21c Test Pilot

Vol 1 Issue 6, September 1997


EV1 Drivetrain Costs Equal with Gasoline by 2001

Traverse City, Michigan - The top man in General Motors' electric vehicle development unit says the cost of GM's electric vehicle (EV) drive systems should be comparable to traditional internalcombustion engine (ICE) drivetrains in the next four tn six vears

Robert Purcell, executive director of GM's Advanced Technology Vehicles unit, said GM plans to revise the EV1 electric car's electric drive system and control electronics every two or three years to bring down costs and improve performance.

By the third generation EV, to be built in 2001-2003, GM expects its costs to be the same. GM has tremendous incentives to do so; in 2003, California requires it to offer 10 percent of its vehicles in zero emission models, which generally means electric cars.

Recently, a federal judge ruled New York's ZEV rules are valid, which means GM and seven other automakers must offer ZEVs in the model year that begins October 1.

John Cox Elected Inaugural Chairman of EV1 Club

John Cox our acting president has swept to victory and will lead our club for the next year. Vice President will be Marvin Rush and Dave Hardin will serve as Secretary-Treasurer. Other Officers are Mark Sterner on the Events Committee and Mark Selogie heading up the Technical Committee. Marvin Rush continues in Communications. Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate in a committee.

John has a unique perspective from his position working at the South Coast Air Quality Management District. "We need to help the various legislative bodies understand the value of the EV 1," he said. John also added, "We need to tell the story of the truth about the EV1." John stressed how important we are as 'Test Pilots' for GM. By providing feedback as we use the vehicles in the real world we will help to change the future of Electric Cars. John also wants to encourage us to be ambassadors for the car. "I want to help our members promote the EV1 lifestyle," he said. "Our members are very diverse. I want to create an environment for the club members to accomplish their own goals. One recent example is our new club website. The address is http://evlclub.power.net/. This website is the product of engineers and club members Jean and Dave Kodama. Jean and Dave have expertise in computers. Other members have skills and abilities that have yet to be tapped. According to John Cox, "We're just getting started."

Next month we are invited to tour Southern California Edison's facility in Rosemead. Several Edison employees are scheduled to speak to us about the pollution reduction advantages of Electric Transportation. See you there.

Charger News

Public Charging Becoming A Reality

After a prolonged dry spell the floodgates are beginning to open. In the Last few months the promise of public charging is being met. Edison EV and DWP have both made great progress in recent weeks getting charge sites open and running. Many of them are in parking lots and garages adjacent to popular stores and attractions.

Glendale now has a charging site located at Costco on Los Feliz Blvd. This site is convenient to Hollywood, Glendale and Downtown LA.

One of the newest places to charge your EV1 is Old Town in Pasadena. This attraction boasts chargers in three different parking garages. All of them are very convenient to the many restaurants and bistros along Colorado Bl.

Top honors go to Costco for adding Canoga Park to their growing list of charge sites. They now have a total of nine stores with public charging for the EV1.

When you use public charging please take a moment to tell the management that you appreciate their generosity and civic mindedness. If you spent money at their establishment let them know that also. It only takes a second and the benefits could last for years. A little good will goes a long way and could encourage a company to install more chargers at other locations.

High Speed EV1 Charger Contract Awarded

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) has released a $1.7 million contract to AeroVironment for the commercialization and demonstration of a Level III electric vehicle fastcharging system. Fast charging is expected to jumpstart the building of electric vehicle infrastructure and will significantly advance the usable range of electric vehicles by charging a battery pack in a matter of minutes instead of hours. AeroVironment has demonstrated that fast charging is a viable technology. With proper charging cycles and battery management, valve-regulated lead acid batteries can recover an 80 percent charge in as little as 10 minutes, instead of six hours, without damage to the batteries. The program calls for developing and demonstrating two 60kW conductive systems and one 60kW inductive system for use in charging four S10 electric conversion pickup trucks and one General Motors EV S10 OEM truck. A four-month demonstration will begin in February 1998 at facilities operated by Southern California Edison and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. The project is expected to complete on June 30, 1998.

