05:17 PM
What noone looked at is a car theft for the sake of a new battery bank, how much more will we need to pay in insurance just due to that reason. Its a very difficault problem as
new battery pack is worth more then the rest, I believe vehicle tracking system should become mandatory. Implant tracking system into random battry within a pack so it makes impossible to actually know which battery is emitting a signal and brings police in.
Posted by: Alex | 08 March 2006 at 07:00 AM
I think EV designs HAVE to be unique to sell. The Prius received much more attention after the redesign. It changed from the ECHO body style to something very different.
As long as it is built with some quality and isnt seen as a throwaway car I think price would be right.
Posted by: Lotfw | 08 March 2006 at 08:51 AM
Mark, what are you talking about? A plug-in Prius costs $22,000 + $9,000 = $31,000.
Starvid, thanks for the math!
NBK-Boston: you have to add the cost of replacing the batteries (big $$). Does anyone know how long they'll last?
Bottom line: I'd buy this cutie tomorrow if it was for sale. And I agree with Hampden: less range would be fine with me if it meant a lighter, cheaper car.
With one caveat: what is the temp range? I've seen a plug-in kit with a min of -20C. It's colder than that here,
EM, in the Great White North.
Posted by: EM | 08 March 2006 at 09:13 AM
I don't know what the expected lifespan of the particular battery technology used in this car. I recall reading that the NiMH types used in previous EV's and the current Prius have functional lives long enough as never to need replacing for the average life of the car itself. I know that many lithium technologies degrade far more quickly -- and that this car is built around lithium.
I am hoping or assuming that any production hybrid or EV would contain a battery pack designed and guaranteed to last at least 10 yr / 100,000 mi. That may be a sticking point with the car mentioned in this article, and may be one reason why they are not yet being offered commercially. It would make little financial sense to switch to an EV only to have to replace the battery pack at shorter intervals, unless the cost of replacement pack came down substantially.
Posted by: NBK-Boston | 08 March 2006 at 10:22 AM
With regards to the price of new batteries, upgraded motor components and so forth, people have to have faith in the future of innovation. As in, people considering buying such a vehicle should not be worried about the cost of replacing the batts in 5-10 yrs, because it may very well be negligible with the next breakthrough.
On EV vehicle appearance, although they are targetting the young fassin conscious market, quite honestly sales should think more broadly. I'd like to see this come in a people mover form, or a utility like a 4x4 low rider such as the single cab Subaru of the mid eighties. Or better still, a van. Courier fleets and various other inner city businesses could make use of EVs in their business model. Although I will say there has to be a means in their circumstance for the battery array to be dropped in the shop and another freshly charged one slotted in so that vahicles can be run 24 hrs a day. My 2 cents.
Posted by: Adrian | 08 March 2006 at 07:50 PM
Alex- until EVs become the norm, nobody is going to steal a car and dismantle it just to get a their hands on a 22kWh battery pack that they can't do anything with so we're safe for some time yet.
I wonder how long it'll be before someone comes out with a solar PV kit for this thing a la the Solartec LLC kit for the Prius.
Posted by: squigbobble | 10 March 2006 at 03:02 PM
i hate to say it, but the max speed on this baby is too low. i'd be much happier with a range that's closer to 100 miles but with a max speed of 90 mph.
Posted by: lensovet | 12 March 2006 at 01:13 PM
LiMP is really not a good idea - this is basically the same battery technology that Avestor abandoned for mobile (EV) applications - too dangerous. It uses a vanadium oxide cathode as well which is fine for standby power (as Avestor are focusing on) - not for high rate discharge wehn you need to accelerate. Any battery with more than a few grammes of lithium in it is classified as dangerous goods for transport purposes. LiMP uses lithium metal anodes, not Li ions intercalated into a graphite matrix. This is too dangerous for a car - it's too dangerous for a 96Wh laptop battery, let alone a 26kWh EV battery. Check out the number of lithium battery recalls that are still happening, spontaneous fires - this is a complete no-no.
As I've posted elsewhere, by far the best battery today is the Zebra - LiIon energy density at one third the cost or less and no material shortage prospects when you ramp up into production of millions. There isn't enough Lithium in the lithosphere to produce millions of PHEV or EV batteries per year.
Posted by: Emphyrio | 12 March 2006 at 02:20 PM
It doesn't have enough range for long trips, and you wouldn't want to do a long trip in something that small either, so it's not very practicle as an only car. I wouldn't want to spend that much money on a runabout.
Does it pass crash tests?
Posted by: James | 14 March 2006 at 09:17 AM
I havent any comment .
Posted by: arshia | 13 May 2006 at 08:02 AM
Lotfw, I'm with you, I would buy this car tomorrow, if I could and I know several others who would too. The range and speed are perfect. I need a car like this to travel approx. 80 mile RT at speed limits of 55 mph. and hundred of others in my area travel the same distance to work each day. I can't get into all the math involved with gas verses electric cost. Bottom line for me is I would save approx. $400 in gas each month which equals enough to pay for this car in 5 years. That may mean lowered dependence of foreigh oil. Plus, suppose I have access to wind power and PVC electric power, now I can charge the batteries without using fossil fuels.
NBK-Boston - Concerning looks, I'm sure you've seen the Honda Element. I think it is ugly but they sell like hotcakes. This Bollore BluE is beatiful in comparison.
Starvid- I share your concerns about theft as that has crossed my mind. However, if used to and from work and work sites have secure parking, then the threat is less.
Posted by: Twheels | 17 March 2007 at 02:25 PM
Arshia - How dare you, I own and LOVE my Honda Element, but i agree with you totally that i would absolutely buy this car if it were available. The only major question i have is what is the life expectancy of the vehicle? do they predict these things will last 5 years? 10 years? more? this would cost about $6K more than what i spent on my Honda Element but that would be recouped after only about 2 years of driving without having to pay for gas. however my Honda should last me at least 10 years will this thing go as long? (thats what she said)
Posted by: MikeR | 23 September 2008 at 08:33 AM