Category Archives: -Other EVs-

The 1,000 hp VOLAR-e All Wheel Drive Electric Supercar

Batman music is an appropriate theme for something I could imagine in Bruce Wayne’s, you know, bat-garage.


Spanish industrial design firm Applus Idiada has formally presented a new electric race car concept called the Volar-e.

The Volar-e is one of the most powerful electric cars ever built and was showcased for the first time at a special event at the Circuit de Catalunya just outside of Barcelona, Spain, earlier today.

Its makers claim the car delivers a combined output of 1,000 horsepower and 737 pound-feet of torque, from a total of four electric motors powered by a lithium-ion battery.

The battery, which is made up of 10 individual cells, has its own rating of 38 kilowatt-hours and is said to take between 15 and 20 minutes to charge using a special fast-charging system. To help maintain charge, a regenerative system also features, helping to top up the batteries during breaking.

The technology behind the Volar-e was developed by Applus Idiada in collaboration with another firm specializing in high-performance electrics, Croatia’s Rimac Automobili, which recently unveiled its own 1,088-horsepower electric car.

Applus Idiada says the Volar-e will accelerate to 62 mph from rest in just 3.4 seconds and reach a governed top speed of 186 mph. Perhaps not surprisingly, the company hasn’t mentioned any range, as driving electric cars in race conditions is a sure way to deplete the batteries in a matter of minutes.

What may come as a surprise, however, is that the project received 50 percent of its funding from the European Commission, which says the aim of the project is to address the concerns of consumers who may be reluctant to purchase an electric car, such as limited driving range and long charging times.

The range of this vehicle is really going to be a determinant of whether the VOLAR-e can concept technology can be transferred to commercial use. It doesn’t really matter how fast an electric vehicle can charge and accelerate if it can only do one loop around the track before losing power. The design is beautiful, however the color scheme is definitely meant for a track car. Compare this to other super electric concept cars like the Eliica, the Ultimate Aero GT, and Venturi Volage.

Cambodia Unveils the Angkor EV 2013

Cambodia has unveiled a pretty cool looking little EV with scissor doors.  But with a top speed of 60 Km/hour (37 mph), it’s no Lamborghini Murciélago. The Angkor EV probably has a little pep accelerating to that top speed, but obviously there is no 0-60 time yet. The manufacturer claims the two-door can travel 300 km or 186 miles between charges, which is really not bad for a cheap little e-car.   At a price point of $10,000, it might be a solid economic choice for those that only do urban driving. But I must say, the doors are kind of funny way to pimp this affordable, eco-ride.

Cambodia’s Heng Development Company has branded the EV the  Angkor, after the Angkor Wat Hindu temple, and powerful Civilization world wonder if you are into Sid Meier’s strategy games. Below is a peek into Cambodian English news special, where you can see the Angkor EV’s scissor doors in action, while driving, oddly. Does anybody remember “ghost riding the whip?”


Update on the Lightning GT

The Lighting GT was Great Britain’s answer to the Tesla Roadster in early development, and now the Model S in 2013. However with the current exchange rate the GT is going to set wealthy patrons back about a quarter of a million dollars or 150,000 British pounds. The electric supercar is hand built in Coventry, with 90% of the parts sourced from Great Britain. Right now, they are building 20 vehicles to the specifications of future owners.

The Lighting GT uses a unique battery technology, Lithium Titanate, with two different storage capacity configurations, 36 or 44 kWh, giving the vehicle a range of 120 or 150 miles. The batteries can be fully charged using a fast-charger in about 2.5 hours. The twin 150 kW electric motors power the back wheels, capable of pushing the supercar from 0-60 MPH in 4.5 seconds.

The body of the GT is made of carbon fiber with a lightweight aluminum honeycomb chassis. Interior and exterior are built to the specifications of the owner.  Like anything in life, you can let your imagination run wild, if you have the funds.

Pre-orders are available now.

Lightning GT interview

On the Skoda Octavia Green E Line

We’ve never mentioned the Czech Automaker, Skoda, before on this site, but there is a first time for everything.  Skoda is a fully owned subsidiary of Volkswagen. They currently manufactures the Skoda Octavia Green-tec model, which achieves 35 MPG from its 4 cylinder intercooled, turbocharged engine.  The Czech company is in the process of enhancing its status as a fuel efficient automaker by testing the Skoda Octavia Green E Line electric concept car in the Czech Republic government.  The electric vehicle technology will be available in mass  production as the Skoda Octavia Combi in 2014.  Below is a video of a test run with the concept:

Skoda is currently testing an electric fleet of vehicles based on the Skoda Octavia Combi because its modular design allows for easy installation of the lithium ion 26.5 kWh, 180 cell battery pack, electronic control unit, and the electric engine with its constant power of 60 kW and max power of 85 kW. The electric vehicle provides immediate, maximum torque of 270 Nm,  which gives the car enough power for sharp acceleration and a good amount of agility and responsiveness, which the driver will appreciate mainly in busy city traffic. The Octavia Green E Line accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in twelve seconds, and the car’s maximum speed is limited to 135 km/h.

