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Captain Hybrid

EV Makers Await More Battery Innovation

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tekochip
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In The Chemistry
tekochip   9/25/2014 2:18:17 PM
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It's interesting that what's holding back an electric vehicle is not electrical innovation but chemical innovation.  The electronics are there to make it happen, there just isn't a suitable chemistry for the battery.

Greg M. Jung
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Re: In The Chemistry
Greg M. Jung   9/25/2014 2:21:57 PM
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@tekochip, Good point. Too bad Moore's law doesn't apply in this area of battery chemistry.

tekochip
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Re: In The Chemistry
tekochip   9/25/2014 2:26:46 PM
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Very true, people keep trying to use Moore's Law in all kinds of industries, but he was really talking about semiconductors.

naperlou
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Re: In The Chemistry
naperlou   9/25/2014 3:14:46 PM
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tekochip, very good, and important point.  Moore's law is very specific, and not many other industries even come close.  Semiconductors are so central to our lives these days that people just expect everything to be like that.

Charles Murray
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Re: In The Chemistry
Charles Murray   9/25/2014 3:46:05 PM
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Absolutely true, naperlou. I always go back to Bill Gates' comment about how battery technology does not operate on the Moore's Law model. "Weve all been spoiled and deeply confused by the IT model," Gates said at a conference in 2010. "Exponential improvement -- that is rare."

http://www.cnet.com/news/gates-weve-been-spoiled-by-moores-law/

 

 

Jerry dycus
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Re: In The Chemistry
Jerry dycus   9/26/2014 9:03:33 AM
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What is holding back EV's is the lack of car companies to make good ones. Like Edward said, you can't just make an electric version of a gas car.

And while EV's make a small part, they are increasing at a faster rate than hybrids did.

Fact is only 2 companies so far have made EV's in any numbers and they are selling great.  If most car companies will only build a few as they are forced to, is it a surprize few get sold?

If built as an EV like the , Toyota 1/x, GM Ultralite at 40%  of the weight, cost for the same space, mission and using medium tech composites the EV's would have far longer range or far lower costs, 50% less than now.   Then EV's would sell as reasonably priced, not overweight, overteched and overpricxed as now.

For instance the Leaf battery pack in the Ultralite or 1/x would give them about a 240 mile range vs only 80 miles in the Leaf at a lower cost than the Leaf.

Now with OEM battery pack prices at $200/kw with decent design no reason EV's should cost less, not more than gas cars of the same space.

Just 60-100 miles of battery and a tiny gas generator for unlimited range in 1200lbs is the future selling under $15k, but when will car companies make them?

It's hard for a tech to advance if those building cars, trucks don't. A few ads might help too and salepeople who will sell them. Most EV buyers have to go to mulitple dealers before they find a compentent one to buy from.

Most salepeople tell customers you don't want an EV and steer them to gas cars. Again not a way to increase sales.

 

Subnormal
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Re: In The Chemistry
Subnormal   9/26/2014 9:47:11 AM
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The problem is always going to be charging time.  Unless we use a fuel cell technology, there is a physical limit on how quickly you can transfer energy.  Even with the Tesla S you are almost at the limit of what an average home has for available electrical power.

Subnormal
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Re: In The Chemistry
Subnormal   9/26/2014 9:51:21 AM
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We already have hybrids, the Volt and of course the Toyota line of hybrids.  Pretty much every auto maker has one or two options.

At the end of the day the vehicle still has to perform the basic function of getting you and your family from point A to point B.

So far there has been too many trade offs on this basic function.  Until this trade off is less it is going to be a niche vehicle.

Even the small car market is slowing down a little bit due to these basic needs.  People are finding out that they are too small for a primary car.  Auto insurance costs have increased at a rate that having a extra vehicle is not practical.

Al Klu
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Re: In The Chemistry
Al Klu   9/29/2014 12:18:47 PM
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Sub, I think you hit the nail on the head with your comment that most people think your vehicle must carry you, your, family, your golf clubs, the cat and dog, a trip to Costco, etc, etc. 

For a car that costs $30-40K (the Volt), $20-30K (the Prius or Leaf), most people cannot afford a specialized vehicle that only works really as a short range commuter vehcile, so whatever car they purchase must do all those things listed above.

However, put out a sub-$10K electric car (even a 3-wheel enclosed autotrike), then you will have the opportunity to own an ADDITIONAL vehicle that will take you back and forth to work.  The money saved on gas alone will pay for that vehicle.

People drive motorcycles (many also in the $10K range) on nice days, or for very specific occasions.  I would think that there is a large market for people who would drive an inexpensive enclosed vehicle year round (or almost year round) for a fraction of the cost of a "regular" vehicle.

