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The essence of good design is simplicity
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Discussion Starter #1
I just joined this forum, mainly to have a good moan at anyEV manufacturers who might be watching.

- I have been wanting to buy an EV for over 25 years but the prices are just way too extortionate and the designs WAY too unimaginative. If you want to sell lots and get people into something new, then make it cheap.

- All that's on offer are city cars. They are inadequate to me and countryside dwellers.

- The few cars that look like they might be able to go down a farm track are overpriced 4WDs designed for city snowflakes who might dare to venture out of town once in a blue moon.

- I do not need electronic tat and nor do my passengers. They should be grateful they are getting a lift at all.
For example, instead of a stupid radio I just want a storage compartment. I am not a phone drone and do not want to be telephoned while I am driving, so don't sell me junk I don't need.

- FFS you can't get simpler propulsion than a battery, speed controller and electric motors! So make the thing so I can fix it myself when it goes wrong. Stop presuming *everyone* is too stupid to repair something. And FFS make the spares cheap! It means people will be more likely to buy your cars!

- I don't ever need to go much faster than the speed limit and I do not need to do wheelies. Nor do most female or older drivers.

- I do not need to do more than XX miles/kms in a day. So have spare battery compartements that can be used for storage and that take the extra batteries for long range trips. It's a waste of energy carting unused batteries around.

- In fact, make everything modular so it's versatile. WTF is there no modularity in vehicle designs? It would be another MASSIVE selling point!

- I need a decent wheelbase height. Many tracks have ruts that would ground snowflake vehicles.

- I presently own an old Suzuki Jimny and an old Daihatsu Terios. Something with similar capabilites but much lighter and much more efficient would be acceptable.

- Make EVs designed for countryside use.

- Ask people what they want. It's the communications age. Are your company and design department incapable of listening to customers? You only need one page on your car company website to list new ideas and you sure don't have many of your own.

Is there anybody else out there in my shoes?
 

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I'd bet there are a few in your shoes. But just a few, sadly.

Inevitably the manufacturers will start by supplying the masses with what they want (or what the manufacturers think they want).

Even the Defender-like EV being proposed American start-up is hugely expensive compared to what you want to pay. At least they are addressing your "proper utility" market. Perhaps you will be able to pick up a second hand one in about 15 years!
 

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You can’t build vehicles cheaper than they cost to make.
This is new technology and the manufacturing scale isn’t there yet to make cheap cars. Prices generally are falling, but it will be many years till you can get a new car for the price you’d buy an ICE car for now.

As Tom said, they’ll build cars for the biggest markets first, so that’s small commuter cars and large expensive luxury cars.

After a few years you may get a proper off road car for cheap, but at the moment the proper off-road EVs are quite bespoke and expensive, but they are good (no diffs to worry about, torque vectoring and all wheel drive)
 

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The essence of good design is simplicity
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Discussion Starter #4
You can’t build vehicles cheaper than they cost to make.
This is new technology and the manufacturing scale isn’t there yet to make cheap cars. Prices generally are falling, but it will be many years till you can get a new car for the price you’d buy an ICE car for now.

As Tom said, they’ll build cars for the biggest markets first, so that’s small commuter cars and large expensive luxury cars.

After a few years you may get a proper off road car for cheap, but at the moment the proper off-road EVs are quite bespoke and expensive, but they are good (no diffs to worry about, torque vectoring and all wheel drive)
Nonsense! The only part that's "new technology" are the batteries! The rest is very old technology, actually, to the point that the patents are expired. Electric motors are WAY simpler than IC. There is absolutely no reason why EVs should not be cheaper than ICVs. Even the batteries are getting cheaper. Presently it's hardly worth buying an EV precisely because the stupid price outweighs the savings. In any case, if the design were modular, it would be perfectly possible to configure an EV for any market using interchangeable parts. In-wheel motors are old hat, just for one example.
My accusation is that the manufacturers are backward, ignorant and stupid, as well as greedy.

