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Discussion Starter #1
I know there was a TC Electirc a few years back but the project was cancelled when the supplier went belly up. Now Nissan has made the move to bring the e-NV200 online and its very possible Chevrolet makes use of the technology in its identical City Express.

Imagine the e-NV200 as basically a cross between the Nissan Leaf and the NV200, complete with all of 100 mile range. For a small city van 100 miles should be enough, just. One has to figure a Hybrid could be a more useful application, but then you fun into concerns of added component weight gobbling up GVWR not to mention the reduction in cargo bay size.

Just curious what some of you would think about a e-Transit Connect or a Transit Connect Hybrid...


 

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.....cut......

Just curious what some of you would think about a e-Transit Connect or a Transit Connect Hybrid...
My 2 cents ...... an electric TC doesn't have much market appeal due to high cost and limited range. The Nissan Leaf may have a maximum range of 100 miles, but in normal use an owner will likely be limited to around 50 to 70 miles per day. If used for work, even at 300 days per year, that would mean about 18,000 miles per year (I believe that would be on high side).

If a gasoline Transit Connect got 25 MPG, at about $3.50 a gallon, it would use about $2,500 in gas a year. If electric could save as much as $1,800 of that $2,500, it would represent a savings of $6.00 per day in fuel. Not only would the payback be too long for many businesses, but a savings of only $6.00 a day would not be enough for many of them to compromise business profitability due to possible range limitation.

A hybrid which costs a lot less and effectively has no range limit is a different proposition. If driven a lot of miles per year, and mostly in city instead of highway, then payback is probably attractive.
 

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what sort of work is that thing really going to be able to do

i would imagine the range decreases with a load?

and what is the gas engine like? probably a very small engine?
 

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what sort of work is that thing really going to be able to do

i would imagine the range decreases with a load?

and what is the gas engine like? probably a very small engine?
The long wheelbase Transit Connect Van has about 130 cubic feet of space behind front seats and a payload of around 1700 pounds. That should be plenty for some types of delivery and other work. If converted to electric it's hard to say how much volume and carrying capacity would be sacrificed due to batteries.

The redesign makes it look more like a minivan and or station wagon than previous model, which to me makes it look less commercial as well. The boxy cargo space of the previous model looked more usable for work.

Gas engines are typical Ford offerings for a vehicle that size, and with more power than before. You can get a 2.5L naturally aspirated I-4 or a 1.6L EcoBoost I-4.
 

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what sort of work is that thing really going to be able to do

i would imagine the range decreases with a load?

and what is the gas engine like? probably a very small engine?
I know EV's have great torque, with that should come great range with hauling a load
 

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I know EV's have great torque, with that should come great range with hauling a load
The torque advantage "rule-of-thumb" is often applied to Diesel engines and their ability to haul heavier loads, but I doubt it has much meaning to an electric motor. Electric motors and internal combustion engines have practically nothing in common.

Electric range for a given vehicle is mostly limited by the amount of energy that can be stored in the battery bank. If the motor has to work harder, it will use the limited battery energy much quicker. Besides, electric motors of similar size and power ratings can have very different torque ratings while having similar efficiencies.
 

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One thing i know that's an issue with EV's is the power their batteries can hold. Maybe over time we'll see some super powerful batteries that will make turning a cargo van into an EV even more doable.
 

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An electric TC could appeal to the niche of companies that are trying to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Those organic juice stores, or companies where everything is made from recycled materials, etc...

I can't see why a business would choose an electric TC without some type of reason like that though. It just doesn't make sense as far as profits go.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
My 2 cents ...... an electric TC doesn't have much market appeal due to high cost and limited range. The Nissan Leaf may have a maximum range of 100 miles, but in normal use an owner will likely be limited to around 50 to 70 miles per day. If used for work, even at 300 days per year, that would mean about 18,000 miles per year (I believe that would be on high side).

If a gasoline Transit Connect got 25 MPG, at about $3.50 a gallon, it would use about $2,500 in gas a year. If electric could save as much as $1,800 of that $2,500, it would represent a savings of $6.00 per day in fuel. Not only would the payback be too long for many businesses, but a savings of only $6.00 a day would not be enough for many of them to compromise business profitability due to possible range limitation.

A hybrid which costs a lot less and effectively has no range limit is a different proposition. If driven a lot of miles per year, and mostly in city instead of highway, then payback is probably attractive.
Excellent points Chance, cheers! You hit on an important point concerning payback, and its something I've been thinking about for a while as we push deeper into Hybrid/EV culture.

I've always found it suspect that the first vehicles to become hybridized, and still by far the most popular to hybridize are small compacts or in this case compact vans. I've always felt that the savings gained from hybridizing a small, already efficient vehicle have got to be marginal at best. I believe you illustrated it well int he bolded section. Interested in your take on that as well..
 

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Excellent points Chance, cheers! You hit on an important point concerning payback, and its something I've been thinking about for a while as we push deeper into Hybrid/EV culture.

