Published on April 14th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Not Pretty, but This EV Can Go Over 200 Miles on 1 Charge

April 14th, 2012 by  

Yeah, I have to agree with Chris on this one — this car isn’t the most attractive car I’ve ever seen. But maybe it’s like that story of the ugly duckling and our sense of automobile attractiveness is too narrow-minded. And 218 miles on a single charge, which the SIM car reportedly offers, is certainly a nice feature. Here’s more from Chris:

Ugly As SIM: An Unattractive EV That Goes Over 200 Miles Per Charge (via Gas 2.0)

While most of the major automakers are doing what they can to make electric cars look conventional, independent companies hoping to earn a slice of the EV market have gone the opposite direction. Just look at Fisker, Tesla, or the latest offering from SIM-Drive, a Japanese company that has just announced…

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • UGLY, UGLY, UGLY… When it comes to this kind of ugliness… I would not buy it because it is so ugly. Now if they made it look like a race car, I would certainly buy it. If they could make this car look exactly like the Ford ZX2… I would

  • Stan

    You know what? There is basically NO reason for an elecrtic vehicle to cost what they do. That rediculous battery “tether” is beyond a white elephant already…BESIDES depleting rare earths being as bad as fracking.
    Look, even a college physics or engineering student can figure out THIS one………a battery on a CART, in your garage, or small storage shed, you wheel it over the the rear hatch that even an idiot could design, you press the button, and the spent battery IN the car is pulled onto the cart. Then, the OTHER battery, is installed into the car by the same conveyer running the other way.
    And NO, this set up won’t work for most tight metros, people without the ability to have a garage or shed…..bla bla bla….ok, so let’s just not let ANYONE have this kind of car….so everyone is equal….after all, what good would 100 million $21,995 electric cars with an extra $3000 battery and a $750 cart do for the envirnment anyway?

    • Eletruk

      First off, you are vastly underestimating the price of the battery. A hundred mile battery would need about 25KWh of energy (averaging 250 Wh/mile) meaning 25 1KWh batteries (12v times 80 AHr) which currently cost about $600 each for a total of $15000. Even if you aren’t talking Lithium, and price Lead Acid, it might be about 1/2 that or still $7000.
      This is the real reason Electric cars are expensive.

      • Tom G.

        I copied the following information from “The Energy Blog” which just started posting information again after a couple of years vacation. As we can see for a mainstream vehicle like a Chevy Malibu @ 50 mph it takes about 9.425 kW. Times 2 that means it would take about 19 kW for 100 miles give or take. Also at the end of the chart the following paragraph show the importance of speed/drag/aerodynamics. Enjoy the posting.
        Tom G.

        “Our test subject for this week will be My Late Model Chevy Malibu, a mid-sized four passenger sedan. It weighs 3,460 pounds, has a frontal area of 24.1 square feet, and a Coefficient of Drag of .37, Totally Mainstream. To simplify the math, I didn’t do any. I used this calculator:

        Here is a summary of the results. Remember this is for a steady speed!

        Speed Horsepower Watts BTU/min
        35 mph 6.15 4586 261
        40 mph 7.94 5920 337
        50 mph 12.64 9425 536
        55 mph 15.66 11677 664
        60 mph 19.17 14295 813
        65 mph 23.23 17322 985
        70 mph 27.87 20782 1182
        80 mph 39.12 29171 1660

        Aerodynamic drag is the largest force opposing your movement at any reasonable speed. That drag increases with the square of the speed. Doubling the speed creates four times as much drag. But, interestingly, power requirements increase at the cube of the speed. So that doubled speed will take eight times as much power.”

    • The Leaf motor uses no rare earths. And the name is a misnomer — they are not rare and actually are plentiful. What is hard is separating them.

      We use a LOT of rare earths in cell phones, computers, etc. We need to learn how to recycle these. So, if you are worried about rare earths, then don’t buy any cell phones or computers.


