Monday, November 30, 2009

The Peugeot BB1 Four-Passenger Electric Car

My Italian correspondent and frequent technology adviser, BT, says if he had the money he'd be tempted to buy the new Peugeot Electric Car which is now being produced in France. He's an avid user of trains and bicycles so I'm not all that sure how much he needs a car. Then again, he's a photographer and maybe hauling around all that equipment year after year is wearing thin.

Here's a link to some photos and videos of the new BB1. Even before I read the description, I thought it looked like two scooters bolted to a frame with some metal wrapped around. But it's clearly a head turner.

Now the BB1 is a four-passenger vehicle but the Smart electric car has been around for a year or so (it looks like it's based on the two passenger Daimler Smart car). I've spotted four or five Smart cars around the Bay Area (there's a gasoline version but at least two I saw are confirmed electric types). I've been tracking down information on the Smart car and I'm surprised there isn't a whole lot available, though here's an article from Forbes and here's something of a fan site.

Hybrid Technologies has been responsible for making successful conversions and sales but Daimler appears to be going ahead with its own version of the Smart electric car, though it won't actually sell them until probably 2012.

I notice a number of car companies are testing electric cars in various markets. Whether electric cars are made in Europe, the United States or East Asia, I hope they get support, particularly from various governments. Actually all of this is going to take time to sort out. The smaller electric cars are probably going to be replaced by medium-sized vehicles in five to ten years. True hybrids will also be in the mix. A lot will depend on battery technology (that is improving very rapidly), improvements in electric grids and undoubtedly the price of oil.

We're entering a new era and it might be a close call. But there's some room for optimism. A hundred years ago, in 1909, the auto industry was just gearing up for the modern age—a lot of improvements were made in ten years.

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4 Comments:

Blogger marshallhayek said...

The big problem with electric cars is that they cost more than the oil based cars. I was just reading the other days about a project car from Nissan. The car is fully operation and it can match the performance of any normal car nowadays that is meant for city use and travel from one city to another, but the cost is in the region of $30,000-$40,000. That will not encourage people.
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5:31 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

Marshall Hayek, thanks for your post. The Tesla roadster is even more expensive——in the $100,000 range. But electric cars can be found for under $30,000 and more will be available within the next two to three years.

In addition, the cost of operating an electric car is expected to be less than conventional cars. In terms of energy efficiency, electric cars beat gasoline cars simply because cars that use fossil fuels lose a lot of energy through heat.

Actually, one way to think of electric cars is that around 1910 it was mostly the wealthy and the upper middle class who could afford the first cars. Within ten years, however, millions of Americans were able to afford the Model T.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The BB1 has advertising posters here which say 'It's father is a scooter, it's mother is a car' - so go figger!

BT

Bicycling in the cold...

12:25 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

My sympathies, BT!

5:19 PM  

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