09 January, 2009

Does One EV Look A Lot Like Any Other?

Maybe that's because it is.  Mitsubishi is licensing their "i MiEV" to European car manufacturers.  If you check out the main players in the EV field, you'll see that many either have a similar looking product, or else it's deliberately "out there" and concept car looking.

No idea why the styling has to be so stand-out, but it's perhaps one of the reasons why small utilitarian EVs aren't quite as accepted yet - what the Toyota Prius achieved with distinctive styling and building a green reputation around it, perhaps these are efforts to cash in on that, maybe if cars are shaped weird, people will realise that with such weird shapes, these just have to be green cars, right?

The bigger marques seem to have gone more with their traditional styling, while all the start-ups seem to have either low-slung sports styling, or else they look like the old car the Jetsons would have in their archaic garage.

I'm still in favour of making mod kits for existing cars, as I've repeatedly said here on the blog, because this would mean the least manufacturing footprint with the most benefit.  You still have your petrol-engined car, and can drive on it as per normal.  It still looks like the car you're used to.  Braking gets better because you use regenerative braking to help your normal brakes, brakes wear less.  And a few stops and starts after the battery has run out of charge, regen braking will ensure that the battery assist will have enough juice in it to assist you on the next hill, saving you fuel.

There's now an external kit which supposedly clips over the rear wheels of existing cars and provides some battery/electric assist, but A) it's ugly and B) it's very clumsy.  And, C) from the look of it I wouldn't trust it at anything other than very slow bumper to bumper speeds.  It doesn't look like it's particularly robust.  And I've misplaced the URL to it, it's from about three months back and has apparently generated no more news so perhaps it's resting...

If you're interested in owning an EV and doing your bit to keep our cities unpolluted, and you're wondering why we don't seem to have that many EVs in Australia, go here and do your bit.

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