Numero Uno: Mexico City's Electric Sentra
By EV World
It's amazing what determination and a deadline can do.
The car you are looking at in the photo above is a 1997 Nissan Sentra, known as the Tsuru in Mexico where there are an estimated one million of them on the roads, perhaps a quarter to a third of them in government fleets and commercial taxi service.
In just a year's time, a small team of Mexican businessmen have pulled together an ambitious program to convert at least 1000 others like it belonging to the municipal government of Mexico City. As of Tuesday, May 8, 2007, the project has the official blessing of the Mayor. More information on their plans are revealed in Viva la R-EV-olución!.
But we wanted to give all our readers an opportunity to learn a little bit about the program and who better to do it than one of the key team members, Luis Peres, who develops real estate and co-owns an industrial coatings plant in Texas. The video below was also recorded on Sunday, May 6th during a brief test drive near the National University of Mexico on the south side of the city.
Peres and his associates, who formed Electro Autos Eficaces de Mexico or EAE, also have two other Sentras being converted by two different conversion specialists in the United States utilizing different electric drive systems, which they will then spend the summer evaluating before committing to a particular supplier. The supplier of Tsuru Conversion No. 0001 is Canadian-based Azure Dynamics.
Before video taping Senor Peres, our publisher, Bill Moore drove the car several mlles and reports that he found it responsive, quiet and surprisingly easy to drive despite not having electric power steering, which was kept off the car, along with electric air conditioning, to keep the system as simple as possible, as well as the cost down.
The following day, Bill also got to ride in the car as it was being driven by Marti Batres, the Secretary for Social Development for Mexico City, whose 22 million population makes it a virtual country unto itself; and Fernando Menendez, the chief advisor to Mayor Marcelo Ebrard. Again the car performed flawlessly and both officials were completely satisfied, though naturally interested in the cost of program, which is expected to be funded solely from the savings in fuel and maintenance the city would other have to spend on each vehicle.
By late summer, EAE should be ready to move forward with conversion number 0004 and beyond.
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