June 17, 2008
2011 Think Ox At Least 125 Miles Per Electric Charge
In a few years an electric car for the masses will let you go at least 125 miles between charges.
An electrified people's car for the 21st century, the Ox is a preview of Think's next-generation production vehicle, due out in 2011. Roughly the size of a Toyota (TM) Prius, the Ox can travel between 125 and 155 miles before needing a recharge, and zips from zero to 60 miles per hour in about 8.5 seconds. Its lithium-ion batteries can be charged to 80% capacity in less than an hour, and slender solar panels integrated into the roof power the onboard electronics. Inside, the hatchback includes a bevy of high-tech gizmos such as GPS navigation, a mobile Internet connection, and a key fob that lets drivers customize the car's all-digital dashboard. Pricing has yet to be announced, but the company's current vehicles cost less than $25,000.
I wonder how it will do on crash safety tests. Also, its cost will depend heavily on the price of lithium batteries in 2011.
An affordable 125 mile range electric car would go far toward ameliorating the most damaging effects of declining world oil production.
My hunch is that crash safety would become somewhat less important once battery-based (as opposed to ultracapacitor-based) electric cars become widespread. See, the battery discourages aggressive driving because it deteriorates much faster with fast discharge. Having a heavy battery underneath car floor also adds stability; better weight distribution between front and rear wheels also helps.
Once Think Ox becomes available, I'll buy it. Unless Zenn delivers first...
Choosing something like an Ox will depend on a few things, costs etc.
But I think more people will want the flexability of something like a Volt.
Even though normal driving is relatively short range, people in the US often take long trips for vacation and to visit family etc.
Unless there is a revolution in train transport similar to what you find in Europe, in the next 10 years, I don't see that changing (I expect air travel to remain expensive relative to driving). I doubt that will happen though because the US is just so decentralized.
A rental car would cover all my (and most peoples') long trip/vacation needs. I sometimes do it today because driving my own car costs around 10c per mile in amortization, 1c in oil change and 1c in tire wear, and if we're talking about 400+ miles 3-day trip, rental becomes cheaper.
Train transport does not seem promising in US for several reasons. First, the rail network is built for cargo transport. Second, passenger trains are not that energy efficient. Third, there are labor problems (the industry is heavily unionized). And it is SLOW.
To give Think Ox more long-distance flexibility, one may hook up a lightweight trailer with a gas-powered electric generator to it. Sears sells a 6KW unit for $1200. Buy 2 or 3, and you are OK for a long trip...