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Could an electric formula car series work?


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#1 V8 Fireworks

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 07:09

Say there were no rules just safety requirements, must be open wheel, must be electric (battery not hydrogen), everything else free (?). Could such a class work, would the cars be fast? :)

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#2 Bill Sherwood

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 07:54

Originally posted by V8 Fireworks
Say there were no rules just safety requirements, must be open wheel, must be electric (battery not hydrogen), everything else free (?). Could such a class work, would the cars be fast? :)


Yes.

#3 zac510

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 08:55

Yeah I'd go watch it, out of curiosity at least!

Not sure if batteries are ready for a 24hr endurance race :)

#4 gruntguru

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 09:44

Originally posted by zac510
Yeah I'd go watch it, out of curiosity at least!

Not sure if batteries are ready for a 24hr endurance race :)

I think 24 minutes would constitute an endurance race.

#5 Bill Sherwood

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 10:03

You could have a solar-powered 24-hour race over three days.
:)

#6 gruntguru

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 10:07

Originally posted by Bill Sherwood
You could have a solar-powered 24-hour race over three days.
:)

Or three weeks for the British eGP.

#7 Tony Matthews

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 10:09

Originally posted by gruntguru
Or three weeks for the British eGP.


You can be so hurtful - but you are right!

#8 McGuire

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 12:09

There was an electric formula car series some years back. Just remembered the name, Formula Lightning, was sanctioned by NAMARS. University-based teams, cars were sort of spec... picture a mid-70s Formula Ford. Cars used very conventional, almost backward BEV technology, 32 12v lead-acid batteries. Ran at IRP, PIR, etc. Could run 15 laps or so with 150 mph top speed, then came in for a pit stop/battery change. I think there were around a dozen teams running in the mid-late 90s. The spectator appeal was negligible, the safety vehicles being more interesting to watch unless you are a total geek.

The Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University is way into electric vehicles, battery and fuel cell. Among other programs they run the Buckeye Bullet I and II Bonneville LSR cars. The group also had involvement in the Ford program that ran 200+ mph at Bonneville with a fuel-cell powered Ford Fusion.

I recall a presentation at the SAE Motorsports Conference a few years ago... some BYU students took an old GM EV1 and stuffed it full of Maxwell ultracapacitors. Went 167 mph or something.

Here is an interesting group....http://www.nedra.com/

#9 NRoshier

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 12:34

Originally posted by gruntguru
Or three weeks for the British eGP.



ah...so this would be in the middle of summer then?

#10 robroy

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 14:41

Originally posted by V8 Fireworks
Say there were no rules just safety requirements, must be open wheel, must be electric (battery not hydrogen), everything else free (?). Could such a class work, would the cars be fast? :)


I'd say yes, providing they were fairly closely matched, did some overtaking and went sideways occassionally.

I'm thinking it might also be interesting to see some erv's up against petrol cars in some of the shorter disciplines like drag racing or hillclimbing.


Thanks for the link McGuire. Am I the only one who thinks this is the coolest T-bucket they've ever seen? (Maybe I'm a geek!)

http://www.youtube.c...feature=related

There's potentially a little bit of ev hillclimb activity going on over here soon:

http://www.greenmoto...1,388,1216.html
http://www.telegraph...ampionship.html

#11 TDIMeister

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 16:21

Will engine noises be made by an on-board speaker?

#12 robroy

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 19:20

Originally posted by TDIMeister
Will engine noises be made by an on-board speaker?


Yes. Maybe not a petrol engine noise, but some sort of mechanical noise is required. The spectator still needs to know exactly when the driver is lifting his foot.
Or if they're giving a little jab on the throttle mid-corner.

#13 GeorgeTheCar

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Posted 30 March 2009 - 23:04

The sound issue will be huge

It will be the Indy turbines all over again!

The diesel Audis and Peugeots are right on the line of being too quiet.

Peole are really poor jusges of speed and sound is a substitute

Quiet racing will not sell!

