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