Monday, January 23, 2017

Got a New Car - Why I think this (or similar) could change things a lot

Ok, here we go again... another experimental car!

If you are not familiar with this serial craziness of mine, there is enough evidence and past patterns in here : Green Cars, A personal history from Prius to Leaf

I like my LEAF. It's silent, clean, advanced, powerful and yet very comfortable. However I'm much more thrilled and proud to own this little car from China.

why ???

Because, unlike the LEAF (despite it's all the goodness, only very few in Sri Lanka can afford one, hence limiting it's potential of mass adoption and changing the world for the better at least in Sri Lankan roads) this car has a huge potential to change the landscape and get our people to mass migrate to electric vehicles!

Let's elaborate.. (or as some say, let's quantify things a bit :-) )

Shifeng worth about one third of a brand new Nissan LEAF. Used car market should be not much different either.

In brand new condition, this car is expected to do about 130km from a single charge. Not bad at all for a cheap car!

Highest speed is limited to 60km/hour but then again, if we are using the car for city driving (which is what it is best at), then how many meters and how many seconds do we get to drive more than 60km/h on our city roads ?

Like my good friend Thiwanka Wimalasooriya (He is the one who introduced me to this car!) has correctly pointed out, just two solar panels should be enough to neutralise the electricity bill increase that would caused by this car. Meaning a small investment like (Rs 160 000, at Solar Drive prices) should be enough to make one transport energy independent! That investment looks specially comfortable considering that we get to buy a brand new, full option car for much less than a Maruti or an Alto or even a Nano)

Full option.

Battery technology is Lead-Acid (Gel) there are 12 heavy batteries inside which accounts for almost half the weigh of the car. One advantage of Lead Acid is that it is bit more suitable for higher temperatures than Lithium batteries. This might be useful for climates like in here. Another is that Lead - Acid is relatively cheaper, and deep cycle batteries like these tend to last longer.

The particular car I bought has stuck on port for 3 years and hence the battery was degraded, still after 3 years of idleness it still retains, half the power. It remains to be seen whether we can improve the battery capacity with proper charging. My good friend professor NK Gunewardena certainly think so!

Another aspect is the ability to replace Lead-Acid with used lithium battery modules from Nissan Leaf cars. This will create a market for used LEAF batteries as well. At the same time, about 400kg of weight can be shed off from this car which battery capacity is increased. More of that will be covered in future articles, we hope one day a lithium converted Shifeng might beat a LEAF on range!

It's early days yet to write more on this... besides Thiwanka will write a good technical post with figures soon.

If a Shifeng or something similar to it take off, then our roads will become much cleaner, safer and we would harness more sunlight for our transportation and will be less dependent on polluting oil.

It's a worth goal to pursue for!