Cars

Published on April 22nd, 2015 | by Jo Borrás

41

Finnish Electric Supercar Toroidion Debuts

April 22nd, 2015 by  

Originally published on Gas2.

First teased back in February, the Finnish Toroidion was supposed to be a 1300+ horsepower hyper-exotic capable of running down anything this side of an NHRA Funny Car without burning a drop of gas or oil. When the first, darkened images appeared back then, it was easy to dismiss the project as little more than typical, hyper-exotic vaporware.

It is, apparently, more than that.

The 1MW Toroidion super car was recently shown to Russia’s RT News, and it seems to be a well-sorted proof of concept, at least! The prototype features smooth, tight-fitting composite body panels with plenty of stylish (if somewhat derivative) curves, a slick, motorsports-inspired interior, and a potentially decent range with this much battery power behind it. The Finnish ride also offers rapid battery-swap technology built in, which could give it something of an advantage over cars like the CPO Tesla Roadsters in the event that the concept ever reaches production. And, you know, that they sell enough of them to put battery swap stations pretty much everywhere.

Yeah, you know what? The Supercharger thing Tesla’s doing is much, much smarter- even if 20-30 minutes is a long time to wait for your car to gas up.

While you discuss the relative merits and potential pitfalls of battery-swap tech vs. electric quick-stop stations in the comments section, take a few minutes to watch the Toroidion’s makers talk it up on RT’s video, and check out some of the car’s swanky curves in the gallery below. Enjoy!

Toroidion Supercar


Source | Images: RT, via TechVehi.

Reprinted with permission.





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About the Author

I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the Important Media network. You can find me on Twitter, Skype (jo.borras) or Google+.



  • NRG4All

    Our LEAF has an 80 kW motor. IF this thing really does have a motor that draws 12.5 times the amount of electricity, then I wonder under a heavy foot what the range is?

  • partyzant

    I think RT tv is not very good source of reliable information… it is russian regime propaganda tool!

    • Jouni Valkonen

      Indeed, never refer to RT, Ever! However, there are plenty of more reliable sources around. The thing is genuine and it has received lots of R&D funds from VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland) . Also the leading Finnish technology magazine has had exclusive access to car under NDA. They are publishing a comprehensive story in next issue.

      The primary purpose of this car is on short term to revolutionize motor sports by winning Le Mans 24 hour race. The battery is literally hot swappable and car does not even need to stop while swapping the battery. Therefore the superior performance of electric drivetrain should give easy win of the race.

      There might also be something else patent pending new technology. But I guess that motorsports is the primary short term objective. However if motorsports and street legal hypercars can bring enough capital for starting up new car company on the tracks of Tesla Motors, well, people can always have dream!

  • Offgridman

    Another toy for the ultra wealthy that the 99% can only dream about so long as we don’t get close enough to touch.
    Any discussion over supercharge as compared to battery swap is pretty much irrelevant unless there is some intention for this tech to trickle down into some sort of EV that is affordable for a larger share of the market.
    Sorry for the negativity, to much stupidity going on around the world in the news this morning.

    • Benjamin Nead

      Totally agree. But we’ll hear arguments that such things “advance research in electric cars” and that they “dispel the myth that EVs are just golf carts.”
      Fact is, today’s real and meaningful research into the next generation EV is centered around batteries with significant range and durability at an affordable price point.

      Of the hundred plus people I spoke to regarding electric cars at last Saturday’s Tucson Earth Day celebration (our EV club had vehicles displayed there,) not one person questioned if the the various Leafs, i3 and home-built conversions being shown were capable of reasonable acceleration or
      highway speeds. Some wanted to know details regarding an EV’s true ecological impact and how an EV might integrate with a grid-tied PV house.
      Overwhelmingly, though, most were interested in range, purchase price and cost of operation.

    • Aku Ankka

      This is true, but keep in mind that there is some value in toys for ultra-rich, if and when they set sort of desirability goals. Earlier there were those idiotic Hummers, seen as status symbols, and eventually more and more people bought them (alas!). Apple has been good with high-end electronics, spearheading smart phone market, and there are many examples in even cheaper categories, down to craft beers and such. In most cases, one could have dismissed early entries similarly; even if one could afford first generation, it would be questionable if it makes sense to “pay twice as much for pretty much the same thing”.

      My point is this: if these expensive toys become reality for 1%, they will also be highly desirable for big chunk of 99%. And this helps other more practical choices as well; it’s good for all EVs. Even if you can’t buy Toroidion now, you can perhaps buy another cool EV in near future.

      So while I agree in that not too much attention should be given to luxury items, I don’t think it is harmful or even totally useless.

      • Benjamin Nead

        Please allow me, Aku, to punch a few holes through your
        argument . . .
        ____________________

        “ . . . keep in mind that there is some value in toys for ultra-rich, if and when they set sort of desirability goals. Earlier there were those idiotic Hummers, seen as status symbols, and eventually more and more people bought them (alas!).”

