Econintersect: A Danish company is planning to produce an EV (electric vehicle) that will travel nearly 500 miles between "refueling," according to an article in GizMag. However, as soon as you start to read the article it is evident that the EV is actually an EV Hybrid. The batteries are being recharged in use by a new fuel cell which will run on methanol. Although details are limited, it seems that methanol is introduced to the fuel cell system via an "integrated reformer" which may serve the purpose of hydrogen generation, which is what the fuel cell ultimately needs for generating electricity.
Some details from GizMag:
A collaborative project involving ECOmove, Insero E-Mobility and Serenergy is aiming to produce a fuel cell range extender for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) that should boost the distance between charges to at least 497 miles (800 km). The first vehicle to receive the new bio-methanol-based Modular Energy Carrier concept (MECc) cells will be the QBEAK car we featured yesterday.
A prototype of the car is pictured below. A version of this design will be available later in 2012, aimed at city driving usage. The vehicles can seat up to six passengers, but all passenger seats are removable for cargo transport.
Below is a picture of the lithium battery pack that the car uses:
A picture of the fuel cell is shown below. The GizMag article indicates that both the battery system and the fuel cells are stackable (as well as an larger capacity methanol fuel tank (2.5 gallons is standard) for much extended range operation and/or performance options.
Meanwhile a new all-electric vehicle is now available from Ford: the 2013 Ford Focus Electric. The American car company has retrofitted a Ford Focus to operate as a plug-in EV with a range of at least 74 miles, with possibly up to 100 miles for light-footed drivers. However, there will be no 3-minute refuelings with the Ford EV. Recharging can take up to 4 hours, using a specially designed recharging station. Other recharging options will take longer. The EV version of the Focus will cost more than double the "gas guzzling" models.
Since the EV is built into a Focus it can be assembled on the regular production line with specific unique steps for the differences from the gasoline models. This means that Ford can build or cut EV production without the logistics problems of a dedicated line for a unique design. It also means that Ford can chose to build only to order, which is what they are doing at the present time.
The first video below is a promo for the Danish QBEAK and the second is from Ford.
Danish MECc EV project promises 500 mile range and "refuel" times of less than three minutes (Paul Ridden, GizMag, 26 July 2012)
First full-body version of QBEAK (Ecomove website)
The 2013 Ford Focus Electric (Ford website)