Newly formed Liberty Electric Cars Ltd is investing £30 million in the re engineering of large luxury cars and 4 x 4s into emission-free, high performance electric vehicles. The company will design and manufacture a unique electric drive-train platform to power a wide range of large vehicles, which will also have the flexibility to incorporate emerging technologies. Annual vehicle production, which will include the world’s first zero emission, electrically powered Range Rover, will be in tens of thousands and will create around 250 new technology and manufacturing jobs.
Barry Shrier, Liberty founder and CEO says; “The Liberty Electric Range Rover takes electric vehicle technology into a new sector, to large luxury cars that people aspire to drive, particularly in cities and urban environments where environmental controls are becoming increasingly tighter. The Liberty Electric Range Rover will drive cleanly and quietly around roads and cities, free of tax, congestion and parking charges, making less environmental impact than even the smallest, most fuel efficient car, yet still offering the comfort and security of a luxury 4 x 4.”
Liberty electric cars claim that their vehicles will incorporate state of the art energy storage and management systems, which the company will also offer to other vehicle manufacturers, commercial fleet operators and emergency response organisations. Liberty promise extended driving range and shorter recharge times compared to currently available vehicles.
The first model, the Liberty Range Rover has a claimed range in excess of 200 miles before needing a charge, which is impressive given the weight and aerodynamics of the donor vehicle. Some models will carry on board range extending generators which will be capable of charging the batteries on the move to give a total range which should be comparable to conventional models. Costs will range between £95,000 and £125,000 depending on model and specification.
The market for electric cars is still in its early stages, however exponential growth is expected as legislation, social awareness and technological advances accelerate change in transport choices.
Electric vehicles have 80 per cent lower running costs than petrol cars. Electrical power is also a more efficient source of power, as petrol engines only use around 25 per cent of their energy to create motion – the vast majority is lost in heat and the mechanical movement of the engine and transmission. Electric motors deliver 90 per cent efficiency.
An electric motor also provides superior acceleration because unlike a petrol engine it does not need to be revved, in order to achieve full power. The power (torque) is instantly available at all times. This is why petrol engines use electric starter motors!