        Part of my problem with vehicles such as the Torridion is that they’re not really all that green. Yes, no nasty exhaust fumes as found in, say, a Ferrari or Lamborghini, but hideously large amounts of electricity needed to charge those oversized batteries, which discharge far quicker, since vehicles like this invite a relatively wasteful and reckless driving style. The well-used term
        greenwashing is fully applicable here . . . especially if there is no provision made by the well-heeled owner to harvest the energy needed to keep an outsized EV like this running with an
        equally outsized personal solar PV array. 50 or 100 of these things

        supposedly offsetting comparable gasoline supercars will have a negligible environmental impact, at best.

        ____________________

        “Apple has been good with high-end electronics, spearheading smart phone market, and there are many examples in even cheaper categories, down to craft beers and such.”

        I bought an iPad last week for around $550, extended warranty included. Nice gadget and I know I’ll find some unique ways to use it. Would it have been any better if that gadget’s case was
        gold plated (such as some of the $10,000 iWatches recently offered by Apple?) Nope. As with EVs, it’s all about batteries that will be getting incrementally better. I’ll stick with a plain anodized aluminum shell, thank you, and wish for even better batteries
        (solid electrolyte, etc.) on the next one I buy a few years out.
        ____________________

        “My point is this: if these expensive toys become reality for 1%, they will also be highly desirable for big chunk of 99%. And this helps other more practical choices as well; it’s good for all EVs. Even if you can’t buy Toroidion now, you can perhaps buy
        another cool EV in near future.”

        That’s exactly what was being said back in 2006, when the first Tesla Roadster was being introduced, which is basically a rehash of Reagan-era supply side economics. To Tesla’s credit, they actually did follow up their Roadster a few years later with a much more comprehensive and useful vehicle (Model S) that also featured a lower base sticker price. Had they failed to do so, I’m sure they would be out of business today. I can complain that Tesla’s Model 3 (ie: 200 mile range with $30K price) is too far off and that GM, ironically enough, is probably going to beat them to it. But if the major auto manufacturers are alleged to be 3 to 5 years behind Tesla in regards to EV technology, then an upstart like Toroidion is . . . um, lemme see now . . . exactly 9 years behind Tesla.

        As for the cool EV I hope to buy in the near future, the existence of that vehicle will have absolutely nothing to do with ostentatious and garish products, such as the Toroidion. It will have far more to do with manufacturers such as Nissan or Mitsubishi, who built tens or even hundreds of thousands of affordable EVs and offered them for sale in the US (not just in California) . . . and that there are now a sizable number of those that were leased 3 years ago that are now starting to populate the used car lots.

        As for the supposed desirability of the Toroidion for the 99% that you allude to, I would no more consider owning one if I had the requisite funds than I would consider buying an AR15 if I decided to take up quail hunting. Likewise, I don’t need a megawatt of power through the driveshaft to fetch groceries. Nobody does, as far as I know.

        • Aku Ankka

          I disagree with your points and think you are wrong in generalizing from your own thoughts, feelings, to larger buying audiences. Just because you don’t find such products Cool with capital C does not mean that many, many would. That is, you may overestimate sensibility of common consumer.

          I also think that it is futile get care-made about such products. It’s fine to ignore them if you consider them useless. But railing against these seems quite foolish.

          But to each his/her own — I am fine agreeing to disagree on implications.

          • Benjamin Nead

            The sensibility of the common consumer?!? Please, Aku! How many “common consumers” buy electric cars that cost more than a 4500 sq. ft. house in a plush neighborhood? I may have opinions that are my own, but at least they are grounded in something that resembles real world economic proportion. Time to put the Kim Kardashian fan magazines away.

            I’m all for consumer choice when it comes to EVs. I think we currently have too many that are small to medium sized 4-door hatchbacks, even though that was the logical niche to fill first. Oddly enough, there now appears to be an over abundance of cost-no-object 2-seat supercar EVs to choose from as well, even though there is a pathetically small market for such things. All these supercar EV manufacturer wannabes are falling all over themselves to be the next Tesla. Most, though, are destined to fail, since they don’t seem to have a plan as to what to do next. You build 50 battery cars that sell for a million dollars each for your drinking buddies. Then what?

            It’s the vast middle ground between those extremes that is largely and currently under-served. Where are the minivan, small SUV and pickup truck EVs? Where are the fun, sporty 2-seater ragtop ones (I’m thinking here more along the lines of, say, a Mazda Miata equivalent, in regards to form factor, performance and price point.) There isn’t even much in the way of PHEV offerings for any of the above. I’ve heard from many both online and in person who decry this paucity. This isn’t just me declaring this.

            But, yes, I do rally against products that are essentially greenwashed idiocy. That would be Idiocy with a capital I, by the way. In terms of battery capacity, you could have over 40 Nissan Leafs on the road instead of a single Toroidion. Given that a Leaf carries five people in relative safety/comfort and the Toroidion accommodates just two, you could potentially move 200 people to their destinations instead of just two with that same overall battery capacity and the energy to charge. Even the gasoline-powered Hummer that you rightly decry in your earlier post here as generally wasteful is greener than the Toroidion, if, in fact, the Hummer is actually used to consistently carry a near maximum passenger or cargo load. Some food for thought on Earth Day 2015.