Would you buy a car that you could fit different drive units to?
One where you could fit low power, low weight economical wheel-motor units if you live on a plain, high torque large diameter wheels if you alive in the countryside, or boy racer power-drive for tearing down the motorway?
How about upgradeable seats, economy ones that can be exchanged for anything up to heated ones with inbuilt speakers and massage unit?
How about the batteries being modular so you can have as much or as little range, space and weight as you want?
So you can be solar/wind charging one for nothing while you use the other parts of your set, or replace them gradually as you can afford?
Or you can remove things to barest essentials for carrying cargo?
How about changeable body panels, so you can style it as you wish, use different ones for different applications or affordability?
How about a choice of dashboards?


I am damn sure people would flock to buy a car that is so versatile!

No, manufacturers do not have the mental capacity to design a new "people's car" because it's a HUGE profit opportunity none of them are taking. All they are doing is making the same boring 5hit with an even bigger price tag.
I am hoping the Far easterners start making and exporting this kind of thing off their own back because nobody in the West apparently has the brains.

Alternatively, how about one of these "altruistic" billionaires starts up a project that is "open source" rather like Linux or the AR15 rifle etc, where various companies can start making parts for the vehicle of their own volition. Sure, things need to comply to safety specs, but that is what is happening already via outsourcing.
 

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They have built new production lines, new body tools, new machines for making batteries, new computer systems, chargers, heating systems etc. None of which were off the shelf items for cars.
All of this design and engineering has costs and those costs have to be recouped.
Look at Tesla, they ploughed billions into making their production plants and have only recently started posting a profit. Yes, the mark-up on a Tesla is quite high, but other manufacturers don’t make too much profit off each car.

The batteries may be getting cheaper but they still make up a great deal of the cost of the car.

The Tesla technologies are open source, anyone is welcome to improve on the designs, Elon just wants to accelerate the move to electric cars even if he’s not making them.

China manufacturers are making cheaper cars as that’s their market, however they are using inexpensive batteries rather than the more robust and energy dense ones that Tesla, BMW and Nissan etc. are using.

You do realise that all those modular choices you suggest would make for a more expensive car as you’d have more safety and engineering challenges. How do you make a safe car with a rigid underslung battery if you then have to have the option to fit a smaller battery and swap dashboards that have explosive airbag systems in them and crumplezones etc.

EDIT: Your tagline says “simplicity”. Well, electric cars are pretty simple, and as you say are a lot simpler than an ICE car. Why complicate it with a modular design that makes it more complex?
 

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Isn't there a BEV RAV4 in the market ( sorry, should be past tense). Otherwise, start with something like a Toyota HiLux, like the one Top Gear tried to destroy, and do a self conversion
 

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Perhaps you need to ask Citroen to go back to their Deux Chevaux, the old 2 CV design, the rugged "umbrella on four wheels" that was designed to enable four people to transport 50 kg (110 lb) of farm goods if necessary across unpaved roads. In fuel economy, the car was supposed to do 95 mpg. One design parameter required that customers be able to drive eggs across a freshly ploughed field without breakage.

Add a 20hp electric motor and battery pack, and you would be off.
 

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The essence of good design is simplicity
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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
They have built new production lines, new body tools, new machines for making batteries, new computer systems, chargers, heating systems etc. None of which were off the shelf items for cars.
All of this design and engineering has costs and those costs have to be recouped.
Look at Tesla, they ploughed billions into making their production plants and have only recently started posting a profit. Yes, the mark-up on a Tesla is quite high, but other manufacturers don’t make too much profit off each car.

The batteries may be getting cheaper but they still make up a great deal of the cost of the car.

The Tesla technologies are open source, anyone is welcome to improve on the designs, Elon just wants to accelerate the move to electric cars even if he’s not making them.

China manufacturers are making cheaper cars as that’s their market, however they are using inexpensive batteries rather than the more robust and energy dense ones that Tesla, BMW and Nissan etc. are using.

