Green Update–>Goofy Ideas (?) from Nissan, GE and EMAV

November 2nd, 2010

Nissan NMC

Now, think about these ideas for a minute before you condemn them out of hand.

Nissan is proposing to build an all-electric, two-seat city car called the NMC, or New Mobility Concept, above. It’s really a modified Renault Twizy and is meant to explore new car-sharing ideas that may become real. Such as:

  • Seamless mobility service: a highly efficient and convenient public transportation service linking public transportation and EVs supported by IT.
  • Two-mode EV car sharing: where the vehicle is used as a private commuter vehicle in the mornings and evenings, and as a corporate car during business hours.

I know, it still looks like a glorified golf cart, but give Nissan credit for exploring short-distance driving situations and ways to make a potential market.

General Electric’s Chairman Jeff Immelt told a U.K. sustainability conference last weekend that GE would order in about a week’s time “tens of thousands” of EVs, the largest single order in history.

The cars would go to about half of GE’s 45,000-person sales force, and presumably would come from several manufacturers (no single maker has that kind of capacity) and be spread over several years.

GE builds power generation and transmission equipment that “provides one-third of the world’s electricity.” It also owns portions of A123 Systems, maker of advanced lithium-ion batteries, and Better Place, the company that wants to build charging and battery-swap stations worldwide.

Since Better Place is now tied in with Renault-Nissan, Autopia speculates that company will be the major beneficiary of GE’s move.

EMAV PRUAnd finally, there’s the PRU (power regeneration unit) to be built (maybe) by an Indiana company called EMAV (Electric Motors and Vehicle Company—really imaginative name, guys).

PRU is a self-powered trailer with batteries, a small diesel generator, and extra cargo space. Its 28-hp electric motor matches the speed of the EV towing it and will extend its range by 700 miles. Cost will be around $15,000.

My take: good idea, but way too expensive. The basic notion is to make the short-range EV into a range-extended vehicle, but isn’t that what the Volt does? As Nick Chambers suggests, this could be something for a rental company to take on so that you could rent it for, say, $50 a day on those occasions when you need it for long trips.

Which idea here is the goofiest? Which has the most potential?

—jgoods

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  1. | #1

    I don’t think there is a market for these vehicles, it’s almost like the car manufacturers are trying to make a market first and then supplying it, instead of supplying what people truly want.

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