One of the largest – if not the largest – problems with electric cars becoming a complete reality is the limitation of the lithium-ion battery. One issue is the fact that they are extremely susceptible to extreme heat and cold. Both ends of the temperature spectrum result in serious energy loss, which, in turn, creates excessive battery usage to obtain the same results. This is exactly why the estimated mileage of EVs can vary greatly, depending on the environment.
To help regulate the battery temperature, EV manufacturers today are using liquid coolant to maintain an optimal temperature, just like the coolant works in an internal combustion engine. This liquid come with added expense, as it is expensive to manufacture and adds in a complex system to regulate the coolant temperature.
A123, a leading battery manufacturer for EVs, recently developed and is currently testing a battery it dubbed the Nanophosphate EXT, which can handle extreme hot and cold without requiring any coolant to maintain its temperature, per A123. In testing, this new lithium-ion battery held roughly 90 percent of its energy capacity in 113-degree heat, which shows it can take heat.
According to reports, cold testing is underway at a temperature of -22 degrees Fahrenheit and A123 claims that the batteries deliver 20 percent more power than standard coolant-regulated batteries at the same temperature.
In addition to it not needing temperature regulation, A123 also claims that Nanophosphate EXT batteries can last two to three times longer than an equivalent lithium-ion battery.
Combining more energy at extreme temperatures, deletion of the complex cooling system, and the lighter nature of these batteries, thanks to the lack of coolant, this new battery technology appears to be nothing short of a winner. With developments like this new battery and the high-tech and high-performance nature of EVs like the Tesla Model S and Fisker Karma , we just may see EVs become more of a reality to replace Dinosaur flesh-burning vehicles in the next 10 years.
We’ll keep you updated if anything new comes from A123’s research.
Click past the jump to read A123’s official presser about this new technology.
This may surprise many of you, but the simple fact is that many automotive manufacturers who take their chance in the luxury car market, or supercar market, actually lose money from the venture.
This is exactly the case with the Lexus LFA , and despite its $375,000 price tag, the company has made no money with its V10-powered supercar and it’s the same story for many other manufacturers. This also helps explain why the next LFA may cost twice as much as the original, as the Japanese firm cannot afford to lose any more money on the vehicle.
However, by some miracle, Fisker has managed to develop and produce its advanced Karma sedan without losing a penny and this is backed up by the fact that the small Californian firm has already delivered 1,000 vehicles in the first quarter of 2012 and raked in $100 million in revenue.
Now these results would be all good and well if Fisker was satisfied having only one model for the coming years, but they’re not. In fact, the brand hopes to put the Atlantic concept into production as soon as possible and needs to acquire as much funding from the U.S. government as possible, as well as maintain the already impressive sales figures of the Karma.
One of the auto industry’s highly anticipated secrets is finally ready to break cover at the 2012 New York Auto Show .
For the fine folks of Fisker , the debut of the Fisker Atlantic - ’twas once codenamed "Project Nina" - marks as a celebration in its own right, a culmination of years of hard work and dedication.
And now that it’s ready for its world premier, Fisker has come out with the first official details of the car, as well as photos that finally gives us a good look at what they’ve been working on all this time.
Judging by its looks, the Atlantic looks like a bigger version of the Karma, albeit with a more pronounced stance that’s typical of its sedan form. The unmistakable Karma grille is also present, which we’ve never been fans of from the beginning.
All in all, though, the Atlantic looks pretty neat and when matched with a hybrid powertrain should make for a model that would draw the interest of a lot of people.
UPDATE 05/21/12:InsideEVs appears to have discovered new information about the Fisker Atlantic, involving the car’s official power train and how much it’s going to cost.
While we initially thought the the car would have a 2.0-liter engine similar to the 328i sedan with a matching electric motor, producing a total of 240 horsepower, it appears that the Atlantic will have a little bit more ponies than we thought. According to InsideEV, the car will be powered by a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and an electric drivetrain, producing an output of 300 horsepower with a 0-60 mph time of 6.5 seconds and CO2 emissions of around 50 g/km.
It looks like the Atlantic will be carrying a sticker price of anywhere between $50,000 - $60,000. That’s still a far departure from the Karma, which retails now for just under $100,000.
Find out more about the Fisker Atlantic after the jump.
Our favorite Youtube user, Marchettino, has managed to delight us one more time by attending the 2012 edition of the Top Marques Monaco to film all of the amazing vehicles in attendance. We have to admit the list of supercars is quite impressive.
For those who don’t know, the Top Marques is an important supercar show that brings together some of the most expensive and exclusive supercars, hypercars, and tuning projects every year. It’s kind of like Christmas for us auto journalists, but without the big, jolly guy giving one of these supercars to us as a present. This kind of Christmas comes with huge prices and tremendous power backing it up.
Our favorite from the entire list of vehicles in attendance this year is the Koenigsegg Agera R , but the list is much, much longer.
Hit the jump for a full list of the cars featured in the video and pick out your favorite!
Fisker has been one of the more exciting rollercoaster rides in the automotive industry, as of late. In 2010, it was developing an extended range hybrid, then known as the Nina , and the Department of Energy was interested enough to provide the struggling company with a $529 million loan. This loan was three fold; part of it was for additional research for the Karma, part was for the Nina’s development, and the final portion was to renovate the old GM plant in Delaware.
Apparently Fisker didn’t meet the DOE’s expectations and they froze the loan in 2011, due to “unmet milestones.” Fisker then insisted that production of the Atlantic (the production name of the Nina) will commence at the Delaware plant, despite laying off 26 employees in early-February.
