WELCOME TO ELECTRA MECCANICA!

EM CEO

Jerry Kroll, CEO Electra Meccanica

Fifteen years in the making, our management team is nearing the introduction of the exciting new 2016 EMV Solo. Our website (www.smallev.com) has images that are very close to the production car, and we can now accept your refundable deposits of $250.00 for the first year’s expected production of 120 cars.

The 2016 Solo price is projected to cost $19,888.00 Canadian dollars, subject to final specifications and options. This price allows most people to consider Solo as their ideal second car and an inexpensive answer to their daily commute. Government electric vehicle rebates in your area may apply to make Solo an even better deal!

I see over 80% of people commuting by themselves in large, fossil fuel cars. And it drives me nuts. Everyone complains about traffic congestion and global warming, yet they continue to do the same thing and expect the situation to change by itself. Crazy!

This is the essence of why I started Electra Meccanica, and why we’ve been able to attract some of the most talented, hardest working and self-motivated team members I’ve ever met. It’s also why I believe that all those one person commuters will switch to the small footprint and zero emissions of the EMV Solo. We all have so much to gain by doing so, and its really a fantastic car when you get behind the wheel. With the current public demand for electric cars, and smaller cars that can easily navigate our crowded urban streets, the EMV Solo is probably one of the most anticipated new cars today.

Over the coming months I will be sharing lots of details and updates on the final specifications of our initial 2016 Solo model year. So much has been learned, so much has been done, and the adventure is just beginning. Feel free to contact me via our www.smallev.com website if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

I also invite you to join our pre-order holders, and reserve your chance to own a driving experience like no other. I can’t wait, and I hope you’re excited too!

Jerry Kroll, CEO

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Researchers developing roads that charge your electric car while you’re driving

By Lucas Mearian
Computerworld | Oct 27, 2015

280637-100624279-primary.idgeClemson University is working on its first trials of dynamic wireless charging on roadways.

At least two universities are testing or preparing to test wireless charging stations embedded along roadways that will incrementally recharge vehicles as they drive over them.

Clemson University’s International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) in Greenville, S.C., has been testing stationary wireless vehicle charging and is now preparing to test mobile wireless recharging for vehicles.

Clemson’s R&D project is backed in part by a multimillion-dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and is in collaboration with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Toyota, Cisco and other companies.

The university’s stationary wireless charging technology uses magnetic resonance to create a field between a ground charging coil and a copper coil embedded in a vehicle through which electricity can pass. Key to the technology is the Wi-Fi communications system, created by researchers at Oak Ridge that allows the ground and vehicle charging systems to talk to one another.

Stationary wireless vehicle charging is an emerging technology already commercialized by Evatran and Bosch. The two companies unveiled their PLUGLESS vehicle charging system at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The PLUGLESS charger is available for the Chevrolet Volt for $2,998 and the Nissan LEAF for $3,098.

Joachim Taiber, a Clemson professor of electrical and computer engineering, said there’s a big difference between commercial wireless vehicle chargers and the ones his research team is testing. The main differences are between the transmission communications systems and the amount of power that can be transferred.

The Clemson ICAR has been able to transfer up to 250 kilowatts (a kilowatt is 1,000 watts).

Along with Cisco, ICAR has developed a Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) technology that can support both stationary wireless charging and in-motion wireless charging with the same system architecture.

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An artists rendition of what wireless charging lanes may look like someday.

DSRC creates a vastly faster communication link between vehicles or roadway technology than say Wi-Fi, so that communications can be established even as a vehicle passes a wireless charger at high speeds.

Today, the National Highway Safety Administration is considering the DSRC protocol, which operates at 5.9 GHz, for mandatory use in vehicle-to-vehicle communication for crash avoidance. Essentially, cars will detect other cars or infrastructure with DSRC modules and automatically avoid a collision.

If every car were mandated to have the modules, a massive market could be created for using the communications protocol not only for crash avoidance, but also wireless charging, Taiber said.

Taiber, also the chief technology officer at the International Transportation Innovation Center, a 559-acre test bed in Greenville, said ICAR is planning to test the in-motion wireless charging with DSRC technology later this fall.

ICAR’s first test of its wireless charging station demonstrated power transfer systems integrated into two different Toyota vehicle models. One of the vehicles was tested at a power transfer rate of 6.9 kilowatts and achieved an overall efficiency of greater than 85%.

