KleenSpeed unveiling the KAR, an electric car with amazing 150 mile range
Silicon Valley automotive start-up KleenSpeed is getting ready to unveil the KAR, an concept electric car the company bills as "The most intelligent automobile ever conceived." The KAR is due to be unveiled at the San Francisco Auto Show on Nov. 21, but KleenSpeed has distributed some information and specifications ahead of time, including an amazingly low $9,995 price and an amazingly long 150 mile electric driving rage.
KleenSpeed is a small start-up company based at Moffett Field in Mountain View, and has been working on electric vehicle components and designs for a few years. They are best known for the EV-X11 electric race car that serves as a test-bed on which KleenSpeed engineers design and test electric vehicle components. The company's actual product line is a lithium-ion battery pack design, a battery management system for lithium-ion battery packs, and other electric vehicle components. Their GenESSys battery pack design is available in sizes up to 40 kilowatt-hours.
The KleenSpeed KAR is a vehicle platform which the company is offering to license to automobile manufacturers. It appears to be a small micro-car, with seating for two and a small storage compartment behind the seats. The battery pack is shown built into the chassis beneath the passenger compartment, and the electric motor is shown to be mounted behind the rear wheels. The upper part of the KAR is said to be an "open source design" allowing auto manufacturers to design for any body style.
The 40 kilowatt-hour battery pack, and the 150 mile electric driving range it gives the KAR, is much more than is typical for electric cars, putting the KAR on equal footing with the low end of the Tesla Model S line-up. KleenSpeed claims it has "Outstanding Volumetric & Gravimetric Energy Density" which is a fancy way of saying the battery pack has a very high energy density on both size and weight. The battery pack also includes a thermal management system.
To top it off, KleenSpeed claims their "unique business model projects bringing the KAR to market in mass production at a target price of only $9,995 MSRP." That business model separates the cost of the KAR and the cost of the battery pack. The KAR purchaser is buying the vehicle, and is leasing the battery pack. This lowers the up-front purchase price of the KAR, while giving the KAR owner an on-going lease payment. The battery pack lease is partly offset by "second life options," suggesting KleenSpeed intends to provide used battery packs for energy storage applications.
KleenSpeed's press release discusses, several times, that the KAR GT design is available for licensing to automobile manufacturers. That means one shouldn't expect KleenSpeed to start manufacturing itself, but
The KAR GT prototype KleenSpeed plans to reveal at the San Francisco International AUTO SHOW is described as their "vision of the automobile that will revolutionize the acceptance and commercial viability of the electric vehicle" and that it "is the first EV to really meet the needs of the world market at an affordable price point."