Con­ver­sions pow­er­a­head

Lancers run­ning off bat­ter­ies are on the draw­ing board, writes Mark Hinch­liffe

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Prestige -

YOUR first elec­tric car could be a con­verted, cur­rent petrol-model Mit­subishi Lancer. A Bris­bane com­pany aims to sell them next year from $48,990.

Deep Green Re­search (DGR) di­rec­tor Michael Gutteridge says the cars will be more af­ford­able than a Prius hy­brid lux­ury model with cheaper run­ning costs and bet­ter per­for­mance.

They will come with a re­vers­ing cam­era, park­ing sen­sors, GPS, Blue­tooth ca­pa­bil­ity, five-star crash rat­ing, five-year war­ranty and a swap­pable bat­tery that snaps in and out and costs about the same as a ‘‘swap-and-go’’ gas bot­tle.

Gutteridge hopes to com­pete in the Bathurst 12-hour race with a high­per­for­mance pro­duc­tion model based on a Lancer Evo and cost­ing $115,990.

‘‘We’ll have our own fi­nan­cial and in­surance pack­ages,’’ he says. ‘‘ We want to make it as easy as pos­si­ble to own an elec­tric car.’’

Gutteridge, a for­mer se­nior sci­en­tist in the Queens­land re­sources and mines depart­ment, is rais­ing up to $1.5 mil­lion to be­gin mak­ing mo­tors and bat­tery boxes, and con­vert­ing the Lancers in the mid­dle of next year.

He ex­pects to make about 100 in the first full year, dou­bling ev­ery fol­low­ing year and re­turn­ing pre-tax profit of $40m af­ter five years with a staff of about 30.

Gutteridge is not yet re­leas­ing the name for the new, elec­tric ve­hi­cles.

DGR is also test­ing a Honda Civic and used it to com­pete in the 2009 Global Green Chal­lenge where it con­sumed power at 85Wh/km.

‘‘That’s like get­ting a Com­modore to do 1.3 litres for 100km,’’ Gutteridge says. The base model elec­tric Lancers will be pow­ered by a lithium-ion phos­phate bat­tery with a range of 100-140km. The pre­mium mod­els will use a lithium poly­mer bat­tery with range of 210-315km.

Base mod­els will have 124kW of power and 250Nm com­pared with the petrol Lancer’s 113kW/198Nm.

The elec­tric ‘‘Evo’’ model will have 245kW and 500Nm with a top speed of 250-300km/h. Con­ver­sion re­quires the re­moval and sale of the petrol en­gine with Evo en­gines fetch­ing about $7500. It is re­placed with an elec­tric mo­tor, con­troller and re­duc­tion gear, but the trans­mis­sion and dif­fer­en­tial are re­tained. Though the Civic test car has an au­to­matic trans­mis­sion, the elec­tric Lancers will have a five-speed man­ual gear­box that will also op­er­ate in sec­ond or third around town ‘‘like an au­to­matic’’.

There is a sim­u­lated clutch and the car won’t stall when stopped in gear. There is a charger on board that can charge from a 10amp, 15amp or three­p­hase power out­lets. A full charge from flat will take seven hours on 10amp, but the car will be able to be plugged into two out­lets halv­ing the charg­ing time.

DGR will also in­stall so­lar pan­els on the roof of a cus­tomer’s garage for $2500 af­ter the govern­ment re­bate.

Fully charged: Deep Green Re­search di­rec­tor Michael Gutteridge with a Honda Civic con­verted to elec­tric­ity.

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