 

Nancy Golden
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Safety
Nancy Golden   9/25/2014 5:21:12 PM
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The bottom line, however, is that electric powertrains need to do more than offer an environmentally friendly alternative in order to succeed, Edwards said. "Customers won't pay just for electrification," he told us. "They want innovation, but they also want styling and performance."


I would also add safety - I am just not convinced that these vehicles are safe - not only because of the volatile nature of the batteries in the case of an accident, but the size footprint that is being marketed by companies like smart car - it just doesn't seem very safe or smart to me.

Charles Murray
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Re: Safety
Charles Murray   9/25/2014 6:16:15 PM
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I completely understand your issues with the small size of the Smart ForTwo Electric Drive and a few other little ones, Nancy. The GM Spark is also small. That said, I don't think there's a safety problem with the bigger ones, like the Tesla Model S. In fact, the low center of gravity is seen as a plus by many experts.

http://www.designnews.com/author.asp?doc_id=267317

Nancy Golden
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Re: Safety
Nancy Golden   9/25/2014 7:35:58 PM
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I would agree that the low center of gravity would be beneficial but I am also still struggling with the volatility of lithium ion batteries. We can talk about how gasoline is more volatile and that gasoline engines are fairly safe today but it took time for the engineering to reach that point (Ford Pinto case in point). We are just not there yet with EVs.

AnandY
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Re: Safety
AnandY   9/26/2014 12:26:34 AM
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Maybe if there was enough funding for R&D then engineers could have had that bottleneck removed from their time schedules and could have functioned more effortlessly. If enough engineering time goes into this matter then you can expect safety issues will be addressed really quick.

Pubudu
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Re: Safety
Pubudu   9/29/2014 1:40:15 PM
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"Maybe if there was enough funding for R&D then engineers could have had "
AnandY hear I will not agree with you cause that all the main car manufactures can afford this without any barriers.

a.saji
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Re: Safety
a.saji   9/29/2014 11:18:49 PM
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@Pubudu: Yes, as long as they have all the resources they can go ahead. It's the type of the car that matters mostly. 

a2
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Re: Safety
a2   9/30/2014 5:05:01 AM
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@a.saji: Yes I too feel they can proceed because they have the fire + power to back them. 

fdos
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Iron
Re: Safety
fdos   9/30/2014 7:17:08 AM
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@a.saji: You think it's a cake walk for them ? I think it will not be easy at all because resources will not do the job. 

fdos
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Iron
Re: Safety
fdos   9/30/2014 7:20:07 AM
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@pubudu: Yes people are funding for R&D because they know the value of it but still its not enough since the investments required for such work is huge. 

patb2009
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Gold
Re: Safety
patb2009   9/26/2014 11:37:36 AM
Nancy

 

FWIW,  according to wikipedia, the energy density of gasoline is 44 MJ/KG. The listeddensity for lithium Batteries are about 1 MJ/KG.  It's the principal reason so manypeople have scoffed at electric cars.  Now that said, a 12 V DC lead acid battery can havea hydrogen explosion if improperly recharged with lethal effect. It's why you must be careful when jump starting a car.

Now we have hundreds of thousands of EVs out there, and to date the fire safety of the battery packs have proven to be below the rate for gasoline cars. Wikipedia says "As of February 2014, four fires after an impact have been reported associated with the batteries of plug-in electric cars."

As the packs get bigger and the driving database gets larger we will learn more but the future of this technology remains bright.

 

 

Nancy Golden
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Re: Safety
Nancy Golden   9/26/2014 11:43:50 AM
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patb2009 -

Thanks for the information but logistically there are just too many obstacles to overcome, at least where we are technologically and economically today. Battery chemistries, safety issues, size, limited accessibility for charging, limited range - I just don't see it any time soon. It will always have a fringe attraction but I don't see it hitting the mainstream - just my opinion.

 

Jerry dycus
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Re: Safety
Jerry dycus   9/26/2014 1:12:18 PM
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So Nancy what are cars going to run on in the future?   Are you going to pay 5-10-20x's as much to fuel your car from oil?  Is that smart?

Do you like paying 20% higher taxes to support corporate welfare for big oil, coal in pollution, miltary, etc subsidies costs? Not to mention paying all sides of the oil wars?

Do you know in just 20 yrs oil will be too expensive to burn because the 5B newly educated people want their share?

What expertise do you have other than vague unfounded fears of the unknown because you won't even look at it?

It amazes me how little critical  thinking, knowledge of many are on this list of I thought designers and engineers.  Let's step up your game people.

