Nearly 50 Southern California-area Fisker Karma owners drove their cars to Santa Monica Sunday to share their excitement and appreciation for the award winning Electric Vehicle with extended range (EVer).
Hosted by Fisker Santa Monica, 48 of the very first Karma owners were treated to brunch and open conversation with Executive Chairman Henrik Fisker at the exclusive Jonathan Club Beach overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Fisker executives Tony Posawatz, CEO, and Alex Klatt, Vice President of Global Design, also attended.
Brunch was followed by a scenic drive on the Pacific Coast Highway and through town to the showroom on Santa Monica Boulevard, where owners were treated to a close up look at a design prototype of Fisker Automotive’s next car, the Fisker Atlantic.
With more than 100 Karmas sold in less than 10 months, Fisker Santa Monica is one of the highest volume Fisker retailers in the world. Fisker’s global network of more than 70 retailers has sold more than 1,500 Karmas since the car went on sale in December 2011.
“I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to see how excited Karma owners get about their cars and the future of this company,” Henrik Fisker said. “I’ve been in the business a long time and truly have never seen anything like it. It was fantastic to watch all those Karmas make their way through town, knowing they weren’t using a drop of gas.”
Fisker Santa Monica principal Mike Sullivan said, “It was so great for me to show my appreciation for Fisker owners who understand you don’t have to compromise to drive more responsibly. Driving down San Vicente Blvd in a parade of 48 Fiskers in all-electric Stealth mode showed everyone a great example of the automotive future that we are hoping to build together.”
by Zach McDonald — hybridcars.com
It’s been a little more than two years since Toyota and Tesla shocked the automotive world by announcing their intention to work together on electric vehicles. At the time, the nature and extent of that cooperation were unclear, but just months later we learned that the two companies were hard at work adapting Toyota‘s RAV4 crossover into an EV.
This won’t be the first Toyota RAV4 EV to hit the market, though it will be completely technologically distinct from its predecessor. Released in 1999, the original RAV4 EV is still beloved (and driven) to this day by hundreds of passionate owners. This time around though, the RAV4 plug-in will carry a lithium ion battery pack and strong reminders of Tesla’s DNA.
Toyota has been famously reluctant to build fully-electric vehicles, due mostly to the carmaker’s unease about expensive, limited-range cars that won’t take you 100 miles in between charges. Surprisingly, Tesla feels largely the same way: the most affordable version of its Model S carries a range of 160 miles at highway speeds, more than twice the range of cars like the Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus EV.
In a pair of videos recently released by Toyota, engineers from the project tell the story of how the two carmakers came together to build one of the most intriguing vehicles to come along in years.
Both companies played to their own strengths. Tesla took the lead in providing the car’s electric drivetrain and 41.8 kilowatt-hour battery, capable of at least 100 miles of range (though a recent New York Times review found the SUV easily exceeds that number.)
Toyota was responsible for applying its renowned regenerative breaking technology, which is balanced with the Tesla drive architecture to provide an efficient, responsive ride. Modifying the body and undercarriage of the car to ensure optimal aerodynamics were another challenge, since any drag can greatly diminish an electric vehicle’s range. The RAV4 was given an enhanced spoiler, redesigned front fascia and covered underbody to achieve a coefficient of drag of around 0.3 (about 25 percent better than a standard RAV4.)
Together, Toyota and Tesla have constructed the first lithium ion-powered electric SUV on the market. Though initial production will be limited to just 2600 vehicles, demand for the car should be strong given its unique blend of attributes. If response to the first RAV4 EV is any indication, expect a chorus of calls for Toyota to build more.
Have you considered a fully electric vehicle? Or would you like to consider one but are concerned that it might not make it as far as you would like it to. What if the vehicle ran out of power? What if it leaves me stranded? Well, you are not alone. There are others out there who would consider purchasing an electric vehicle but have what we call, range anxiety.
Watch the following video as Toyota executives, engineers and designers discuss the RAV4 EV and how they plan on eliminating range anxiety by creating an aerodynamic, fully functional, and fun-to-drive vehicle without any compromises.
Electric vehicle technology is moving at a very fast pace which means there may be an EV in your very near future. Auto manufacturers are working hard to meet the requirements of the California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board’s (CARB) zero-emissions vehicle program. Toyota delivers its contribution with the 2013 RAV4 EV which is the product of a collaborative effort with Tesla Motors.
