Environment Forum

Back to the Future goes electric

The DeLorean Motor Co. announced it will launch an all-electric version of its Back to the Future gull-winged car in 2013, but aficionados are debating whether or not it will fly.

Texas-based DeLorean has partnered with Epic EV (and its sister battery company Flux Power) to bring to market the prototype DMC-12 EV, with a top speed of 125 mph driven by a 260 horsepower electric motor. Range is between 70 and 100 miles and the battery has an expected lifespan of 7 years.

It will sport a price tag from between $90,000 to $100,000.

Critics are concerned about the weight of stainless steel.  “I’m not sure you know the DeLorean – it is a very large, very, very heavy car and I couldn’t imagine making an EV version of it.  $100 says the range blows,” writes AMouth, one of 294 comments on the subject at techie hub slashdot.org.

But test-drivers were impressed.

Kevin McCauley at Jalopnik.com says the gull-winged classic glides silently despite its weight, and has more than enough torque to handle the 200 extra pounds of the electric system.

“I twist the key and rotate the surprisingly weighty metal dial. Silence. I press the gas pedal, which, true to form with any 1980s exotic, has so much resistance it’s more like a piece of gym equipment.  Press harder, and we silently glide forward.”

Steve Jurvetson on clean tech innovation that will change the world

(This article by Felicity Carus first appeared on Clean Energy Connection and has been edited for length. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

What venture capitalists really think and what they say aren’t always the same thing.

Steve Jurvetson, from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, last week gave his overview of disruptive innovation in clean tech at the Always On Going Green conference in San Francisco.

Vehicle-to-grid: Genius or waste of energy?

 

A professor at the University of Delaware has patented a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology for parked electric vehicles to return power to the grid and teamed up with NRG Energy to commercialize it.

Professor Willett Kempton, who has been testing V2G technology that lessens the load on natural gas plants, told the New York Times utilities would not be interested in buying electricity from individual cars but from groups of perhaps 100 vehicles.

The idea is not without its critics.

The only way this will take off is for users to have a financial incentive to allow the power company to do this, i.e. the power price during peak demand must be so high that it’s cheaper to deplete your EV battery rather than draw from the grid,” writes hackertourist on listserv slashdot.

Jay Leno’s garage: a lot of EVs

The fact that comedian Jay Leno has a serious collection of cars in his 17,000 square-foot-garage in southern California may not surprise fans, but his soft spot for electric and hybrid vehicles most likely will turn a few heads.

In this exclusive interview with GigaOM‘s Green Overdrive crew, the host of “The Tonight Show” opens the door to his solar-powered home for dozens and dozens of cars for an animated tour of his collection, including three cherished vintage electric models from the 1900s.

Tesla unveils its latest electric ride

Tesla Motors unveiled the Model S, its newest all-electric car, at a media event outside Los Angeles on Thursday afternoon. Billed as the first mass market highway-ready electric vehicle, the Model S can seat five adults and two children and can go for up to 300 miles on one charge. And, it costs a lot less than Tesla’s Roadster sports car, starting just shy of $50,000 (including a government tax credit). Check out our full story about the Model S unveiling here.

At the event, executives drove the prototype vehicle around the parking lot and into the surrounding neighborhood to show it off. We shot video of some of that, and here it is (forgive us for the guy walking into our shot!). Let us know what you think. Would you buy this car?

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