Electric vehicles have been in the news recently. Here are a few of the highlights:
? Just weeks ahead of the
2012 Olympic Games, luxury German automaker BMW has opened its first i store in London. The i store will eventually sell BMW's electric cars and bicycles around the world, although all that's available to see now is a prototype.
The first car for sale, the i3, will debut some time in 2013, trailing the Smart ED, which was announced last week. Like Smart, BMW will also offer an electric bicycle. But BMW's bike differs, as it is foldable and designed to fit inside the trunk of the i3. At this point, it looks as if the bicycle can be charged via a household outlet or the i3.
If it does make it to the market, it will be the first to charge from a power source other than a home.
? Nissan's all-electric Leaf
made it into the record books last week - by driving backwards. With a direct drive instead of a transmission, an EV can theoretically drive backward as fast as forward. Nissan set out to prove this theory.
A professional stunt driver drove a Leaf on a 1.6-kilometre closed course in West Sussex, England, at an average speed of 88.5 km/h. The biggest complaint? The driver reported a neck ache from constantly looking over his shoulder.
? Last month, Nissan and
strategic partner PowerStream, the second-largest municipally owned electricity-distribution company in Ontario, unveiled Leaf to Home, their name for a system where the power stored in the Leaf could help power a home.
The partners see their product as a back-up power source in case of an outage. The batteries in the EV could also be used to power household appliances during periods of peak consumption and recharge when electrical demand is at its lowest.
In Ontario, the price of electricity changes based on the time of day it is used, so a consumer would save money by using stored energy from his or her EV during peak periods.
The vehicle could also power a residence that is off the grid. Of course, that creates a new problem - how to get home in the same EV with a depleted battery after a weekend in the country.
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