#14 gt40jim

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 03:51

Hi guys! I had the chance to race a Formula Lightning for WVU. Have years in FF1600. Driving this car was weird! It used a Hewland Mk8 box. We had standing starts, so you would engage first gear, if you could. Sometimes the crew would have to rock the car a bit. You could not just bump the motor over a bit to find an open dog. When the green was thrown, you would just mash the pedal and briskly off you would go. The shifts were tough as the motor would rev to 10,000 and would stay there with a good deal of inertia making the next selection up tough to match and you would get a good bit of flywheel effect upon clutch reengagement. Car was good for three laps at Mid-Ohio NOT four tho!! A pit stop consisted of changing the 32 batteries. About 10 to 12 seconds. The ironic part was how all the battery sets were charged! A large diesel powered generator. Ours was quite the black smoker!!! Also remember some voltmeter on the dash telling me how many volts were leaking into the chassis! Jim :eek:

#15 gruntguru

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 06:06

Originally posted by TDIMeister
Will engine noises be made by an on-board speaker?

They would all be turning the volume down to save power.

#16 Bill Sherwood

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 12:57

In light of (pun intented) Earth Hour Night recently, I would hope that such a race is not planned on that day.
:)

#17 RoutariEnjinu

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Posted 31 March 2009 - 14:56

With new Lithium nano-structure recharging capability* (read somewhere on BBC news), electric car racing might not be so far fetched in the near future.

*Think seconds and not hours to charge, and more capacity. Something about nano-tubes or something? Can't remember.

#18 gruntguru

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 02:52

Originally posted by Bill Sherwood
In light of (pun intented) Earth Hour Night recently, I would hope that such a race is not planned on that day.
:)

They could pause the race for a 1 hour silence.

#19 cheapracer

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 11:17

Laugh and poke fun as much as you want to, The FIA announced today an electric car subclass for F1 in 2011.

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#20 cheapracer

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 11:21

Originally posted by gt40jim
Hi guys! I had the chance to race a Formula Lightning for WVU. Have years in FF1600. Driving this car was weird! It used a Hewland Mk8 box. We had standing starts, so you would engage first gear, if you could. Sometimes the crew would have to rock the car a bit. You could not just bump the motor over a bit to find an open dog. When the green was thrown, you would just mash the pedal and briskly off you would go. The shifts were tough as the motor would rev to 10,000 and would stay there with a good deal of inertia making the next selection up tough to match and you would get a good bit of flywheel effect upon clutch reengagement. Car was good for three laps at Mid-Ohio NOT four tho!! A pit stop consisted of changing the 32 batteries. About 10 to 12 seconds. The ironic part was how all the battery sets were charged! A large diesel powered generator. Ours was quite the black smoker!!! Also remember some voltmeter on the dash telling me how many volts were leaking into the chassis! Jim :eek:


At first while reading this I was shocked and said "watt the..." but when I started to read your report more in depth I was electrified. A very positive feeling after the initial negative one.

#21 cheapracer

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 11:22

Originally posted by gruntguru
They could pause the race for a 1 hour silence.


No difference, the whole race would be silent.

#22 Hyatt

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 12:20

Originally posted by RoutariEnjinu
With new Lithium nano-structure recharging capability* (read somewhere on BBC news), electric car racing might not be so far fetched in the near future.

*Think seconds and not hours to charge, and more capacity. Something about nano-tubes or something? Can't remember.


how often do you read reports about breakthrough battery technology? ... they always disappear and never hit the market.

#23 Hyatt

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 12:23

i wonder what power/weight-ratios can be reached on e-motors ... they already seem awesome, and once f1/motorsport puts their hand on this it may turn out ridiculous ...

#24 cheapracer

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 12:28

Originally posted by Hyatt
i wonder what power/weight-ratios can be reached on e-motors ... they already seem awesome, and once f1/motorsport puts their hand on this it may turn out ridiculous ...


Well in that FIA statement today the mention of around 600hp utilising a small compact battery system utilising 'on the run recharging' via microwave.

