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Aug 262009

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Remember those Hummers your neighbors (or maybe you!) drove heedlessly around town, burning through barrels of gasoline but rarely finding those off-road challenges for which these vehicles were created?

With the downturn in the economy and the uptick in carbon emissions, they became a symbol of SUV excess.

But don’t count them out.

Raser Technologies, Inc. has been testing electric Hummer H3Es and reported this week that they recently ran a successful all-electric 50-mile drive. That’s significant because battery-operated vehicles have been curtailed by short ranges of around 40 miles. New models under development are aiming for more than that in hopes of alleviating anticipated consumer concerns over EV range.

“I am very proud of our team and their work to reach this important milestone,” said Jim Spellman, Raser’s Vice President of Business Development, in a statement. “Battery range of this innovative vehicle was more than sufficient to exceed our performance target of 40 miles in all-electric mode. In fact the H3E drove over 50 miles using only approximately 60% of the battery pack.”

Said Raser Technologies chairman Kraig Higginson: “The Hummer performed beautifully with better than expected fuel economy and great acceleration. Most importantly, it did all this with zero direct emissions running entirely on electricity.”

The Hummer H3E, like other electric vehicles in development, relies mainly on the battery, but has a small gasoline engine that functions as an “extender” that is used to recharge the batteries. The H3E road tests indicate that it could manage a 400 mile round-trip, using the battery and extender.

Raser, an energy tech company based in Provo, wants its electric road power to be competitive with GM’s mid-size Chevy Volt, expected out late next year. But its powertrain will serve SUVs and trucks.

“The positive results from this test indicate that we can downsize our battery pack, reducing cost and weight of the vehicle, and still achieve the 40 mile all-electric range needed for optimized typical driving,” Spellman said.

Because these vehicles use such small amounts of gasoline, their mileage is expected to exceed 100 mpg; however, that number doesn’t factor in their total energy consumption. Still, auto experts say these types of electric vehicles, recharged at home using a renewable energy electrical service, can be nearly emissions free.

To see more on the Hummer test drive, visit the Raser website.  Raser, a public company, is known for its work on geothermal energy solutions.

Copyright © 2009 Green Right Now | Distributed by Noofangle Media