As California returns to requiring automakers to sell zero-emissions vehicles, BMW is apparently aiming to get in first on the gold rush. Automotive News reports BMW will export an electric version of its Mini to California. The state's zero-emissions vehicle program will require nearly 60,000 plug-in cars to be sold in the state between 2012 and 2014.
The electric Minis will arrive in California from the Mini plant in Oxford, England, by way of Munich, Germany, where BMW will give the cars electric powertrains. Automotive News Europe reports 490 of the e-Minis—identified by a silver and yellow paint scheme—will be offered through a lease program to selected customers in California and 10 will be used as show cars. The program is part of a BMW initiative dubbed Project i, set up to develop low-emission city cars. A BMW spokesman said BMW will make an announcement later in the year.
[via Automotive News (sub req.)]
I guess no one else noticed or commented on the fact that the e-Mini will ONLY be part of a LEASE program? Why is there such a resistance to actually SELLING these cars and making it a viable alternative to OIL based vehicles?
I guess people need to watch:
This is not the FIRST TIME they have brought LEASED ELECTRIC CARS to California but we will see if they go ahead and destroy these Mini's before their time. People should force BMW to SELL these cars versus just leasing them out only to snatch them back once oil prices drop.
This (sadly) is NOT a zero emissions vehicle, but rather an "elsewhere emmissions" vehicle as the power from the grid utilized to charge it is generated at a power plant (which of course, generates emissions). Yet another example of failed liberal political rhetoric and initiatives.
When the car companies start producing these electric cars, wont that just change the demand from gas to electricity? Therefore our electric bill would go up? Would we be saving that much in the long run? Will car manufactures produce electric cars with a costly price tag?
So this would be the second time they've had electric Minis in California.
Anyone seen the Italian Job?
Yes, electric cars are powered from "elsewhere" but that power plant is much more efficient at generating energy than the one under the hood of a gas powered car. Generally internal combustion engines are ~35% efficient at taking the energy out of the gas where an oil, gas or coal power plant can be ~80% efficient. The other thing that comes into play is that there are renewable energy power plants that indeed are zero emissions.
So you are correct, it is not zero emissions but it is much closer than what we have available today, and given the right power plants it does have the capability to be zero emissions.
I agree with Jammer.
Actually, 35% efficiency is a pretty conservative estimate. That would be more accurate for a diesel. Gasoline engines are typically ~25%.
People need to get it through their little heads that electric cars are the only way we are going to get away from oil. Hybrids are a band-aid. Full electric cars need to be the future.
The drawbacks of electric cars are so small:
Power grid stress: our power grid is old and seriously in need of modernizing/upgrading. The goverment could easily back this as a one time project. Why don't we quit sending 0.1% of our tax dollars to NASA for a few years! What are they doing for us besides finding water on Mars, wooptie doo.
Range limitation: why not have battery exchange stations instead of gas stations? If the batteries were standardized between all cars this would work. Maybe trucks could take 2 battery "packs" so we can still have the selfish punks on the roads. Semi trucks could take like 18:) Maybe they could just stay diesel as with off-road construction vehicles, commercial, ect.
Cars NEED to start getting smaller. Cars are getting heavier and heavier with more hp almost every year. It's an amazing feat that engineers have managed to keep fuel economy on the rise as well. Just think if they didn't have to pull around an additional average 500-1000 lbs. What's with the recent "retro" cars that are shaped like bricks? Cars need to be aerodynamic.
BMW is actually helping consumers by leasing, rather than selling, the first batch of electric Minis. By leasing, BMW will assume all of the risks involved.
The people who lease these cars, will essentially be beta-testers.
Even if the electric Minis came with a comprehensive warrenty -- that would still not protect the consumer as much as leasing. It is likely that the costs of production -- especially the costs of batteries -- will come down. Also, it is highly likely that the endruance of battery packs will improve. In fact, the entire premise that electric cars can replace ICE vehicles depends on improvements in battery technology. Early adaptors would feel like the first iPhone buyers, when the price of newer models dropped -- thus reducing their older cars' trad-in values.