#25 McGuire

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 13:46

Originally posted by gt40jim
Hi guys! I had the chance to race a Formula Lightning for WVU. Have years in FF1600. Driving this car was weird! It used a Hewland Mk8 box. We had standing starts, so you would engage first gear, if you could. Sometimes the crew would have to rock the car a bit. You could not just bump the motor over a bit to find an open dog. When the green was thrown, you would just mash the pedal and briskly off you would go. The shifts were tough as the motor would rev to 10,000 and would stay there with a good deal of inertia making the next selection up tough to match and you would get a good bit of flywheel effect upon clutch reengagement. Car was good for three laps at Mid-Ohio NOT four tho!! A pit stop consisted of changing the 32 batteries. About 10 to 12 seconds. The ironic part was how all the battery sets were charged! A large diesel powered generator. Ours was quite the black smoker!!! Also remember some voltmeter on the dash telling me how many volts were leaking into the chassis! Jim :eek:


Thanks for the first-hand info. Any more recollections to share?

#26 jcbc3

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 16:11

Didn't Renault show off an e-car some years ago in Monaco?

#27 phantom II

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Posted 01 April 2009 - 16:25

http://www.vettemark...s/archives/1819

#28 gt40jim

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Posted 02 April 2009 - 03:39

Originally posted by McGuire


Thanks for the first-hand info. Any more recollections to share?

I do remember that the battery packs weighed a bit more than the rest of the car did!
Also I remember laughing to myself about how flat the torque curved felt, very much like an electric motor!!!!!! Really felt rather quick with a top speed in the 130's. I remember not liking the power buss strips along the cockpit walls carrying 380v dc at an alarming amount of current and thinking a minor shunt could be deadly. Terrible braking as the car weighed some 3000 lbs. The controller device was scavenged from some underground mining machine and cost over 60,000 dollars. Thinking that the old energy density was nowhere near solved. Hope the insight was interesting!

One atom says to the other atom "I believe I have lost an electron!" "Are you sure" replies the other. "Yes, I'm positive!!!!"
Jim

PS If anyone is interested in a bit of Bonneville land speed racing video, here is a youtube of a car I have built. The video is in the center of the home page. www.landspeedmustang.com

#29 robroy

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 17:12

Originally posted by gt40jim

I do remember that the battery packs weighed a bit more than the rest of the car did!
Also I remember laughing to myself about how flat the torque curved felt, very much like an electric motor!!!!!! Really felt rather quick with a top speed in the 130's. I remember not liking the power buss strips along the cockpit walls carrying 380v dc at an alarming amount of current and thinking a minor shunt could be deadly. Terrible braking as the car weighed some 3000 lbs. The controller device was scavenged from some underground mining machine and cost over 60,000 dollars. Thinking that the old energy density was nowhere near solved. Hope the insight was interesting!

One atom says to the other atom "I believe I have lost an electron!" "Are you sure" replies the other. "Yes, I'm positive!!!!"
Jim

PS If anyone is interested in a bit of Bonneville land speed racing video, here is a youtube of a car I have built. The video is in the center of the home page. www.landspeedmustang.com


Hi Jim
Do you recall.......
Were there any regulations for the motors/controllers/batteries etc or was it a case of here's your chassis do as you please?
With all that low down torque and the nasty gear changes could you get away with using less gears?
Was there a team to beat, and what was their advantage?
Were there any developments in the drivetrain along the series?

Congrats on the Mustang. Don't suppose you get any electric racers at Bonneville?

#30 blkirk

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 17:28

Originally posted by robroy

Congrats on the Mustang. Don't suppose you get any electric racers at Bonneville?