Toyota Motor Corporation’s president, Akio Toyoda and Tesla’s chairman, product architect and CEO, Elon Musk decided that their companies should develop an electric vehicle together. In order to fast track the process, rather than build a vehicle from scratch, they decided to use the existing RAV4 platform. Engineers at Toyota took the lead and the end result is an all-electric SUV with a motor based on the system in the Tesla Model S sedan.
A restyled front bumper, upper and lower grill, side mirrors, rear spoiler and an underbody designed the optimize airflow produces a lower coefficient of drag and low center of gravity. As a result, the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV has an exceptionally smooth, quiet ride, and comfortable handling. Two drive modes are available: Normal and Sport. Sport mode accelerates the RAV4 EV from 0 to 60 mph in just 7 seconds before topping out at 100 mph. Normal drive mode achieves a 0 to 60 mph in 8.6 seconds with a maximum track speed of 85 mph. Max output from the electric powertrain is 154 horsepower (115 kW).
There are two options to charge the RAV4 EV. In standard mode, which is designed to optimize battery life, the battery charges up to 35 kWh and the EPA-estimated driving range rating is 92 miles. Extended mode allows the battery to fully charge to a capacity of 41.8 kWh, resulting in an anticipated EPA-estimated driving range of 113 mph. To help optimize EV range, Toyota designed the climate control system with three modes which sets a balance between driver comfort and EV driving range. In NORMAL mode, the climate control system mimics a conventional vehicle which maximizes passenger comfort and in turn, reduces the EV range. ECO LO mode achieves the balance between cabin comfort and improved range through reduced power consumption of the blower, compressor, and/or electric heater. ECO HI further reduces blower, compressor and heater levels, offering up to 40 percent power reduction compared to NORMAL.
In addition, the unique Toyota/Tesla designed regenerative braking system works to maximize the vehicle’s kinetic energy loss and converts it to electric energy, which recharges the battery and extends driving range. The addition of cooperative regenerative braking increases driving range by up to 20 percent.
The RAV4 EV incorporates a number of unique safety features in addition to what is found in the conventional RAV4. The battery modules are encased in a structural pack surrounded by a four-sided extruded aluminum enclosure. Large aluminum rocker extrusions act as a structural attachment between the enclosure and the body as well as provide further impact protection. In addition, the chassis is specially designed to help protect the battery and inverter assemblies in the event of a collision. A rigid inverter protection brace bridges the gap between the body front cross member and the front suspension member to mitigate inverter damage by keeping the two members at a set distance from each other during a frontal crash. Special steel ramps built into the front of the undercarriage serve to deflect intrusion into the battery enclosure. In a rear impact, the battery’s rear mounting brackets can separate the battery from the body further protecting the battery enclosure from intrusion.
“A prime design target for all Toyota, Lexus and Scion vehicles featuring traction batteries is to maintain battery structural integrity and electrical isolation internal to the battery,” said Sheldon Brown, executive program manager for Toyota Engineering and Manufacturing North America. “The RAV4 EV battery and chassis are designed as a system to protect against battery ‘isolation loss’ during a crash, meaning the electrical energy is completely contained within the battery preventing any conductive path to the vehicle body. Electrical components and chassis are designed as a system to protect occupants, first responders and the battery pack itself.”
The RAV4 EV will go on sale in late summer 2012 through select California dealers, focusing on major metropolitan markets. Service for the RAV4 EV will only be available at these authorized RAV4 EV dealers. Sales volume is planned for approximately 2,600 units through 2014. The battery is warrantied for eight years or 100,000 miles.
The RAV4 EV is expected to qualify for a $2,500 rebate through the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program in California and also is eligible for a $7,500 Federal Tax Credit. The vehicle will qualify for the California High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane white sticker program.
“We believe that the RAV4 EV will attract sophisticated early technology adopters, much like the first-generation Prius,” said Bill Fay, Toyota division group vice president and general manager. “It’s designed for consumers who prioritize the environment and appreciate performance. We look forward to seeing how the market responds.”
Audi continues its commitment to innovation by launching its first plug-in electric vehicle pilot program with the Audi A3 e-tron in cities across the United States. In the following video, David Caffrey, one of Audi’s senior designers explains how Audi is tackling the next phase in the evolution of the Audi e-tron brand.