  • electric38

    Price? Have they aligned with a solar PV company? Is the battery easily changed out? Is it (battery) placed where an inductive solar PV charger would work? If it is not spewing carbon monoxide and noise pollution, looks won’t matter as much. Infinite MPG (via solar) would be beautiful.

  • S Muller

    Speak for yourself. This car looks hot. I believe you were just trying to use the word faux-futurism in a sentence. Triple word score though. Anyways, Il’ll buy one asap.

  • Len Levine

    You’re missing the point of whether the car is beautiful, ugly, whatever. No one in their right mind cares what it looks like, provided:
    1. It’s cheap
    2. It gets lots of miles per gallon of gas
    3. It’s safe
    4. It’s easy to drive and park
    5. It’s cheap to repair
    6. It’s range is enough to cover short trips and not worry about running out of gas

    • on the importance of image: it certainly isn’t a factor for many of us who primarily care about performance, but i think most people care about image a ton, so that’s why i think it’s important a vehicle look attractive 😀 to sell it to the masses.

  • Trust

    just a hint: mph is understood well in the USA. All other countries in the
    whole wide world are metric and to mutiply by 5 and divide by 8 to convert, is a bit af a pain.

    • Tom G.


      I can only assume by your comment that you either live outside of the United States [US] and feel somewhat frustrated because the US has not yet fully adopted the metric system or you DO live in the US and find converting stuff a minor pain in the butt.

      It either case I am somewhat in the same boat so to speak. Highway signs are still mostly in MPH but do list metric values in small letters. Go to a Dr. office and they speak in centimeters or millimeters. Look on almost any box, carton or package and you can find the equivalent metric measurements. If I go work one of my vehicles I better have a set of both kinds of tools.

      The transition is slow but it is happening. While the transition will certainly simplify international trade and streamline some activities I would list it as priority number 98 out of about 100. Things I feel are of much higher priority are:
      1. Clean air and water or global warming which to me are the same thing.
      2. More efficient heating and cooling systems.
      3. Lighter and more fuel efficient vehicles.
      4. Feeding all the people on this planet
      5. The elimination of all coal powered generating units, and the list goes on and on.

      Someday the US will be metric. However I will not live long enough to see that day. Of course I ASSUME [love that word] we don’t kill ourselves before the process is completed.

      The reason for this posting? Had some time to kill before starting a DVD movie for my grand-kids.

    • the vast majority of our readers are in the U.S. and it’s not that hard to use google to convert. just type “200 mph to kmh” and you have your answer. that said, we could do that for you a bit more maybe.

  • Tom G.

    WOW – lots of comments on this story. Way to go Zachary.

    O.K. where to start. I don’t think the car is ugly. BUT it is not the most attractive design in the world either, LOL. My personal preference in a small vehicle is something like the “MIT City Car” which in my not so humble opinion looks pretty hot for a small two passenger vehicle. A car the size of the City Car would cover about 95% of my driving needs if it had a 40-60 mile range. And it certainly doesn’t have to have 4 wheel steering or a lifting body to save parking space for more vehicles. We are not talking Europe, downtown L.A. or N.Y. City – we are talking small town USA in my case, LOL.

    I like both the Volt and the Leaf BUT they are far too expensive for what I need a vehicle to do so I think a lot of vehicle manufacturers are missing the boat. I need a vehicle to run to Ace or the Home Depot for a few screws or a couple of gallons of house paint. I need a vehicle to take the wife to a local restaurant or movie theater. I need a vehicle to run to the grocery store, dentist or the Dr.s office. I DO NOT NEED a vehicle with 100-200 miles of range for these tasks. I also don’t need a 4 passenger vehicle any of these trips. If I wanted to take a lengthy trip I could easily use one of my other vehicles or just RENT one for the trip.

    So in summary, this vehicle, the Volt and Leaf can fit the needs of many people but they don’t come close to meeting my needs. I don’t need to spend $25,000 – $40,000 for a 4/5 passenger vehicle for the type of driving I do. That is where I believe our electric vehicle strategy has gone wrong. I also don’t need a 100 mile range to travel 12 miles to work either [25 R/T]. We need the mass adoption of small electric or hybrid vehicles instead of trying to build a one size fits all vehicle.

