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Two New EVs to Launch at British International Motor Show: smart ev and NICE

A 2005 prototype of the smart ev. Source: DaimlerChrysler

The Guardian reports that two new electric vehicles will debut at the upcoming British International Motor Show: an all-electric version of DaimlerChrysler’s smart car, and the NICE (no internal combustion engine) car. The show runs from 20-30 July in London.

DaimlerChrysler showed a prototype of a smart fortwo ev in 2005. The prototype smart fortwo electric vehicle featured an electric motor with an output of up to 30 kW (41 hp). With a consumption of 12 kWh per 100 kilometers, the car had a range of 110 kilometers (62 miles).

A full recharge takes 8 hours; charing from 20% to 80% capacity takes four hours. smart created the electric drive in cooperation with Zytek, a British company that focuses on developing hybrid and electric drives. (Earlier post.)

DaimlerChrysler reportedly will only offer the smart ev for leasing at about £375 (US$690) per month, mainly to large companies wanting to use them as pool cars.

The NICE car was developed by a team of ex-Lotus engineers, and reportedly has a 50-mile range, with a 40 mph top speed.

More details on each will emerge at the show.

In London, electric vehicles enjoy free on-street parking, pay no annual road tax, and are exempt from the congestion charge.



Just read the Consumer Reports comments on the Smart car, gasoline variety: 45 mpg, 0 - 60 in 22 seconds, unresponsive steering, rough gear shift ( figures from memory, though more or less ok ). Not much to say for all those years of development work.
The Smart car 'battery special' looks equally unspecial.
Btw, thanks Rafael for the info on Canadian auto usage.
Does the Canadian entrant into the electric market, made in Quebec i think, do any better ?
For what it's worth, and prepared to be shot down by the bright sparks on this site, i often wonder why a truly small 4 stroke engine, set at a single 'speed', its optimum for fuel usage, couldn't be used to repower batteries in an otherwise all electric car. Going a step further, what about a two stroke engine, much cheaper to produce and smaller ( i understand ? ) to power the batteries, with the two stroke electronically controlled ( check work done by Orbital Engine ) and thus generating no more pollutants than a four stroke. Feedback would be appreciated.


re: hamerhokie, the one they are currently selling is like a mini-messenger. the one mentioned in the GCC article is the "XS200", due out in "late 2007". shitty, i'll admit.

Roger Pham

What you've described in your last paragraph is a plugged-in hybrid car with an electric transmission like I've been proposing in this GCC forum. I think that Siemen is offering variants on this theme to automfg's (see previous article on this subject on GCC). The minimum-sized engine is coupled to a starter-generator that provides current to a traction motor during acceleration. The large-size battery also provide current simultaneously to the traction motor to improve acceleration. During cruise, the engine is mechanically coupled to the traction motor via a clutch (or torque-lockup), thus preventing losses via the electric route, which is only ~80% efficient, while direct mechanical coupling is 100% efficient. Meanwhile, the starter/generator can continue to charge the battery during cruising on engine power. If more power is needed for acceleration during cruise or climbing a hill or passing, the battery will supply power to the traction motor to boost the engine torque, simulating a gear down-shift in geared transmission unit.

Forget about two-stroke engines. If sump lubrication is used to reduce hydrocarbon emission, the oil lost through the cut-out ports in the cylinders will contribute to increase in emission, while deprive the piston rings of adequate oil for proper lubrication, inspite of direct fuel injection improvement by Orbital. Thus, oil must be mixed with fuel for proper 2-stroke lubrication, which raises emission. Plus, more heat is produced in 2-stroke engine due to the lack of a cooling intake stroke, thus more failure prone, and is restricted to smaller engine size with higher surface to volume ratio for optimal cooling.

hampden wireless

The best way to go electric is still going to be the Prius with a third party plug in kit. You get a real car that is 75% electric yet does not need you to keep a second gas car for long trips. This is the first round of plug in kits, I can see the kits going to $6000 in a year or two. Nothing else except the Tango really has sparked my interest.


TO be honest if I had the cash I would get a TZero.
It seems to be the model to beat.


GM decision to build prototype mass-production EV on current technology was strange at best. Like trying to produce supersonic aircraft powered by piston engine. Only appearance of powerful and durable NiMh battery opened possibility to build successful gasoline-electric hybrid, which was done by Toyota/Honda. Still with all modern battery and power electronics improvements mass production PHEV is visible only on the horizon, let alone pure EV. For niche applications, such as city delivery vehicle, EV is very appealing and makes sense.
However, two billion dollars GM spent developing EV1 probably was not total loss. Many developed technologies, such as electrically assisted steering and braking, or heat pump HVAC, are currently widely used on variety of vehicles worldwide.



Sorry but Orbital in fact produced and ran quite successfully a wet sumped two stroke inline 6 cylinder engine. Very nice stuff. As usual, fashion had swung away from this technology with the biggies by the time the had it sorted.

As for small engines, so far I have not seen anything beat the 2S DI engine for fuel economy. The issue of tailpipe (not engine out) emissions is more complex.

My ideal small engine for low specific fuel consuption would be a 500cc single cylinder direct injected two stroke with catalytic after treatment. An engine like this would get down to 260g/kWh at 11kw. It would also be flexible unough to direct drive the 90 - 110km/h range needed for good fuel consuption (one of it's strengths is part load specific fuel consumption). An engine like this would weight not more than 15kg with fuel system and can be mounted anyway and with any orientation.

air cooled for simplicity and weight reduction. As for durability, loaded in this manner, 1000+ hours are certainly doable with no great effort.