Well, the layoffs are still coming, as Fisker just let go of an additional 12 employees, including engineers and maintenance technicians, from its Delaware plant, which one laid off engineer called “absolutely empty.”
This is really making it look as if the Atlantic will not be produced in the Delaware plant. For that matter, it is starting to look like the Fisker brand as a whole may be in some significant trouble. The true question here is will the DOE see that Fisker’s recent progress is good enough to thaw out those loan funds and allow the company to continue its renovation of the Delaware plant and research on the Atlantic project? Or will the DOE watch Fisker squirm as it gasps for air wherever it can?
Chances are releasing the loan funds will never happen and it is looking like Fisker may fizzle out and end up amongst the heap of failed car companies, alongside Packard, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac . Only time will tell, but seeing the Atlantic – an affordable hybrid sports sedan – hit the market would be a great thing for the environment and the entire hybrid realm.
As much as we try to resist talking about every single celebrity’s car, there are some cases where a celebrity car also happens to be 100% ridiculous. In those cases, well, we just can’t help ourselves. Enter in, Justin Bieber’s 2012 Fisker Karma .
We aren’t reporting on the fact that this teen pop idol is being environmentally friendly, nor that he was handed the keys to this beautiful black Fisker Karma free of charge. Nope, that’s not the story. The story is that this 18-year-old pop sensation turned this beautifully sculpted ECO-supercar into a rolling mirror, literally.
We are cool with a little chrome, but there is a point when it becomes excessive. Mr. Bieber, you hit that point of excess, then broke through the barrier and tossed a live grenade at the remainder of that barrier to make sure it can never be crossed again.
This young man chromed out the entire car, not just a few accents here and there, the e-n-t-i-r-e car. Top to bottom coated in shiny, sunlight-reflecting chrome. Now, if he lived somewhere that the sun wasn’t excruciatingly intense, that might be cool, but this dude lives in California. As you can see from the above video, the sunlight creates a nearly blinding reflection on the car’s surface, which we would assume is illegal.
Um, nope, according to California law, a fully chromed out car is perfectly legal, but those pretty little mood lights under the front bumper are not legal. I remember getting pulled over repeatedly in Pennsylvania for my Camaro’s exhaust being too loud, that monstrosity of a Karma is louder than my Camaro’s exhaust could have ever been.
Hit the jump to see this beautiful machine before Bieber ruined, err, customized it.
We’ve heard, but not seen, a lot about Fisker’s newest model, the Nina. At some point, it only seemed right for Fisker to finally give us a good look at what they’re working on, right? Well, they finally did, except that there’s not a whole lot to work with as far as what they have shown.
The image is a teaser sketch of the Fisker Nina, a plug-in hybrid coupe that appears to share the same design language of the Karma with the former looking to be proportioned a little bigger than the latter.
Not much was mentioned about the Nina, except that it’s set to make its debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on any new developments surrounding the Fisker Nina. If for nothing else, we’ll at least have a good idea on what Fisker is planning for their post-Karma offering.
While the development of charging stations and wireless charging continues on a productive path, some people choose to charge their vehicles in a much more practical - and dedicated - fashion. We received a tip on an owner of a Fisker Karma in Paris that goes to great lengths - literally - to charge his hybrid sedan.
In the 16th District of Paris in "Place d’iena," where homes sell for about $3 million, a reader was able to take a picture of this Fisker Karma with its extension cord snaked out of its window. The extension cord was then stretched up to the owner’s window and undoubtedly plugged in to charge. As if that’s not ballsy enough in a neighborhood where thieves probably salivate at the opportunity of someone slipping up in their defenses, the owner left the car there overnight! This guy must really want to make sure his car is charged before going to work in the morning.
As a refresher, the Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Once the juice runs out of the batteries, a GM-sourced 2.0-liter gas engine producing 260 hp generates the electricity needed to power the sedan. Fisker says the Karma makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.
Jay Leno may be losing his touch. The Fisker Karma made its debut a few months ago and the car has only now made it into the late night talk show host’s garage for inspection. Of course, they could have been waiting for all of their ducks to be in a row, considering the vehicle showed up with the founder of the company — and former Aston Martin designer - Henrik Fisker.
The video is 20 minutes long and in it, Fisker explains the technology behind this impressive hybrid sedan in detail, as well as talks about the story behind this $95,900 luxury sedan.
Refresher: The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid that uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power two 200+ hp electric motors for about 50 miles. Fisker says the Karma achieves the 0 to 60 mph sprint in less than 6 seconds and can hit a top speed of more than 125 mph.
Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few months, everyone knows that Charlie Sheen has been falling into a downward spiral filled with drugs, prostitutes, and questionable cases of "winning." Fed up and insulted, CBS officials cast off the tainted star and replaced him by actor and comedian, Ashton Kutcher. Not a bad replacement if you can get it, but in watching Kutcher’s first episode, we noticed another star that was not so heavily marketed. Kutcher’s ride in the series is the hybrid Fisker Karma .
The sleek extended-range electric sedan made its debut in the show when Walden Schmidt (played by Kutcher) drove up to the house. CBS undoubtedly provided the character with an up and coming hybrid car to play up Kutcher’s good boy character and leave behind the bad boy essence of Sheen.
When discussing the choice to allow CBS to use the vehicle, Fisker spokesman, Roger Ormisher, said: "We are delighted to be have been pro-actively chosen as Ashton’s car on Two and a Half Men – it will give Fisker amazing visibility not only in the US but internationally too. The on-going partnership with Two and a Half Men is one that is both exciting and motivational for everybody here at Fisker Automotive."