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Les voitures électriques sont presque prêtes


22 juillet 2008 - 14h58

Presse Canadienne



La voiture électrique Zenn, fabriquée à Saint-Jérôme.


La batterie au lithium-ion, qui se retrouve déjà dans plusieurs appareils électroniques courants, sera sous peu en mesure d'alimenter les voitures électriques rechargeables et deviendra dès lors la réponse toute indiquée aux cours élevés du carburant.


C'est ce qu'ont estimé mardi des experts réunis dans le cadre d'un congrès en Californie.


Mais même si la technologie semble fort prometteuse, les manufacturiers de la planète sont toujours confrontés à de nombreux obstacles, notamment les coûts élevés, la durée de vie des batteries et la surchauffe, selon les participants à la conférence Plug-In 2008 à San Jose, en Californie.


Tien Duong, du département de l'Energie des États-Unis, croit néanmoins que la batterie au lithium-ion est presque prête à remplacer les piles à hydrure métallique de nickel qui se trouvent actuellement dans plusieurs véhicules hybrides gazéo-électriques.


La batterie au lithium-ion pourrait être en mesure de donner aux véhicules un rayon de 64 kilomètres par charge, a quant à lui estimé Haresh Kamath, du Electric Power Research Institute.


Mais les batteries au lithium-ion requises même par une petite voiture coûteraient aujourd'hui environ 10 000 $ US, a-t-il ajouté.


Ce coût devra être abaissé de moitié avant que ces véhicules ne deviennent vraiment intéressants.

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October 22, 2009

Fill It Up With Electricity, Please





ELECTRIC cars are coming in big numbers for the first time. Again.


The prediction has been here before, almost every time governments have worried about oil supplies and air pollution. Manufacturers dabbled with electrics after the oil shock of 1979-80. In the 1990s, California said it would require their sale to address its almost intractable air pollution problem. But the technology was not ready, and the state gave up.




Now, the federal government is throwing $2.4 billion in Recovery Act grants at the problem, subsidizing battery factories as well as research. And the car industry has inched closer; the required electronics are in wide use in hybrid cars, which combine small batteries and small electric motors with almost-conventional gasoline drivetrains.


There are now almost a million Toyota Priuses on the road and thousands of hybrids built by other manufacturers. Hundreds of the Priuses have already been converted to plug-in hybrids, in which some of the electricity comes from plugging into the grid rather than using the gasoline engine to drive a generator. And next year, General Motors plans to introduce a plug-in that will go the first 40 miles, more than most people drive a day, on electricity. Significantly, it is a Chevrolet, a mass market nameplate. The company may sell only a few thousand at first, but it hopes for tens of thousands of sales in the 2012 model year.


Supporters, many of them not rooted in the car industry, are predicting a triumph. “It’s going to be like the iPhone,” said Bruce Nilles, an energy and pollution expert at the Sierra Club. “It’s a very symbolic thing people can do to get off oil. I think people are underestimating how consumers are going to flock to an oil-free option.”


But the cars are expensive. The after-market kit to convert the Prius to plug-in, with a battery pack that sits where Toyota intended the spare tire to go, sells for $10,000, including installation.


The pricing of the Chevrolet entry, the Volt, has not been announced. But electric utility companies that plan to buy 5 or 10 for evaluation say they expect it to be in the range of $35,000, expensive for a Chevrolet that seats four and is not quite as big as a Cobalt.


The federal government and many states and localities are offering incentives. And automakers are doing their best to add to the buzz. General Motors, for example, brought out a Volt at the opening in September of a “zero carbon” house in Arlington, Va., where Tony Posawatz, director of the Volt vehicle line, told a crowd of local officials it was a “thrilling, game-changing product.” They all but drooled over it.


The enthusiasm was palpable even though the car did not move; the only dynamic moment was when a G.M. aide opened one of its two fueling ports — the one for electricity, not gasoline — and plugged it in.


The car will carry a 16 kilowatt-hour battery, which is about the amount of power that a suburban house uses in 12 hours. But it will use only half that amount before the gasoline engine kicks in. Not fully charging or discharging is a way to baby the battery and have it last 120,000 miles.


After 40 miles, a gasoline engine starts turning a generator to make electricity for the motor. That, according to G.M., makes it an electric without “range anxiety.”


A few pure electric cars are already offered, and more are coming. But at the moment, their price does not make them big sellers.


When is an electric car worth the cost, for the owner or for the environment?


The math works out differently depending on the vehicle design. The Volt, for instance, is supposed to go about five miles on a kilowatt-hour, a unit of energy that sells for about 11 cents at retail and is sufficient to keep a 100-watt light bulb burning for 10 hours.


At that price for electricity, driving a mile costs about 2 cents. With an off-peak electric rate, it could easily be 1 cent. A typical sedan that gets 25 miles a gallon in mixed city and highway driving costs 12 cents a mile if gasoline costs $3 a gallon.


