DOK-ING has decided to start with the electric car development project in 2009. Today, the project has evolved from the concept to the prototype stage, meaning that we are about to produce the first fully functional prototype. It is a fully electric car with advanced in-house developed carbon car body, aluminum chassis, motor controllers, Battery Management System, and driver interface (communication between the driver and the car).
Along with the R&D on the urban electric car, DOK-ING has examined the opportunities of conversion of conventional internal combustion engines to electric powered cars. Until today, a number of different models have been converted as the prototypes (Fiat Punto and Stilo, Hyundai H1, Dacia Duster, Skoda Octavia...). One conversion includes removal of internal combustion engine, its fueling system and a complete exhaust system from the car. Consequently, we install the electric motor, battery system, motor controller, Battery Management System, battery recharge system, new cooling system for motor and controller, new cabin heating system, and communication between car and newly installed systems. We aim to offer this service to the open market.
Most of the established car manufacturers and OEMs have engaged important means to electrification of their offer. Additionally, a certain number of small manufacturers have emerged as innovative developers of electric vehicles for different purposes. On top of that, many R&D institutes and universities cooperate with car manufacturers and utility companies in development of the electric vehicles technology.
When conversions are regarded, according to our knowledge, only private entrepreneurs and R&D institutions have engaged in these activities. Apart from developing completely new models of electric cars, some of the car manufacturers have used their conventional models as the basis for electric vehicle development by developing the electric propulsion for them.
If we talk about private customers, key target customers of our electric car are trendsetters (Trendy Greens), who buy innovative products such as newly developed electronic and other gadget products. They will be the ones most interested in the practical and innovative urban electric car. Trendy greens (15% of the total market in US) are convenience seekers, who like to show off and are willing to try out a new technology. They are less price sensitive, willing to pay premium prices and sacrifice daily mileage for green products. The second group of target customers is “Running Cost Sensitive” (another 15% of the total US market) drivers. They are sensitive about running costs and total cost of ownership and are willing to pay upfront premium, as well as willing to sacrifice features and design and change their driving habits for the better fuel efficiency. The main part of early adopters will be persons over 30 years old. Deloitte’s research of US market has shown that the early adapters will be a small number of buyers, nowhere near the volume needed for mass adoption. They will be young, high-income individuals, who already own one or more vehicles. Those are the families that already own one or more vehicles. These consumers have a very distinct profile, beginning with a much higher-than-average income. They tend to reside in urban or suburban areas, but nearly 90% have garages with electrical power.
On the other hand, talking about companies, we see our target customers as the ones with important car park and oriented to urban commuting. Those companies businesses are mainly urban rent-a-car, car sharing systems, different kinds of city deliveries, urban high class hotels and similar.
Target customers for this kind of products are the companies that cover their complete mileage in the cities for different purposes: urban rent-a-car, car sharing systems, city deliveries, and similar. Until now, we have signed the agreements with a taxi service in Serbia for converting 5 of their cars to electric power, and with HEP (Croatian national electric power utility and distributor of electric energy) to convert a certain number of cars from their pool. As far as the private car owners are concerned, ones that care about cutting the running costs of their car should be interested in this kind of conversions. There is a certain investment needed for the conversion itself, but at the end fuel cost can be reduced drastically (instead of burning average 10 liters of fuel, you spend less than 20kW of electric power per 100 km), and on top of that, maintenance cost of the electric motor is much simpler and cheaper that the maintenance of an internal combustion engine.
There is a strategic effort identified by European Commission about reducing CO2 emissions by 20% until 2020, and eliminating them completely before 2050. This being said, electrification of the transport is an important issue in sustainable social development since it represents around 25% of total global CO2 emission.
That represents one of the main drivers to introduce electric vehicles for all purposes into the global picture. Of course, the means to achieve such an ambitious goal are time consuming and require significant investment in energy production sector. Also, important infrastructural development needs to be realized in terms of building new renewable energy based power plants, “smart” electric grids, charging stations, application of advanced communication and IT technology, etc.
All mentioned gives a strong back wind into electric car based automotive industry, and guaranties that electric cars market will gradually increase its share of total car market. Actually, the figures show that this progress is not as fast as it was projected in the beginning. US administration had announced in 2010 its plan to put 1 million electric cars on the road by the end of 2015. The same goal was identified also by German administration, but with longer delay.
As mentioned before, most of the established car manufacturers and OEMs have engaged important means to electrification of their offer. Additionally, a certain number of small manufacturers have emerged as innovative developers of electric vehicles for different purposes. Main characteristics of electric cars that are being evaluated as success indicators are the distance of the electric car that it can cover with one charge, it’s driving characteristics, battery technology it uses to power the drive and the market price. We can proudly say that, as far as the range is concerned, we have achieved more than 200 kilometers that represent one of the best results in class. Even though it is a city vehicle for metropolitan commuters, our car has some sporty characteristics – 7,7 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, maximum speed of 130 km/h, 90 kW of power, 360 Nm of constant torque...
As far as the battery technology is concerned, we use LiFePO4 technology which is alternative to commonly used Li-ion technology. The prices of electric cars are still the main blocking factor to electric car market success. As we still have not commercialized our car, we make additional efforts to be able to reduce the market price as much as we can. Being at the same time aware that we are opening a new segment of luxury city electric cars, we are aware that the price would be reasonably comparable to the conventional car segment standards.
There is no reliable market intelligence showing the data about conversion market. Some of the private garages in the region offer different variants of conversion, but no one has offered a standard conversion service. By being one of the first companies that can offer the service, we plan to set standards in the business. Conversion from internal combustion power to electric is, in its base, an effort to reduce the running cost of the car by investing a certain amount of money upfront. Having the technology that is already used and tested in company's core business and in the electric car development, DOK-ING is fully capable to offer a reliable conversion that can be certified as a legal electric vehicle. DOK-ING's goal is to become a regional leader in conversion of conventional internal combustion engine to electric powered cars.