It resembles an early '70s Citroen sedan, recast for Blade Runner-era Los Angeles. But this Japanese-built electric oddity, dubbed Ellica by its developers at Keio University, will reportedly spawn something with a bit less techie-sex appeal -- a bus. The university announced a deal last week with Isuzu Motors Ltd, the Kanagawa prefectural government, among others, to develop a full-sized electric bus for Japan based on the eight-wheeled, 230-mph research project.
Dr. Hiroshi Shimizu, the university's professor of Environment and Information Studies built the Ellica (Electric Lithium-Ion Car) over two years in the mid-2000s with a team of engineering students, stunning gearheads with supercar-like performance figures -- 0-60 in 4.1 seconds and a top speed higher than a Ferrari Enzo's. Eight, in-wheel electric motors each provide the power equivalent of 80 hp. Those eight small wheels, instead of four large ones, allow for a lower floor and center of gravity.
Japanese technology web site Tech On reports the Ellica will form the basis for a new electric-bus prototype with a flat, low-height floor. Isuzu Motors will design the body and Toshiba will contribute a lithium ion secondary battery with a capacity of 120kW, providing enough juice to shuttle passengers -- both replicants and humans, presumably -- 93 miles, or 150km, on a charge (the travel distance of a typical shuttle bus in Japan is about 75 miles per day). Tokyo Electric Power Company will create a charging infrastructure for the new e-bus.
Dr. Shimizu says the price of the bus, battery included, will be equivalent to that of a diesel bus -- assuming 500 units produced, at a running cost of a tenth that of a diesel bus.
The partners plan to complete development by late 2010, with volume production in Kanagawa Prefecture scheduled for 2011. Japan's Ministry of the Environment kicked in $5.16 million for the project.
Looks like this car beats the California based, Tesla Motor's supercar. The break through innovation here is the 8 independent motors on each wheels. Americans should quickly apply this concept to 18 independent wheel tractor-trailers. Lower the cruising height for improved drag/fuel economy, less roll-over dangers, and some amazing stability and handling(18 independently computer controlled wheels!), and thus safety. Once you get to the shipping/receiving docks, jack up the hydrolic to raise the trailer to meet the docks. Have enough battery capacity plus on-board diesel generator, kinda like the Chevy Volt, to go 700 miles on a single charge and a small tank of diesel. It does not need to go 230mph, only 65mph or so. Imagine saving 90% on the operating cost of a commercial over-the-road truck! Yes, I'm a trucker. Many truck stops already offer IdleAire, where you park and have outside heated and cooled air delivered to the cab, plus TV and internet. It would be a simple thing to offer a charging outlet as well.
We spend money for cars however, we also have to consider our current economic and environment situation. That is why car companies came up with electric cars. Just like the Chevy Volt. The Chevy Volt is the long awaited GM electric car. It's technically not a full electric, it's a plug in hybrid, as it does have a small gas motor, but the fuel efficiency is a Prius humiliating 230 mpg. It has a range of 40 miles on electric only, depending on weight and if the air conditioning is engaged, a total range of 300 miles, and you must charge it at least once a day. No word on whether Cash for Clunkers will be around for it. Still, if you don't want to need cash advances for gas, the Chevy Volt might be worth the $40,000 sticker.
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Your quick to point out the efficiency of the Volt compared to the Prius, but once you do the math, its not as great as once thought. At an estimated $40k price tag, you are so deep in the hole that you will have to own and drive the Volt for at least 15 years before you break even due to the added premium. Nobody owns a car that long anymore. Your better off just purchasing a $22k Prius or any other hybrid priced in the neighborhood.
This is nothing like I have seen from a BMW production! Wow this is something out of this world. Its hybrid too! What a phrase the "visual spirit" fantastic. I am still shaking my head, it does not look like anything from a previous BMW. More like a Porsche or Ferrari.
Its fantastic, Electric supercar, created by researchers of Keio University in Japan, will reportedly spawn an electric shuttle bus. The Ellica can get from 0-60 in 4.1 seconds and hit a top speed of 230 miles per hour. Electric Car getting affordable for the average consumer.