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Blade Electric Vehicles Conversion of the Hyundai Getz Picks Up Momentum

Australia-based Blade Electric Vehicles (BEV), a small start-up that converts the Hyundai Getz into a lithium-ion powered electric vehicle with a range of 120 km (75 miles), recently won a contract to supply 200 of the converted Getz (called the Electron) vehicles to New Zealand. BEV expects to have 18 of its Electrons on the road in Australia by the end of the year. (Blade Electric Vehicles was founded by Ross Blade, and has no relationship with the Blade bolt-on tailpipe filter marketed by Sabertec as an aftermarket system to improve fuel economy.)

BEV is targeting the four-seat Electron at government and corporate fleets that travel short commuter distances. The City of Melbourne, one of the original purchasers of an Electron, found that its fuel cost was A$1.00/100km—or A$0.01/km (approximately $US0.01 per mile at current exchange rates), according to Blade.

Ross Blade at the Going Green Expo in Australia earlier this year.

The BEV Electron uses a 16 kWh lithium-ion phosphate battery pack and a 40 kW electric motor drive system. Acceleration from 0-60 kph (0-37 mph) takes 7 seconds; the Electron has a top speed of 120 kph (75 mph).

Recharging the battery pack takes 9 hours at 240 V 10A; 7 hours at 240V 15A; and 1 hour with 3 phase 32A. BEV says that the battery pack is designed for an 8-year life (depending upon depth of discharge).

The cost of a conversion is A$29,000 (US$19,200); the cost of the full package (car plus conversion) is A$39,000 (US$29,770).

BEV also offers lithium-ion batteries and drive system components from Azure Dynamics for do-it-yourself (DIY) EV enthusiasts.

(A hat-tip to David!)

Comments

Eddie

I wonder how much more they could shave off the price if they obtained gliders minus the ICE components?

ToppaTom

$29,770 for a converted "1.5L" supermini is not too bad; assuming support helps brings us closer to the day that BEVs, PHEVs etc. are more competative.

zard

hahaha this is funny Chevy volt with 16kwh lithium ion battery is about 40k yet this small firm managed to get it down below 30k...amazing work...

zard

I wonder what they would do with the ICE they pulled out from the car...do they sell it back? that's how they managed to bring the cost down?

John Taylor

Anyone who tries to pretend that the BEV is not yet able to be built is blowing smoke (usually oil smoke).

Blade Electric Vehicles Getz it built.

Ben

Nice! GM is doomed even their last hope, the volt is expected to cost much more then this! I think it high time we ended the old American auto companies are started a new with these new ones like tesla.

critta

Blade Electric Vehicles is based in the small town of Castlemaine in regional Victoria. They have a great opportunity to pick up contracts for government vehicles as departments look to reduce fleet emissions. A lot of government business trips are only short distances so it suits the vehicl'es moderate range.

Paul

I don't mean to burst any bubbles here but a reality check might help. 0-37 MPH in 7 seconds FLAT OUT would hardly keep up with regular traffic, it's massively under-powered and under-batteried as the range is not as advertised.

All that for AUD$40k in a car that normally sells for AUD$15 new and it's not hard to tell why he's only sold 4 in the last year and is looking to leverage governments into buying them on the basis of supporting local industry.

10 points for having a go but -5 for starting with a dull shopping trolley and giving it only 40kw PEAK.

yesplease

Paul, it has 80+% of the power of a standard 1.1L Getz and probably makes twice as much torque, so I imagine acceleration is comparable to the 1.1L model, yet I don't see you complaining about that as well. What gives?

As for range, as usual it depends on driving conditions/driver. At 75mph (~250Wh/mile) it's closer to 60+miles and during a sedate city drive (~150Wh/mile) it's probably 100+miles, so 75miles is probably a decent weighted average.

Anyway, if you don't like it, there's no need to post misleading info, just do what nearly everyone else who doesn't like it does and don't buy the darn thing. ;)

ai_vin

GM Volt vs Blade EV
The Volt
Wheelbase 105.7 in (2,680 mm)
Length 177 in (4,500 mm)
Width 70.8 in (1,800 mm)
Height 56.3 in (1,430 mm)

The Blade
Wheelbase 96.5 in (2,451 mm)
Length 150.5 in (3,823 mm)
Width 65.5 in (1,664 mm)
Height 58.8 in (1,494 mm)

A smaller car can go farther on the same amount of energy. The Volt is simply too American.

