The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

14 April 2007

The Grey Lady's green machine

Plug-in hybrid research continues apace, and it's reached The New York Times, which has added to its fleet a Dodge Sprinter van with an experimental powertrain using lithium-ion batteries, a small five-cylinder diesel engine for backup, and a 220-volt power cord.

A similar van has been tested in Paris by FedEx [link to PDF file] with a gasoline engine; it's been averaging 25.4 mpg, not bad at all for a delivery vehicle which travels essentially no highway miles. The batteries can run the van for up to twenty miles before the engine kicks in. There's also a bus version, which is currently under trial by the Kansas City Area Transit Authority.

The Times experiment is co-sponsored by Con Ed, the New York Power Authority, the Electric Power Research Institute and DaimlerChrysler.

Posted at 9:08 AM to Driver's Seat , Family Joules

"and a 220-volt power cord"

Just make the power cord long enough, and you can forget the batteries and the diesel engine. DUH.

OK, so I'm kidding. But batteries don't work, really, so all electric cars are going to have gasoline backups. What we really need are cities and highways with underground power grids that cars can pick up, just like modern tolley cars do (although the trolleys get their power from overhead, the principle is the same). Result: Electric cars without batteries.

Posted by: Mister Snitch! at 12:31 PM on 14 April 2007