Automotive X Prize update Liion Motors charges ahead with Wave …

8 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Automotive X Prize update Liion Motors charges ahead with Wave … отключены
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Automotive X Prize update: Li-ion Motors charges ahead with Wave, Inizio electric sports car

As we check in on a few of the most prominent teams from last year’s $10 million Automotive X Prize competition to build a 100 mpg car, our next stop is Li-ion Motors .

Li-ion’s bright green electric tadpole (the Wave) took home $2.5 million in prize money in the hotly contested side-by-side alternative class. (In the Mainstream and Tandem Alternative classes, all the teams except one had a broken car or had been eliminated before the final race. There were just a handful of cars in the final race for the class prize.)

We talked to Rich Ralston, Li-ion’s public relations officer at the team’s working headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. Ralston explained that the team is working on two cars: the X Prize competitor Wave and a radical two-seat sports car called the Inizio .

Although the Wave brought in the prize money, the main focus seems to be on commercializing the Inizio sports car. Ralston revealed that the Inizio has been designed for rapid battery changes to allow technology upgrades and fast battery pack swaps, as an alternative to long recharge times.

The Inizio will build a name for the company and pave the way for the Wave, Ralston says.

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Ralston shared that the company can build 10 to 18 Inizios a month at its current facility in North Carolina. It plans to sell the cars directly to consumers, avoiding a separate dealer network for now. Li-ion previously announced that the Inizio will be available in three versions: a $139,000 model with a top speed of 130 mph; a $180,000 model with a range of 250 miles; and a $249,000 model with a top speed of 170 mph.

Meanwhile, news reports say the company has bought property in northern Alberta, Canada, to build a new factory to produce the Wave. The money profit car will be the Wave, says Ralston, but the Inizio will get Li-ion noticed.

Ralston says the company is applying for DOT certification for both cars, but acknowledges that process has been held up by a lack of funding. He estimates the company will need about $5 million for low-volume manufacturer certification, which means the cars will have to be equipped with federally required safety equipment and pass federal crash tests. As all-electric cars, they’ll also get a fuel economy rating, though they won’t need other traditional emissions certification.

The X Prize validated our battery technology and our battery management strategy, Ralston says. Hopefully, it can also carry them far enough to find the next millions needed to see their vehicles make it to the streets.

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