California Startup Aurica Motors Trying to Keep NUMMI Plant Open for Manufacturing Electric Cars, Battery Swap System
Startup electric car company Aurica Motors announced a plan to keep the NUMMI plant, which employs 4,700 people, from shutting down when Toyota leaves on 31 March. Under the proposed plan, the NUMMI plant in Fremont, California would be converted into the manufacturing facility for the Aurica Motors E-Car, an all-electric vehicle, as well as Aurica’s proposed PEP (Power Exchange Package) battery swap system.
Starting in April 2010, the NUMMI workforce would be retrained in electric car manufacturing while the plant is retooled and the final engineering of the vehicle is completed, with the first car scheduled to come off the line within 2 years. Planned production would be 5,000 cars in the first year of production, moving up to 50,000+ within three years.
Aurica is trying to obtain Federal economic stimulus funding to convert NUMMI to electric car manufacturing, but is also open to private financing.
The Aurica E-Car features four electric motors (one for each wheel), controlled by its proprietary drive electronics. The batteries can be recharged either by plugging into the grid, or exchanged in 3 minutes for a battery charged with renewable energy at an Aurica Power Exchange Package (PEP) swapping station. The PEP station concept is not compatible with the Better Place system.
Aurica envisions a battery swap in 3 minutes or less. Recharged batteries may be charged from the grid, at first, but as more Auricas are made and more solar and wind energy sources are constructed, the quick swap batteries will be completely recharged with renewable power, according to the company’s plan.