Zero emission electric cars from Phoenix Motorcars

By Rob Dunn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Phoenix Motorcars, based in Ontario, California, has created a line of electric vehicles squarely aimed at utility services that maintain a automotive fleet for their employees in the field. When will the vehicles be ready? In a few short months.

Phoenix SUT

The SUT (Sport Utility Truck) model will be released to select commercial customers in late 2007, and will be ready for full deployment in 2008. By using the off-board charger, the vehicle can be recharged to 95% capacity in 10 minutes, while a 220v on-board charger will recharge the battery in 6 hours. Actual consumer models will be available in late 2008. If you are interested as I am, you can sign up for their waiting list here.

A quick list of specs:

  • Zero emission
  • All-battery power NanoSafe™ production battery pack system
  • 130 miles per charge
  • Speeds of 95 m.p.h. carrying five passengers and full payload
  • High torque: 0 to 60 m.p.h. in 10 seconds
  • Long battery pack life: 250,000 miles/12+ years
  • Off board charger: 10 minutes to recharge to 95% capacity
  • On board charger: 6 hours to recharge from 220V plug-in
  • Available configurations:
    • Mid-Size 4-Door Pickup (SUT)
    • Mid-Size SUV (shown at right)

Thankfully, a 130 mile range is enough for a medium-length commute. However, finding a 220V outlet at your workplace may not be so easy. All in good time…

One thing I’ve noticed is that electric cars (with exception to the Chevy Volt) normally are very unattractive. While yes, I don’t mind being a geek, I want to be stylish too! These vehicles actually look pretty normal and are more attractive than half of what most American manufactures have put out in the last 20 years.





30 Responses to Zero emission electric cars from Phoenix Motorcars

  1. But if the car is charged by standard grid power, then how is that power generated? Unless it's 100% from solar or wind power, the car's operation still creates pollution at a significant level.

    • Even if your grid power was obtained from coal-powered power plants, and not hydro, wind, or nuclear, the increase in air pollution would not go crazy overnight unless the entire local population immediately dumped their gas-guzzlers for these new cars. In addition to this, having electric cars in cities & towns will reduce the carcinogenic fumes spewed out by combustion engine exhausts which surround us every day, thus making life a bit healthier for pedestrians. Pollution from power plants tends (if the city planners weren't doing it with their eyes shut) to be situated away from residential areas. And of course, since many cities use non air-polluting power plants for their electricity, in these cases air pollution would be reduced by a significant level if enough people switched to electric cars.

  2. But if the car is charged by standard grid power, then how is that power generated? Unless it’s 100% from solar or wind power, the car’s operation still creates pollution at a significant level.

    • Even if your grid power was obtained from coal-powered power plants, and not hydro, wind, or nuclear, the increase in air pollution would not go crazy overnight unless the entire local population immediately dumped their gas-guzzlers for these new cars. In addition to this, having electric cars in cities & towns will reduce the carcinogenic fumes spewed out by combustion engine exhausts which surround us every day, thus making life a bit healthier for pedestrians. Pollution from power plants tends (if the city planners weren’t doing it with their eyes shut) to be situated away from residential areas. And of course, since many cities use non air-polluting power plants for their electricity, in these cases air pollution would be reduced by a significant level if enough people switched to electric cars.

  3. Well, we've got Hydro-electricity over here in quebec, so that's very clean… nuclear electricity is also clean (unless a disaster happens), whatever most people say about it.

    • Is it *entirely* hydro power? If so, it's true that the power is "cleaner" as far as emissions goes, but I'd argue that unless the dam was smartly designed, a hydro plant can do far more long-term ecological damage than a modern coal or natural gas plant – you are reshaping entire rivers and canyons, after all.

      There's also the river's life to consider. There are two small hydro dams in my area, but there are many people who are pushing to have them torn down because they were built in such a way that the salmon and other fish cannot bypass them.

      All in all, I'm not too impressed with the concept of purely electric cars for practical reasons; I think hybrid cars are the best thing going at present, with hydrogen showing a lot of promise for the future. But hey, at least it's not ethanol… Corn should power people, not cars!

      • Sure, dams cause ecological damage, but be sensible: you can't go creating a dam, then building cities that rely on it, increasing human habitation in the area, and then decide to dismantle the dam! In addition to power, where does the cities' water supply go? The river in its original state would very probably be unable to sustain the water demands of the population, particularly in time of drought, not to mention you would of course have the colossal expense of constructing a new power station with a different power source, which you would have to run in parallel with the old one until everyone could be switched over.

