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Old 02-21-2009, 05:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Citroen Berlingo Electrique

A couple of days ago I had the pleasure of trying this small delivery van, which Citroen built from 1995 to 2005. It has a 27-kW motor and runs on Ni-Cd batteries (the owner says there's no memory effect problem if you run the batteries down to near empty every few weeks). The car has a top speed of 100 km/h and a range of 100 km in the summer and 80 km in the winter. Energy consumption is 15 kWh / 100 km. Ideal for city driving. Recharging takes 6 hours. Like all EV's it's fun to drive because of it's quiet and has tons of low-speed torque. The only real noise is the electric power steering booster pump. For cabin heating it uses a diesel-powered Webasto unit. What takes getting used to is the regenerative braking feature, which causes noticeable braking as soon as you let off the gas. But you can dose it pretty well.

Here's some more information on the car.
Berlingo Electrique Enthusiast Site

Apparently Citroen is now building a new version with something like a 45-kW motor and Zebra batteries. The French mail ordered 500 of them.

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Old 02-22-2009, 10:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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WOW!
The very first car ever featured on the current top gear series was available in EV!
That's super cool.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Ford has also announced an electric version of their small Transit van to be sold in North America in the next few years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bearleener View Post
What takes getting used to is the regenerative braking feature, which causes noticeable braking as soon as you let off the gas.
OEM manufacturers seem to be going with two approaches in that regard. Some program in only a small amount of regen when you release the accelerator, which mimics engine drag of a conventional car.

Others have very aggressive regen on releasing the pedal, and you can effectively drive the car most of the time using just the one pedal (the brake lights even come on in heavy regen, despite not pressing the brake pedal yet).

The Solectria Force (Geo Metro sedan factory conversion) had both modes, selectable by the user.

My concern would be that there needs to be a "neutral" position on the pedal that lets you coast when you want to, with NO energy flow to/from the batteries. Coasting is ultimately more efficient as an ecodriving technique than using regen, though not always possible depending on traffic/terrain.
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:10 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I'm not sure which i would prefer... AT drivers would be move used to coasting, MT drivers would be more used to engine braking. Avg driver would probably benefit more from "engine braking" style... that is, people who don't ecodrive.
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Old 02-23-2009, 04:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think the Solectria got it right: give the driver the choice.

It's only programming and an extra switch, after all.

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