You do realise that all those modular choices you suggest would make for a more expensive car as you’d have more safety and engineering challenges. How do you make a safe car with a rigid underslung battery if you then have to have the option to fit a smaller battery and swap dashboards that have explosive airbag systems in them and crumplezones etc.

EDIT: Your tagline says “simplicity”. Well, electric cars are pretty simple, and as you say are a lot simpler than an ICE car. Why complicate it with a modular design that makes it more complex?
A modular design would be much more affordable because both the manufacturer and the buyer could start with the cheapest option and then do the upgrades. It is also much cheaper in the long run because the modules would be reusable, resellable and DIY fittable. You have become so used to a car being one big un-servicable (by you)lump that you are overlooking the advantage of things being in bolt-together modules (rather like a PC, in fact).
I have done some product design and precision injection toolmaking and am quite aware of the difficulties, but I see nothing insurmountable. Modularity would make the manufacturing process simpler precisely because the whole car doesn't need to be dragged through one huge factory on a humungous conveyor belt. Assembly into the final large item is the last stage. In fact, it could be done at the dealer's or even in your garage! (You can buy real helicopters in kit form:
Rotorway Helicopter Manufacturing Company – Premiere Kit Helicopters I helped build one.)

The option of Inxepensive Chinese batteries sounds good to me, if I have the choice of upgrading later (and as tech advances). I could incorporate them into my solar/wind home system when they get too knackered to use in a car.
Most electric cars made presently are NOT "simple" because few faults can be DIY repaired. You sure can't re-use much off a modern car because few parts are interchangeable even between models from the same maker. Even things as stupid as a switch, steering wheel or a seat.
 

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The essence of good design is simplicity
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Discussion Starter #9
Perhaps you need to ask Citroen to go back to their Deux Chevaux, the old 2 CV design, the rugged "umbrella on four wheels" that was designed to enable four people to transport 50 kg (110 lb) of farm goods if necessary across unpaved roads. In fuel economy, the car was supposed to do 95 mpg. One design parameter required that customers be able to drive eggs across a freshly ploughed field without breakage.

Add a 20hp electric motor and battery pack, and you would be off.
Cool! I wish they would do an electric version today! Compare that to the overpriced boring tat available now...
 

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The essence of good design is simplicity
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Discussion Starter #11
Sounds like you need an electric Dacia Duster. You might be in luck...
Cheap Dacia electric cars could be close hints boss
I suppose there's not much choice but I wouldn't buy one of those because it's too big, ugly, charmless , it has a stupid name and the advert is stupid too.
I just want something like an electric Nissan Micra but with a higher wheelbase and 4wd electric propulsion. I can dream...
This is where a modular chassis would come in useful: Instead of 2WDhubs for city I would mount 4x in-hub propulsion wheels with in-hub motors and lift them a bit on the mounts. All the safety regs of what module combinations and settings are road-permissible could be listed on a speadsheet. It's not rocket science... You could even have the appropriate drive controller software for that particular module combination available for download into your vehicle controller.
Shame that manufacturers are too thick and cowardly to come up with a completely new generation of innovative modular vehicles...
Here is an incentive tidbit for them: The "New Family" module combination: Extra safety features incorporated into the exchangeable side doors to protect the baby. Automatic crash transmitter to alert the rescue services on hard impact with dead-stop. Remote vehicle-tracking set to "on" for safety. Erratic driving alert. Call alert to nearest family member.
 

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What you want doesnt even exist in ICE cars, infact, with ICE models some components that ARE available and already tooled up and on the production line are deliberately removed in certain regions, because marketing.

The aforementioned Dacia for instance will not sell you the base spec car with the good engine. If you want the base spec car, you can only have the crap engine. If you want the good engine you need to upspec the whole car.

The other issue, is manufacturers dont actually want you to fix or upgrade or modify your car. They want to sell you a new one.

As for some of your specific points.

