I’m sure many of you have seen the excellent pictures of NEVS new prototype of the electric car, EV-1.
Last Friday I went to see the car live and to get a closer look at the car in Trollhättan.
I will not repeat the facts from the release, if you want to take a closer look at the presentation from NEVS, check it out here. This will be some personal reflections and observations, without testing the car.
The first thing I noticed when I saw the EV was that except from the yellow line on the bumpers with text that say this is a electric vehicle (“elbil”), and the fact the car is missing a exhaust-system it looked pretty like the other 2014 9-3 Aero’s from Nevs. The first things that I found out look different on this particular prototype (NEVS have some more EV-prototypes) is the wheels (17″ ALU59 with 225/50 tyres), the blue Ice-block headlamps and regular halogen foglights (2014 9-3 use as we know LED-lamps). All in all, without the yellow tape, this could be a face-lifted regular everyday-use car – in other words a perfect car for testing.
One more thing I noticed pretty soon was the ride height, without any proof or measuring, for me it can look like the same ride height as the 9-3x. For me it sounds reasonable, because the batteries of the car is mounted under the car where the petrol-tank and exhaust-system is mounted on a “normal” 9-3 – and this is giving the car an immediate benefit; it is just as practical as the 9-3 sedan we know. Another benefit having the batteries under the car is the weight-issue, doing it this way is giving a low center of gravity since the batteries is pretty heavy. One more thing regarding the ride-height, destroy a battery isn’t a thing you want to do, most because high voltage, and second because the price of the battery. For a EV the total cost of the batteries about 40% of what the car costs. But if the accident is a fact does this prototype have approximately 190 batteries in total, and they is grouped in 11 separate modules, so you can change only one module if necessary.
When we talk about the batteries, the guys from NEVS told me the batteries is planed to last the entire life of the car. You can charge the battery approximately 5000 times, so if you charge your EV every day it will be about 13.5 years. One of the things NEVS do to increase the lifetime of the batteries is to not take out max power from them, and they are also have plans for cooling down the batteries.
The charging of th batteries must be done from a standard 16A plug, the prototypes is not support faster charging yet, but that is of course something NEVS will work with. The battery-pack is 37kWh in total, and it will take about 10h to charge.
So if we go to the inside of the car is it as I said earlier pretty like the regular 2014 9-3 Aero, even the sound isolation is at this prototype is exactly like the the 1024 9-3 Aero. The first thing you will noticeis that there is no gear-shifter. That is replaced with four buttons (R,N,P and D), and the function is like a car with automatic transmission – the big difference is that you push the button instead of moving the gear shifter. The instruments is also different, there we find the tachometer you will find a “range-meter”, wich tell you how many kilometres you can drive before the battery is empty. Where we usually find the fuel-gauge we have a gauge with the same function, but with “fuel-gauge” design. We find find the speedometer in its usual place, but it’s only scaled to 160kph. Now the EV prototypes is limited to max 120kph, so at this stage this isn’t a big issue. You also find a Ecometer where we find the turbo-meter, this will help the driver to drive economic so you can take out longest possible range, wich for the prototypes is about 200km.
The observe reader will recognise the instruments, the hardware are taken from SAABs e-Power concept, but NEVS have developed new software. If this is something NEVS will keep, or if they will develop something new is a open question. I think this looks OK, but remember this is a prototype and the focus right now is to test technical solutions – not to make fancy instruments 😉
In the interior we also find another great feature we in SU crew have waited for; the new Infotainment!
This is a thing that isn’t exclusive for the EV, as soon it’s ready we will also find it in the 9-3 Aero. Sadly the Infotainment wasn’t ready, so I can’t say anything about functions, but the Infotainment is as we had written before based on a Android device, and that opens for NEVS to make their own user interface and maybe doing their own special apps for service-points, charging-points and so on. But I can say it looked great, with this new touch-screen the dashboard looked more clean then ever, it’s no need to say I liked this very much 😉
So what will be the next step for the EV prototypes? From what I see I think NEVS will be working on slimming the 9-3, every unnecessary kilo slimmed away is extra range. A question is also how whey are planing to heat up the couple during the winter. If the fan is going to use power from the battery-pack we will have a lower range during the winter, and personally I think this is a important question for many here in Scandinavia. We will have the same range that we are used to have summertime, and we want a warm and comfortable car =)