Because of the high efficiency of the system, the difference in charge times between a wired charging system and a wireless charging system is “minor,” Taiber said.

The idea behind dynamic wireless charging is to create a series of embedded highway stations that can incrementally recharge electric vehicles carrying mobile receivers as the vehicles drive by.

In the U.K., the government is expected to perform off-road trials of dynamic wireless charging that it acquired from researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU).

A small prototype charger from North Carolina State University is shown that can transmit ncsu-wireless-transfer-device-759x500-100624269-large.idgepower wirelessly from a stationary source to a mobile receiver. The goal is to create highway “stations” that can recharge electric vehicles wirelessly as the vehicles drive past.

The NCSU research suggests that vehicles driving on roadways with dynamic wireless charging stations could increase their driving range anywhere from 62 miles to about 310 miles.

“Currently, at peak efficiency, the new system can transmit energy at a rate of 0.5 kilowatts (kW). “Our goal is to move from 0.5 kW into the 50 kW range,” Srdjan Lukic, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at NC State and senior author of a paper on the research, told Phys.org.

“That would make it more practical,” Lukic added.

The U.S. wireless power transfer projects started in 2013 after the DOE created an $8.1 million grant for the research. The ORNL subcontracted with Clemson to develop the highway grid-side and vehicle-side communication system for wireless charging.

Taiber said the effectiveness of in-motion wireless charging depends on several things, including a vehicle’s battery technology and how much energy it can absorb.

The research project will also test the use of ultracapacitors in cars that can store energy in an electric field, rather than in a chemical reaction, and then transfer it to the vehicle battery as needed.

“The power level we designed it for is up to 250 kilowatts. So you can push a lot of power through. Obviously, how much power [the vehicle] can absorb depends on the speed of the car,” Taiber said.

For example, in urban settings, where vehicles may sit at intersections or traffic lights, the vehicles can absorb greater amounts of power, Taiber said. Conversely, vehicles traveling along high-speed highways would be able to absorb far lower amounts of power.

“We see great potential in understanding the technology of wireless charging to deliver value to our customers. In particular, we see the need to work more on dynamic wireless charging and to automate the charging process,” Jae Lee, Toyota research and development manager, said in a statement.

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ElectraMeccanica Sparrow makes you feel like Ironman

Canadian company ElectraMeccanica calls its three-wheel Sparrow the “Beetle for the 21st century”

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By Andrew McCredie Driving
Originally published: July 10, 2015

VANCOUVER — I have driven the future, and it is now. Well, maybe.

In a world of two-buck-a-litre gas, this single-seat, all-electric enclosed three-wheeler is a game-changer. Throw in a provincial/federal EV rebate of $5,000 or so to offset the $19,888 price tag and the ambitious plan to build thousands of them each year in B.C. seems even more grounded in reality. Talk with ElectraMeccanica President/CEO, it’s all but inevitable.

“This is the Volkswagen Beetle for the 21st century,” Jerry Kroll declared in the Westin-Bayshore parking lot during my pre-test drive briefing. “After 30 minutes of driving it, you feel like you are wearing Robert Downey Jr.’s Ironman suit. You’re wearing the car. It’s the way driving should be.”

Also read: Our First Drive review of the Tesla Model S P85D

As Bruce Constantineau reported recently, ElectraMeccanica has designs on building these vehicles right here in B.C. for sale in Canada and around the world. Kroll is an entrepreneur who has spent his life around cars — racing them, building them — and for the past five years, he has been developing electric drive systems in race cars at the NASA Research Park in Mountain View, California.

He’s the brains behind ElectraMeccanica, while the brawn comes from Henry Reisner, the Vancouver-based owner and operator of custom car-builder Intermeccanica. As Chief Operating Officer, it will fall on Reisner to oversee production of the single-seater at a facility Kroll estimates will employ between 500 and 1,000 “clean-tech workers.” A site for the factory has yet to be selected, but Abbotsford is leading the pack so far.

“The [Abbotsford] mayor drove this and said ‘I want one!’” Kroll said.