The people who buy the cars new, IE the actual customers of the manufacturer, dont typically care about spares or repair costs. The car doesnt break when its 2 years old and even if it does, it has a warranty. Thus the manufacturer doesnt actually have any incentive there. The people who need spares are usually a few owners removed from their actual customers and have zero influence on sales.

All cars are perfectly capable of countryside use. Heck if you've watched some Top Gear you'll have seen them drive standard saloon cars across africa and porsche across a rocky beach. A mate of mine lives on a farm and drives a lowered BMW 3 series. Sure, he has to carefully pick his way along the farm track, but otherwise its fine. If your farm track is ruined to the point you can only get along it with a lifted defender on 33's, you need to fix your farm track.

Batteries are heavy. You arent easily slotting a 30kwh expansion pack into a car for a long trip. Think 200-300kgs. Its a substantial item that forms a serious part of the structure of the car.

OEM's already have lots of modularity. But its done at the level that saves THEM money. So things like suspension/subframes engine/transmissions brakes and other rotating parts, sensors, switchgear etc are shared across models and brands. This allows them to order 1 million ABS sensors, rather than 100 thousand of 10 different sensors, and thus reduces costs both in production, and in parts storage. But again, they have no interest in you taking the nice seats and bolting them in. Having said that, with most models, it IS perfectly doable.
For instance my brother owned a basic 3 series, and purchased some top spec electric leather seats from ebay. They bolted right in and with some minor wiring tweaks all the electric functions worked. Then later, he swapped the 3 series for a 1 series, and pulled the seats out of the 3 and fitted thme to the 1. It all bolted in as a direct fit bar the rear seat bench, which is shorter in the 1 series to improve rear leg room.
Similarly i'm currently working on installing a 4.2L V8 from a 2001 Audi A6, onto the 5 speed gearbox from a '99 1.8L A4 Quattro, into the bodyshell of a '97 Audi S4. And everything just bolts together.
 

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- All that's on offer are city cars. They are inadequate to me and countryside dwellers.

- The few cars that look like they might be able to go down a farm track are overpriced 4WDs designed for city snowflakes who might dare to venture out of town once in a blue moon.

- I do not need electronic tat and nor do my passengers. They should be grateful they are getting a lift at all.
For example, instead of a stupid radio I just want a storage compartment. I am not a phone drone and do not want to be telephoned while I am driving, so don't sell me junk I don't need.

- In fact, make everything modular so it's versatile. WTF is there no modularity in vehicle designs? It would be another MASSIVE selling point!

- I need a decent wheelbase height. Many tracks have ruts that would ground snowflake vehicles.

- I presently own an old Suzuki Jimny and an old Daihatsu Terios. Something with similar capabilites but much lighter and much more efficient would be acceptable.

- Make EVs designed for countryside use.
I've got just the car for you:

Bollinger Motors | Bollinger Motors

It's not in production yet but there are working prototypes and they're trying to get them into production right now.

Four wheel drive, high ground clearance with flat underbelly and no differential bulge, in wheel portal gear drive, ride height adjustable self levelling hydro-pneumatic suspension with up to 10 inches in ride height adjustment possible, a dual ratio gearbox - high ratio for "normal" driving and a very low ratio for climbing obstacles such as logs etc...

Over 200 miles range from what I remember and loads of storage including being able to carry poles that go right through the length of the vehicle from rear to front down the middle sticking out at both ends. Not everybody's cup of tea in the styling department (although I kinda like it's clean utility design) but this will be the first true classic off-road Landrover replacement EV IMO.

This car is designed primarily as an off road / farm vehicle but will be road legal and perfectly able to drive at motorway speeds. They've tried to keep it simple and rugged in design - it has a classic landrover style dashboard with analogue gauges - no Tesla touch screens here!