I'm not Jim, but this will probably answer your question.

http://www.buckeyebu...com/history.htm

#31 robroy

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 18:12

Originally posted by blkirk

I'm not Jim, but this will probably answer your question.

http://www.buckeyebu...com/history.htm


Thanks for that.
I guess the lightning series can be judged something of a success if the knowledge and experience gained from it is applied to other forms of motorsport (and eventually road cars)

Found this amusing clip of a pitstop erv style:


#32 GeorgeTheCar

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Posted 07 April 2009 - 23:20

NASTYCAR will race Volts with V8s

#33 McGuire

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 00:57

Originally posted by blkirk

I'm not Jim, but this will probably answer your question.

http://www.buckeyebu...com/history.htm



The Buckeye Bullet team is made up of students at the Center for Automotive Research at Ohio State University. I met some of them, including their group leader, Isaac Harper, when they were involved with the Ford Fusion hydrogen fuel cell program that ran 200+ mph at Bonneville. Very impressive group of young men and women, many of them undergrads.

#34 GeorgeTheCar

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 20:05

Any time you get a chance to meet student competition teams you come away impressed.

I have had the good fortune to meet and work with Formula SAE, Sun Raycer and others over the past 20 years and am pleased that I could assist more than one in furthering their dreams in racing.

#35 gruntguru

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 07:20

I dragged this post across from the KERS thread in case you guys haven't seen it. It probably has even more relevance in this thread.

Originally posted by Lazarus II
It looks like KERS has a new pair of wheels. Max will be celebrating in Chelsea about this one. All jokes about Max aside, this could have a huge impact on the worlds economy creating a new industrial revolution and be a real alternative for gasoline and/or the combustion engine in cars.

http://web.mit.edu/n...us-battery.html



#36 desmo

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 23:21

The developers don't seem to have any faith it could scale up larger than hearing aid size batteries.

#37 Greg Locock

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Posted 10 April 2009 - 23:37

As the Max'n'Bernie show moves towards a spec series with spec engines I see no real reason why we couldn't replace the engines with motors. In practical terms the mean power expended will be less, 300 kg of batteries (for arguments sake) will give you around 40 kWh of energy, so if that lasts you 30 minutes, that is only 100 hp.

Will it be technically interesting? Yes. Will it be strategically interesting? yes. will it be tactically interesting? doubt it. Will it be a dog and pony show that generates enormous TV revenue? Almost certainly not.

#38 robroy

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 08:41

Originally posted by gruntguru
I dragged this post across from the KERS thread in case you guys haven't seen it. It probably has even more relevance in this thread.


I'm also very sceptical of the many many battery research claims and nanotechnology claims we keep hearing about in the media. Sounds cool though.
Has anything constructed from nanotechnology actually made its way to the market place yet?

#39 ivanalesi

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 08:54

It's just a modern buzz-word :p

What do you guys think about the Chinese Iron-Phosphate batteries? These guys are really into batteries, but it sounds all too good... I guess cheapracer may know something more about it:)

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#40 robroy

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 09:12

Originally posted by Greg Locock
As the Max'n'Bernie show moves towards a spec series with spec engines I see no real reason why we couldn't replace the engines with motors. In practical terms the mean power expended will be less, 300 kg of batteries (for arguments sake) will give you around 40 kWh of energy, so if that lasts you 30 minutes, that is only 100 hp.

Will it be technically interesting? Yes. Will it be strategically interesting? yes. will it be tactically interesting? doubt it. Will it be a dog and pony show that generates enormous TV revenue? Almost certainly not.


Oh dear, 40kWh is about 1 gallon of fuel isn't it? And thats decent lithium batteries too. Perhaps we'd better put in place some regulations now that make the current petrol powered cars go further per gallon of fuel.
I guess we could use a massive amount less downforce with battery cars too and regen braking would help.
I've also got a feeling that Formula one teams would be able to get more out of a battery than any other part of the automotive industry.
Having said that, I agree the racing could be problematically poor until some serious developments occur.

#41 robroy

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Posted 11 April 2009 - 09:33

Originally posted by ivanalesi
It's just a modern buzz-word :p

What do you guys think about the Chinese Iron-Phosphate batteries? These guys are really into batteries, but it sounds all too good... I guess cheapracer may know something more about it:)


Good idea! Come on cheapie, what's the latest news over there? Are our future leaders providing a decent alternative to gas?

Also, what about supercapacitors? I thought these were meant to have been the big thing by now!

