Z-Car

GE Induction Cooktop – Control Lock Stuck ON

GE Induction Cooktop

My cat is a naughty, naughty kitty. She likes to jump up on my counter and walk all over my General Electric induction cooktop. Normally this is not a problem, and just results in various beeps, buzzes, and flashing lights. However, the other day she was up on the cooktop, and somehow she activated the Control Lock feature. When this happens, the Control Lock red light comes on, and none (except the timer) of the other controls work.

The standard response from GE is to Press the Control Lock button for five seconds. This did not work in my case, and apparently also does not work for hundreds of other people. Seems GE is telling them they need a service visit, and they then charge the customer a minimum of $75 to “adjust” the control-lock sensor.

Let me tell you a secret that the General Electric hotline does not tell the customer. The Control Lock sensor does in fact work, it just is not lined up properly. To fix, take your palm and lay it flat across the control lock button, you will hear a beep, and then in 5 seconds, you will hear two beeps and the Control Lock will be off. This may take a bit of fussing with your palm to find the right place, but it does work.

Thank goodness I figured out, I had a pound of bacon with my name on it just waiting to get sizzled up.


Chrysler’s Super Secret Electric Trio

After the big splash last week with GM’s Volt announcement, Chrysler has decided to release information on their previously secret electric car program. Chrysler announced plans today to introduce a full line of electric vehicles by late 2010, including cars, trucks and SUV’s.

Chrysler Chairman Robert Nardelli introduced three new cars; an extended-range electric Chrysler EV Minivan, an extended-range electric Jeep EV , and a fully electric sports car dubbed the Dodge EV. Like GM, Chrysler is dealing with a technology that isn’t quite ready for prime-time. Chrysler is currently working with “four or five” out of the dozen lithium-ion battery companies to have something ready by 2010. Chrysler is launching a new joint venture with General Electric (Chrysler CEO Nardelli former employer) aimed at developing even more advanced battery systems

Chrysler, which was acquired a year ago by private-equity group Cerberus Capital Management LP, has been searching for partners to help it keep in the race to launch high-tech cars that cut fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.

Dodge Electric Vehicle
The planned Dodge EV will be a rear-wheel-drive sports car that seats two and has a 268 horsepower electric motor that creates a stout 480 lb-ft of torque. Performance is zero to 60 in fewer than five seconds and a 13 second quarter mile time. All of this comes with a driving range of 150-200 miles on an eight hour charge. Do these numbers sound familiar? They should, the EV is built on a Lotus Europa platform, and sports almost the same technology as the Tesla Roadster.

Jeep Electric Vehicle
The Jeep Wrangler EV will have an engine capable of producing 268 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. The estimated range is 40 miles electric; 400 miles total with gasoline assist.

Chrysler Town & Country EV
“The Chrysler EV combines the electric-drive components of an Electric Vehicle with an integrated small-displacement engine and generator to produce additional electricity to power the electric-drive system when needed. This provides all of the positive attributes of an Electric Vehicle and extends the driving range to be equivalent to today’s gasoline-powered vehicles – without compromises.”


BMW – Mini to Produce Electric Cars in California

It looks like consumers in California will soon be seeing electric Mini’s on the street. The Mini’s are made in Oxford, England. These examples will be partially assembled alongside the normal cars, minus the engine, gearbox and fuel tank. Then they’ll go over to parent company BMW’s facility in Munich, Germany, to be fitted with all the necessary electric drivetrain components and batteries before heading west.

BMW sources told Automotive News Europe that 490 of the Minis will be leased to selected customers in California and 10 will be used as show cars.

The electric cars will have yellow roofs, and will allow BMW to meet California’s requirement that carmakers start selling zero-emission vehicles.

PML Mini QED

Too bad that they are not bring the bad-ass PML Mini QED. Those blokes created a Monster electric Mini that features four 160HP electric motors, one on each wheel.  The car has been designed to run for four hours of combined urban/extra urban driving, powered only by a battery and bank of ultra capacitors.  A claimed top speed of 150 mph, a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds, and a reported range of 932 miles when the ICE hybrid gas motor provides additional charge for the on-board batteries.  In this hybrid mode, fuel economies of up to 80mpg can be achieved.

 


Check out Lion Electric Vehicles

I recently stumbled across Lion Electric Vehicles.  These guys have some great new technology that enables you to hop-up your existing hybrid by swapping out your existing batteries with new batteries can greatly increase your range.

cells_shipping

And even more incredible is that they are selling Ford Escape Hybrids that have already been modified with their new technology.  Changes to the battery pack and the sensor program allow it to run on EV entirely within city speed ranges.  On the highway it operates as an ICE vehicle with electric boost.

ford-escape-hybrid_courtesy_photo_ford

These guys are based out of VA, but have facilities all over the world.  It is nice to see a US company developing new technology that will help power the new energy-independence economy.  I am hopeful that our current energy crisis well help pour capital into companies like Lion which will help develop the new technologies required to achieve our goal of energy independence.


The Th!nk City Electric Car

I recently noticed the press release for this nifty little new electric car that is produced by the Norwegian firm Th!nk Global.  Ironically, Ford Motors actually developed this vehicle but sold it to Norwegian investors back in 2003.  Ford Motor Company owned the TH!NK brand from 1999-2004.

While the four-seater has a 110 mile range and a top speed of 65 mph, studies have show that this type of performance is adaquate for almost all city drivers, as well commuters that have less than 20 mile commutes.

Th!nk Global also claims that the car is made from 95% recyclable materials, will cost less than $25,000, and become available in the U.S. in 2009.  Recently Kleiner Perkins Caulfield & Byers, the leading venture firm that is investing in and accelerating Green technology solutions and policy innovations, has pumped additional funding into Th!nk so that they can expand into North America.

While I am certainly excited about the prospects of more and more companies getting into the electric car market, it is a shame that our Big Three are not leading the charge.  The technology innovations required for these new cars should be coming from our own companies, and the manufactoring jobs would certainly be welcome in the Detroit area.

The Th!nk City electric car, a four-seater with 110 mile range and top speed of 65 mph, priced under $25,000, made from 95% recyclable materials, and available in the U.S. in 2009T, but the actual mass roll out is slated for sometime in 2011.

http://www.21stcentury.co.uk/cars/ford_th!nk.asp – Old Press Release from Ford on the Th!nk!

2014 Update

Again, at a time when electric car makers were praying for good news, Th!nk City came along and got laughed out of the industry with its lackluster product. The automaker went bankrupt not once, not twice, but three times before it was all said and done. In retrospect, the “cute” exclamation point in the name didn’t help, either

Read more


Mercedes, Smart to Sell Electric Cars in 2010

girl in bikini with electric smart car

Daimler has announced that it is jumping on the growing electric car bandwagon, with plans to roll-out a Mercedes-Benz and Smart EV in 2010.

As far as the Smart model goes, there is currently a fleet of 100 first-generation Smart electric cars running in London, and it’s a fair bet that the new cars will be at least roughly based on these.

No decision has been made regarding the price for the EV models. According to Zetsche, “That depends on whether we sell the batteries with the car or lease them. The willingness (on the part of consumers) to pay more is limited.