Friday, October 31, 2008
The passenger door still needs some body filler, so it will have to wait until next weekend.
But for an accountant who has zero experience with cars, it's not a bad effort. I'm pretty impressed with my handiwork, and saved quite a bit of money, too.
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Electric car venture in Australia seeks $700 mln
LONDON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - California-based electric car operator Better Place joined with Macquarie Capital Group on Thursday aiming to raise $1 billion Australian dollars ($676.1 million) to install electric charge points across Australia.
Australian utility AGL Energy
Automakers are in a technology and production race to develop oil alternatives, whether biofuels or electric cars, to address problems of energy security and climate change.
"We're interested in Australia to demonstrate scale," said Shai Agassi, Better Place chief executive and founder.
The Better Place concept is to install electric car charge spots at designated parking lots in residential areas and workplaces. In addition, to allow longer drives, the company would roll out electric filling stations.
The $200 million venture-backed company is still in a very early stage, testing charge spots in Israel with plans to follow in Denmark, and is working with Renault
The company's aim is for pure electric cars to leapfrog mass production gasoline-electric hybrids such as the Toyota Prius.
Hybrids achieve range by combining an electric motor with a gasoline engine, while pure electric cars need an electric charging infrastructure. Electric batteries can manage a range of only about 250 kilometres on their own at present.
One problem for Better Place may be to gain traction in an autos industry reporting plummeting sales as consumer spending slides in response to tight credit and looming recession.
In addition, infrastructure projects will require debt finance, at a time credit markets are locked or expensive.
"Debt is a four-letter word now in most parts of the world," said Agassi. "Most of it (the present fund-raising) would be equity. We'll raise a significant chunk of equity now. We'll plan the debt component as the market evolves."
Thursday's proposal would entail developing charge spots in four urban areas, in Victoria, New South Wales, Brisbane and Canberra, and then link those with electric filling stations.
The infrastructure necessary to get the first 1 million electric cars on the road would cost 1-2 billion Australian dollars, Agassi estimated. (Reporting by Gerard Wynn; Editing by David Gregorio)
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The news just keeps getting better and better...
October 16, 2008 04:00am
Article from: AAP
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AUSTRALIAN researchers have found a way to produce cheaper and more powerful batteries to run hybrid-electric cars.
CSIRO researchers based in Melbourne have developed a new type of lead-acid battery to replace the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries environmentally-friendly hybrid cars such as the Toyota Prius use.
Lead-acid batteries are cheap and can store large amounts of energy.
But if they are repeatedly and rapidly charged and discharged - as happens when used in a hybrid car - the battery plate becomes coated with chemical deposits.
The problem means the batteries wear out faster than NiMH batteries.
But the UltraBattery, developed by Dr Lan Trieu Lam and his CSIRO team, combines a lead-acid battery with a supercapacitor.
The combination stores as much energy as a standard lead-acid battery, but without the messy deposits on the plate.
"By acting as a buffer during charging and discharging, the capacitor boosts the battery's life to match that of NiMH batteries," Dr Lam said.
During lab tests the UltraBattery lasted four times as long as the best lead-acid batteries, while producing 50 per cent more power.
A test vehicle running until the UltraBattery fails has so far covered 185,000km, while being recharged as needed.
The cost of the battery is also expected to be a third to a quarter of NiMH batteries and a sixth of the lithium-ion batteries used in some high-performance electric cars.
Independent testing is yet to be carried out.
Japanese firm Furukawa Battery Company has started modifying a plant to to make the UltraBattery by the middle of next year.
In the US, battery manufacturer East Penn in Pennsylvania will manufacture the device.