            Unfortunately, a certain amount of what gets reported on green technology web sites like this one occasionally gravitates around ridiculous things like the million dollar EVs or $40K electric bicycles . . . stuff that few people actually buy, since it’s so outlandish. But people like the pretty pictures and, sadly, some think only economic outlyers are every going to be able to afford comparable technology. When I start to see gold-plated and diamond-inlayed frames on solar panels (it’s only a matter of time, I suppose,) and it’s declared “green,” I’m going to make a stink about that as well.

          • Aku Ankka

            Desire for something and actually buying something are two very different things. Common consumers make many, many non-sensible choices, and if not for lack of resources, would make even more. It’s not sense that keeps them away from stupid stuff.

            I agree with many of your points about lack of practicality, and that this is not directly an eco-friendly product, but those are neither here nor there. I just wanted to point out importance of hype and manufacturing of marketing desires. Feel free to disregard if that’s not your cup of tea.

            And I, for one, would love to see stories of gold-plated solar panels if such exists. I do not share your purist views on “proper” content. For me “interesting” and “relevant” (in some aspects — and EVs are certainly relevant here) are good enough, without thought policy filtering out “bad, fake” stuff.

          • Benjamin Nead

            “I agree with many of your points about lack of practicality, and that this is not directly and eco-friendly product, but those are neither here or there.”

            You’re at a web site that is supposed to provide news regarding eco-friendly technology. That’s what you expect to read about here. If the mission of this web site was to simply show opulent trinkets for the excessively rich, then it wouldn’t be an issue with me.

            My hypothetical example of gold/diamond-encrusted solar panel frames is meant to illustrate that many regular posters here would be outraged by such silliness. Yet many of those same people suddenly lose their clear-thinking perspective when it comes to EVs that go far beyond any sane proportion and are actually environmentally dirty. It’s a curious double standard that I’m simply calling out.

          • Aku Ankka

            Your expectations are yours and while you are free to expect curated, pure honest-to-good environmentally friendly, affordable and sensible things, others are interested in related things as well.
            And this EV happens to be completely within scope of interest for many of the readers. Just because it is also a toy for uber-rich does not mean it wouldn’t be interesting or relevant.

            And that’s all there is to it really. Feel free to ignore it, but do not come telling others that no one should read about it because you don’t like it.
            Your problem with this article reveals much more about your own mental problems than those of article.

          • Benjamin Nead

            My own mental problem? Let’s try to keep this civil, Aku.
            It is well within my rights to criticize the motives behind an
            EV that is actually environmentally dirtier than a Hummer and, sadly, yours to be blissfully in denial of that fact and go on and on regarding how marvelous that such things are in your imaginary world where everything is rosy and proper. I’ll leave it at that.

          • Aku Ankka

            By mental problem I strictly mean that you have a problem in inclusion of this article, based on your views. That is a problem in your head.

            You can criticize the product all you want, and that is well within scope of comments. But I do not accept the censorship view of excluding news on products like this. The article is well-placed here.

          • Benjamin Nead

            As it turns out, Aku, this isn’t even a “product.” It’s a race car that’s not even designed to be driven on the street. If the article had made that point clearly, much of what was debated here would be moot.

          • Offgridman

            A while back in this discussion you agreed to disagree as to opinions as to the value of these toys.
            There is no reason to insinuate about the mental issues of another commentor, it only makes your own opinion that much weaker.

          • Aku Ankka

            Yes, I am fine with his disagreement on value of the product, and discussion thereof. I do not agree with the views, but that’s what discussions are about.

            What I do not accept is the demand that things like these should not be talked or written about on this forum. That to me is an unreasonable purist claim that reduces value of a diverse forum. There are articles one might not agree with, but should not try to prevent from being published or presented.

            And that kind of extreme world view is, in my opinion, a psychological problem. This is why I used the term.
            But I did and do not mean to suggest anything related to general mental well-being of the individual.
            I am sorry that it sounded that way.

            (I would not use such a statement as derogatory; mental illnesses are a serious problem — if I thought someone discussing suffered from actual mental illness I would have much more patience)

          • Offgridman

            In both mine and Benjamin’s original comments there was nothing saying that this piece shouldn’t have been posted, just a concurrence that another million dollar toy for the ultra rich isn’t doing much towards getting reasonably priced EV’s on the roads replacing the fossil fueled ones that are destroying our world.
            It was only later on after a rambling discourse between the two of you as to the possible social benefits of this type of project that he stated an opinion that he would rather this type of news wasn’t made so prominent.
            So no censorship, no attempt at controlling editorial content. Then you devolved to the point of making insinuations about mental stability to try to reinforce your opinion, which is pushing the boundaries of reasonable discussion as laid out in the site guidelines, so I said something about it.
            If you have facts to present in support of an opinion or discussion you know that those are always welcome here. But how about we don’t let these comments degrade to the point of muckraking name calling as is unfortunately found at so many other sites.

          • Benjamin Nead

            I think part of the problem here is that Aku’s definition of “mental illness” is not the same as yours or mine. Perhaps “stubbornness” or “intransigence” would have been a more nuanced way for her to challenge my assertions, but imprecise semantics got in the way. In any event, I’m not holding any grudges.

