EV Porsches? They Are Everywhere!
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Thread: EV Porsches? They Are Everywhere!

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    EV Porsches? They Are Everywhere!

    EV Porsches?  They Are Everywhere! It’s a fascinating phenomenon, how new trends and technologies just seem to keep sneaking up on us, in ever-increasing frequency… changing the game, almost in front of our eyes.

    And the really big ones can catch us totally unawares. One day, we glance up, and a technology is exploding all around us, splattering us with evidence. It’s as if someone threw a bunch of firecrackers in a patch of watermelons.

    Exhibit A is the Porsche EV trend. I blinked a few times and, boom, Porsche introduced the Cayenne Hybrid, announced a Panamera Hybrid, announced a Boxster E all-electric roadster, announced a production 918 hybrid supercar and took their GT 3R-Hybrid racecar to the track, and won.

    Then I read in the Wall Street Journal about how, with federal government funding, several companies are installing thousands of home and public car chargers, up and down the West Coast, to lay “the groundwork for a national network, part of a costly experiment to see whether Americans will embrace electric cars.”

    And the Level 3 charger, a commercial use only, 480 volts DC, 85 amps version for this test, will charge a car in a maximum of 26 minutes, which isn’t exactly stop and go, but does almost become viable, if one does a bit of shopping at the next-door mini-mart and adds a bio break.

    And I picked up the October 2010 issue of GT Porsche magazine, to read about how “a guy working out of a restoration and custom shop in Tallahassee, Fl has quietly beaten them all to building a zero-emission, all electric 911 road car.”

    Then it hit real close to home. I bumped into a guy named Mike Owens at a local Porsche club event. He said his company is building EV versions of 356 Speedsters and 550 Spyders. Out of a local restoration and custom shop.

    Firecrackers and watermelons? I take it back. It’s more like howitzers and shrapnel, on the battlefield of America’s and the world’s roads.

    Want to peak under the curtain? I did. So I met up with Mike, who it turns out is in charge of Business Development for a firm called Duke’s Garage, which is actually, you guessed it, a custom and restoration shop, owned by Duke Altschuler and his wife Melisse Perre.

    Mike tells me that Duke really “likes” cars. Which is a bit like saying Enzo Ferrari really liked the color red, but so be it. And his wife really likes the environment. So, after years in “oil,” they began collecting, customizing, restoring and experimenting.

    And along came Mike. “He liked my spirit,” Mike says today.

    “Duke thinks most new cars look basically the same,” notes Mike. “What Duke likes are lines, personality, design, character. Traits that should never be thrown away. But in a modern, responsible context.”

    What I found at the shop were several candy-apple tangerine-flake projects… and a ‘65 Mustang, two VW Beetles and a utility van, all converted to electron power… along with a gleaming silver 356 and another gleaming silver 550.

    Or so I thought. Mike told me they’re actually Beck kits, running the increasingly ubiquitous lithium-ion battery packs.

    Mike invited me to drive one. And I did. And it felt like a 50-year old 356, squeaks and all, until you put your foot down and felt that all-torque, no hesitation jolt in your back.

    But I didn’t go very fast, and I didn’t go very far. I started peppering Mike with performance questions.

    And his response was “70, 7, 70. That’s the mantra we use. Seventy mile range, seven hours to charge and 70 mph top speed.”

    I started losing interest as fast as a punctured party balloon can lose air. Until Mike told me “it’s not for you. You’re not our market.”

    And who is? “Oh, we’ll put a Subaru engine in one of these, if that’s what you’re interested in. But the market is mother nature types, usually in their 40s, with kids in school. They want a runabout, an economical roadster, something that looks good, takes you where you want to go around town and shows everyone you’re on the side of the angels, especially when it comes to ecology.”

    I had more questions. How do you compete with the big manufacturers? What are the challenges? Can anyone do this? And, of course, how much?

    “The battery management side is key,” says Mike. The motors have been around a long time. And everyone buys from the same battery suppliers. If someone comes up with a better battery, that’s where the line forms.

    The real challenge is in creating a custom interface, monitoring heat, voltage and current, noting state of charge, rpm, error codes, AC regeneration when braking, ensuring everything’s working in harmony. Writing the code to make all that happen.

    “We have an engineer working on it. Plus it doesn’t hurt that I have an EE degree,”
    says Mike. “If you can master the technology, you can sell the component as a stand-alone part for all sorts of uses. Like solar and wind-powered homes. Sailboats.”

    Mike notes that, for example, in electric stoves, 50 percent of the energy used to heat the burner is wasted. “Nobody knows why,” he says. “If you could raise that to 80 percent, think of the efficiency gain.

    “And then, apply that to, say, regenerative braking.”

    To which I ask Mike what makes him believe he can do it, against the brute engineering force of the world’s car and home and boat manufacturers?

    “You have to understand. A lot of this is like kissing frogs, hoping for Cinderella. We’re at an inflection point. There will be big winners. Unlike the multinationals, we can quickly take chances, find out what works. Turn and go in another direction, if that’s what’s needed.

    “If the oil ever dried up,” says Mike, “you’d be amazed at what people would kick out.”

    Meanwhile, the 356 and the 550 come with leather interiors, VDO instruments and a high-quality fabric top. They list for about half of what a Tesla would cost, before state and federal rebates.

    I wonder if they’d future-proof their vehicles, for new bombshells of technological advancement. Yeah, they probably would. Especially if it’s their own advances.

    I wonder if they’d future-proof their vehicles, for new bombshells of technological advancement.  Yeah, they probably would.  Especially if it’s their own advances.

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    Last edited by K-Man S; 11-08-2010 at 11:06 AM.

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    re: EV Porsches? They Are Everywhere!

