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Discussion in 'Video' started by vfx, Mar 20, 2009.
Old History Channel show. A piece of Tactical to Practical
Laptop Batteries Outperform in Electric Vehicles | Around the industry | March 2004 | A B T | 7MS.com
Lots of Zoom, With Batteries - The New York Times
EV Wins Michelin Challenge Bibendum @ Megawatt Motorworks
Good stuff TEG.
A good sample of the sate of the art back in 2003. In some ways we have come so far an in others...
And Martin in the car for the race. Cool.
The History Channel needs it's own folder. They seem to wedge high end EVs into every show!
Oh, The NYT article had this:
A likely Roadster buyer I'd say.
(We are recent Monk watchers here)
NEW YORK TIMES
Friday, September 19, 2003
Lots of Zoom, With Batteries
By CHRIS DIXON
O.K., you hit this button," says Alan Cocconi, pointing to a control on
a little G-force meter attached to his dashboard. "Then hold down the
brake really hard. Push on it with all your might. When it says `Go,'
let off the brake and hold on."
With that he steps out of the car. A flat, straight half-mile of asphalt
is dead ahead; alongside stretches the runway of Brackett Field Airport
east of Los Angeles. With the throttle and brake pedals fully pressed,
the bright yellow sports car shudders with power ÷ but rather than the
roar of a caged Lamborghini, the only sound is a muffled whine. Though
the whine becomes only marginally louder when the brakes are released,
everything else changes as the car lunges forward in a jaw-dropping,
stomach-clenching and near-terrifying blur. In 3.7 seconds, it's all
over. That's the time it has taken for this little electric sports car,
the Tzero by AC Propulsion, to reach 60 miles per hour. And its only
power is from a simple array of lithium-ion laptop computer batteries.
Few street-legal automobiles are capable of running to 60 m.p.h. in
under four seconds, and it's a safe bet that the Tzero is the only
electric-powered car that can. The founders of AC Propulsion, based in
San Dimas in the suburbs east of Los Angeles, seem to think that the
lithium-ion batteries have led them to the holy grail of electric
motoring: range and performance in one package. This is, however, after
the major automakers have cast aside ideas of all-electric vehicles and
turned their attention to hybrids and fuel cells.
Thunderously fast but whisper quiet, the rear-wheel-drive Tzero began
life in the late 1990's as a showcase for AC Propulsion's high-revving
AC 150 drive system. A 220-horsepower street-legal racer, the car was
powered by a series of deep-cycle automotive lead acid batteries. With
1,250 pounds of batteries on board, the original car was good for
4.1-second zero-to-60 times with a top speed of 90 m.p.h. and a range of
80 to 90 miles.
Last month, however, AC Propulsion unveiled the latest version of the
car, now powered by 6,800 lightweight lithium-ion laptop computer
batteries. With these batteries ÷ and an increased top speed ÷ the Tzero
weighs 700 pounds less and the company says it will run up to 300 miles
on a single charge ÷ which requires a few hours plugged into a 220-volt
outlet like the ones many households have for clothes dryers. It can
also be recharged at a 110-volt outlet, but it takes about three times
The car, priced at $220,000, is available only directly from AC
Propulsion and has not yet met federal safety regulations. The company
says, though, that it is legal for street use when registered as a
"special construction vehicle," which is the way homemade and kit-built
cars are registered. The Tzero at the speedway had a California license
plate and had been driven to the track. So far, the company said,
deposits have been made for eight cars with the lithium-ion system. (Two
earlier versions, with lead acid batteries, were sold for private use.)
What will a Tzero buyer get?
A car that, from zero to 100 and through the quarter mile, will run
with, or beat, the $281,000 Lamborghini MurciŽlago, the $224,000 Ferrari
575M Maranello or the $440,000 Porsche Carrera GT. And do it cleanly and
quietly. However, with the single-gear Tzero's engine limited to just
over 100 m.p.h. at 13,300 r.p.m.'s, it will never win an oval-track race
against those supercars. But its developers are betting that the car's
power and range will generate renewed interest not only in their
company's offerings, but in electric cars in general.
The Tzero is the brainchild of Mr. Cocconi, an engineer, and Tom Gage, a
former race car driver and an engineer. Mr. Coccini founded AC
Propulsion just over a decade ago after having worked for General Motors
as a founding engineer on the company's Saturn EV1 electric car project.
Mr. Cocconi said he decided to go out on his own after G.M. decided to
build the car. "I didn't want to be a part of the big G.M. machine," he
said. "About a month afterward, I thought about upgraded chargers and
what techniques were possible and I started AC Propulsion." With that,
he ripped the engine and transmission out of a Honda CRX, and set to
work devising his own drive system. Today, 160,000 miles later, he said,
that Honda is still humming.
Mr. Gage met Mr. Cocconi while working as an automotive industry
consultant on electric vehicles in the early 90's. "When I interviewed
Alan," Mr. Gage said, "it became obvious that not only did he clearly
know what he was talking about, but he was doing something about it. I
drove a prototype of his and was blown away." A year later, he said, the
consulting work dried up and he joined AC Propulsion.
The company's early days coincided with California's Zero Emissions
Vehicle or Z.E.V. mandate. When it appeared that automakers would be
required to sell a substantial number of Z.E.V.'s, manufacturers were a
primary customer for AC Propulsion's systems for testing and evaluation.
When the mandate was challenged by manufacturers in 2001, Mr. Cocconi
said, sales dried up. Today the company sells its $25,000 E.V.
conversions to private enthusiasts and to bus companies. Mr. Gage said
that the lithium-ion setup, and plans to offer a conversion system for
Toyota's Scion xB, could chart a new course for a company that today has
only 12 full-time employees.
Gerard Burkhart for The New York Times
YELLOW FLASH The Tzero at a California track in August. It went from
zero to 60 m.p.h. in 3.7 seconds. It is powered by 6,800 lithium-ion
Was just told that Tony Shaloub drives a Prius but that Monk Director/Producer Randy Zisk just picked up his Tesla.