            Had the original article made it abundantly clear that this vehicle was never intended to be sold as a street legal item but, instead, to be raced at LeMans (Jouni finally clarified this,) then so much of this back-and-forth would have never happened.

            Electric-powered race cars? I have no problem with that. I simply start to draw the boundary of reason and proportion when this sort of thing is shoehorned into “street clothes.”

            Sadly, we still don’t have a generally-available true electric sport car that so many consumers could afford and would be a clean, fun drive on the road. I cited the examples of the Brussa Spyder and the BMW Superleggara in other posts here. Unfortunately, the former is out of production (unclear as to how many were actually made during the deep recession year of 2009) and the latter is still a concept car.

          • Offgridman

            Yes there were problems with the article in that this was presented as a possible street car, then the introduction of the question about battery swap over fast charge, when this vehicle will most likely never make it into the hands of the regular consumer. Then the language/cultural differences in the comments.
            I had chimed back in mainly because the idea that any of this discourse would have an influence on the content of the site seemed way off base. And because I really enjoy coming here for the variety of opinions, and the way they don’t degrade to the name calling found at other ones.
            While glad that Ms Valkonen clarified that this is intended as a competitor for LeMans, I still think it is a mistake to say that this will benefit the 99% other than for entertainment value. It has been almost forty years since I participated in any aspect of the sport of racing, and that was more in the black market side. So did a lot of reading on LeMans last evening as it is a sport that I don’t generally follow. It to is really a rich man’s, or rich sponsors game, while the corporate sponsors might claim that the innovations used there end up in the every day street cars. In reality it takes anywhere from ten to fifty years for that to happen. High pressure fuel injection is a good example of this, as it was 37 years after first being introduced before it was in common use in production vehicles.
            So whether this car is for racing or not I am going to hold to my original opinion that it is a wonderful toy, but isn’t doing much towards getting EV’s on the roads for the regular consumers.

          • Benjamin Nead

            I couldn’t have said it better.

        • Radical Ignorant

          You are so wrong. I live in UK. So it’s some 3rd world country. And I spend lot of people who aren’t following news. And they don’t know that there is even such car as Tesla. And when I ask them about electric cars they are thinking I’m talking about something 30 years away. But all of them, ok most of them, would dream to have Lambo, Ferrari and will follow trends set by rich ones. So work started by Tesla Roadster is still far, far from done. It’s need to be done further. And you want small Finnish company to compete with corporations that are fare far richer than whole Finland?

          • Benjamin Nead

            Well, that you have so many people around you who are blatantly unaware (dare I say “radically ignorant?”) of modern electric cars and you are here, posting on a green technology blog, simply tells me that you’ve got some work to do!

            Before you start showing them some fantasy prototype that will probably will never get built in quantities greater than you can count on the fingers of a single hand, why don’t you tell them that there are already over 22,000 road worthy modern EVs on the roads of Great Britain? . . .

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug-in_electric_vehicles_in_the_United_Kingdom

          • Radical Ignorant

            Big point to you that I have work to do 🙂
            But my point was that in bigger picture these super cars are like models in fashion. They doesn’t matter in every day life. However they create desire. And since they aren’t harming anyone it’s good that they are doing what they are. And it’s also very positive signal that EV revolution is advancing if supercars are slowly switching to EVs.
            To put my thoughts about this in correct light please recall article not so long ago posted here about dealers in states driving customers away from Leafs/Volts. Imagine the same dealer telling customers that this technology used in Lambos, Ferraris etc sucks.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Good point regarding the dealership issues, although the local Tucson Chevy (Volt,) Nissan (Leaf) and BMW (i3) dealers have gone out of their to support local EV events that I’ve helped organize. So, I guess we’re lucky here
            in Tucson.

            I also spend time talking to folks about EVs who aren’t particularly up to date with what’s going on. My guess is that you and your friends are in early adulthood and mostly male. I also was enamored by high performance cars in my late teens and lusted after these sort of things, so I have some perspective on this. Perhaps what was different then (mid 1970s) was that, while we knew cars where harmful to the environment, electric ones simply didn’t exist yet as a viable alternative. Other than that, it’s basically the same right of passage.

            Later, economics dictated that more practical and affordable cars would be what I actually ended up owning. I also mellowed in regards to my more adventerous youthful driving habits and I now find it rather annoying to encounter so-called performance car geeks who drive on public streets like its an extension of the race track. Wanna go fast and crazy? Don’t do it on the public streets. I’m even more attuned to this ethic after finding myself bicycling more and more.

            So, yes, a 1000 horsepower EV 2-seater is somewhat cleaner that a gasoline supercar, but that isn’t all that an
            impressive milestone to aspire to. As noted in some of my above discourse, it’s probably environmentally dirtier than a gasoline Hummer, which can at least haul a large number of people or stuff. That it’s also completely beyond the scale of safe operation on the open road is another concern. I wish the balls-to-the-walls drive trains in these cars were exclusively consigned to off-street racing. In fact, let’s see some of this technology go towards things like Formula E.
            I’m all for that.