    • Tom, you should look into getting a velomobile. Possibly with electric assist, or just pedal it.

      Velomobiles give you higher efficiency than a bicycle because of the greatly improved aerodynamics, and they protect you from the weather, too.


      • Tom G.

        Thank you for the feedback and I looked at the provided links. This type of vehicle would certainly work for some of the time AND give me so needed exercise.
        However living in the desert southwest it is quite common to see temperature of 100-115 F during the day. Even the evenings can be warm at 85-95 F. And to complicate matters even more, it can freeze here in the winter months. In other words, we are either boiling or freezing to death but the desert has it’s own beauty and we love it.

        I will however take a serious look at the links and vehicles as an experimental test bed for some type of hybrid or electric drive system. Thanks again.

  • Len Levine

    Here’s what one reviewer said about the original Beetle:
    “[T]here is a combination of civilized U.S.-type comfort and fun in the VW that the Renault doesn’t approach,” MT concluded. “We’re even a little embarrassed about it, because we feel that in many ways it puts our own cars to shame. On the debit side are its homely looks, its tendency to break away at the rear on curves, its lack of rear seat room for adults. But in almost electric smoothness, in faithful service, and above all in the feeling it gives that all is well in the engine room and there is near-complete rapport between it and the driver, we know of few cars to beat it.”
    Homely looks….19
    If there was another car in the middle of the 20th century which was uglier than the Beele,it was the Citroen 2cv. Between 1948 and 1960, they managed to sell a few:

    During a production run of 42 years between 1948 and 1990, 3,872,583 2CVs were produced, plus 1,246,306 Fourgonnettes (small 2CV delivery vans), as well as spawning mechanically identical vehicles including the Ami – 1,840,396; the Dyane – 1,444,583; the Acadiane – 253,393; and the Mehari – 144,953, a grand total of 8,756,688, of which there are still 3,417 on the road in the UK as of June 2011.[7]

    Not bad for the arguably “ugliest car in the world”.
    Ugly is in the eye of the beholder.

    To me, this car is positively futuristic! I’d buy it in a New York second…

    • Bob_Wallace

      I remember when VWs appeared in the US. They were quite strange looking. But the Bugs were cute.

      The big attractions of the Bug were cost, efficiency, and the ability for a low-skilled owner to make major repairs.

      The Sims are very efficient. We don’t know what they might cost if manufactured. I’m afraid they would need some redesign to achieve cute.

  • Bob_Wallace

    There’s no reason why an equally aerodynamic car with different looks can’t be built. Here’s a Mercedes design that has the same coefficient of drag as the Sim-Lei.

    EVs allow a lot more design freedom. There are not the same engine placement issues. The battery packs can go just about anywhere, motors can go front/back or in the hubs.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The Sim-Lei has a 0.25 drag coefficient.

      Here’s an EV with a 0.22 drag coefficient. I find this one just a little bit more attractive….

      Battery 35.1 kWh
      Range 218 miles
      6.2 miles per kwh
      Curb weight 3,100 pounds

      The Tesla S comes with three battery/range options –
      Batteries 40 kWh, 60 kWh, and 85 kWh
      Ranges 160, 230, and 300 miles
      4, 3.8, and 3.5 miles per kWh

      Curb weight 3825 with 40 kWh battery pack
      Curb weight 4900 with 85 kWh batter pack

      For each kWh the Sim is pushing 88.3 pounds of vehicle.
      For each kWh the S is pushing 95.6 pounds of vehicle.

      The S is a bit more efficient in terms of moving through air.

      Seems like the Sim must be doing something other than weight reduction that gives it >50% more range per kWh.

      • Bob_Wallace

        BTW, the standard quote for the Leaf EV is 0.35kWh/mile.

        The lowest range S, based on 40kWh and160 miles would be 0.25kWh/mile

        The Sim-Wil, based on 35.1kWh and 218 miles would be 0.16kWh/mile. That’s over twice as efficient as the Leaf.