 

Nancy Golden
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Re: Safety
Nancy Golden   9/26/2014 1:24:39 PM
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@ Jerry: And it amazes me how undiplomatic fellow engineers can be. Notice I said today's market and technology levels - I did not say never...you have valid comments, Jerry, but please temper them with respect. Thank you.

Jerry dycus
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Re: Safety
Jerry dycus   9/26/2014 3:38:19 PM
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The tech is here now, you just don't bother to learn about it,  then state it isn't, like it's a fact.  

How about asking if you don't know for a fact in detail?  Again it's not just you.

 

patb2009
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Re: Safety
patb2009   9/27/2014 1:31:44 AM
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Nancy

 

Engineers have data, everyone else has opinions.

 

 

Nancy Golden
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Re: Safety
Nancy Golden   9/27/2014 9:24:45 PM
@patb2009


If you are referring to your "data" from Wikipedia in your previous post - Wikipedia is not considered a credible source by any academic standard - it is merely a good starting point for students to get a feel for what information may be available on a given subject. Also, I stated it was "my opinion" so that I would give room for others to respectfully state theirs, rather than insisting my view was the only view.

I am no longer going to reply to these comments on this thread which are unproductive attacks rather than the respectful sharing of ideas and different perspectives that our typically the hallmark of our forum members.

patb2009
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Gold
Re: Safety
patb2009   9/28/2014 3:48:51 AM
Nancy

 

" Battery chemistries, safety issues, size, limited accessibility for charging, limited range - I just don't see it any time soon."

 

How do you propose we get there without starting with less then Perfect products and

learning how to improve them and where they need work and where they are good?

 

If we followed your idea, in 1920,  Americans would be using Tried and true Railroads and Horse Drawn Wagons...  "Mr Ford, your horseless carriage has safety issues, range issues,

limited Refueling-- I just Don't see it Anytime soon compared to

our well proven horse drawn carriages and rail-road lines.  -- Hepsubah Golden"

 

as for Wikipedia,  The data in the articles I referenced are extremely well sourced.

If you wish to argue about the Energy Density of Gasoline,  I can't help you.

Attacking a wikipedia article especially on basic physical references is just kind of sad, really.

I suppose I can pull out a Chemical Rubber Handbook  if it makes you feel better,

but, my point is still going to be on target.  For 40 years, conservatives have whinged about how Battery was 100X too low on energy density to possibly be of any use in vehicle transport, now, suddenly the claim is a battery is too dangerous.

 

Tesla has been learning how to thermally condition batteries to be long lived and how hard to armor a floor mounted battery.  

 

I'm a huge fan of EVs but I recognize the tech is still maturing.  Anyone in now is an early adopter.

 

 

NadineJ
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Platinum
Re: Safety
NadineJ   9/29/2014 9:44:24 PM
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@Nancy - you're calling out a truth.  Almost any article about EVs evokes heated comments and personal attacks that hinder dialogue.  It will get better.

Maybe as the technology advances, the conversation will be more civil.

a.saji
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Silver
Re: Safety
a.saji   9/29/2014 10:40:39 PM
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@Nadine: Ohh this seems like a technology war ... Anyway things will change and surely will match all our requirements. 

patb2009
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Gold
Re: Safety
patb2009   9/30/2014 3:38:08 AM
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I didn't say anything personal, I merely pointed out the data doesn't support

Nancy's contention.  The Energy density of Gasoline is significatnly above that

of a lithium battery. We accept the hazards there and we deal with the engineering

challenges.

 

If you google for Car Fire, you see lots of incidents.  

As a society and as a driver, Nancy accepts the chance of Nancy burning to death

in a gasoline car fire.  In order to claim EVs are "Too This"  Nancy must have data

to support her claim.

 

That she doesn't have.

 

 

a2
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Gold
Re: Safety
a2   9/30/2014 5:03:21 AM
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@patb: Well you do have some valuable inputs mate and so as Nancy. Different opinions are needed here so from that only new ideas will generate

fdos
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Iron
Re: Safety
fdos   9/25/2014 10:53:03 PM
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@Charles: I also don't know why but its been happening very regularly these days. Many take it as a primary object

fdos
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Iron
Re: Safety
fdos   9/26/2014 1:56:07 AM
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@fdos: What areas do you think its been happening mostly ? If so by looking and identifying them we can address them accordingly. 

patb2009
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Here's the rub
patb2009   9/25/2014 7:07:00 PM
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"Part of the reason for the lukewarm interest in most electric cars, he said, is that the big OEMs are converting their gasoline-burning cars to electric vehicles. "If the OEMs continue to build electric versions of their other vehicles, they won't have much success," he said."