        Certainly electric cars with a 100-mile range aren't for everyone, but they would be a sensible choice for people to use as a "going to work" car, and for all who normally only make short to medium trips. To scorn this technology when there is a clearly useful market niche it could inhabit is counter-productive. America uses obscene amounts of gasoline compared to other countries of the world ( http://www.economist.com/images/ga/2007w27/Petrol.jpg ) and it of all countries is the one that should be making an effort to change the most. This is one solution out of many possibles, and the people behind these cars should be commended for getting out there and promoting it to the Public. Maybe if they have some success, it will be like Steve Jobs banning old connector ports on the iMac in favour of USB – seemed wild at the time, but without his taking a stand, we might still see new motherboards still being made with ADB, PS2 and parallel ports today. USB wasn't a new thing, but hardly anybody was using it. Just needed somebody with courage and resolve to say, "This situation is just silly. We can do better."

        Electric cars might not impress everyone. But a start has to be made somewhere, because we can't sit on our hands forever, and humanity CAN do it better.

        • Amen. Any advancement in this sort of technology is a very good thing, but so many people just harass the idea.

          Americans don't want to get rid of gas.

        • Sure, dams cause ecological damage, but be sensible: you can’t go creating a dam, then building cities that rely on it, increasing human habitation in the area, and then decide to dismantle the dam!

          If this is in reply to my comments about the dams in my area, let me emphasize that the dams are in a rural area, and one that is already being serviced by a natural gas plant. The dams could go in an instant without any effect on the local power supply. It really seems that the only reason they're staying up is because the company that operates them is receiving government kickbacks for doing so, on top of the money they get for selling the marginal power they generate into the grid. Politics as usual.

      • Hybrid cars have 2 engines so you are carrying a lot of extra weight around. Whilst this is OK when running on the batteries (which won't last as long carrying the extra weight of the combustion engine) when running on the combustion engine you are using more fuel to transport the batteries and electric motor.

        In my opinion hybrid cars don't make any sense at all.

        The only reason I can see for having a hybrid is if you need to make a long trip, the batteries don't last and you can't recharge them you have the combustion engine which you can use on petrol. In this case why bother with the hybrid – just get a standard car or use public transportation like trains or buses.

        Electric vehicles at the moment are ideal for city driving at lower speeds and shorter distances.

        • In my opinion hybrid cars don’t make any sense at all.

          I don't see how you can argue that they're not getting the job done, though. They use about half as much gas as the same type of car in a non-hybrid configuration.

  4. Well, we’ve got Hydro-electricity over here in quebec, so that’s very clean… nuclear electricity is also clean (unless a disaster happens), whatever most people say about it.

    • Is it *entirely* hydro power? If so, it’s true that the power is “cleaner” as far as emissions goes, but I’d argue that unless the dam was smartly designed, a hydro plant can do far more long-term ecological damage than a modern coal or natural gas plant – you are reshaping entire rivers and canyons, after all.

      There’s also the river’s life to consider. There are two small hydro dams in my area, but there are many people who are pushing to have them torn down because they were built in such a way that the salmon and other fish cannot bypass them.

      All in all, I’m not too impressed with the concept of purely electric cars for practical reasons; I think hybrid cars are the best thing going at present, with hydrogen showing a lot of promise for the future. But hey, at least it’s not ethanol… Corn should power people, not cars!

      • Sure, dams cause ecological damage, but be sensible: you can't go creating a dam, then building cities that rely on it, increasing human habitation in the area, and then decide to dismantle the dam! In addition to power, where does the cities' water supply go? The river in its original state would very probably be unable to sustain the water demands of the population, particularly in time of drought, not to mention you would of course have the colossal expense of constructing a new power station with a different power source, which you would have to run in parallel with the old one until everyone could be switched over.

        Certainly electric cars with a 100-mile range aren't for everyone, but they would be a sensible choice for people to use as a "going to work" car, and for all who normally only make short to medium trips. To scorn this technology when there is a clearly useful market niche it could inhabit is counter-productive. America uses obscene amounts of gasoline compared to other countries of the world ( http://www.economist.com/images/ga/2007w27/Petrol.jpg ) and it of all countries is the one that should be making an effort to change the most. This is one solution out of many possibles, and the people behind these cars should be commended for getting out there and promoting it to the Public. Maybe if they have some success, it will be like Steve Jobs banning old connector ports on the iMac in favour of USB – seemed wild at the time, but without his taking a stand, we might still see new motherboards still being made with ADB, PS2 and parallel ports today. USB wasn't a new thing, but hardly anybody was using it. Just needed somebody with courage and resolve to say, "This situation is just silly. We can do better."