            Not to come off as a complete advanced-aged party pooper, I’m really hoping to see a genuine old-fashioned sports car – something along the lines of an Austin-Healey, MG or Triumph – get reborn as an electric. Those are the sort of cars that handled well, were relatively economical to afford and certainly fast enough to challenge the speed laws of the road in most locales. What’s wrong with this sort of thing? . . .

            http://cleantechnica.com/files/2014/06/repost-us-13920492.jpg

            http://cleantechnica.com/2014/06/02/mini-superleggera-roadster-electric-driving-bliss/

          • Benjamin Nead

            To address your concern that I’m somehow voting down on a small company from Finland simply because they’re small, European and going up against giants, there’s a much more nuanced thesis behind my thoughts than what you make of it.

            I was enthusiastically rooting for the Norwegian-built Think EV several years ago: a cute, peppy electric car that I would have happily owned. They even manufactured them in Finland for a time . . .

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Think_City

            Had this same car been built by a major manufacturer, who could afford to actually lose money on each one for several years before making a profit, we’d probably see them everywhere today. But, as many who have been following EVs for some time now will tell you, your initial product should be something that has enough profit margin built into it that there’s some money left over for the 2nd act. It will be up to the major manufacturers to take the sort of risk to offer a relatively affordable EV in mass quantities and survive the endeavor. That’s why you see a quarter million (250,000) Nissan Leafs all over the world today instead of as many Think EVs.

            Tesla found the sweet spot with the Roadster – an admittedly desirable and well engineered product – and
            the company is still with us. Had they made the Roadster less expensive, the profit per vehicle might not have been enough to carry them on to the next project. If they made it much more expensive, though, even those who could afford it may have passed on it. It could have failed, but it didn’t.
            A combination of luck, skill and hard work is what counted.

            What I’m observing today, though, are a series of cost-no-object EVs coming out of Europe that are – and I’m not exaggerating here – TEN TIMES as expensive as a Tesla Roadster. Getting beyond my personal bias against cars like this, I tend to think it’s a seriously flawed exaggeration of the Tesla business template: instead of making 1000 Roadsters and selling them for $100,000 (one hundred thousand dollar) each, let’s make just 100 of these new EV supercars and sell them for a cool $1,000,000 (one million dollars) each.

            Sorry, but I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. A handful of billionaires will end up with an over-the-top EV that probably – unlike the Roadster – isn’t street legal anywhere and nothing meaningful in the way of R&D will translate into a product that anyone else will be able to access. I’d rather see some of these companies put their skill and investment capital behind a more realistic street legal performance car and make enough of them to be viable. Too bad the cute 2009 vintage Swiss-made Brusa Spyder didn’t quite make it, but this is more in lines with something that could . . .

            http://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/brusa-spydertesla-roadster-rival-ar74739.html

    • Jouni Valkonen

      So you think that the 99% should pay the R&D costs of electric car technology, while the 1 %-ers continue driving their Hummers?

      I think that the rich 1 % should pay the R&D costs of electric car technology. Lets just ban the rich 1 % from buying non-electric cars and we can see that global demand of electric cars jumps to 4 million cars annually. We can also make it as such that the rich 1 % is only allowed to use solar power for charging their electric cars, or else they need to take a bus. This would be large enough demand for sustainable markets and infrastructure – and the rich 1 % has money to pay for the rapid expansion of EV infrastructure and solar panels.

      Also one reminder that more than half of all profits that Toyota is generating comes from selling luxury cars for the rich. Therefore Toyota is allocating their R&D spendings accordingly.

      • Offgridman

        “So you think that the 99% should pay the R&D costs of electric car technology.”
        Say what? How did you possibly get that assumption from my comment?
        This is a toy for the ultra rich and I asked if this company has any intention of using the tech in a more affordable vehicle that could be accessible to the 99% at some point.
        You know the way that Tesla has said from the start that they are selling expensive cars now so they can get big enough to be able to produce affordable EV’s that will only return a small margin of profit. But if they can produce enough in quantity then the smaller margins won’t matter and they can stay viable.
        There are lots of companies that produce toys for the rich because of the high profit margins that can be attached, and not in just the EV field. Very very few take those profits and tech and produce something for the mass market, and it seems doubtful that this company will either.
        Tesla has said they will, let’s hope they follow through.
        As for Toyota if they weren’t wasting all the profits from there luxury lines on fool cell vehicles then maybe we could expect a reasonable priced EV from them. But it doesn’t look likely in the near future.

        • Jouni Valkonen

          Tesla is using about 20 to 100 times more capital on investments on R&D, infrastructure and manufacturing than Toyota is investing on fuel cell cars. If I recall correctly, Toyota’s fuel cell division employs about 13 engineers. Marketing staff is considerably larger.