So what exactly is it? If it looks somewhat familiar, that’s because this pre-production model is based on the Sparrow, first built by Corbin Industries way back in 1999. Kroll worked with Corbin back then, “trying to bring it into Canada,” and earlier this year EM bought the rights and existing assets of Myers Motors, which took over Sparrow production in 2004.

But the ElectraMeccanica Sparrow prototype that I tested is different from the original in a few ways. First, lead-acid batteries have been replaced by a state-of-the-art lithium-ion drive system; secondly, due to that powertrain upgrade, gross weight has been slashed from 1,600 pounds to just 1,275. That translates into more nimble performance, and more importantly, an increased full-charge range from about 40 kilometres to more than 100.

Kroll says the plan is to have 15 or so of these pre-production models built for sale by the end of the year before switching over to the EMV17 model, which uses the exact same lithium-ion drivetrain as in the fibreglass prototype but is housed in a made-in-Canada carbon fibre body penned by car designer Rod Trenne. The Detroit-based Trenne worked on the Chevrolet Corvette C5 and designed the Mosler MT900 supercar.

The use of carbon fibre, according to Kroll, will bring the gross weight down to less than 800 lbs., meaning a longer range and even better performance. The plan is to produce and sell 120 EMV17s in 2016 and more than 1,200 in 2017. The first EMV17, says Kroll, will be road-ready by the end of this year.

Last month ElectraMeccanica received registration approval from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation (under category 97 for three-wheeled cars), “which means we can sell them now and people can drive them around.”

So, apart from Ironman wannabes, who exactly is the target market?

ElectraMeccanica president and CEO Jerry Kroll describes the Sparrow as feeling like “you are wearing Robert Downey Jr.s Ironman suit.”

“Eighty-three per cent of all commuters in North America drive by themselves 60 kilometres or less each day,” Kroll said. “In Canada, that’s 14 million people. If we sell these cars to just one-tenth of one per cent of those, it’s $280 million a year.”

He noted that’s not including another segment he sees as a natural for the car: courier fleets. In addition to the obvious operational savings, Kroll says the vehicle’s small footprint allows it to be parked in spots suited for a motorcycle or even a bicycle. Other possible buyers include municipalities and catering companies.

“The company is going public as ElectraMeccanica,” Kroll continued. “We’re currently doing round one of financing, so I’m spending all my time these days meeting with people interested in investing in the company.”

We’ll leave it to the Vancouver Sun‘s business desk to follow that side of the story. For now, let’s drive this thing.

 

Driving impressions:

Entering the Sparrow from the right hand-side door — the only door apart from the rear cargo hatch — and settling into the wide and comfortable seat, the driver’s view is not unlike that of a regular car. Steering wheel (a sporty Momo, no less). Two pedals. A turn signal stalk. A speedometer. Climate controls. A windshield wiper switch. Air vents. Smartphone holder.

The handbrake, located on your left and seemingly sourced from a Triumph TR7 parts bin, is the first tip-off that something’s amiss. Turn your head to the right and you realize you’re not in Kansas anymore. Things return to normalcy as a key gets this vehicle going, albeit one installed on the left side of the steering wheel. A full turn of it emits a beep that fills the tiny cabin, and when that stops, it’s time to turn the switch to put the Sparrow in drive.

Like any EV worth its battery pack, the only sound on acceleration is a whirr from the electric motor. Unlike any other EV, the sensation of accelerating is akin to taxiing a fighter jet down a runway. With no body mass to the right of you, it takes some getting used to, but once mastered it is truly liberating. Motorcyclists know the feeling of lots of room to roam in a single lane, and the Sparrow captures that essence but with none of the wind and engine noise of a gas-powered bike.

Despite no power steering or brakes, I never felt labouring over either duty, though Kroll did share some useful pre-drive advice: “Test out the brakes first thing to get a feeling for them.”

Like Beetles of old, the pressure you exert to slow down or stop is more than pampered 21st-century drivers are used to, but still not onerous enough to bring on thigh cramps. The only times I felt uneasy occurred when distracted pedestrians, cyclists and drivers in hulking subcompacts took slack-jawed interest and veered into my path, in attempts to either stop me outright or at least get a quick selfie. If I had a dollar for every thumbs-up I received, I could buy my very own Sparrow – without the rebate!

The one time I did stop, for an impromptu photo shoot in Stanley Park, I was besieged by the curious and peppered with questions. Even the horse-drawn carriage guy reined in his steeds to allow on-board tourists to gawk and capture the moment.

