Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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I think this would be a great thing to not do.

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Electric Car Race

Government Pays the $1,000,000 purse!
  (+1, -2)
(+1, -2)
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In order to advance electric cars at a more rapid pace, we need BIG purse money, and rules that favor practical family cars. Instead ot the government giving away perhaps billions to research, mere millions... say 25 million per year in purses, would probably net as many breakthroughs from the private sector as the much larger sum now largely wasted on public institutions.

The Car: It must be electric, and powered by any battery and electric motor or motors. Battery pack or packs onboard must not weigh more than 400 pounds. Car must weigh between 1500 and 3000 pounds. Car must have 4 seats. All interior and exterior dimensions including seating must be slightly greater than a new Toyota Tercel at minimum. Wheels (rims) must be between 13" and 18", and tire width a minimum of 6", with a pressure of 50 PSI maximum.

The Race: 500 miles on a course simulating a nice country road. Pit stops for battery and tire changes unlimited. Sorry, no motor or electronics swapping! Wreck damage would be an exception.

Purses: A cool million bucks for 1st place. $250K for 2nd, and $125K for third. $50K for 4th, 5th and 6th.

If this doesn't attract a good competition, ramp up the purses, and make big hoopla in TV ads.

Anyone think it would stir up a little private R&D?

Afterthought: If the private sector can pay a golfer a million bucks for whacking a little white ball, why can't we pay a million bucks to someone that advances electric car technology for the good of mankind?

bobad, Jun 04 2004

This one is good for popping down the road to get some milk http://www.killacycle.com/
Might spill some on the way back, 'though. [Ling, Oct 04 2004]

Metric Mind Engineering http://www.metricmind.com/index1.htm
Probably one of the easiest ways to buy Thunder Sky LIon batteries. [scad mientist, Oct 04 2004]

Thunder Sky LIons http://www.thunder-...com/index-1(en).htm
The manufactuer's web site [scad mientist, Oct 04 2004]


       What's so good about electric cars? Why should "the Government" (ie, "the taxpayer", ie "me") pay for a commercial organisation's R & D?
angel, Jun 04 2004

       I'd say that at this point, such a race wouldn't accomplish much. The technology is available. The limiting factor is in getting enough volume to have low prices. To get the volume requires a big investment, and no one is willing to take that kind of risk at the moment.   

       Prototype EVs have been made with 300 mile range, with dump chargers, with quick change battery packs, etc, etc. We don't need a race to make more prototypes. We need a company that will design a practical EV that can be sold in large volumes so it can be cost competetive with gasoline powered cars.
scad mientist, Jun 04 2004

       I think we need a comma in your purse
PainOCommonSense, Jun 04 2004

       //I think we need a comma in your purse//   

       I think we need a sock in your mouth. :)   

       //What's so good about electric cars? Why should "the Government" (ie, "the taxpayer", ie "me") pay for a commercial organisation's R & D?//   

       Eh? I am for reducing wasted tax monies and encouraging the most brilliant of all people (Obsessive competitors) to pursue new technologies rather than throw our tax money into a black hole. I think spending 25 mil a year could save a billion in waste.   

       Not much is good about electric cars. That's why the technology needs improving by competition.   

       Yes, the auto makers are reluctant to produce unproven and immature technology. But that's the whole idea of the races.
bobad, Jun 04 2004

       So which areas get reduced spending in order to fund this? And why not just reduce their funding anyway, and not fund this (for the reasons I gave)?
angel, Jun 04 2004

       //And why not just reduce their funding anyway, and not fund this (for the reasons I gave)?//   

       Your reasons are not sufficient to stop research. No reason is. The research should be private, with a little boost from Gov't funds. $25M is a pittance to the US Govt. They spent more than that studying cow flatulance.
bobad, Jun 04 2004

       I'm not suggesting stopping research. I'm suggesting stopping (or not starting) Government (ie, public) funding of research which benefits commercial entities which should be funding their own research (because they will be the beneficiaries of it).
I'm not concerned with what DARPA is doing because it's not my tax that they're spending (me being British).
angel, Jun 04 2004

       //Not much is good about electric cars. That's why the technology needs improving by competition.//   

       Which of the technologies do you think will improve by racing?   

       Electric motor and controller technology is plenty good at the moment.   

       Charging technology is currently limited only by how much power a battery can take. Public fast charging infrastructure wouldn't be helped by the race.   

       Hot swap battery packs are only limited by infrastructure and business model issues, neither of which would be improved by racing.   

       The one area that could use some work is in the battery, but I seriously doubt that a race like you propose would have much impact. To win the race you would need batteries that can outperform everyone else for a 500 mile race, but batteries optimized for that would probably have a very poor cycle life and be very expensive. It doesn't matter if you have to replace a $50,000 new battery pack every race if it enables you to win the $250k prize each time. What you learned from those battery packs would probably be irrelevant to producing economical batteries.   

       If you want to sponsor a race that will improve EVs, offer a prize for the first battery company to create a battery that meets certain independently verifiable specifications (including cycle life and shelf life) that can be produced for some reasonable price. Of course verifying the price would be difficult.   

       Of course my opinion is that improving battery technology beyond what it is today isn't going to make a huge difference in making EVs available. Sure a 500 mile range EV would be better than a 100 mile range EV, but even then it wouldn't work for continuous cross country driving (two drivers)without fast charing infrastructure along the route. Until there is common fast charging or battery swapping infrastructure, EVs will only be useful as a local car. 100 mile range is plenty for that purpose. 100 miles is easy with NiMH. With LIon batteries which are now available in large sizes for decent prices, a 150-200 mile range EV shouldn't be too hard to make.
scad mientist, Jun 04 2004

       // With LIon batteries which are now available in large sizes for decent prices //   

       Larger Li-Ion cells? Where? How large? That's a dream come true. I want some the size of a large box of cereal!
bobad, Jun 04 2004

       Thunder Sky makes LIon batteries in this size range. I've heard that you can contact them directly to buy batteries at teh best price, though the international thing could be difficult. If you want a little less hassle you could go through someone like Metric Mind Engineering. (see links) This is the only source I know of that an individual can get in small quantities.   

       AC propulsion fingured out a way to use laptop sized cells for their car. They won't sell you assembled modules though.   

       Electrovaya makes Lithium Ion SuperPolymer(R) batteries, apparently in EV size since they advertise the work they are doing on an EV on their home page.
scad mientist, Jun 04 2004


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