          • Offgridman

            Thanks for the further information on Toroidoin, none of that was clear from the article. I don’t know if they have come up with anything that is going to make them successful in the market, or the track, as Daimler has shown a car with similar specs and capabilities, but it’s no problem to wish them good luck.
            You might be a little self deceptive on what Toyota has spent on fuel cell research over the years though as it has easily surpassed the billions of dollars by their own admission. And with the way the Mirai is being hand assembled it requires something like ten times the people to do it than for any of their other models.
            As I said at the end of my original post yesterday it was my negative attitude about these emblems of conspicuous consumption that caused me to say something. There was just to many items on how the 1% are getting the rules changed to secure their position in my news feed yesterday.
            If you figure out a way to keep them riding busses if they don’t purchase EV’s please let me know, I will be all for it.

          • Benjamin Nead

            ” . . . because car companies are filling the markets with subsidy depended [sic] rubbish such as Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt.”

            OK . . . let me get this straight: two of the largest car companies on the planet manufacture hundreds of thousands safe and affordable electric cars, displacing as many gas-burners, and you think this is a tragedy? This is you
            essentially telling the 99% that they aren’t worthy to own
            an EV. Your paternalistic elitism is duly noted.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            Just few days ago Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn got angry as governments are not subsidizing enough their ridiculously overpriced rubbish.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Well, Jouni, thanks for replying. When your flush Finnish friend actually makes and sells a quarter of a million mainstream EVs then you are more than welcome to diss the Leaf. Until then, your argument doesn’t hold much water.

            Also, beyond my previously documented criticisms of the Toriodion, I have to say that I find the interior rather crude looking. The flat metal dashboard and oversized rocker switches, in particular, have the look of a cheap 1970’s kit
            car. Overpriced rubbish, indeed.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            That is a race car, whose only purpose is to go fast on race track – faster than any other car in Le Mans 24 hour race. Today Le Mans is dominated by hybrids, but electric cars should be even faster.

          • Benjamin Nead

            OK, thanks for the clarification. My understanding all along was that this was something that someone was attempting to market as a street legal vehicle.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            no, Torroidion was in Monaco to raise capital that they could start manufacturing hyper car for the hyper rich in 2016. But this hand build concept is designed plainly as race car, not for sale.

            What I now would like to see, is the performance of Toroidion Concept 1MW in Nürburgring.

          • Benjamin Nead

            As I mentioned above in several other posts here, Jouni, I would be overjoyed to see a true yet sanely proportioned electric sports car available to a relatively good sized population base (ie: at least somewhat affordable to purchase and own.) The circa 2009 Brussa Spyder and last year’s BMW/Mini Superleggara concept were examples I cited.

            These mimic the “real world” sports car of the gasoline age, such as the Porsche 550 Spyder and any number of British ones from the immediate post-WWII era. My guess, though, is that you probably consider such things inconsequential and not worth pursuing?

            My hope is to displace a very large percentage of the gasoline cars we see on the roads everyday with electric ones, not just an infinitesimally small percentage of “hypercars” at the very top of the economic strata. It’s no so much about enhancing lifestyle for those who own them, but everyone else who comes in contact with them.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            The point of electric cars is that they are better cars. Not green cars but better cars.

          • Benjamin Nead

            Here is a detailed point-by-point reply to your above post. Apologies in advance for the length . . .

            “The point of electric cars is that they are better cars. Not green cars but better cars.”

            Sorry, but I find this a curious point of view and only half true. Are you saying that Telsa (who I know you respect) is going down the wrong path in bringing their subsequent EVs down in cost and making them more available to a larger and less affluent market?

            Yes, electric cars are better cars, but they are also the most environmentally responsible approach to displacing the current petroleum status quo we have. They are also considerably less expensive to operate per mile, at least with the sort of electric utility rates we see here in the US.

            ———————————————————————

            “Masses can drive ICE cars if they cannot afford [an] electric car that has battery cost alone in par 20 000 dollars and electric car needs one or two battery replacements during its life-cycle.”

            This is also hopelessly out-of-date information. The replacement cost for the 24kWh battery in a Nissan Leaf is around $5500 US . . .

            http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1092983_nissan-leaf-battery-cost-5500-for-replacement-with-heat-resistant-chemistry

            Warranty is 8 years or 100,000 miles on the battery pack, whichever comes first. A brand new Leaf – the entire car – can be purchased (after the $7500 US Federal tax incentive is applied) for roughly $24,000.

            ———————————————————————

            “For example, almost pollution free ultra pure synthetic Diesel (renewable power to liquid) costs about one euro per litter or about 50 % more than fossil oil based Diesel. It is very much cheap and clean enough for green minded masses.”

            In the interest of keeping informed on this debate, I spent some time researching synthetic diesel before replying here. It is a fairly good drop-in replacement for existing petroleum fuels but it is not the complete environmental panacea you make it out to be, nor is it as economically competitive as electricity (at least here in the US.)

            But first, you immediately killed off the appeal for all economic classes of consumers – wherever they live – when you say it’s “50% more expensive than fossil oil based Diesel.” And several sources I found back this up. In this fairly positive assessment of synthetic diesel published by Princeton University in the fall of 2012 . . .

            http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S35/39/49I49/index.xml?section=topstories

            . . . the following is stated . . .

            “Accomplishing this would not be easy or quick, [researcher Christodoulos] Floudas said. A realistic approach would call for a gradual implementation of synthetic fuel technology, and Floudas estimated it would take 30 to 40 years for the United States to fully adopt synthetic fuel. It also would not be cheap. He estimates the price tag at roughly $1.1 trillion for the entire system.”

            and . . .