Recently, the Czech Ministry of Industry and Trade have begun deployment of the Skoda Octavia Green E Line test fleet.  This is the second Czech ministry to do so, after the Ministry of the Environment adopted a fleet of the electric vehicles.  The ministries use the Green E Lines for official trips of up to 150 km.

Skoda explains its recent strategy in a statement from their website:

ŠKODA’s activities in the field of electric mobility are an important element of its broad-based drive and fuel strategy. This includes is continuous refinement of its highly efficient TDI and TSI engines, for which ŠKODA AUTO is currently building a new power plant testing centre in Mladá Boleslav, which will also serve for testing drives using different fuel varieties.

The Fastest Electric Vehicles on Earth

Electric vehicles have full torque, all the time, with no transmission, clutch, oil pan, exhaust system,or  fuel tank to weigh it down, it is no wonder they are some of the fastest land objects on wheels. I was asked to include this speedy infographic on my website, and I was happy to oblige. Credit to carfinance24/7, interesting stuff.

Amp Motorworks Hands Keys to Northern Lights Energy

amp taylor and gislason

On Wednesday, Amp Motorworks ceremoniously handed over the keys for the first of 1,000 electric Mercedes-Benz ML 350 SUVs to Gisli Gislason, the chairman and chief executive of Iceland’s Northern Lights Energy.  When Amp’s PR man invited me to the festivities, I decided a short road trip through the Midwest wouldn’t be too painful a price to see Amp’s headquarters for the first time and attend the press conference.

Amp’s digs are situated right off the Ronald Reagan Cross County Parkway in the pleasant suburban town of Blue Ash on the outskirts of Cincinnati.  The headquarters includes a modernly designed administrative building and about 10 remarkably clean car bays on each side.  Electric vehicle garages don’t have to deal with as much grime as you average Jiffy Lube.

amp motorworks headquarters

In the showroom, I was able to speak with the CEO of Nothern Lights Energy briefly.  At roughly $100,000 a pop, Gisli Gislason is confident that he can sell the units over in Iceland for a profit.  Since there are no import tariffs on electric vehicles in Iceland, the electric upfitted SUV’s will be sold for about the same price as a regular Mercedes ML 350.  When you factor in the high gasoline prices, about $8 a gallon right now, a Mercedes EV becomes a logical buy in the island country.  Iceland also generates much of its electricity through geothermal and hydroelectric sources, which means these electric vehicles will truly be clean cars.

The new CEO of Amp, James Taylor, gave a short speech along with Gisli Gislason, and even Mark Mallory, the Mayor of Cincinnati, made an appearance.  Taylor symbolically handed over the keys to the converted ML 350 on the showroom floor to the Icelandic CEO, who happily and carefully drove the car out the garage door to much fanfare and photographs.

Afterwards, I spoke to a mechanic about the day-to-day process of assembling these upfitted electric vehicles.  He was a retiree who had a dream of building his own electric vehicles, but jumped at the opportunity to work on the EVs at the AMP garage. He said there are about 4 mechanics and 4 electrical engineers in the garage.  Which raised a logistical question of how they were going to expand to meet the newfound demand of 1,000 vehicles in five years.

amp battery packs
About three units of 32 lithium iron phosphate batteries go into the Electric ML 350.

I met with JD Staley, Director of Sales and Marketing to test-drive the electric Mercedes.  I expected it to behave much like their Equinox I test-drove last summer.  But the ride was exceptionally smooth, and the ML 350 handled like a luxury vehicle.  Aside from the lack of engine noise, a casual driver would not be able to distinguish the way it drives from a regular Mercedes SUV.  This is what Amp intended, to make the transition to electric as gentle as possible.  I was allowed to floor it on the backstretch behind the facility, and acceleration is pretty good with more torque than the specified 10-second 0-60 time lets on.  With an approximate range of 100 miles per charge and 5 seat capacity, the Amp Electric ML 350 should be an easy sell in Iceland.  While driving, I asked Staley about how they were going to satisfy the order of 1,000 vehicles.  He said they are looking at cites expand their assembly capacity so they can produce 20 vehicles a month starting next Fall.

Amp electric ml350

Amp is still a small company with great ambition and tall orders to fulfill.  I first covered them in 2008 and in spite of the economy, they managed to grow and keep putting real, drivable electric vehicles on the road.  In the coming years, Amp will be expanding capacity and creating jobs in the Midwest.  With innovative ideas and the courage to follow through, Amp is a model 21st century American company I look forward to seeing grow.