I’ve never held with the notion that ideas should be secret. They have to be out there to grow. And they’re worthless anyway without great people to lead them.
So my idea is:
Electric vehicles are currently limited by two things.
- Cost – they cost 1.5-2x the price of conventional cars. This is simply going to hamper the adoption of electric vehicles and even the government grant badly scratches the side.
- Range-fear – people are afraid they won’t make it home. They worry about taking a long trip and being stranded somewhere where the accents are different.
The problem to be solved is that the battery is probably the most expensive component. Some models mitigate this by being very expensive and some mitigate it by selling the car and leasing the batteries.
I would aim to produce a car where the base price per seat is £2500. That means it’s £2500 for a single person vehicle (a PEV), £5000 for a two seat vehicle, £7500 for a three seater and £10000 for a four seater.
The intended range would be 100 miles. That’s long enough for someone to get to anywhere in the province. Charging time should be 2-4 hours.
Charging mechanism is probably going to stick to cables. This is entirely because there’s already an infrastructure out there – both in the UK and Ireland and beyond. How this works with the Tesla network or other networks on the continent is something that would need to be researched. That’s the only reason I’m not running with the idea of induction plates – there’s no infrastructure.
Detachable batteries are desirable but add bulk and there’s the whole worry of standardisation of connectors. It would be useful to see what Tesla have released as part of their open source mission. I would hazard a visit to Tesla would be very interesting.
Internal infrastructure is minimalist. No need for radio or CD players. Just a digital dashboard pulling data and reporting speed, estimated range and whatnot.
No need for boot space. There’s always room for luggage in a second seat, in a roof box or attached to a trailer (and yes, even the single person vehicle should have a tow-bar). An accessory can be a manufacturer supplied trailer.
Tesla vehicles have a motor on every wheel, but we probably don’t need that for a low cost vehicle. We probably only need 1-2 depending on the size of the vehicle.
I’ve never built a car but humans have been building them for over a hundred years so how hard could it be.
Things to investigate:
- Chassis – I’m told the chassis and road-worthiness is a complex procedure. I would hope that between InvestNI, the Universities and the TSB we would be able to find a path through.
- Renewables – how fast can a solar or wind power charger replenish a battery?
- Pedals – are these practical as a stopgap for charging these vehicles and would they help distribution in developing countries?
And some useful links
- Clan Cars
- Crossle Cars
- Northern Ireland Advanced Composites Engineering (NIACE)
- Mondiale Car Company Ltd