        If those numbers are accurate then we’d cut our electricity for travel numbers in half.

        That’s getting close to 1 cent per mile using $0.08/kWh electricity. 12,000 miles for about $150.

        You’d need to find $0.50/gallon gas for your 50MPG gasmobile to drive as cheaply.

  • It’s a Japanese company, so it’s entirely likely that their esthetics are different from those in the US. In any event, I dislike trash from Detroit that’s labeled new simply because they changed the sheet metal and added some options.

  • I think it looks better than those images — wide angle images make it hard to judge. There are actual photos out there, and a couple of videos of it being driven; some that include the SIM-LEI, which is an earlier version of this concept, that was lower drag, and went almost as far (~189 miles) on just a 24.9kWh pack.

    Form follows function, and beauty is what beauty does. I’d drive either the SIM-WIL or the SIM-LEI in a second; though I’d like the longer tail of the SIM-LEI on the SIM-WIL, which is much smoother and has cleaner lines. Please note the active grill on the blue car — all cars should have this.


    • thanks, those images do make it look much nicer! maybe a follow-up post is in order.

      on the importance of image: it certainly isn’t a factor for many who care about performance a lot, but i think most people care about image a ton, so that’s why i think it’s important a vehicle look attractive 😀

  • Actually, the car’s not ugly. It’s just that it’s “face” is set higher than it is on most cars. Look up a little. See? It’s smiling at you.

  • Matt

    I think it look better than the current “hot” box looking cars I see. But what is fashionable (good looking) is a moving target.

  • Tmac1

    Volt owner here
    I would love to see a small inexpensive 200 mile car come out.
    That being said, I have n trouble making it on only 30-40 mile range at least during week.

    MOST of us need no more than this for our commutes.
    Agreed it is funky looking buy Hey I drove Prius for 8 years waiting for an EV or EREV


  • Hope

    Guess I’m alone in not caring how it looks, just how far it goes.

    • Captivation

      Which usually means you’ll get somewhere while the naysayers like us remain firmly planted at the starting line. Life tends to repeat its lessons again and again albeit at higher levels of abstraction.

    • Nope. How far it goes, how it performs and it’s quality are of more of a concern to me than outward appearances.

    • on the importance of image: it certainly isn’t a factor for many of us who primarily care about performance, but i think most people care about image a ton, so that’s why i think it’s important a vehicle look attractive 😀

  • Captivation

    This isn’t exactly on topic, but it is interesting how ugliness is often a judgement from the subconscious that is founded on reasonable concerns. For example the back tire looks like a trap for leaves, twigs, and snow. I imagine that once stuff gets stuck there the body panel will begin to bulge and how do you remove the back tire to clear it out?

    But I understand the basic point is the arrival of the technology, not its current form. The only technological improvement I have for this product would be a small methanol fuel cell that would also offer a 12 hour recharge. If you put in a couple gallons at work in the morning you’d have enough power to get home at the end of the day, etc.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You could make that improvement.

      If you could first invent an affordable fuel cell which also has an adequate life span.

      How often do you drive more than 200 miles in a day?

      You realize that we are installing Level 3 rapid chargers that can put another 80-100 miles in your batteries in less than 20 minutes?

      And once we have 200 mile range EVs we’ll likely see “Level 4” chargers that will be able to give you 180-200 more miles in less than 20 minutes.

      • Captivation

        Bob, I’ve assumed that methanol fuel cells are fairly durable since they are being installed in laptops. But the efficiency and affordability are real issues. At the same time however, methanol is safer to store and transport than gasoline which is turn is safer than hydrogen. Thus methanol seems to me to be the ideal liquid form of electricity. Add to this that it works as fuel in traditional engines and you have the perfect transition fuel. I agree that batteries will do the bulk of energy storage, but as a backup source, methanol would be a great emergency system. Sort of like having candles/flashlights around when the power goes out.

  • Masonc

    Can go 200 miles? Wouldn’t it have to exist first?

    • sambar

      Do you know it doesn’t?

    • It is a prototype, if that’s what you were hinting at.

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