That looks good for slowing global warming, too. Burning a gallon of gasoline produces about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, and refining and delivering that gallon produces about 2 more, so at 39 miles a gallon, such a car would produce 0.56 pound of carbon dioxide per mile. Since cars on the road generally do not get the mileage promised in the window sticker, a gallon would actually propel a car a slightly shorter distance and the corresponding carbon output per mile would be slightly higher.


By contrast, the average kilowatt-hour results in the release of about 1.5 pounds of carbon dioxide, so at 5 miles per kilowatt-hour, carbon dioxide would be emitted at a rate of about 0.3 pound per mile, or a little more than half as much as the gasoline car.


The Prius’s math is a bit harder to calculate. With the plug-in module installed, it will continue to run on electricity at low speed and on both gasoline and electricity when the car faces a hill or a driver with a heavy foot. But the car will not burn gasoline to recharge the battery until the plug-in unit is exhausted.


Leslie J. Goldman, a lawyer who drives his plug-in Prius every day between his home just north of Washington and his office downtown, said that he got 35 miles a gallon before he had the unit installed and that the average rose to over 100. As with the Volt, that sharp jump would be much smaller if his daily trip were beyond the range of the battery.


But Mr. Goldman, who represents the company that makes the plug-in kit, A123, said the benefit was more psychological than financial. When he gets home, he said, “I take my briefcase out, I put the extension cord in and I feel very patriotic.”


Senators Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee, and John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, have plug-in Priuses, Mr. Goldman said, along with “a whole bunch of others in Congress.”


David B. Sandalow, assistant energy secretary for policy and international affairs, drives one, too, and recently edited a book, “Plug-In Vehicles: What Role for Washington?” published by the Brookings Institution, where he worked before going into the government. With enough electric vehicles, Mr. Sandalow wrote, “oil’s status as a strategic commodity would be threatened.”


Mr. Sandalow said he bought his plug-in Prius in summer 2008 and got about 80 miles a gallon on his 5-mile trip to work and on errands. He said he hoped for strong sales for the Volt. “I think some day my grandchildren will say to my children, ‘You mean you couldn’t plug in cars when you were young — that’s so weird!’ ” he said.


THAT might not move a lot of buyers. Consumer Reports magazine said this year that the plug-in Prius was a really encouraging development — but not to buy one. The conversion to plug-in, it said, “is meant to give a glimpse of an emerging technology, rather than present a viable alternative to a current car.”


It is not obvious whether the electric system is ready, either. For one thing, drivers who do not have a garage, or at least a house with an exterior electric outlet, would be hard-pressed to find a place to plug in for several hours a day.


For another, all the theorists talk about a “smart grid” that will communicate with the car automatically. The idea is to have the car draw its current in off-peak hours. Electric companies have lots of spare capacity, mostly at night, and see the plug-ins as a boon, unless owners arrive home from work at a peak hour and plug in immediately, in which case the electric companies would have to build more power plants.


But this smart grid concept of appliances that communicate with grid managers is not yet in place. So the first Volts, which the company said would be mass produced beginning in November 2010, will come with a simple timer: the driver plugs it in and sets it to charge for a set period, some hours in the future.


“Like your lawn sprinkler,” said Mr. Posawatz, of G.M.



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I hope to see this in Canada soon.


Aptera 2h



The all electric version 2e needs 13 kWh but only does 160 km.


Hydro charges $0.0464 per kWh I think. So it will cost you $0.6032 to charge it up :eek:

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Hélène Baril


La Presse


(Montréal) L'usine de batteries pour voitures électriques Bathium, de Boucherville, passera à un rythme de production supérieur, grâce à de nouveaux investissements de son propriétaire, le groupe français Bolloré.


Le président-directeur général du Groupe Bolloré, Vincent Bolloré, sera sur la Rive-Sud mardi prochain pour inaugurer l'usine qu'il a achetée il y a deux ans. De nouveaux investissements et une augmentation de la production pourraient être annoncés à cette occasion, selon les informations obtenues par La Presse Affaires. Le ministre français de l'Industrie, Christian Estrosi, accompagnera Vincent Bolloré.


Bathium Canada est l'ancienne usine Avestor, propriété commune d'Hydro-Québec et de son partenaire américain, Anadarko, qui a fait faillite en 2007. Le syndic RSM Richter l'a vendue à Bolloré peu de temps après pour une somme estimée à 15 millions de dollars.


Avestor voulait commercialiser une batterie au lithium-métal-polymère (LMP), le fruit des travaux des chercheurs d'Hydro-Québec et de l'Université du Texas.


Hydro-Québec, qui avait investi des centaines de millions dans la mise au point de cette technologie, s'est butée à toutes sortes de problèmes en tentant de la rentabiliser. La technologie a été plagiée, des dirigeants d'Avestor ont été congédiés pour mauvaise gestion et des incendies à répétition ont éclaté dans l'usine.