            “”Even including the capital costs, synthetic fuels can still be profitable,” said Richard Baliban, a chemical and biological engineering graduate student who graduated in 2012 and was the lead author on several of the team’s papers. “As long as crude oil is between $60 and $100 per barrel, these processes are competitive depending on the feedstock,” he said.”

            You do note the the price of crude is considerably lower today that is was in 2012. While it is inching again (as of last Thursday it was listed on the NYMEX at around $57 per barrel,) the processing of synthetic diesel is still only at the bottom edge of that profitability scale.

            Back in 2013, when the retail cost of gasoline was at around $3.25 per gallon here, I calculated that a typical ICE compact car with a combined EPA city/highway range of about 30 miles per gallon (Honda Civic) worked out to around $0.13 fuel cost per mile. A Nissan Leaf (comparable in physical dimensions to the Civic) with electricity, at the local rate, selling for around $0.11 per kiloWatt hour, could drive that same mile for about $0.02.

            So, the cost per mile of operating an EV is considerably cheaper than a comparable ICE car. The savings spread even further if you’re a homeowner with grid-tied solar and net metering to your PV power is sold back to the utility at a reasonably rate.

            An ICE car operating on synthetic fuel may have significantly less tailpipe emissions than one powered by fossil fuel. But an electric car has NO tailpipe emissions and is considerably less expensive to operate. Even factoring the fact that electricity itself is largely made from fossil fuel in the US, a study by the Union of Concerned Scientist in 2012 determined that an electric car in all states (even the ones with the dirtiest electricity production) was environmentally cleaner . . .

            http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/smart-transportation-solutions/advanced-vehicle-technologies/electric-cars/emissions-and-charging-costs-electric-cars.html

            (above site has a link to download a PDF of the original 2012 document and an update from 2014)

            ———————————————————————

            “Also, when the share of renewable wind and solar power in the grid increases, synthetic Diesel just gets cheaper as synthetic Diesel is great long term storage medium for intermittent renewables.”

            This is probably true. But you can also state as renewable wind and solar in the grid increases, the electric used for transportation purposes

            (already far cheaper than either synthetic or fossil petroleum) is going to be cleaner than it is today. Hence, electric cars will automatically become cleaner, even as they age. No other transportation technology can legitimately make that claim.

            ———————————————————————

            “Also, e.g. today EU imports 95 % of its oil, where as synthetic Diesel is 100 % domestic, therefore it is worthy to subsidize synthetic Diesel as it helps with foreign trade balance and in general helps global economy as it pushes global oil price down.”

            I can see your energy independence perspective on this but the situation is rather different for us in the US, as we are now a petroleum exporter again after many years on the opposite side of the fence. The retail price of petroleum is also artificially low in the US compared to most other places in the world, since our government (much to the frustration of many here) heavily subsidizes the industry. I’m also not a fan of the technology that got us back to the position of being an exporting country (shale oil and hydraulic fracking of natural gas,) but the genuine hope is that these technologies really will be transitional, as viable electric storage technologies really are being developed. The latter are the sort of things are being discussed every day on other Clean Technica articles.

            Where I can see synthetic petroleum and/or diesel really making a positive impact is in the aviation industry, where a battery/electric-powered drop-in replacement is much harder to implement. A synthetic jet fuel, in particular, would be fabulous. The price differential between fossil and synthetic might be easier to swallow here, since conventional avgas is fairly expensive to begin with. But as far as the personal automobile is concerned – whether it’s a single cost-no-object “hypercar” you like or multitudes of the more pedestrian ones at typical consumer price points I’m a fan of – electricity is the only way to go these days.

            PS: here’s a news item that came in while I was compiling all of the above: Volkwagen’s long-standing chairman, Ferdinand Piech, was forced out of his position today. The Guardian, among other sources – ascertained that, under Pieche’s tenure, VW (Europe’s largest auto producer) suffered “a failure to produce models that the US market wants. It is also behind on car industry developments such as electric cars, where it has been superseded by companies such as Tesla in California and, closer to home, its Munich competitor
            BMW.” . . .

            http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/apr/17/vw-boss-martin-winterkorn-defeats-chairman-ferdinand-piech

            This could have some very interesting ramification regarding electric cars everywhere.

          • Jouni Valkonen

            “The point of electric cars is that they are better cars. Not green cars but better cars.”

            “Sorry, but I find this a curious point of view and only half true. Are you saying that Tesla (who I know you respect) is going down the wrong path in bringing their subsequent EVs down in cost and making them more available to a larger and less affluent market?”

            Uh. Tesla is planning to have Model 3 on markets that tries to compete with BMW 3-series and Audi A4 Quattro or Mercedes C class that are entry level _luxury_ cars for upper middle class. Tesla definitely does not have any plans to compete against Volkswage Golf or other cheap and popular truly massmarket cars. Of course they have ultra long term plans, but these really are not plans, but rather they are mere Dreams.

