Print 15 comment(s) - last by afkrotch.. on May 24 at 8:17 PM

Standard Mazda 2 hatchback
Most emissions-free driving yet

With several other automotive giants like Ford, Nissan and Chevrolet jumping on the EV, hybrid bandwagon, it's no surprise that Mazda is following suit with their solar-to-electric converted Mazda 2 test fleet in Tsukuba, Japan.

The converted Mazda 2 EV charges from a station that is powered by the sun's rays, making it an emissions-free vehicle. Mazda provided the cars, EnerDel produced the batteries and solar energy storage units, Think Global made all-electric drivetrains, and Itochu helped with the funding. 

"EnerDel's top quality battery systems provide a robust platform for rapid -recharge," said Murase Hiroaki, deputy manager battery business unit of Itochu Corporation. 

EnerDel's large batteries store the sun's energy with solar panels attached to stationary grid-storage units. When a vehicle is charging, the juice is sent out via direct current. This direct current can fill the car to 85 percent capacity in approximately 15 minutes.

"The integration of rapid charging, smart grid and electric vehicles is a crucial step in the transition to clean, efficient, low-carbon energy and transportation systems, and something that countries all over the world are moving toward," said Charles Gassenheimer, EnerDel parent company Ener1's CEO.

"This project also demonstrates how critical a secondary-use strategy is unlocking economic value that becomes a key driver for the EV battery industry."

Drivers testing the converted Mazda 2 will obtain smart cards used for tracking charges and wear, billing and gaining access to the cars and charging stations.  The vehicles will be part of a car-sharing program allowing users and potential buyers to reserve a converted Mazda 2 ahead of release time. Reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis. 

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By Alphafox78 on 5/24/2010 12:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
I dont see any solar panels on the car. oh wait, thats just the article thats confusing, not me.

RE: panels?
By JasonMick on 5/24/2010 1:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
The converted Mazda 2 EV charges from a station that is powered by the sun's rays, making it an emissions-free vehicle. Mazda provided the cars, EnerDel produced the batteries and solar energy storage units, Think Global made all-electric drivetrains, and Itochu helped with the funding.

I don't see what's so confusing about that. There's not much of a better way to describe it than solar to electric. Not trying to be mean, but read the article, perhaps?

You're probably thinking of a "solar car", i.e. a car with solar panels on top of it, but that has nothing to do with traditional EVs. This is just a charging scheme that has a discrete solar charging station, paired with a relatively "traditional" EV.

RE: panels?
By lelias2k on 5/24/2010 1:36:28 PM , Rating: 1
I think he was referring to the first idea that comes to mind once you read the title. I thought the same thing, until I read the article. :)

RE: panels?
By The0ne on 5/24/2010 4:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
Yes lol, I had the same thought and immediately claim BS that this won't work out. At least the title caught my attention and brought me in for reading :P

This can be done on a much larger scale but it won't due to special interests. Here in San Diego, for example, would be a good place to have solar and test out the Leaf at the same time. But ain't happening. Instead, people want a wind farm >.> Good too, but why not a mixture?

RE: panels?
By afkrotch on 5/24/2010 8:17:14 PM , Rating: 2
Like a solar farm, wind farm, wave farm, and geothermal farm.

RE: panels?
By S3anister on 5/24/2010 6:27:00 PM , Rating: 3
There's not much of a better way to describe it

I blame the English language for its tendency to be so horribly vague in description, without excessive wording.

RE: panels?
By Flunk on 5/24/2010 1:59:42 PM , Rating: 2
It says under the picture that it's of a gas-powered model anyway and if you're not going to read the article all the way through why are you commenting anyway?

RE: panels?
By acase on 5/24/2010 2:42:29 PM , Rating: 5
He obviously read the article or he couldn't have made that comment. He is just referring to the misleading title. It should say something like, "Japan To Test Solar Powered Charging Stations for Mazda 2 EV's"

Yeah but how long to capture solar energy?
By Schrag4 on 5/24/2010 12:31:51 PM , Rating: 2
This direct current can fill the car to 85 percent capacity in approximately 15 minutes.

This is just how long it takes to drain the batteries in the charing station. Under ideal, sunny conditions, how long does it take to capture/store enough energy to fill the car to 85%? Did I miss that in the article? I sure hope it's less than a day...

By mattclary on 5/24/2010 1:35:16 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed. This article could have been clearer with more details of how this actually works.

Begs the question...
By therealnickdanger on 5/24/2010 12:37:38 PM , Rating: 2
Instead of going to the gas station today and choosing between diesel, 87/89/91 octane, and ethanol, will stations of the future let you pick between electricity produced from coal, solar, and nuclear?
</tongue firmly in cheek>

RE: Begs the question...
By lelias2k on 5/24/2010 1:39:05 PM , Rating: 1
don't forget cow manure... ;)

By ArtM72 on 5/24/2010 2:30:56 PM , Rating: 3
Here's how it works. Mazda took a standard Mazda 2 body and put Think's all electric drive train with EnerDel's LI ion batteries in it. EnerDel batteries also were installed in the convenience store with the charging station. The sunlight charges the batteries in the store during the day. When the car "plugs in" the 440DC current flows from the batteries in the store to charge the batteries in the car.

There is a grid connection for solar backup.

Lots of different ideas being demonstrated at once, the most climate sensitive being the solar end. On the battery side this will demonstrate the technology for secondary uses of EnerDel's batteries (in the stores) which should have 80% of their service life remaining after the car is retired.

Hope that helps.

By Murloc on 5/24/2010 12:58:51 PM , Rating: 2
article not clear.

Who is tiffany anyway.

Solar-charged driving
By cbdh19 on 5/24/2010 2:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
Clearly, many people incorrectly assume that solar panels need to be on an electric vehicle in order for it to be solar-powered.

That's why I think the term solar-charged electric vehicle makes more sense than solar-powered car.

Solar-powered = panels on the car itself. Solar-charged = panels located somewhere other than the car which generate electricity used to charge the car's on-board batteries (Source: SolarChargedDriving.Com)

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