    Thank you very much for sharing this with us. I have been thinking a lot about this hybrid era we're approaching and whether it will ever see the light on a wide scale or just remain experimental for companies to show off they care about the environment.

    Here in Saudi Arabia where oil is dirt cheap (10 cents per liter) hybrid cars have no chance to exist but back home in Jordan where we pay 50 cents per liter hybrid cars are getting in the market. I always wanted to post a poll here and ask if anyone would consider a hybrid Cayman for example in the year 2012 instead of the petrol version.

    I for one, don't know... because simply I don't know how reliable these hybrid cars are. As for buying a 100% electrical car, my answer would be an absolute NO!
    Last edited by HassaanAbdeen; 11-08-2010 at 10:16 AM.
    "Remember, it only took Marty Mcfly 88mph to travel through time in the DeLorean! I would hate for you to accidentally land in a time without petrol!" ...JB

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    Re: EV Porsches? They Are Everywhere!

    Quote Originally Posted by HassaanAbdeen View Post
    Thank you very much for sharing this with us. I have been thinking a lot about this hybrid era we're approaching and whether it will ever see the light on a wide scale or just remain experimental for companies to show off they care about the environment.

    Here in Saudi Arabia where oil is dirt cheap (10 cents per liter) hybrid cars have no chance to exist but back home in Jordan where we pay 50 cents per liter hybrid cars are getting in the market. I always wanted to post a poll here and ask if anyone would consider a hybrid Cayman for example in the year 2012 instead of the petrol version.

    I for one, don't know... because simply I don't know how reliable these hybrid cars are. As for buying a 100% electrical car, my answer would be an absolute NO!
    Hassan:

    Surprised to hear you complain about reliability considering your recent turbo adventures....

    My concerns are the weight and the range Teslas are real fast, but if you drive them fast, the charge is only good for about 10 minutes. Not really ideal.

    I think the weight is reasonable...batteries weigh a lot, but motors are relatively light.

    Then there's the heat issue. Put the batteries in the middle of the car and you have to be careful to cool them, which isn't as easy in the middle of the car, as we Cayman owners can testify.

    Give me equal performance, equal weight, equal range and equal reliability and longevity and I'll pick the hybrid, but that's not really the choice yet.

    Something great just has to happen from all this effort. One problem is, if the infastructure is developed for electric and something better comes along, will the new powers that be work against the development of the next new thing? If we keep in this holding pattern waiting for the next new thing, will we never have any reliable alternative propulsion systems? It's kind of a tough little problem.

    I was recently involved in the development process of a new mobile AC refrigerant. The current one is 3 times better than the stuff we used in the 60's thru the early 90s. That early stuff was degrading the ozone layer and was a very powerful greenhouse gas. The current stuff is not ozone depleating but it's a bit of a greenhouse gas, about 1/3 what the first stuff was. The new stuff is nearly greenhouse neutral and ozone neutral and works in current systems without much change in the hardware....but there are those who want to use plain old CO2, and other guys who favor a slightly flammable 152a. Watching the 3 groups fight it out and having EPA sit on the sidelines and encourage car companies to develop without knowing which one would be accepted, was pretty entertaining...and frustrating. As it stands, the new stuff looks like it'll be "the one" with a few systems around in commercial applications that may use CO2. One issue with CO2 is that it requires pressures around 1500psi and it requires more air flow and condensers.

    Watching this hybrid vs plugin vs diesel vs lean burn gas with direct injection and turbos and superchargers vs hydrogen is a bit like that, but they won't standardize on anything. That's fine if the car can run on it's own like a hybrid, but plug-in and hydrogen will both require commitment at the public level for charging stations. California is building a "hydrogen highway"...Although I don't know where on earth they're getting the money for it.

    I'd love to see hydrogen. It seems to have the power and the range, but there are some safety concerns...what happens in an accident? And the cost to refine hydrogen is considerable. If that cost is subsidized, it's still coming out of our pockets.

    About this point, my head starts to hurt and I need to go watch cartoons.

    -Sixisenuff
    '06CS;ArcticSilver/Blk..many extras..GONE...'19 Carrera T. GT Silver/Black GONE. '18 718GTS; silver/black Loving it so far.

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    Re: EV Porsches? They Are Everywhere!

    Quote Originally Posted by sixisenuff View Post
    Hassan:

    Surprised to hear you complain about reliability considering your recent turbo adventures


    On the other hand, you are absolutely right I agree about the disappointments regarding the figures of the range (driving distance) and charging time. It's just ridiculous to consider a car with such figures... very impractical. But seeing Porsche along with many top notch companies jumping onboard makes me wonder if it's just a trend or a future!
    "Remember, it only took Marty Mcfly 88mph to travel through time in the DeLorean! I would hate for you to accidentally land in a time without petrol!" ...JB

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    Re: EV Porsches? They Are Everywhere!

    Quote Originally Posted by HassaanAbdeen View Post


    On the other hand, you are absolutely right I agree about the disappointments regarding the figures of the range (driving distance) and charging time. It's just ridiculous to consider a car with such figures... very impractical. But seeing Porsche along with many top notch companies jumping onboard makes me wonder if it's just a trend or a future!
    You know, Porsche has a big business in R&D. They pioneer a lot of tech for other car companies and sell it. These hybrids are a way for them to field a nice group of high performance sports cars and still reach the 37mpg that will be required in a few years by CAFE. The big payoff for them is that they will be selling the underlying tech to every high end Euro car maker around...unless VW prevents it and uses it for their own car lines exclusively. I think that would be a mistake.
    -Sixisenuff
    '06CS;ArcticSilver/Blk..many extras..GONE...'19 Carrera T. GT Silver/Black GONE. '18 718GTS; silver/black Loving it so far.

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