Japan's EV Resurgence?
By EV World
THE CONCEPT CARS on display at the 2003 Tokyo Motor Show clearly indicate that carmakers are beginning to envision a "beyond-petroleum" future, one where hybrid-electric vehicles will play an increasingly important transitional role to fuel cells and, very possibly, battery electric vehicles.
Yes, you read that right, battery electric vehicles. That's not EV World's view. That's the view of Automotive Engineering International, the monthly publication of the Society of Automotive Engineers or SAE. While describing the panoply of limited production and concept fuel cell vehicles -- the largest assemblage in one location to date -- on display at the Hakuhari Messe, AEI devoted nearly a quarter of its 8-page article to the question of "EV resurgence?"
Under that provocative subtitle, AEI printed the following: "Recent rapid advancement in storage battery technology has motivated some Japanese OEMs to renew their research efforts for electric vehicles (EVs), as well as incorporate such batteries with production and prototype internal combustion engine (ICE)/electric hybrid vehicles."
The article discusses Toyota's imaginative and yet oddly practical PM (pictured above), a single-person, battery electric transporter that can stand on its "toes" to allow easy entry and egress, then adjust its wheelbase and height to driving conditions. Toyota is building a small fleet of these platooning-capable EVs for Expo 2005 in Japan. [Platooning allows vehicles to be electronically "coupled" to increase their efficiency and reduce road congestion.]
AEI also goes on to discuss other EVs including Nissan's Effis, Keio University's new Elica sedan which should be able to hit 400kph (249mph), Subaru's pure-electric R1e and the electric-ICE B9 Scrambler with an 80kph (50mph) top speed on its 60-kW magnesium lithium-ion batteries alone.
There's much more information in this jam-packed article entitled, "Concepts from Toyota" available in PDF format. It's got 46 full color photos of what the cars of our EV World may well look like later in the decade.
Thanks to AEI for a great report on Tokyo 2003.
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