Recently Opened Charger Sites
Costco West San Fernando Valley , 21300 Roscoe Blvd, Canoga Park 91304
Costco Glendale Area , 2901 Los Feliz Blvd., Los Angeles, 90039
Duffield Electric Boats , 2001 West Coast Highway, Newport Beach, 92663
City of Thousand Oaks City Hall , 2100 Thousand Oaks Bl., Thousand Oaks, 91362
Valencia Town Center , 24201 W. Valencia Bl., Valencia, 91355
City of Pasadena , 45 DeLacey Avenue, Pasadena
City of Pasadena , 150 E. Holly, Pasadena
City of Pasadena , 33 East Green St., Pasadena
Costco lrvine , 115 Technology Drive, Irvine, 92718
Burbank Airport Lot B , 2627 Hollywood Way, Burbank, 91505
Burbank Airport Main Lot , 2627 Hollywood Way, Burbank, 91505

Upcoming Events

Scanned from the Net

Air Pollution Causes Heart Attacks

London- British medical researchers say air pollution in Britain mainly from motor vehicle exhausts is triggering 6,000 heart attacks each year, reports The Independent. The publication, citing a study published in the latest issue of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, reports one in 50 heart attack victims taken to London hospitals are there because of the effects of smog outdoors. A team led by Dr. Jan Poloniecki at St. George's Hospital Medical School in London analyzed seven years of hospital admissions and smog data for the study, including 400,000 hospital admissions. Researchers found days with high levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates produced a corresponding increase in heart attacks on the following days. In heart attacks, some of the heart's muscles are damaged by restricted blood flows; roughly half of all heart attacks are fatal. Researchers said low levels of ozone did not appear to directly cause similar results.

Pasadena Grand Opening Scheduled

EV drivers are invited to join the City of Pasadena in celebrating the grand opening of its electric vehicle charging stations on Tuesday, September 23 at 10:00 outside City Hall. Three public charging stations sporting two chargers each are now available at parking garages at Holly, Delacey and Green streets. Ralphs Grocery store on Lake Street in Pasadena also boasts a public charging station.

"The City of Pasadena has been very aggressive in pursuing transportation strategies that enhance the quality of life in our town, including public transit to relieve congestion and electric vehicle charging stations to support cleaner air," said David Grosse, Transportation Administrator.

Mayor Holden and Councilwoman Villicana will participate in the grand opening, which will also feature antique electric cars and futuristic vehicles. EV drivers are invited to participate to show their support for the city's efforts. For more information, please contact Gloria Quinn of Edison EV at (213) 462618.

Lithium Battery Factory Burns to Ground

OSAKA An explosion rocked a battery factory in Moriguchi, Osaka Prefecture, on Aug. 10 and ignited a fire that razed two buildings, police said. The two floor 660 sq.meter battery factory was recharging lithium batteries but operating without workers due to the holidays. Police warned neighboring residents to shut all windows and doors and stay inside; later it was determined that no toxic gas was released. The area was covered with black smoke for more than three hours. The following day police conducted an onsite probe of what remained of the battery factory.

Fuel Cell Engine on the Way to Mass Production

DaimlerBenz AG, Europe's largest industrial concern and the world's most comprehensive provider of transportation products and services, and Ballard Power Systems Inc. of Vancouver, Canada, the world leader in fuel cell technology have joined forces to become the first on the world market with massproduced fuel cells and fuelcell engines for passenger cars and buses.

The fuel cell engine as a power source compared to conventional internal combustion engines has the advantage of much greater fuel efficiency, significantly lower to zero emissions and drastically reduced noise.

Hydrogen-powered fuel cell buses have been demonstrated by both Ballard and DaimlerBenz and are soon to be fleet tested in regular transit service in Chicago and Vancouver, B.C. Through the combined efforts of DaimlerBenz and Ballard over the last four years, the size of a fuelcell engine has been dramatically reduced making them suitable for automotive use. The third prototype of a fuel cell-powered MercedesBenz car will be the AClass subcompact, which will be introduced to the public in October 1997.

Fullerton, Canyon Lake Drop out of Quick Charge Program

by Gloria Quinn, Edison EV

Despite winning matching funds from the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), the Fullerton City Council voted on August 5 not to install three public charging stations. The next day, Canyon Lake also voted not to move ahead with their public charging station, either.

Fullerton's change of heart came after intense lobbying from a front group bankrolled by the oil industry: Californians Against Hidden Taxes.

In May of this year, SCAQMD had decided to assist local government in building more than 100 public charging stations in Southern California. Seven projects were approved, including those proposed by the City of Los Angeles, the Orange County League of Cities; the City of Fontana (on behalf of the San Bernardino County Cities): Riverside County Transportation Commission (on behalf of Western Riverside County); the City of Santa Monica; San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments; and the Arroyo Verdugo Transportation Coalition. Fullerton was participating in the Orange County project.