“What the heck is that thing?” drawled one. Back inside my safe cocoon I sped away, feeling like a futuristic traveller caught in the horse and buggy age. Marty McFly can keep his DeLorean.

Like a dream that ended before it began, my 30-minute test drive was over, and I found myself standing outside the Sparrow looking at it and feeling the same disconnect I felt when I first drove a Smart fortwo at 120 km/h. I was driving that thing that fast? It sure didn’t feel like it looks.

In other words, driving the Sparrow was very similar to driving a small car. It’s low centre of gravity and three-wheeled stance — Kroll pointed out three-wheels provide “the most stable platform known to humankind” — translate to a very confident handling feel, and the quick acceleration gives you the confidence to play in Vancouver’s infamous dodgy traffic.

“After driving it, when you get back into a normal vehicle, it feels like you are driving a motorhome,” Kroll told me before my test drive.

As I drove home in my compact, I had to admit he was right. As to if he’s right on ElectraMeccanica being Vancouver’s first high-volume car manufacturer, only time – and gas prices – will tell.

Narrow Track Vehicles – The Convergence of the Car and the Motorcycle

Since Nicholas Negroponte first came up with his landmark teething ring visualization of the coming together of communication, computing and content, the term convergence has become the uber buzzword. Now there’s convergence going on in the personal transport industry, with the car and the motorcycle morphing as car makers attempt to downsize their vehicles to make them better suited to the world’s increasingly crowded roads. This article begins with Nissan’s tandem two-seat, half width tilting car, the Landglider, and examines all the other work being done around the world as narrow track vehicles seriously begin to make their case.

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Jerry in BIV

Market slowly plugging into the advantages of electric vehicles

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Talk to Jerry Kroll if you have any doubts about the fun and convenience of driving EVs. He’s a race-car driver and CEO of New Westminster-based ElectraMeccanica (smallev.com), which has just launched a prototype three-wheel single-person commuting EV called the Sparrow.

“E-cars make conventional internal combustion engine cars seem like a rotary dial phone or a fax machine,” said Kroll. (An electric car just set a world record for accelerating from zero to 100 km/h in 1.8 seconds.)

“Tesla is No. 1 in the world for lots of reasons: performance, safety, satisfaction, value. No other vehicle being sold today comes close, at any price.”

EVs have massive torque, no gears and few moving parts.

“An electric vehicle has the same maintenance schedule as your refrigerator. You plug it in, maintain tire pressure, washer fluid and keep it clean,” said Kroll.

“In 15 years being around electric vehicles, I’m not aware of anyone who bought an EV and then went back to gasoline.”

Kroll added that range is not an issue for owners, noting that 83% of Canadians commute less than 30 kilometres each way. OK, so they’re fun to drive, and cities are doing a lot to encourage them, but why are 47% of Canadians not even aware of how EVs perform?

New Tesla Battery Could Take Your Home Off the Grid

Ever wish you could ditch your electric bill? Tesla is working on a house battery that could help you break up with your expensive utility company, essentially turning any home into an off-grid abode. Before you know it, a home in the suburbs could even generate enough energy to turn a profit by selling the excess back to a traditional electric company.

Like many of Tesla’s projects, this one is coming up fast. Mastermind electric power guy Elon Musk announced in an investor call that the designs for the home battery are complete. The public could get a glimpse of the design within the next month or two, with production beginning in as little as six months.

Tesla’s new stationary battery could be the gateway that finally links renewable energy to everyday consumers in a way that makes sense. The challenge of storing clean energy from solar or wind is one of the reasons people are sticking with grid power. Although Musk hasn’t commented on the cost of Tesla’s newest energy offering, chances are good that it will still represent a savings versus grid electricity over the course of its lifetime.

An innovation in energy like this isn’t just for the chic eco-friendly homeowner. These batteries could be a huge benefit for those living in areas where grid power is unreliable due to power outages. Some people respond to that situation by installing a gas- or propane-powered generator, which isn’t always practical or affordable. The battery, which Musk promises will come packaged in an attractive-looking casing to fit in with any home’s decor, will also work for commercial properties.

Curious green-minded energy buyers can listen to the investor call here.

Via Washington Post