It also has very low engine out emmissions on warm up, so is highly suitable to intermitent use and is inherently drive by wire without expensive external control mechanisms.

long term emissions durability has been demonstrated by Orbital on numerous occasions.

Downsides - Total loss lubrification (could be seen as a plus dpending on how you look at it) - goes against mainstreem trends - old style immage of two stroke.

So there you have it! Flames / comments?


PS i think that the E smart is a wonderful idea. Sure the are dabbling with low spec / volume and high price, but they are also learning a buisness in an ideal niche market. I'm sure they will have a winner. Running costs will be on par with a standard Smart when taking into account the London charges.

The seeds of change have been sown. we are seeing the first shoots tentatively pushing their way above ground.


Battery : MES-DEA / ZEBRA Nickel Sodium Chloride


The free parking in London is stupid. People who drive in that city are idiots, I know I was.
Instead of spending money on making parking spaces for rich peoples toys they should put it into public transport.


The SmartEv is a good idea, we have been working on it for a while. Batteries are the issue. Cannot put enough lead into a Smart for long range (40+ miles), and the Lithium/Nicads put the car into another price range. The SmartEv is alot of fun to drive!
There are a few solutions for US and Canada for EVs.



Lensovet - the Happy Messenger in the GCC article carried a retail price of $10K. The XS200 carries a price of $28.5K. I don't think they are the same car.


Confirmed - looking at the specs side by side, the Happy Messenger is the same as the ZX40, except for the battery. The HM was spec-ed with a NiMH battery, the ZX40 has a lead-acid battery.


Andrey, interesting; pleased that someone, other than myself, has heard of Orbital's work.
Any thoughts on my basic approach, that of a small engine set at a single optimal speed, whose only purpose is powering the battery set, which, in turn, power the car. This engine would be on, or off, depending on the battery level and the auto's current power usage.
I appreciate Lensovet's point, the loss of power converting to electricity, thus the advantages of some level of direct drive from motor to car, but wonder about the other efficiencies to be gained with my approach, including the engine efficiency operating at 'best' speed, the weight efficiencies from not requiring all the gear associated with direct drive and from a smaller engine and from ......
Any thoughts, from anyone ?
Andrey, would the 500cc single spoke of, be your engine of choice for this application ?


To add to above, the savings in mfg when a direct drive is not required..
Does the Mazda / wankel rotary style engine have anything special to offer re a power plant for the mfr of electricity only ?
Just more questions - any answers ?
Thanks all.


hamer, no. look at the motors, they are nowhere even close. look at the top speed. come on, the battery is not the only difference.
the GCC HM Motor rated power/peak power (kW) 20 / 60
the ZX40 - 4 / 8
also look at the max grade for this car, GCC >20%, ZX40 15% MAX.
the batteries aren't the only thing that's different.
as for the XS200, they say "Powered by breakthrough Chinese Lithium-Ion technology, the Miles XS200 has an anticipated speed of up to 80 miles per hour and a range of 200 miles."
compare this to the GCC HM: battery type: NiMH, max speed: 62 mph, range: 150 mi. So, essentially, the GCC HM is nonexistent, the ZX40 is a NEV, and the XS200 will be the "next generation", so to speak. there you go.

Henk Daalder

What about the TWIKE?
Weihgs 220 kg, top speed of 80km/hr and drives for about 100 km
2 persons

Has been sold as a kit in the US
Its too expensive because it is hand made

Ultra light weight is the way to go forward. Forget fossil fuel car copies.
Electric powers cars should be designed completely new.


There is no major problem in importing a Solectria into Canada . This is simply because the VIN number on the Solectria says it's a 4cylinder Geo Metro. Import regs all seem to be based on VIN numbers


$690 for SMART lease,what people wanna get rich overnite? Good Luck


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I live in Canada. I don't own a car.
I live in a relatively-isolated major city and use public transit almost exclusively, with occasional use of a fuel-powered vehicle.
I made a decision a while ago that I wasn't going to even consider owning a car until they got smaller, cheaper, produced far less pollution and had far better fuel economy.

I don't need a vehicle for daily commutes or even city driving - what all of the electric vehicles currently being built are geared for - because local public transit, while sometimes inconvenient, is more than sufficient to get me around.
What I really need a vehicle for is the occasional transport of goods/people within/just outside of the city and road trips to/from the beach in the summertime. It's about an 160 km round trip to the beach. Most of the highway is not paved. The highway speed is 100 km/h maximum (I often cruise @ 80 - 90 km/h).

Say I were able to walk into a store today and finance a brand new completely electrical/plug-in car.
From what I can tell by looking at the various details, no electrical car on the market today or in the near future would meet my transport needs or come at a cost that I could even remotely afford.

I figure this is what the technology should be aiming for and NOT short city commutes, which could be taken care of by investing in beefed-up public transit infrastructure, hybrid high-capacity busses, etc.

Colin McCubbin


Randy Holmquist at in BC, Canada sells conversion kits for, amongst others, the Geo Metro. I am currently contemplating converting a Geo Metro Convertible using one of his kits. Take a look at the site if you ever contemplate a diy Canadian ev.

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