At the Fullerton City Council meeting, representatives from Californians Against Hidden Taxes presented distorted information on the environmental benefits of electric vehicles, arguing against government "subsidies" and alleging that EVs only shift pollution to power generating facilities.

The truth, of course, is that that electric vehicles are more than 90 percent cleaner than UltraLow Emission Vehicles, the cleanest possible gasoline powered vehicles, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. These environmental benefits result from the fact that electric motors are so much more efficient than combustion engines, and that so much of California's electricity comes from renewable energy (nearly a third).

Electric vehicles do receive some limited government support, but most of these programs are short term programs designed to help overcome initial high costs due to small volumes. Of course, the biggest beneficiary of subsidies is the oil industry itself: The Union of Concerned Scientists found that the oil industry received nearly $6 billion in federal, state and local tax breaks in 1991 alone. Reformulated gasoline production in California received $800 million in subsidies in 1994.

"The oil industry used this phony grassroots group they've been dubbed an 'astroturf group' to try to dissuade cities and towns from even applying for Quick Charge funding last year," said Enid Joffe, Edison EV's manager of public charging.

"We worked with local businesses to talk with city council members and give them the facts and show them who Californians Against Hidden Taxes really represents," Joffe said. "Once these facts came to light, most of the representatives we spoke with were willing to pursue Quick Charge funding. It's unfortunate that the City of Fullerton was overwhelmed by the political pressure."

Edison EV is gearing up once again to mobilize local businesses and EV drivers to work with cities who may still have to approve their share of the Quick Charge funding. If you live in any of the Quick Charge cities in Orange County (Anaheim, Brea, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Seal Beach) and would like information on how you can help, call Joffe at (213) 452-4627.

Longer Range EVl's Announced

Traverse City, Michigan - General Motors will begin building longer range EV1s later this year and will make them available to lease customers in early 1998. Robert Purcell, head of GM's Advanced Technology Vehicles unit, made the announcement recently and said the nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery-equipped EVls will be available as an option. With the new batteries, the EVls will have 120-140 mile ranges, versus 60-90 miles for leadacid battery models. The price will be subsidized by GM and has not yet been decided upon, Purcell said. In the eight months the EV1 has been available in Southern California and two Arizona cities, GM has leased 215 of them. GM has also sold 200 of its electric pickups, the Chevrolet S10.

1998 EV1 Receives Minor Changes

Lansing, Michigan - General Motors has announced its 1998 model EV1 electric car will be little changed from the 1997 model, reports Automotive News. Mostly, the changes are designed to give the EV1 better handling and incorporate more efficient battery charging controls. The suspension has been retuned to minimize rearend swaying; the leadacid battery pack has new software to better measure the state of charge; some exterior body moldings have been altered for appearance's sake; the power electronics bay cover's color is changed; and the seats are covered in a softer, moreupscalelooking fabric.

Living With and Driving My EV1, by Jay Sloat

I'm an EV1 1essee in Los Angeles. I LOVE the car. I must confess that I have neither the aptitude or the patience to do a conversion myself so I have great respect and admiration for those of you who have done their own conversions. I didn't know much about EV's at all until I was lucky enough to become one of the Los Angeles Impact test drivers 3 years ago. I've had my EV1 since last December and its totally working for me. I have a short commute of about 6 miles each way, but I use the car for almost all my driving needs and utilize public charging sites about 3 times per week to help extend my range. I'll put 15,000 miles on my EV1 this year. I live in the San Fernando Valley where it's pretty flat and have been getting about 55-58 miles per charge of city driving. I don't do much highway driving, but when I do, I seem to get 65-70 miles range driving conservatively. Starting with a full charge, I'm comfortable with out and back trips of up to 35 miles (without using AC). If it's hot, and I intend to use AC, then I figure on getting about 45 miles city, 55 miles highway. The EV1 has an electrical heat pump for heating and cooling and the motor has 3 speed/power settings. Low=400 watts, Med=1200 watts, High= 2000 watts. Even in 100 degree weather, the low setting will maintain a comfortable cabin temp but may take 5-10 minutes to get there, so the typical trick is to use med for the first couple minutes and then use low for cruising with air vents in recycle mode.

