U.K. Company Claims Breakthrough on 1,000-Mile Electric Vehicle

By · April 01, 2013

Liberty E-Range

Liberty Electric Cars does electric conversions of Land Rovers, using a 75-kWh battery pack.

Liberty Electric Cars, based in Newton Abbot, U.K., claims it will have a prototype this year of a pure electric vehicle that will be able to travel up to 1,000 miles on a single charge. At least that is what the U.K.’s Motortrades Insight reported in early March.

Liberty Electric Cars was a bit cagier about the claim. “Liberty is constantly searching the market for new technologies that would allow EVs to cover a much greater range than is readily available today,” said the company in an email to PluginCars.com. “At this stage we can’t give you any more details about the technology as the project is still under development.”

If the prototype, which should be complete in six months, is successful, the vehicle will be on the market in two to three years, said Liberty.

Ian Hobday, the CEO of Liberty, said, “Our engineering team has recently seen a new type of energy storage that would allow EVs to reach a range equal to, or potentially in excess of, what today’s best internal combustion engines can achieve."

Take With Grain of Salt

Sorry to be skeptical, but an affordable pure electric vehicle that can manage a few hundred miles on a single charge would change the automotive world. As the saying goes, if something is too good to be true...

To be fair, Liberty is currently marketing the E-Range, a pure electric SUV that it says gets 200 miles on a single charge. The company's website describes the E-Range, alluding to a battery breakthrough in its use of a 75-kWh pack: "Liberty has developed unique energy storage with batteries that are larger than any car battery used before, yet they are lighter and more power dense. The battery is located in a such a way that there is no loss of interior space, and we use four motors, one per wheel with each one creating braking energy."

According to the website, the E-Range carries a price tag of about U.S. $240,000.

Liberty Electric is owned by Green Automotive Company, a Newport Beach, California-based company that also owns California-based electric bus maker Newport Coachworks Inc., and U.K.-based EV sales and service company GoinGreen Ltd.

Green Automotive shares trade over-the-counter in the U.S. In late March it secured a $3 million line of equity from Kodiak Capital Group LLC, so Green Automotive may indeed have worthwhile technology. The money will be used to fund Green Automotive’s business development and for “general corporate purposes,” it said in a statement.

Liberty said it is also working on an EV motor that does not use rare earth metals and a second motor with a “radical new design” that reduces energy consumption and thus increases range. No details on either motor, but both should reach the market within 18 months, said Liberty.

Well, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. At least not all of Green Automotive’s eggs are in the pure electric basket. Last November, Newport Coachworks announced a two-year agreement to supply Don Brown Bus Sales Inc. of Johnstown, New York with a line of diesel- and CNG-powered buses starting in Spring of 2013. The size of the order was not included in the announcement.

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