Have a look at their youtube videos, they go into a lot of details about the design and engineering. As a Citroen fan I was quite fascinated to see that they are using Hydro-pneumatic suspension - not sure whether Citroen's patents have now expired or whether they licensed them to use it, (although the design differs quite significantly in the details) but it's nice to see it there and makes so much sense in an off-road vehicle.
 

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The essence of good design is simplicity
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111 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I've got just the car for you:

Bollinger Motors | Bollinger Motors

It's not in production yet but there are working prototypes and they're trying to get them into production right now.

Four wheel drive, high ground clearance with flat underbelly and no differential bulge, in wheel portal gear drive, ride height adjustable self levelling hydro-pneumatic suspension with up to 10 inches in ride height adjustment possible, a dual ratio gearbox - high ratio for "normal" driving and a very low ratio for climbing obstacles such as logs etc...

Over 200 miles range from what I remember and loads of storage including being able to carry poles that go right through the length of the vehicle from rear to front down the middle sticking out at both ends. Not everybody's cup of tea in the styling department (although I kinda like it's clean utility design) but this will be the first true classic off-road Landrover replacement EV IMO.

This car is designed primarily as an off road / farm vehicle but will be road legal and perfectly able to drive at motorway speeds. They've tried to keep it simple and rugged in design - it has a classic landrover style dashboard with analogue gauges - no Tesla touch screens here!

Have a look at their youtube videos, they go into a lot of details about the design and engineering. As a Citroen fan I was quite fascinated to see that they are using Hydro-pneumatic suspension - not sure whether Citroen's patents have now expired or whether they licensed them to use it, (although the design differs quite significantly in the details) but it's nice to see it there and makes so much sense in an off-road vehicle.
Looks interesting. It does have most of what I want apart from being on the too big side. Weight is sadly double that of the new model petrol Suzuki Jimny (I wish they would do an electric version...). I will keep an eye on this one nevertheless! Need to wait for the prices for both...
 

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The manufacturers will always design cars for the city folk. Simply because it's a bigger market.

In the grand scheme of things, there are only a few people that would want a car like that. If it was me, living out in the country and loving my Suzuki Jimmy, I'd be looking at converting one to EV. Tear it down to the minimum and shoehorn the drive system from another EV into it. You could even go the 9" DC motor route to keep the drive system simple and maintainable, but muddy water and dust would need to be considered.

It would make an interesting project...
 

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Lots of stuff coming in from the Shanghai Motor Show and others.

Really cheap & simple: China’s Great Wall Motor unveils $8,680 all-electric ORA R1 urban car with nearly 200-mile range
Modular (comes with small battery pack, but can be extended): Fiat's Centoventi is a customizable EV for the masses
Good value soft-roader: New Renault K-ZE 2019 review
Pick-up truck: Here's A Closer Look At The Rivian R1T Electric Pickup Truck
Reasonable value soft-roader: New all-electric MG eZS to arrive this autumn
 

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Zoe Devotee
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have been wanting to buy an EV for over 25 years
ounds like you want to have a look at

DIY Electric Car Forums Site Home
You must have found this site in all that time..... there have been books out also to convert your own car for decades.

All that's on offer are city cars.
really?

overpriced 4WDs designed for city snowflakes
oh not really!

FFS you can't get simpler propulsion than a battery, speed controller and electric motors! So make the thing so I can fix it myself when it goes wrong.
I refer you to my earlier replies, if its so easy why not do it yourself. Or use one of the firms that can convert an ICE to EV?

I don't ever need to go much faster than the speed limit and I do not need to do wheelies. Nor do most female or older drivers.
Ever considered walking? Or are you an old lady? You seem to be broad brushing them in your mansplaining.

I do not need to do more than XX miles/kms in a day.
Again, considered walking or a bike.... you get affordable mountain e-bikes for your rutted tracks?

presently own an old Suzuki Jimny and an old Daihatsu Terios.
So convert one? Its easy, you said so yourself.

- Make EVs designed for countryside use.
When there is a sustainable market for one someone will make one I'm sure. You could perhaps?
 
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