 

If you look at something like the Ford Fusion Electric, it kind of sucks the battery pack

eats up a lot of trunk volume and also puts the CG kind of aft and the vehicle is tail heavy.

They waddle, because of that heavy mass out there.

 

The Tesla Model S was designed from the start as an EV, much like the Chevy Volt,

so they have tried to optimize the strengths of the EV technology.  

It's going to be interesting as more EVs come into the market such as 

the BMW i3, Accord Plug in and Mercedes B Class,  and if they help grow acceptance.

 

fdos
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Iron
Re: Here's the rub
fdos   9/25/2014 11:04:09 PM
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@patb: Well there is the new Benz which has the capability for these kind of technology too. I think all the luxury model cars will have the benefit of having it

AnandY
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Gold
Re: Here's the rub
AnandY   9/26/2014 12:32:08 AM
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We can have innovation at the expense of money. A better density battery will ensure many of the sensor network works which is necessary because the car manufacturing chain is leading towards automation and automation needs sensor networks. 

Pubudu
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Platinum
Re: Here's the rub
Pubudu   9/29/2014 1:16:32 PM
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Yes its true patb2009   but eating the boot volume will be a common problem for the EVs. In Mercedes new S400 Hybrid battery is taking the space from the boot as well as it took total space of the spare wheel.

Daniyal_Ali
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Platinum
Renewable Energy Sector is waiting too.
Daniyal_Ali   9/26/2014 3:35:20 AM
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It's not only in EVs. The battery innovation is desperately needed in other sectors that involve battery storage as well. The most important area is renewable energy sector, where a lot is dependent on the price and quality of the batteries being used specially in the Stand-alone and Hybrid systems, where the batteries are a must. Fingers crossed.

Nancy Golden
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Platinum
Re: Renewable Energy Sector is waiting too.
Nancy Golden   9/26/2014 10:01:19 AM
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I think you make a very valid observation, Daniyal_Ali. I had the same thought regarding renewable energy. It, like the EVs, were originally expected to have a greater impact but the reality is that trying to improve efficiencies and battery chemistries have made them both a much longer road than expected. RE has such great potential and makes so much sense but is proving difficult to implement on a massive scale. Hopefully we will get there eventually.

DavidBell
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Iron
EV and Hybred Advantages
DavidBell   9/26/2014 4:23:47 PM
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Ferdinand Porsche, in the early 1900's, pointed out a major advantage of EV's and Hybrids: you can provide truely independent four wheel drtive. And in these days with electronic braking and traction control, this can be leveraged into some amazing handling and safety.

Additionally, hybrids and EVs overall design is far less impacted by thge transfer of power to the wheels. In an EV, this is just a wire. Compare that to a four wheel drive car. Tunnels to get the power fore and aft. Shafts and differentials. And then there is the division of power. How do you mechanically/electronically split the power to each wheel independently?

\This is why you cannot just adapt an IC vehicle to electricity. You need a total approach to the vehicle.

 

 

CharlesM
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Silver
ICE makers don't want to play
CharlesM   9/29/2014 12:42:21 PM
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Part of the reason for the lukewarm interest in most electric cars, he said, is that the big OEMs are converting their gasoline-burning cars to electric vehicles. "If the OEMs continue to build electric versions of their other vehicles, they won't have much success," he said.

What electric versions of OEMs' other vehicles is this person referring to? Ford Focus and Energi or the Prius plug-in?  That's not much. The Smart and Spark EVs are also not serious entries. There hasn't really been anything serious since the Volt, which is starting its 5th MY without redesign (yet).  I would thus offer that a bigger problem is that the manufacturers just aren't interested in building EVs. Maybe too much R&D to gamble if they're unsure whether the resulting cars will be big enough successes to recoup investment*. As usual, they're more about profit margins.  And as has happened several times in automotive history, they're risking their future on this bet. If Tesla meets its goals, most of the rest of the industry could be lost catching up like they did when they chased Japanese makers for decades.

*(GM has decided not to really even market the Volt, even though it's arguably the best car they've ever produced by owners' satisfaction, safety, reliability, efficiency, etc., and from scanning the forums at gm-volt.com.)

patb2009
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Gold
Re: ICE makers don't want to play
patb2009   9/29/2014 2:04:41 PM
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CharlesM

 

I would imagine the Ford Focus EV,  the Toyota RAV 4 EV, and the Smart ED qualify

as Electric versions of an ICE car.  Okay, but not where you want to be.

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