            “Yes, electric cars are better cars, but they are also the most environmentally responsible approach to displacing the current petroleum status quo we have. They are also considerably less expensive to operate per mile, at least with the sort of electric utility rates we see here in the US.”

            You seem not to understand that electricity markets are on the brink of revolution as renewable energy penetration increases. In renewable energy economy electricity costs for charging electric cars are essentially zero or even negative. For example, electricity price in Germany falls into negative territory, because renwable energy, especially solar power is saturating the grid. This negative pricing of electricity is for the most people still foreing concept, that they might not understand. This is because about 95 % of EV charging can be timed as such that electricity is used only when the price of electricity falls to zero or below.

            “This is also hopelessly out-of-date information. The replacement cost for the 24kWh battery in a Nissan Leaf is around $5500 US . . .”

            Nissan admits, that 5500 dollars is subsidized price to make Nissan leaf more attractive car. Also practical electric car requires some 70 to 100 kWh battery pack, without this electric cars have no hope to any wider market penetration. E.g. in Norway electric cars are significantly cheaper than their ICE counterparts due to oversized subsidies, but people just do not want to buy Nissan Leaf -like cars, because they might as well take a bus if they want a car that is good only for commuting. Therefore non-Tesla electric cars has less than 10 % market share in Norway.

            Also the battery cost for Tesla is at least 50 % lower than battery costs of Nissan Leaf. And it is estimated that with vertically integrated Gigafactory, Tesla can push the cost of 70 kWh battery pack below to 15 000 dollars that could make it competitive… still to put things in context new VW Golf costs some 20 000 dollars.

            “Warranty is 8 years or 100,000 miles on the battery pack, whichever comes first. A brand new Leaf – the entire car – can be purchased (after the $7500 US Federal tax incentive is applied) for roughly $24,000.”

            Incentives do not last for ever, and besides electric car can easily have 24 year service life. Therefore if battery life is 8 years, this needs two battery replacements for 24 year life time of the rest of electric car.

            “But first, you immediately killed off the appeal for all economic classes of consumers – wherever they live – when you say it’s “50% more expensive than fossil oil based Diesel.” And several sources I found back this up. In this fairly positive assessment of synthetic diesel published by Princeton University in the fall of 2012.”

            In Europe gasoline costs about 10 to 12 dollars per gallon, and it has not killed the appeal of european middle class to drive cars… Synthetic Diesel would cost only less than half what gasoline costs today in Europe. As synthetic Diesel is green and relatively clean, there is no point to have high tax on it.

            Your “synthetic fuel reference” does not refer to “power to gas” but it uses natural gas or coal as starting point. Try to google e.g. “Audi Power to Diesel”. This synthetic Diesel has starting point in Water, renewable energy and carbon dioxide.

            “So, the cost per mile of operating an EV is considerably cheaper than a comparable ICE car.”

            It is not if you factor in the capital costs of battery. Basically the economics of electric cars are viable if people are buying the electric car without battery. And then battery is leased. This way the consumer can ensure that he always has state of the art battery pack available and he does not need to worry on depreciation rate of battery pack, because the rest of the car is good for at least 20 year lifespan with affordable service expenses.

            If calculated this way, the battery cost per mile is roughly in the par with gasoline vehicles. And for commercial vehicles, batteries are already cheaper than fossil Diesel.

            “This is probably true. But you can also state as renewable wind and solar in the grid increases, the electric used for transportation purposes”

            The problem is that for example, aviation is impossible to electrify with current level of technology, even if we assume incremental energy and powerdensity improvements of batteries. Also we cannot get rid of our ICE fleet overnight. But we have considerable amount of ICE cars and trucks even in 2030’s and perhaps few also in 2040’s.

            We need synthetic fuel plants for long term electricity storage already in 2019, because by that time the penetration of renewable energy is unsustainable without storage. And by that time, less than 1 % of transportation is electrified.

            “I can see your energy independence perspective on this but the situation is rather different for us in the US, as we are now a petroleum exporter again after many years on the opposite side of the fence.”

            No. US is still only _net_ exporter of oil. But US imports still significant quantities oil e.g. from Kanada and even Middle East. If US replaces their fossil oil with synthetic oil, this leaves all US domestic oil production for exporting and exporting oil is always more profitable than consuming oil. . . . of course as average production cost of oil in United States is around 50 dollars per barrel and right now oil price is going well under 50 dollars as the alternatives for oil gets more compelling.

            “PS: here’s a news item that came in while I was compiling all of the above: Volkwagen’s long-standing chairman, Ferdinand Piech, was forced out of his position today.”

            This is great news! VW Group has been absolutely horrible against electric car technology. Because of this the development of electric car technology is about 6 years behind what it could be, if VW and Toyota had been forced to bring half of their _profits_ from electric car sales already in 2011 when electric cars became economically viable in larger scale. VW’s and Toyota’s luxury brands are bringging about half of the profits that these largest car companies are generating. And therefore Toyota and VW Group is allocating their R&D spendings accordingly. I.e. Toyota and VW are spending about half of their R&D spendings on the development of new luxury cars.

  • Jenny Sommer

    I designed a squirt boat back in 2000 that looked just like that car.

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