Leasing protects the consumers -- and it would also protect BMW from the inevitable lawsuits, and bad publicity that would ensue from all of the problems that come with any new technology.
BTW, the premise of "Who Killed the Electric Car" was a joke. It was a crockumentary, pure and simple. GM's EV1 was a very sophisticated automobile -- that had to rely on battery technology that was totally inadequate for the task. The Tesla, which uses the most modern battery technology available, costs over $100 grand & we still don't know how well it'll perform in real-world conditions. GM, and others, are pouring money into crash programs to develop batteries suitable for electric cars. The Volt will be a plug-in hybrid -- it'll still have a back-up ICE to recharge the batteries -- and there is no existing battery pack on the market that can meet this far less challenging task.
re: Jammer & Dynome responses, I guess I would need to see a credible source cited (rather than accept your word) to find credence in the claim that power plant emmissions are less than that of super efficient ice's. I personally practice what I preach, having successfully powered my personal residence completely offgrid for the last 14 years. I have one of the largest solar/wind stand-alone residential systems in the country, and I am pretty sure my LP powered backup genny is cleaner than the coal gasification plants I grew up near in my home State of N Dakota. If you are using renewables as a benchmark, are we considering hydro as such? If that is the case, the argument holds no water (so to speak), as the environmental damage caused by damning rivers and their tributaries is fairly staggering. Again though, you dont have to sell me on renewables, as I actually DO IT in real life.....
The numbers I used above for energy efficiency were what I remembered from my energy conversion class from school. But from looking at the wikipedia entry for ICE's they have a good section on their energy efficiencies. From there it looks like they are around 20% with a thermodynamic limit of 37%. From a quick web search it looks like I was off on the power plant efficiencies as well. It looks like they vary between Fuel Oil at about 40% to CCGT(gas) at about 60%.
Its also a good idea to separate energy efficiency from pollution when thinking about this stuff. High efficiency does not mean less pollution, it just means it uses more of the power available. So your LP genny may pollute much less than a coal plant but that is unrelated to its efficiency.
I think its great you are using renewables exclusivly, and I agree about hydro (although each type of power generation is a trade of in some way, none are perfect).
tundrasea is absolutely correct.
The last electric car, GM EV-1, died because the battery technology was insufficient. It would have cost 80k dollars to replace them after 10 years. If it hadn't been leased, the owners would have definitely complained at the 10 year mark when they had to pay $80k to continue to use their cars.
1. GM doesn't make batteries. They had to buy the batteries from another company.
2. Normally when a car company has a car to sell, they aren't in dept by 80k per car before it is sold.
3. When you try to sell a car with a 80k price tag every 10 years that will save at most $73k in 10 years (if you drive 100 miles a day for 10 years [at 22mpg with $4.3 per gallon of gas], and the electricity costs $0) You had better be Ferrari or something like that, or you will go out of business.
There you have it, batteries failed the electric car before. I for one am waiting to see how batteries have progressed in the past 10 years. There is no reason why this has to fail so miserably as did the last electric car run.
Most electricity in California is hydro-generated. These cars will be near zero-emissions.
Large scale hydro is SO damaging to the ecosystem of rivers and their tributaries, it is almost obscene. Another factor not discussed is; where will the copper come to produce the windings for a nationwide (and beyond) conversion to electric cars? While I am somewhat skeptical of it as a source, here is what Wikipedia has to say:
"The Earth has an estimated 61 years of copper reserves remaining. Environmental analyst, Lester Brown, however, has suggested copper might run out within 25 years based on a reasonable extrapolation of 2% growth per year."
Converting 200 million automobiles to electric motors will certainly outpace those types of reserves I would imagine....
Once again the cars are only being leased, and once again the automakers will be bribed by the oil companies to sue california and all the cars will be taken back and recked.
They will keep killing, or restricting the electric car, at least until there is no more oil left!
The tesla company is using thousands of Lithium lap top batteries instead of just one designed large enough to fit the application.
The question is, who is placing the restriction on Lithium battery size preventing electric cars from having a decent range?