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While certainly exciting and cool, I can't see the infastructure anywhere near in place for a widespread adoption of something like this is the U.S.. Does Europe have a better shot at implementation? I know the Smart has taken off, for sure...but this is quite a bit more radical.

Joseph Simpson

Hi Robb,

Am slightly confused by what exactly you're refering to here - so it would be cool if you want to help me out, but...

If it's the Eclectic, then I think their aim was to require no infrastructure at all - its onboard wind turbine and solar panel provide the power, so in theory you never have to 'physically' refuel it. I think it would be classified as an NEV in the US though - so if they wanted to have it classified as a car, there are definately regulatory hurdles (mostly crash related) to overcome - but they're aiming it at campuses and hotel resorts for now.

In terms of infrastructure for alternative fuel vehicles - one of the key benefits of electric vehicles is that they don't require as much infrastructure as people think. A recent US DoE study suggested that 84% of America's current vehicle fleet could be plugged-in at off peak times with no additional new power generation soures needing to be built (ie the grid capacity is already there).

Americans have an advantage over Europeans on this one, as they're more likely to own garages and driveways with easy access to a plug socket. In Europe people often have to park on the road some way from their house...

But there's certainly scope for uptake in Europe too - and I think it's becoming clear that customers want an alternative to purely gasoline powered vehicles.

Let me know if I've understood you, and what you think.


Thanks a lot for the reply, Joe.

Let me try an clarify...I was looking at this thing on a much larger scale. As an NEV, it surely looks like a winner since, as you said it does not require any additional fueling infastructure...a great thing for sure.

I'm just not conviced of the usefulness of any vehicle on (current) American roads with a top speed of 30 mph. They would be swallowed alive by our rediculous network of highways and freeways, not to mention the lack of usable public transit (exceptions being cities a few large cities) that would fascilitate short distance commutes on a regular basis.

The current suburban-American with a two car garage would find it hard to give up that precious spot in their two-car garage for a vehicle that can be driven on but a few roads, at low speeds, with SUV's towerring right beside them.

This is definitely a step forward in thinking for the NEV market, there is no doubt. But for NEV's to ever have a place alongside the Hummers of North America (and outside of gated communities golf courses) the urban planners and highway engineers need to step up.

That said, i hope it takes off. it's a great idea, but for now my biodiesel Jetta and a bicycle make the perfect two-mode package and really the most sense for me. There are very few conditions in America where the average person here could not get by with something similiar. Things are generally really close, and require a small, light, portable mode (bicycle/segway/moped) or really spread out and require a car (since there are few roads with speed limits under 45 mph, but I can't quantify this so take it as anecdotal). Roads take up so much real-estate here that re-structurring them to allow for relatively large footprint vehicles including the Eclectic and others limits the usefulness of NEVs here in The States.

How does Europe stand up when it comes to actually being able to use and NEV-sized mode?

Wow, that almost turned into a rant. Hope that cleared up the comment... Cheers

amitha sannasgala

iwant to be a patner in electric car bussiness

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