Dan Elliott with Phoenix Motorcars talks with Bill Moore
EV World's Editor in Chief interviews Phoenix Motorcars' CEO, Dan Elliott during the recent AltCar Expo in Santa Monica, California, Behind them is one of the company's early electric SUT conversions powered by Altairnano lithium ion batteries and UQM electric drive.

Phoenix Motorcars: Going for the Gold

Exclusive streaming Quicktime video interview with Phoenix Motorcars CEO Dan Elliott.

By EV World

It began in the chilly December morning light of Vancouver, Canada during the 2005 Electric Drive Transportation Association conference.

Boshart Engineering was showing a Korean-built sport utility truck or SUT that they'd converted to electric drive. Senior management from Altairnano were at the conference, as well. All that was missing was Phoenix Motors, who had been working for years on developing their own highway-capable electric vehicle. That meeting would take place in 2006 and together the three firms would -- along with UQM in Colorado -- would develop the next generation electric vehicle powered by what all indications suggest is state-of-the-art battery chemistry.

Dan Elliott, who was originally part of the Boshart Engineering team and is now Phoenix Motors' Chief Executive Officer, took time during the recent Alt Car Expo in Santa Monica, California to talk to EV World's Bill Moore about the three-way joint venture to build and sell to fleets what is, in effect, the first "Gold Standard" electric vehicle by California Zero Emission Vehicle mandate regulations. Such EVs must be capable of safe operation at highway speeds, have a range in excess of 100 miles per charge, and be rechargeable in minutes, not hours.

As Elliott explains in this exclusive EV World video, the Phoenix motor SUT and its sister SUV -- both based on a Korean IC engine platform -- meet all three criteria. Top speed is electronically controlled at 95 mph. Range, which has been tested on a dynamometer, is in excess of 130 miles. Recharge time using 440 volts is 10 minutes... and without any apparent degradation of the cells.

While EV World didn't ask Elliott about how much the batteries cost, we've subsequently been told by a third party that the ten packs Phoenix bought from Altairnano cost $75,000 apiece, a whopping $30,000 more than the company plans to ask for the vehicle. We've not confirmed this number, but it seems to be pretty much in line with what we'd expect early prototype production cells to run. Our source informs us that Altairnano's production target price for comparable packs is $10,000.

So, how does Phoenix plan to make money if the batteries alone cost more than the price of the vehicle? By way of the ZEV credits they can bank under the California ZEV mandate system, where every "Gold Standard" EV sold in the state is worth the equivalent of $200,000, at least for 2007.

And how confident is Elliott that Altairnano's batteries will perform? In a word, very, but you'll have to watch the interview, especially near the end to see what he has to says.

Times Article Viewed: 14703
Published: 05-Jan-2007


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