September 23, 2006
Altairnano, Phoenix and
Boshart to Demonstrate
Electric SUV at Zero
Altair Nanotechnologies Inc.
), with their electric vehicle partners, Boshart Engineering and Phoenix Motorcars
, will road demonstrate a full size electric SUV at the California Air Resources Board Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Technology Symposium, held next week, September 25-27, 2006 in Sacramento, California.
The demonstration electric SUV is an early model of the commercially available vehicle, targeted for volume delivery in Spring 2007. This vehicle is planned to be capable of road speeds up to 95 mph, a driving range that
is configurable up to 200 miles, a battery recharge time potential of less than 10 minutes, and an acceleration of 0 to 60mph in less than 10 seconds. Another configuration of the vehicle as a Sports Utility Truck, previous post
, will also be on display at the Symposium.
Production Vehicle Preliminary Specifications
Chassis Manufacturer – Phoenix Motorcars, Inc.
Frame Type - Full Perimeter Frame Wheelbase - ~112”
Front Suspension – Mustang II Type Tubular IFS
Front Brakes – Ford 11” disc type
Rear Suspension – Ford 8.8 IRS w/ Alden coil over shocks
Rear Brakes – Ford disc type
Steering – Mustang II rack and pinion
Rear End – Ford 8.8 w/open differential
Motor manufacturer – Enova Systems
HP Rating – 120HP
Torque rating – 167 lb/ft
Controller Manufacturer – Enova Systems
Controller output – 90KW
Controller thermal management – Water-cooling
Regenerative braking – Programmable
Battery management system – Enova systems
Battery charging system – Enova Systems - 6.6KW
Battery – Li-Ion (standard), lead acid, nickel metal hydride
Battery Pack – 28 12V cells or equivalent
Another Article on this "Electric SUV"
Getting charged up in Ojai:
Don’t ask Dana Muscato and Daniel Riegert who killed the electric car: they didn’t do it. Their alibi?
The two Ojai entrepreneurs own an electric vehicle dealership and are now trying to help freeway-speed electric cars rise from the ashes in the form of Phoenix Motorcars, but they already plan to leave the game some day.
“Dan and I already know, and I think this is unusual to the investment bankers, that we are not the management team that will run the company,” Muscato said. “You gotta get smart people. It will not be fun beyond a certain level. Dan has great credentials in industry in his prior life. I get ideas and make things happen, other than that I don’t have management skills.”
Nonetheless, the pair have a well-defined business plan. Ten pickup trucks are already under construction to be used as demonstrations for potential fleet customers. Two of them are being tested by the National Transportation and Safety Board to be used in crash tests.
That process will occur through the end of the year, Muscato said. If the tests succeed, the company will build 500 of the vehicles in 2007.
Production of the pickups will be simultaneous with development of a sport utility vehicle model which could go into production in 2008. That year, the company plans to release a mix of 6,000 SUV’s and passenger vehicles, Muscato said. By 2009, 20,000 vehicles are planned, and in 2010 production could reach 100,000.
“That’s our plan, it can all be scaled up from there,” Muscato said.
Production will be handled by Boshart Engineering at its Ontario plant. The arrangement began as a production and safety engineering relationship, Muscato said, but it has become more of a strategic partnership.
Phoenix also depends on another strategic alliance. Altair Nanotechnologies Inc., a publicly held company based in Reno, Nev., has developed a lithium titanate battery that provides long range and improves safety of traditional graphite-based lithium-ion batteries.
“There’s always been a safety issue with lithium ion batteries to the extent that we could never consider putting a lithium ion battery in a vehicle,” Muscato said. Altair’s batteries are different. “They exhibit almost no heat characteristics in the process of charge and discharge.”
All three companies had an opportunity to exhibit the potential of the partnership last week when a vehicle using the battery was driven around Sacramento Sept. 27 during the California Air Resources Board Zero Emission Vehicle Technology Symposium.
“I enjoyed my test drive in the Altairnano powered electric SUV,” John Waters, the leader of the Breakthrough Design Group at the Rocky Mountain Institute, said in a Sept. 28 press release issued by Altairnano. “I have driven many electric vehicles, including the General Motors EV1, and the Altairnano powered vehicle delivered excellent performance in acceleration and rapid battery recharge.”
Phoenix has been able to limit its expenses by making its cars from off the shelf parts. The company gets “knock-down” vehicles from an Asian company (Muscato was unwilling to disclose the name or nationality of the company). Phoenix and its partners, thus, only have to build the drive train.
“What we came up with was a very modular vehicle,” Muscato said. “We don’t have to make the kind of capital investments that an auto manufacturer makes.”
Muscato said that he and Regiert launched Phoenix Motorcars because they knew there were incentives from California state government for zero emission vehicles in the form of zero-emission-vehicle credits. With current production, Phoenix Motorcars is already set to receive $60,000 in the credits. More can come with increased production.
Still, Detroit could still hold a monkey-wrench.
“Even though they’re legislated to [participate in the ZEV market], we have not been guaranteed they’ll do so,” Muscato said. “The big car companies have spent quite a bit of money in the past to avoid compliance with CARB’s legislation on this issue.”
Eventually, Muscato said, he and Regiert plan to sell the company. At some point, he believes, an automaker or other large manufacturer will realize the potential of Phoenix’ business and gobble the company up. “The numbers of vehicles that I could make a good profit on are piddling numbers for the big manufacturers,” Muscato said. “Our exit strategy: selling the company.”