Raser Technologies Revamps the Hummer

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Photo: Engadget

Raser Technologies (RZ) rang the NYSE opening bell this morning. The company is best known for its electric Hummer H3, a 100 mpg Hummer. From Engadget:

Raser partnered up with FEV to turn the famously non-environmentally sound gas guzzler around. The prototype boasts an E-REV power train engine, and three lithium ion battery packs under the rear of the vehicle. The batteries provide enough juice for about 40 miles, when the range extender starts up, providing an additional 400 miles — averaging about 100 MPG — before it needs to be plugged in again. The company is looking to start up low volume production by 2011, though there is no word on possible pricing at this time.

Who said the green movement meant removing the ultimate symbol of American consumerism from the road? I’d like to know if GM is on board with this.

  • Dennis

    And now for “the rest of the story…”

    How do these guys at Raser come up with their 100 MPG? Simple, they claim that if you drive 60 miles per day that the first 40 is powered by electricity and the next 20 is provided by their 33 MPG onboard engine. Therefore, only 1/3 of the distance traveled was provided by gas at 33 MPG, so it’s as though you got the equivalent of 3 times 33 MPG, which equals 100 MPG.

    Now let’s see what Raser isn’t telling you. First, their 200KW electric motor costs MONEY to operate! How much, you ask? Easy. If you drive 40 miles on electric power — half in the city and half on the freeway — you will spend about 1 hour driving (20 miles @ 30 MPH = 40 minutes, plus 20 miles @ 60 MPH = 20 minutes). Raser’s 200KW motor is rated at 100KW continuous, so 1 hour of driving will likely consume roughly 100KWH worth of electricity (100KW times 1 hour). The average cost of electricity in the U.S. is 11.5 cents/KWH; therefore 100KWH costs you $11.50, got it? That’s eleven dollars and fifty cents to go forty miles!!! Luckily, you get to go the next 20 miles on good old gasoline @ roughly 33 MPG, which would consume 6/10ths of a gallon of gas if the gas engine powered the vehicle directly. Unfortunately, it first has to power a generator, which then charges batteries, which then powers the electric motor. Still, lets be generous and assume that this gas engine takes you 20 miles on 2/3 of a gallon of gas, which costs $1.67 (2/3 times $2.50).

    So the grand total to travel 60 miles in Raser’s shiny EREV (Extended Range Electric Vehicle) only cost you $13.17!!! Isn’t that great? Of course, you would’ve only spent $5.00 if you could’ve driven all of that distance powered by their good gas-mileage IC engine. Or you could’ve paid $7.50 in any vehicle that averaged 20 MPG. However, where’s the fun in that? Look, you’re driving a high tech “EREV”… ooooh! One that cost you an extra $25K, and that added an extra 1,000 pounds of weight to the vehicle. Nice extras, huh?? BTW, did I forget to mention that their 200KW motor only provides 134HP in continuous mode? But wait you say, it gives 268HP at peak operation. Yes, that’s about what the new Ford Taurus provides (except for the Ford Taurus SHO, which gives 350HP). So you’ll be riding around in your new EREV Hummer in a reduced 134-268HP powertrain… can you say “put, put, put”?

    Does anyone see anything wrong with this?? Now do you see why Raser omitted mentioning the cost of electricity and only focused on their fuzzy-math MPG gas equivalent calculation? In reality, at today’s prices, their Hummer only got the equivalent of 11.4 MPG ($13.17 divided by $2.5/gallon = 5.27 gallons, and 60 miles/5.27 gallons = 11.4 MPG)!!!!!!!!

    The fact is that electric vehicles have NOTHING to offer in solving America’s transportation needs. They are not cost-efficient nor are they technologically superior. The demand for electricity in the U.S. is expected to grow by a taxing 25% over the next decade. Raser’s Hummer draws 100KWH of electricity in order to travel it’s first 40 miles, which is well over 3 times the power that your house draws in a complete day! Talk about an instant energy crisis! It’s a good thing that battery technology is still limited and that they added an IC engine to extend the range, otherwise their Hummer would’ve used 150KWH of electricity, or more than 5 times the daily draw of an average home!!

    This conveniently omitted information might explain why Raser has also entered the geothermal power market… they realize that switching to EV’s would require well over a 300% + increase to America’s annual electric power consumption.

    My question is this, why couldn’t Raser be upfront and honest with us about the true costs of Electric Vehicles? Afterall, consumers have shown that they are willing to pay more for efficient green power.

    Could their hesitancy in telling us the whole story be due to the fact that EV’s are neither cost-efficient nor green compared to standard IC engine technology?

  • Ry

    I power my entire house on wind and solar with energy to spare. This would be great for me, I don’t care how much electricity costs because I don’t have to pay anything. :) I don’t own a EV because I like Jeeps so when they put this system in a Jeep. Ill buy one when it comes off the ramp and into the dealership parking lot.

  • Sam

    Dennis,

    Want to know where your math is fatally flawed? No one under normal driving (not drag strip full throttle all the time) is going to use that much juice. On average a Prius uses 150-175 watts of energy per mile at highway speeds. Even if a hummer were at 400 watts per mile it would use 16Kw per 40 miles, and at $0.115 per Kw would cost the user $1.84 to charge. That is just the plug in cost…add your fuel onto that.

    You have to look at battery capacity to know what a recharge is worth, not specific output of the motor.