        Electric cars might not impress everyone. But a start has to be made somewhere, because we can't sit on our hands forever, and humanity CAN do it better.

        • Amen. Any advancement in this sort of technology is a very good thing, but so many people just harass the idea.
          Americans don’t want to get rid of gas.

        • Sure, dams cause ecological damage, but be sensible: you can’t go creating a dam, then building cities that rely on it, increasing human habitation in the area, and then decide to dismantle the dam!

          If this is in reply to my comments about the dams in my area, let me emphasize that the dams are in a rural area, and one that is already being serviced by a natural gas plant. The dams could go in an instant without any effect on the local power supply. It really seems that the only reason they’re staying up is because the company that operates them is receiving government kickbacks for doing so, on top of the money they get for selling the marginal power they generate into the grid. Politics as usual.

      • Hybrid cars have 2 engines so you are carrying a lot of extra weight around. Whilst this is OK when running on the batteries (which won’t last as long carrying the extra weight of the combustion engine) when running on the combustion engine you are using more fuel to transport the batteries and electric motor.

        In my opinion hybrid cars don’t make any sense at all.

        The only reason I can see for having a hybrid is if you need to make a long trip, the batteries don’t last and you can’t recharge them you have the combustion engine which you can use on petrol. In this case why bother with the hybrid – just get a standard car or use public transportation like trains or buses.

        Electric vehicles at the moment are ideal for city driving at lower speeds and shorter distances.

        • In my opinion hybrid cars don’t make any sense at all.
          I don’t see how you can argue that they’re not getting the job done, though. They use about half as much gas as the same type of car in a non-hybrid configuration.

  5. It may be true that the source for the power grid may not be 100% eco-friendly, but consider this, right now we've got pollution from cars AND powerplants.. wouldn't the absence of car pollution be of SOME significance? And there's no guarantee that powerplants or our main source for power will forever remain as it does today.. ecofriendly power sources may one day take precedence..we're not looking at an overnight miracle cure..but it's a start..baby steps

  6. It may be true that the source for the power grid may not be 100% eco-friendly, but consider this, right now we’ve got pollution from cars AND powerplants.. wouldn’t the absence of car pollution be of SOME significance? And there’s no guarantee that powerplants or our main source for power will forever remain as it does today.. ecofriendly power sources may one day take precedence..we’re not looking at an overnight miracle cure..but it’s a start..baby steps

  7. What would be a great idea is a (I don't know if this is feasible yet) set of solar panels on the roof of the vehicle that can trickle charge the batteries during the day if the car is parked somewhere outside of the charging station's range.

    I think this would help with concerns of non-renewable power consumption at the charging station…heck – couldn't the stations be powered by solar or wind power to a degree?

    And yes, baby steps – you can't go from 0 to 60 instantly…gotta gain some momentum first!

  8. What would be a great idea is a (I don’t know if this is feasible yet) set of solar panels on the roof of the vehicle that can trickle charge the batteries during the day if the car is parked somewhere outside of the charging station’s range.

    I think this would help with concerns of non-renewable power consumption at the charging station…heck – couldn’t the stations be powered by solar or wind power to a degree?

    And yes, baby steps – you can’t go from 0 to 60 instantly…gotta gain some momentum first!

  9. “But if the car is charged by standard grid power, then how is that power generated? Unless it’s 100% from solar or wind power, the car’s operation still creates pollution at a significant level”

    Not true. The math shows that even if the electric power is generated by a coal fired plant, and the car is charged from that grid, the amount of pollution is actually far less than that produced by a fuel powered vehicle traveling the same distances. Besides, there are grids that are not fired by oil.

    That argument was promoted by lobbies in favor of the petrolium industry and has no scientific truth to it.

  10. "But if the car is charged by standard grid power, then how is that power generated? Unless it’s 100% from solar or wind power, the car’s operation still creates pollution at a significant level"

    Not true. The math shows that even if the electric power is generated by a coal fired plant, and the car is charged from that grid, the amount of pollution is actually far less than that produced by a fuel powered vehicle traveling the same distances. Besides, there are grids that are not fired by oil.

    That argument was promoted by lobbies in favor of the petrolium industry and has no scientific truth to it.