I've always found it suspect that the first vehicles to become hybridized, and still by far the most popular to hybridize are small compacts or in this case compact vans. I've always felt that the savings gained from hybridizing a small, already efficient vehicle have got to be marginal at best. I believe you illustrated it well int he bolded section. Interested in your take on that as well..
In my opinion both EV and hybrids have their strengths and weaknesses. Because one of the main disadvantages that both share is added cost, and since much of that comes about due to battery costs, we can see that payback is maximized when the vehicle gets most fuel-economy improvement from a given battery pack.

First, I think more fuel can be saved with 1000 pounds of lithium batteries if it is installed in 10 hybrids each with 100 pounds than if used in one larger and all-electric EV. I base this both on typical EPA ratings and also that hybrids are normally driven more miles. We'd get more bang-for-the-buck out of limited battery budget.

Beyond that, I think it makes most sense to use batteries in hybrid vehicles that see more city driving versus those that are driven more on highways. Consider the Honda Civic hybrid with a 44/44 MPG rating. Compared to a regular Civic, the highway mileage isn't improved anywhere close to that of the fuel economy for city driving.

Regarding vehicle size, I think there are many reasons we see hybrids and EVs more commonly in smaller sizes. Because payback is sometimes marginal, it's probably easier to splurge with less money. This same topic on the ProMaster forum reminded me of the Navistar eStar electric cargo van. It had a payload of around 5100 pounds and a range of up to 100 miles with 80 kW-hr battery pack. But the cost was reportedly around $150,000. I think production started in 2010 but was to end in early 2013. Not sure what happened after the news release.

Anyway, the high cost (I'm sure due in large part due to battery pack) must be next to impossible to justify on a fuel savings basis. A company could buy a similar van for less than $50,000 and keep the other $100,000 for fuel. Some of these eStars were sold but I'd bet to companies like Coca-Cola to make a "green" statement. Plus with government incentives too.
 

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when i try to go for mileage i usually go for diesels

thats just me

i dont care much for hybrids or electric cars.

they seem too complicated to me.
 

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Electrics are not for everyone and cannot generally be your only vehicle but for some they are effective. I did an analysis a while back on alternate fuel vehicles for small cars. Actually, they can be very cost effective if you don't consider the battery replacement costs. Some companies offer free charging and some offer incentives toward the purchase. The government still offers the $7,500 incentive. The one big issue I have is the battery replacement cost. Basically you have to scrap the vehicle when the battery goes bad.


http://tinyurl.com/SmallCars-Analysis
 

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Especially on the highway is where diesels really shine, more so in big vehicles like this.
In my opinion the main reason most large vehicles have Diesel engines is because of fuel economy. If not for fuel economy we could have massive turbocharged gasoline engines in semis and 40-foot-long RVs too.

At one time most large farm trucks where I grew up had truck-specific gasoline engines. The switch to diesel was expedited by turbocharging. Before that they had little power or torque.

Now that we can turbo gasoline engines more effectively, we could switch back if not for fuel consumption.

By the way, what's going to happen if many heavy duty semis switch from diesel to natural gas due to fuel economy. There is a lot of work going on in that area. Will that change our perceptions?
 

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When you look at diesel it should get better MPGs. Diesel has about 14% more energy per gallon than gas (129,500 BTUs vs 114,000 BTUs). It also has about a 15-17% price premium per gallon. It also gets about 20% higher highway MPGs. The engines have great torque. The new Cummins 12L CNG does very well in MPGs based on DGEs (diesel gallon equivalent). Natural gas is plentiful. CNG is cheaper and does not experience wild price fluctuations. Fedex and UPS are experimenting right now. The big issues are fueling stations are limited but that is slowly being corrected and the price premium for the rigs. CNG tanks are expensive.

Although I am skeptical I read a pretty convincing article the other day that shows a path to generate hydrogen from solar power. They claim a viable process will be in place in the next 15-20 years.
 

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Yeah, that 12-liter Cummins can produce up to 400 HP and 1450 lb-ft of torque at low RPMs, just like large diesels do. And if Cummins wanted, I'm sure they could make it run on gasoline instead of natural gas. And with similar results. The issue would be that fuel costs would be higher.

It's interesting to note that that 400 HP engine weighs over a ton. It's very heavy duty to last a very long time and many miles.

Some people think that Diesel engines have much greater durability due to the fuel they burn, but I think it's mostly that they are design to last longer. The same could apply to gasoline engines for automotive applications but why make an engine that could last a million miles when vehicles on average don't?

By comparison a new +/- 400-HP GM truck gasoline engine weighs less than 1/4th as much. Comparing durability on equal basis is like apples and oranges.
 

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i've also read that the diesel reputation has alot to do with how they are built.

they are built stronger from the beginning.

i dont need an engine to last a million miles.

i'd say if it gets to 300k miles i am happy.
 

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I just need something to last me within the warranty period, after that, i sell it. so i don't care about diesel
 

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natural gas is a long way away from how i look at it

gas prices will be to be 4x the price before people start to really look at alternatives.
 
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