Stuff We Need: The QBEAK!

Thanks to one of my favorite websites, Engadget, I’ve come across a LOT of exciting Electric Vehicle (EV) news this past week, with six posts just in the past three days.

I thought I’d start out with the beauty you see here to the right: the oddly named QBEAK.

From Danish company ECOmove — be sure to click on the tiny British flag in the upper right corner of the page for the English version of the site…and Americans, yes, this is an indicator as to how the Danes feel about us — this tiny thing is cool looking and has several attributes that make it stand out.

Motors embedded in the wheels, compact suspension, seats 3 or 6 (in the case of the latter, exactly how is not clear) people, and it gets an impressive 186 miles to a charge (compared to the Nissan Leaf‘s 100 miles). That last spec is something that really stands out for me, because that’s enough range to get me from here in Bellingham, up to Vancouver, B.C. or down to Seattle, with plenty of power left to cruise around town for the day and then plug it in for a charge overnight. (Granted, that assumes readily accessible charging stations that will hopefully be more abundant in the next 5-10 years.)

Now, I have no idea how much the QBEAK costs, but according to ECOmove’s website I could reserve one, due out in mid-2012, for as low as EUR 270 ($382 US). This is important to me, as I’ve written before, because I feel that the key to worldwide EV replacement of gasoline vehicles, from both a consumer and producer perspective, is to make EVs as affordable as possible.

Moving on, we find news about:

  • a car that is likely the antithesis of affordable, a limited production Mercedes EV;
  • if you thought the QBEAK’s 186-mile range was good, Japanese startup SIM-Drive’s SIM-LEI might interest you, with a 207-mile range;
  • better yet, the Delta E4, a carbon fiber prototype gets 250 miles per charge;
  • a KIA concept car that, while shorter on range, at only 124 miles per charge, looks roomier than most EVs I’ve seen, with four doors and four seats, and it has cool tech features, like wipers that work using air jets rather than squeegees, and mini cameras and displays rather than sideview mirrors;
  • and finally, on the battery side of things, open for business in Israel is the first battery swapping station, where owners of the Renault Fluence Z.E. can drive into the facility and sit in their cars for three minutes, while robotic arms from below replace a depleted battery with one that is fully charged, expensive but very, very cool.

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