T2

They did well with what they have to work with.
Many different disciplines have to be mastered to produce a successful electric vehicle. In particular you can't usually cobble one together with conventional parts and expect the best performance.

But is this the best we can expect from 40kw peak in a small vehicle like this ? The Azure components seemingly present the constructor with the opportunity to couple the traction motor to the wheels in the most efficient manner and at a minimum cost. The AT1200 gearbox provides both a lightweight differential and convenient fixed ratio 10 : 1 reducer in an 18kg package. On the face of it this is a considerably more efficient setup than the usual approach which is to fit a custom adapter plate on to the clutch coupling of the original multi-ratio gearbox.

It's not the best we can do because the electronic drive falls short in extracting all the power of which the traction motor is capable. As in all electric vehicles, and the Tesla is no exception, conventional electronic drives have shortcomings in attempting to cover the 11000 to 4000 rpm constant power region. Examine the motor torque / RPM characteristics of the AC24 motor for Delta connected windings run from a 156 Vdc power supply on Pg3 of the relevant Azure pdf.

You will note that although the torque reaches 71Nm at the base speed of 4000rpm it decays rapidly from then on. In fact if you examine closely you will see that it drops a lot faster than you'd expect for a system that is supposed to be resident in a constant power regime all the way to 11000rpm (75mph). Torque is down to 52Nm @ 5000rpm and only 22Nm @ 7000rpm. For even higher speeds they don't even to bother measure torque nor offer an explanation. That should tell you why 7secs to 37mph is the best they can do and why they don't include the time to 60mph. That figure will be miserable also.

This is a limitation of the electronic controller, it not being able to provide anywhere near constant volts per Hz as the motor accelerates to top speed. The Good news, as Toyota so capably demonstrated with the Gen II Prius, is that this situation can be corrected by the inclusion of an upconverter. Some posters may suggest upping the current capability and changing the motor winding to provide less back emf. Sure that would work but in the long run you are better off to avoid having to use 850 amp transistors altogether and just raise the electronic controller's bus voltage instead to 600Vdc artificially by means of an upconverter, for those very short periods of generally less than 15 seconds whenever needed.
T2

Andrew

Eh ... thanks T2 for the technical clarification.

So I assume with a bit of development and technology advancement they should be able to tweak up the power with just a small incremental cost.

Blade - Listen to the customer. Score B- with opportunity for improvement.

ai_vin

GM has just announced it's putting construction of a plant, that would have made the Volt's range extender engine, on hold.

This engine, needed only to back-up the power supply to this ELECTRIC car, would have been 1.4L.

The Blade OTOH is made from the Hyundai Getz - which uses engines this size or smaller as primary power -but replaces it with an electric drive.

This is why the Volt gets poor range: it is so big and heavy even its secondary power source could be used as a primary in the other car.

Alan Gray

Hi everyone. Just read the above comments, all of which I find fascinating because I bought the first of the production versions of this car in Feb 08. There are now about 20 running around in Australia with more being ordered regularly and Hyundai NZ wanting to import 200 in 2009. My family's now done over 4800 miles without a hitch and we seriously love this car. I don't understand the technical aspect of EVs but I understand it when I can do 0-37 mph in 7.5 seconds while the petrol version of this car does it in 6 seconds. It is a zippy little car and in urban traffic (including freeways) has more acceleration than any commuter could want. The fastest I've driven it is 71 mph (then I got nervous and slowed down). The range is about 80 miles between recharges, and we recharge our car via the 7.3 kw pv solar array on our home roof. I have to fight my wife to get a drive - she loves it. We average about 40 miles a day in our town of Broome in Western Australia, and three kids fit comfortably in the back with two adults in the front. It's magic, it's here and now and it sure seems strange to me that no one's importing them to the US. I think they're selling ex-lease 2007 models now for about AUS$39,500, which is about US$27,000. Blade website is at www.bev.com.au if anyone's interested in more info.

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