Ford Focus Electric – now all major manufacturers sell EV’s – comparison of the basic specs

Note these specs are the most hotly contested in the industry. The price is based on MSRP excluding tax credits and all those crazy option packages (for Tesla you can get the base model for $50k and the same car with options for $100k).

Battery power and range are based on EPA estimates (though, those vary a lot too).

 

Ford Focus Electric

  • $39,995
  • 23 kWh
  • battery range – 76 miles

 

Nissan Leaf

  • $35,200
  • 80 kWh
  • battery range – 73 miles

 

Tesla Model S

  • $49,900
  • 40 kWh
  • 160 mile battery range (+$10k for 230 mile range)

 

 

Hybrid Plug-In

These two cars are marketed as Electric Vehicles (EV) even though they have a gas engine. What separates them from other hybrids is a larger battery pack that requires a charge (plug-in) to function.

 

Chevy Volt

  • $39,145
  • 16 kWh
  • battery range – 35 miles
  • 1.4L 4-cylinder gas engine

 

Toyota Prius Plug-in

  • $32,000
  • 4.4 kWh
  • battery range – 11 miles
  • 1.8L 4-cylinder gas engine

 

Photos of each EV:

 

Continue reading Ford Focus Electric – now all major manufacturers sell EV’s – comparison of the basic specs

Internet connected cars is the 3rd fastest growing technology (after smartphones, tablets)

The real question is who will pay for internet access in our cars. Will this be another charge on our cell phone or cable bill, like getting 3G on an iPad is?

 

“Intel claims that the connected car is the third-fastest growing technological device, following smartphones and tablets. For a car maker that offers huge potential.”

Audi has developed a built-in 3G wireless in its A7 and will extend it to other new models.

“The connected car concept is well and truly here,” added John Leech.

In-vehicle internet access is close to becoming reality, according to the world’s top car bosses.

The survey by KPMG looking at future trends shows speech recognition and internet connection with wi-fi and 3G will become the norm.

More than a third (37%) of the 200 car executives believe “infotainment” in cars is nearly as important as car safety.

 

Source: BBC – In-car internet ‘to become norm’ in survey about future

 

 

Continue reading Internet connected cars is the 3rd fastest growing technology (after smartphones, tablets)

Dr. Seuss – before his children’s books, he drew great ads

Before we knew him as Dr. Seuss, he was Theodore Seuss Geisel, adman. As early as 1927 he was illustrating ads for Ford, GE and NBC campaigns. His illustrative style was the same, even then.

– Via JESS3

Continue reading Dr. Seuss – before his children’s books, he drew great ads

Sneak peek – awesome size of Super Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford

 

This is something you can’t usually see: the bow of an American nuclear aircraft supercarrier, the new Gerald R. Ford—the lead ship of a new class that will start replacing the Nimitz-class in 2015.

It was just put in place at Huntington Ingalls’s Newport News shipyard, at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, along the James River, Virginia.

American aircraft supercarriers are some of the biggest structures built by humankind. I remember the first time I saw one in person and it blew my mind.

via Gizmodo

 

 

Comprising six steel sections, the lower bow is more than 60 feet tall and is one of the heaviest superlifts to be placed on the ship. Construction of the lower bow superlift, the last major section of the ship below the waterline, began last year.

Gerald R. Ford represents the next-generation class of aircraft carriers. The first-in-class ship features a new nuclear power plant, a redesigned island, electromagnetic catapults, improved weapons movement, an enhanced flight deck capable of increased aircraft sortie rates, and growth margin for future technologies and reduced manning. The keel for Ford was laid in November 2009.  The ship is on track to meet its scheduled launch in 2013 and delivery to the U.S. Navy in 2015.

via Huntington Ingalls Industries

Continue reading Sneak peek – awesome size of Super Aircraft Carrier – Gerald R. Ford

Soon cars will be ultra-light-weight and made out of carbon-fibre composites

The race is on to replace steel cars with carbon-fibre cars. All of the major automakers have inked deals to make the switch. The reason being that carbon-fibre is:

Interior view of a production line for carbon fiber heavy tow.

“10 times stronger than regular-grade steel and one-quarter of steel’s weight.”

“Using carbon fiber in lieu of conventional steel can lower the weight of a vehicle component by up to 50 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Cutting a car’s weight by 10 percent can improve fuel economy by as much as 8 percent.”

via Reuters

Weight is a big deal in cars. The heavier the car, the bigger the engine and, typically, the lower the fuel economy. This is especially true for electric cars who face limited mileage on one charge, reduce that weight by 10% and you can go an extra 50 miles.

Currently, carbon-fibre is expensive to make and only really used in racing cars. BMW, the first company to invest heavily in carbon, has already found ways to cut production costs.

“The carbon fiber fabric is placed in a mold, and resin is injected under high pressure and temperature. The process, which once took 20 minutes per part, now requires less than 10 minutes. Robots cut and handle the material and components, which previously were made by hand.

The robots will help BMW achieved big savings. A pound of carbon fiber now costs only a third as much as a pound used in the M3 CSL coupe’s roof when the limited-edition car was introduced in the 2004 model year.”

via c|net

50K carbon fibers can be shaped and cured to produce spars for wind energy blades, golf shafts, compressed natural gas tanks, and pultruded beams.

 

Much of this production will happen in Germany or China, with both Volkswagon and BMW working with Germany’s SGL Carbon and General Motors signing with Teijin Ltd. But, just last month, Dow Chemicals signed a deal with Ford to begin research and production.

It’s exciting to think what this technology can do, not only for cars, but trucks, planes, boats, etc.

Energy researcher Amory Lovins, in this TED talk, thinks that when we fully start using carbon-fibre vehicles fuel economy in cars will shoot up to 200 miles/gallon. He says that halving the weight of the car creates compound effects: lighter car, requires a lighter engine, which makes the car even lighter.

 

Carbon aircraft brake disc.

 

// Photos – SGL Carbon