To get the kind of range I do, I drive the "coast down" or "regen" button as a pre brake and leave it off for normal cruising. Additionally, I set the dash instrumentation to display a realtime current draw graph and have found that staying at or below a certain setting will prevent me from using too much power without having a line of honking cars behind me wondering why I don't accelerate more. Since rolling friction and air drag have been reduced quite a bit, I'm finding that subtle changes in road grade make a huge difference. When I leave from my house to go to downtown L.A., my predicted range says 57 miles when I start, and after driving 18 miles to get there, the predicted range is 68 miles. I'm no expert in such matters, but with as little asa 2% downhill grade, I can maintain freeway speeds while coasting. Almost all of the EV1 drivers agree that the advertising for the car is somewhere between abysmal and nonexistent. I personally don't think that there's a conspiracy behind it however. I heard a rumor that if you add up the cost of producing the EV1 ads and buying the air time and divide by the number of EV1 resees, that it will work out to over a million dollars per driver to date! Because of that, I don't expect to see more television ads anytime soon.

As to the comment that "GM only intended to make these cars in small numbers", using the current assembly line and tooling, I recall hearing that they could turn out between 5000 and 10,000 cars per year and with only 220 leased so far, that's plenty of capacity. I suspect that there will be a fresh push early next year when the NickleMetal Hydride batteries become available. I give a lot of demo rides every week and almost everyone felt they needed more that 100 miles per charge for it to work for them (even though typical work commutes for this area have been shown to be about 22 miles each way). I have also heard rumors that GM/Saturn will expand the areas where one can lease an EV1 (mostly to metropolitan areas in southern states that are flat and warm) but I've not heard anything as to when. I'm proEV regardless of who make it. I've driven the Honda EV+ and it's a fine car also. Can't wait to see the RAY4 EV due out in the fall.


Jay Sloat

A Letter to Road & Track, by Barry L. Friedberg

August 28, 1997

To the Editor.

Re: September issue coverage of Honda's EV Plus, I am a very happy EV1 owner. Just rolled my first 5000 miles. THE CAR IS FUN TO DRIVE ! My '86 Carrera Cabriolet mostly sits in the garage now. 0-60 mph in 14.6 seconds for the EVPlus is depressingly like the 240D I gave up to make room for my EV1. EV1 goes 0-40 mph in about 4 seconds laying rubber most of the way (0-60 is quoted at 9 seconds but seems faster). There are few cars in Newport Beach that can keep up with me off the line. I am astonished that a car magazine which emphasizes performance could write such a biased comparison of the EV1 to the EVPlus. EV1 is a tour de force of American technology! I bought my first American vehicle in 20 years two years ago and was so pleased that I had to have the EV1 as soon as I could get my hands on one. I thought I would only use it for 50-60% of my driving needs and found, to my surprise, that 95% of my needs are addressed. My wife and I routinely if fight over who gets to drive the EV for the day. As to the so-called 48 mile range of the EV1, NOT TRUE. The batteries take about 1000 to 1500 miles to 'season' before one can achieve optimum range. The car does have a significant learning curve in its present lead acid battery configuration. There is no question that hotrodding the car, as one is wont to do, negatively impacts its range. The hardest thing to learn how to do is not the regenerative braking feature for recharging coming to a stop or going downhill. The hardest aspect to learn driving is fully appreciating the aerodynamic efficiency (0.19) of the vehicle with respect to its ability to coast and the positive impact on range. Even driving in town at 35-40 mph, one can coast incredibly far by taking your foot off the throttle. I routinely achieve 60-65 miles per $0.42 charge. Other EV1 owners claim as many as 80 miles per charge. In summary, driving the EV1 for range does take some getting used to but it is definitely transportation for the 21 st century here today.

The nickel metal hydride batteries in the Honda conversion vehicle are about 5 times as expensive as EVl's lead acid batteries at present production numbers. EV1 claims a price of $34,000 versus your claim of $54,000 for the EVPlus. I can only suppose that, after spending $500,000,000 in R&D to put 213 EVl's on the road, even G M. had to draw the line somewhere. Of course, I am looking forward to nickel metal hydride batteries for my EV1 so I can both hot rod and still have plenty of range to boot. The final chapter on batteries may not be nickel but lithium oxide (but that is some time down the road). Also, Honda gets their nickel metal hydride batteries from G M. Delco! I am proud to be able to support American technology right down to the finished product. I would urge all your readers to go to the nearest Saturn EV1 dealer and test drive the EV1. This is no golf cart with doors!


Barry L. Friedberg EV1 #332

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