EVs in the News
By Ann Chambers,
Electric vehicles are popping up in the news on a regular basis these days. According to the “Green Guide to Cars and Trucks,” recently published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, six of the 10 cleanest cars and trucks are EVs. The council`s top 10 includes: General Motors EV1; Honda Civic GX CNG; Toyota RAV4 EV; Chevrolet S10 EV; Ford Ranger EV; Honda EV Plus; Chevrolet Metro, gasoline; Ford Crown Victoria CNG; Suzuki Swift, gasoline; and Chrysler EPIC EV.
EVs Come to N.Y.
American Honda Motor Co. Inc. announced a new consumer lease program this summer in New York City. Until this program, EVs were only available in New York state through utility and government fleets. The EV Plus has an EPA city driving range of 125 miles on its nickel-metal hydride batteries. In real world conditions, owners in California have been averaging 70 to 80 miles on a full charge, depending on driving conditions.
Buckeyes Take EV Title
Ohio State University of Columbus Ohio placed first at the 1998 Indy Electric Classic. Second place went to the University of Oklahoma car, followed by Bowling Green State University. Ohio State driver Seth Taylor set a new track record for the electric formula cars at 26.41 seconds during qualifying. The Oklahoma team won the pit crew competition, exchanging battery packs weighing more than 1,200 pounds in 14.71 seconds, also a new record.
SCE Passes Milestone
The Southern California Edison fleet of more than 150 EVs passed the million-mile mark, a first for the electric utility with the nation`s largest EV fleet. The fleet was started in 1988 with two prototype GM passenger vans called G-Vans.
Toyota Motor Corp. and General Motors Corp. have announced plans to jointly develop a new inductive charging system for EVs, to be based on the Magne-Charge technology developed by GM. It will use a smaller connector jointly engineered by the companies. Toyota and GM hope to make inductive charging the world standard. There are currently two charging technologies–inductive and conductive. The conductive system uses a conventional metal-to-metal plug connection and the inductive system uses a paddle to create an electromagnetic connection between the power source and the vehicle.
Chrysler Corp. has announced that production of the world`s only electric minivan will begin in October. EPIC (Electric Power Intraurban Commuter), an electric version of the 1999 Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager, will be available for fleet owners in California and New York. Chrysler plans to manufacture 2,000 minivans for the 1999 model year, leasing them for $450 a month on a 3-year program.
UPS Goes Hybrid
UPS is planning to test a hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) developed to increase fuel economy while cutting emissions and maintenance expenses. The HEV was developed by Navistar International Corp. and Lockheed Martin Controls Systems. The concept vehicle design uses an International medium truck chassis and school bus chassis. The test trials will be held in Johnson City, N.Y, Atlanta, Ga., and Los Angeles, Calif. to study performance in different climates and determine the commercial viability of the vehicle. p