CHANDAN B MALLIK, Kolkata: There’s a lot of debate going around regarding electric vehicles — especially in the areas of emerging technologies and applications. Now, carmakers have a choice of either start from scratch and try reinventing the wheel or take help of specialised companies that have painstakingly developed the technologies for various motoring applications.
Take for instance, US-based Bollinger Motors that recently announced its solution for EV platforms. Bollinger Motors has designed a modular chassis big enough to house a 180 kWh battery pack. Then you have another US-based specialist southern California-based Karma which claims it is also ready with its highly flexible open platform offering that can support up to 22 different configurations.
Seasoned players like General Motors is also in the game and now it is focusing on battery technologies with its partners. In a presentation a few weeks ago, GM said it has developed unique new batteries which use “large-format, pouch-style cells,” compared to cylindrical cells that are being used now.
GM says this arrangement enables them to be stacked vertically or horizontally inside the battery pack. These energy dense batteries can offer power ranging from 50 to 200 kWh, which in turn help extend driving driving range up to 640km or more.
This sounds appealing given the fact it takes away range anxiety issues that many drivers have in mind before considering a EV. GM’s all-new modular electric vehicle platform will use this battery pack which it calls Ultium and pair it with in-house designed motors. Depending on application, the platform will support front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and performance all-wheel drive applications.
Every mainstream automaker in the business of EV making have their own ideas and theories. Elon Musk’s Tesla realised the way to commercially succeed in EVs is to focus on system efficiency, rather than just throwing more batteries at the car to increase range.
While the debate continues, several specialist builders, car designers are looking at refurbishing dated vintage or classic cars with electrification solutions. Some have already rebuilt iconic models of the past like Ford Mustang, Porsche 911, Volkswagen Bulli
In India, there have been talks of reviving the ubiquitous Hindustan Ambassador (Morris Oxford of 60s) by a section of enthusiasts including Pune-based Dilip Chhabria-owned DC2 designs.
DC2 designs has on social media put up a few visuals of what a resurrected modern Ambassador sedan would look like. From the renditions, there’s reference to the original with a modern twist and the overall design looks quite flexible enough to accommodate an electric powertrain. In its 66-year journey with Hindustan Motors, the model failed to keep up with the times before its production was suspended in 2014.
This is not Chhabria’s first experience in making cars ground-up. A few years ago he had produced the Avanti, supposedly India’s first sports car.