#42 gruntguru

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 09:20

Originally posted by desmo
The developers don't seem to have any faith it could scale up larger than hearing aid size batteries.

That'd be OK so long as they had the grunt of a truck battery in a hearing aid sized package.;)

#43 cheapracer

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 14:07

Originally posted by robroy


Good idea! Come on cheapie, what's the latest news over there? Are our future leaders providing a decent alternative to gas?


:lol: You got to be joking, I buy 4 vacuum packed AA batteries at a time and hope like hell just 2 of them will work in my remote - world battery leaders? yeah right.....

#44 Tony Matthews

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 16:46

Originally posted by gruntguru
That'd be OK so long as they had the grunt of a truck battery in a hearing aid sized package.;)


There are some ageing rockers who might need those in their hearing aids.

#45 cheapracer

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Posted 13 April 2009 - 16:56

Originally posted by Tony Matthews


There are some ageing rockers who might need those in their hearing aids.


Huh? (he says with his hand cupped to his ear).

#46 cheapracer

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 13:38

Originally posted by robroy


Good idea! Come on cheapie, what's the latest news over there? Are our future leaders providing a decent alternative to gas?

Also, what about supercapacitors? I thought these were meant to have been the big thing by now!


I asked my Wind Turbine Mate today and he mentioned the Iron/Nickel batteries were good for 8 years over the 2 years for what he currently uses but they were 6 times the price so the math is in his favour.

I didn't ask him about Iron/Phosphate because I forgot the 2nd ingredient, I'll be seeing him tomorrow again.

By the way, he just got an order for 200 x 1 meg Wind Turbines at 1.3 mill USD each plus installation, you do the math but needless to say I paid for the coffee today (the brown stuff on my nose is from the coffee, no really...!;) )

#47 Greg Locock

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 23:07

Take a look at vanadium redox batteries if you want long life etc and aren't much fussed by weight.

#48 cheapracer

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 04:17

Thanks Greg, on to it....;)

#49 robroy

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:21

Originally posted by cheapracer


I asked my Wind Turbine Mate today and he mentioned the Iron/Nickel batteries were good for 8 years over the 2 years for what he currently uses but they were 6 times the price so the math is in his favour.

I didn't ask him about Iron/Phosphate because I forgot the 2nd ingredient, I'll be seeing him tomorrow again.

By the way, he just got an order for 200 x 1 meg Wind Turbines at 1.3 mill USD each plus installation, you do the math but needless to say I paid for the coffee today (the brown stuff on my nose is from the coffee, no really...!;) )


Thank you kindly sir.
BTW have you tried any of those electric mopeds yet? Maybe you could provide us with a wee road test report as a comparison to a petrol one, if I'm not being too cheeky?

So are those wind turbines going abroad or staying in China? What's the cost price of one of those babies? I was out by the sea-side yesterday and had a good look at an off-shore wind farm under construction. I get quite excited by these things (sad)!

#50 cheapracer

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:41

Originally posted by robroy


Thank you kindly sir.
BTW have you tried any of those electric mopeds yet? Maybe you could provide us with a wee road test report as a comparison to a petrol one, if I'm not being too cheeky?

So are those wind turbines going abroad or staying in China? What's the cost price of one of those babies? I was out by the sea-side yesterday and had a good look at an off-shore wind farm under construction. I get quite excited by these things (sad)!


Yeah I've owned a couple here, you can't even buy or licence a petrol scooter in Chengdu - even intentionally jumped off the back of an old one and threw it in front of a car who came through a red light at me, the copper who came made him agree to pay me 300 yuan compensation on the spot for it after I told the cop he (the cop) could have it :lol:

I don't like 'em because I need to hear an engine but they are convenient that you ride them to work and just plug them into a powerpoint and then ride home after work - annoying when you go back to petrol and have to look for, stop and pay at a servo. One downside if you don't like rattles is the plastic rattles it's guts out and annoys the crap out of me - there is no engine noise to hide the rattles.

Those Turbines are going to a place thats confidential sorry. By the way do you like Lions, Elephants, Girafes and the group Toto?;)