X Rider scooter offers simpler, cheaper electric performance

Xtreme Green Products is set to release the X Rider electric scooter in the US spring. While there are plenty of electric scooters around this one distinguishes itself by its performance and its price tag when compared to the likes of the Vectrix VX-1.

X Rider

Xtreme Green Products: X Rider

Unlike the Vectrix the X Rider does not have any fancy regenerative braking. It is a simpler machine with a correspondingly lower price tag of USD7,999. Unless Vectrix have dropped their prices recently that makes the X Rider about USD5,000 cheaper than the VX-1.

Despite being simpler Xtreme Green Products are claiming some solid performance figures. The more interesting specifications are:

  • Top speed >100kph
  • 2 to 3 hour charge time from empty
  • Maximum range of 150km

If the final product can live up to these expectations more than a few of them could find a home in Australia. You can visit the X Rider web page for full specifications.

Update: Xtreme Green Products will begin shipping the first X Riders to US customers somewhere around 06 Apr 09. The announcement has more details including a link to pre-order.

Source: Xtreme  Green Products via AutoblogGreen

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Reading: Fuel for thought

While digging around the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) web site I discovered Fuel for thought, a publication by the Future Fuels Forum 2007. This June 2008 publication informs us how the Future Fuels Forum thinks transport fuels will pan out in our future with modelling from now to 2050.  It is an interesting document and I suggest you read it if you are at all interested in the future of transport fuels in Australia. Click the cover page below to download the PDF (1.5Mb).

challenges and opportunities (PDF)

CSIRO 2008: Fuel for thought - The future of transport fuels: challenges and opportunities (PDF)

Apart from being relatively easy to read and informative for those of us without a scientific or economic background it provides great insight into the conservative information upon which our governments are making decisions that impact your future and mine. It isn’t all conservative mind you. The modelling for a continuing rise in demand for oil and a sharp decline in supply shows we could pay as much as $8 per litre for petrol in the not too distant future and the authors do stress the urgency with which alternatives for oil must be found.

While the document was written before the global financial crisis really started to bite the bulk of it remains relevant. If you do read it I’d like to know what you think so please leave a comment.

KTM gets conceptual

KTM in partnership with the FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft have developed a number of concept vehicles ranging from a four wheel off-roader to a hydrofoil boat. My favourite is the oddly named sr 85 deuce, a light weight electric car that makes an Ariel Atom look positively obese.

KTM sr 85 deuce concept

FH JOANNEUM Gesellschaft: KTM sr 85 deuce concept

You can view all six concepts here.

New Schwinn fast charging electric bicycle

In September 2008 Schwinn Bicycles announced a strategic collaboration with Toshiba Corporation that they think is going to dramatically improve the uptake of electric bicycles around the world. Schwinn presented the results of this collaboration at the recent Interbike International Bicycle Expo in the form of the Tailwind.

Schwinn Tailwind

Schwinn Tailwind

The Tailwind incorporates Toshiba’s new Super Charge ion Battery (SCiB) technology. The SCiB technology will enable Tailwind owners to recharge their battery in 30 minutes through a standard electrical outlet or as little as five to seven minutes through a commercial charger. By comparison, it takes four hours or longer to fully recharge the battery of most other electric bicycles.

The SCiB offers an expected 2,000 recharge life cycles to Tailwind owners with each charge giving them a range of 40 to 48km. The Tailwind also comes with a 32,000km or two-year limited warranty (in the US).

A previous post about Schwinn electric bicycles have been very popular with many people asking how they can get one in Australia. The problem is that in Australia the maximum legal power output of electric bicycles is 200W. The Tailwind has a brushless electric motor in the front hub that produces 180W of continuous power and 250W peak power, thereby making it a motorcycle in the eyes of the law. For that reason the Australian distributor for Schwinn bikes, Sportz Australasia Pty Ltd, appear loathe to import them regardless of demand.

CSIRO successfully commercialises the UltraBattery

This will be old news for some but a reader has just pointed out that the UltraBattery (previous post) has been successfully commercialised by the CSIRO.

CSIRO has exclusive sub-license agreements with East Penn Manufacturing Company and The Furukawa Battery Company to manufacture and distribute the batteries. East Penn Manufacturing Company will service the automotive and motive power sector throughout North America, Mexico and Canada while The Furukawa Battery Company will release the technology in Japan and Thailand.

The following links provide more detail.

CSIRO press release

Furukawa UltraBattery page (good images, diagrams and technical data)

East Penn press release

Information on The Furukawa Battery Company site also suggests larger UltraBatteries are being developed for wind power applications.

Victorian Transport Plan released

The Victorian Department of Transport released the Victorian Transport Plan (VTP) earlier this month. Not having a great understanding of Melbourne and Victoria make it hard to assess the VTP but at least Victoria has a plan. The proof will be in the execution.

Highlights include:

  • Up to 70 new trains and 100km of new track for Melbourne’s suburban rail systems
  • Up to 50 new trams
  • Up to 270 new buses and the continuation of the hybrid bus trial
  • Regional rail improvements to boost capacity by 9000 extra passengers and hour
  • Upgrades to regional transport infrastructure (in partnership with the Commonwealth)
  • Improved freight access to Port Melbourne
  • Completing the Melbourne ring road
  • Improving regional rail lines including electrification of existing lines
  • Fostering research into second and third generation biofuels
  • $100 million increase in funding for bicycle lanes and shared paths
  • $5 million public bicycle hire scheme for inner Melbourne
  • Encouraging the use of low emission vehicles
  • Mandatory emissions targets for State Government fleets

Negatives:

  • No transport emissions reduction target set
  • No inclusion of viable alternative fuels such as natural gas

You can download the VTP here (9.2Mb PDF).

You can download maps showing the detail here.

Freight Futures is a companion plan to the VTC dealing specifically with Victoria’s long-term freight network strategy. You can download Freight Futures here (5.3Mb PDF).

evMe – the Australian Mazda 2 electric car

Back in February 2008 we wrote about the Blade Runner, now called the Electron, which is an electric Hyundai Getz produced by Blade Electric Vehicles. We are pleased to report that Australia now has a second company producing electric cars based on an existing small car platform. This time the conversion is being done by Energetique to produce their Mazda 2 based evMe.

Energetique

evMe: © Energetique

The evMe is currently a prototype powered by a 75kW electric motor and is capable of being driven between 140 and 250km on a single charge depending on the driving mode. Performance is good too. Top speed is 130kph and 0 – 100kph takes 10 seconds.

Joining the dots between the evMe article on autobloggreen and the Energetique prototype specifications this performance is achieved using a liquid cooled Brusa hybrid synchronous electric motor and a 96 cell lithium polymer battery. All this leading edge technology doesn’t come cheap. The evMe is expected to retail for $70,000 but this hasn’t dampened the company’s plans for 2009. According to Dr Phillip Coop, the Energetique CEO, the company is planning to assemble 100 evMe’s in Armidale NSW next year and they already have a delivery van and a sports roadster on the drawing board. The prototype evMe already has an owner so they are off to a good start.