EAC Begins Production of Silver Volt SUVSeptember 28, 2000 by Jeff Shepard
The Electric Auto Corp. (EAC, Ft. Lauderdale, FL) announced that it plans to start production in California of a full-performance, zero-emission, electric "Silver Volt" Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) equipped with its new Apollo fuel cell and lead-cobalt battery, which will sell at about the same price as today's gas-powered SUV.The fuel cell being used is the same type that NASA has used for the last 40 years, but has been adapted to utilize new materials and processes that lower the cost to far less than the NASA space fuel cell. The lead- cobalt battery used in the SUV was developed in 1966 but has undergone many improvements. Both are covered in pending patents.Performance of the Silver Volt SUV is expected to match that of a gasoline-powered SUV. Top speed should be 90mph, with acceleration of 0 to 60 miles in 10 seconds, a range of 350 to 400 miles and a fill-up time of five minutes with a liquid-ammonia-based propulsion fuel or methanol. The fuel cell charges the battery continuously, much as the alternator charges the battery in a gasoline car.Production is planned to start in Santa Ana, CA, at 35 vehicles a month, building up to 2,000 per month. The batteries will be produced in 2001 at the Florida Tech. Center and Plant in Ft. Lauderdale, which the company is in the process of setting up. Fuel cells will be produced in 2002 in Valley, Alabama. The EAC has signed an agreement with one car manufacturer for the body and chassis of the SUV and is currently seeking another such arrangement with a second carmaker as a backup source.