Quand elle a fermé ses portes, en 2007, laissant en plan 265 employés, l'usine avait délaissé le marché de la voiture électrique afin de fabriquer des batteries pour l'industrie des télécommunications.


Le Groupe Bolloré, depuis qu'il est propriétaire de l'usine, a fait évoluer la technologie d'Avestor et l'a adaptée aux véhicules électriques de nouvelle génération.


Les batteries fabriquées à Boucherville peuvent maintenant équiper la Bluecar, la voiture électrique qu'il a conçue avec le fameux carrossier italien Pininfarina. Bolloré affirme avoir reçu quelques milliers de commandes pour la Bluecar, une voiture quatre portes avec une autonomie de 250 kilomètres dont les premiers exemplaires arriveront sur le marché l'an prochain.


Le Groupe Bolloré est un conglomérat diversifié, notamment dans les transports et les communications. Ses revenus atteignaient 6,4 milliards d'euros et il employait plus de 32 000 personnes en 2007.


La mise au point d'une batterie sûre et efficace est le chaînon manquant dans la commercialisation de la voiture électrique. Partout dans le monde, des chercheurs planchent sur une batterie qui pourrait permettre une percée commerciale pour les véhicules électriques.


Le Groupe Bolloré affirme être le seul au monde à détenir les brevets pour la fabrication d'une batterie LMP performante et non polluante. L'entreprise fabrique ses batteries à Boucherville et à son usine de Quimper, en France.


Hydro-Québec, pour sa part, poursuit ses recherches sur une batterie utilisant le phosphate de fer et le nano-titanate, et qui peut se recharger en un temps record, soit quelques minutes comparativement à trois heures pour les batteries LMP et autres.



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If there’s anything the French hate more than gas-guzzling Family Trucksters, it’s bad skin. It is therefore with much amusement but little surprise that we learned that the interior Renault’s Zoe Z.E. electric car concept was designed in partnership with cosmetics manufacturer Biotherm.




Hinting at a production vehicle that will officially debut in 2012, we first met the Zoe Z.E. battery-electric concept at Frankfurt earlier this year. It’s a hard-to-miss 13-foot long bubble with 20-inch rims and gullwing doors. That whole exterior is coated in a thick polyurethane gel that protects it from minor scrapes and bruises - just like how a good foundation can mask crow’s feet and laugh lines.


Renault says the Zoe is ideal “for men and women who want to take care of the environment while taking care of themselves – even behind the wheel.” Since unsightly blemishes and wrinkles are as much an anathema to French sensibilities as Velveeta and Wonderbread, the automaker made the interior into a spa-like experience.


According to Renault, the Zoe’s climate control system is worthy of installation in one of Paris’ finest spas. Air conditioning can really dry out skin, which is why Biotherm redesigned the Zoe’s AC to focus on keeping air cool and hydrated. If you get stuck behind a bus that’s belching diesel fumes, the on-board toxicity sensor will close the car’s air vents before free radicals destroy your healthy complexion.


In addition to looking good, the Zoe can also help you feel good. With an electric diffuser built into the climate control system, the car can emit “essential oils.” We had a Renault Medallion back in the ’80s that emitted most of its essential oils from the rear main seal, but that’s a whole other story. The Zoe uses specially developed scent oils from Biotherm that, according to Renault, are “exclusive active substances adapted to the needs of the driver: dynamic in the morning, relaxing coming home from work, and awakening vigilance while driving at night.”


Spa features aside, the minicar can be charged in 4-8 hours in a conventional European outlet, 20 minutes at a special quick charge station or the batteries can be swapped out in less than 3 minutes. Additionally, solar cells that cover the roof provide a trickle charge on sunny days — the sort of days when any self-respecting Parisian would be wearing SPF 50 sunscreen.


Photo: Renault

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The Detroit News


Nissan Motor Co. and electricity provider Reliant Energy of Houston have signed an agreement to team up to promote a charging infrastructure for electric cars.


The partnership was announced at the American debut of Nissan's LEAF electric car at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.


Nissan expects to start selling zero-emission, battery-powered electric cars in small numbers next year, primarily to fleets, and in larger numbers in 2012.



"The Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed to becoming a global leader in zero emissions," said Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan as well as CEO of its controlling shareholder and partner, Renault SA of France.


Nissan unveiled the LEAF in Japan in August, while Renault displayed four battery-powered electric car concepts in September for vehicles that it will start producing in the next three years.


Nissan will provide Reliant with some electric vehicles as part of the deal.





Ce n'est pas le temps de diminuer la capacité de nos autoroutes! Au contraire, je prédis une augmentation du traffic, avec plus de petits véhicules , électriques, qui vont prendre la route!

J'espère que nos décideurs locaux vont se réveiller.

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