Brusa Evergreen EV|
First EV to cross the Alps on one charge
evocative of the classic
BMC Mini -
was developed in the 1990s in Ibach,
Switzerland by Andreas Klasen and the the firm COMminiCATION. It used some of the mechanical components
of the original Mini to reduce development costs.
The Evergreen was built with a self-supporting lightweight fiberglass composite body. Thanks to simple
design - a cabrio / targa body with cloth top and doors - all up the basic vehicle weighed only 330kg (725lb).
Yet it was able to carry a battery of up to 470kg - a remarkable 140% of its own weight.
This allowed for a range of around 120km (75 miles), even with a cheap, simple lead battery. With 470kg of
today's advanced lithium EV batteries, an Evergreen could achieve over 500km (310mi) of range. Alas,
COMminiCATION stopped building the Evergreen in the early 2000s.
In the mid-1990s, Alex Krause of Brusa Elektronik AG, a Swiss EV components designer and manufacturer founded in
1985, scored one of the few existing copies of this featherweight EV. He fitted it with what was then Brusa's largest
liquid-cooled motor, their most powerful inverter (AMC-325), and a 180 volt, 100 amp-hour (18kWh) battery made
of liquid-cooled Saft nickel-cadmium EV modules. As of 2001, he had driven it over 80,000km with essentially no
decline in battery capacity.
In 1997, Krause took his Evergreen from Gams to Stabio for a business meeting - a distance of 220km (132mi). He made
the journey with no charging stops, though he did charge during his meeting at Stabio. This would be a more than
respectable accomplishment for any EV of that vintage, but this trip involved crossing the Alps. The car had to
climb 1140m, descend 1350m, and then reverse the elevation change to return.
The following description of the car and the journey is adapted from one published by Brusa in the early 2000s.
|Historic Crossing of the Alps on 18 August 1997|
We started in Gams around 0630 with a fully charged battery. It was dark for the first two hours of the drive, so that we had to use about 2% of the battery capacity for the headlights.
We reached the San Bernardino tunnel entrance at sunrise. By that time, we had already used 74% of the battery capacity and had covered just over half the route.
On the first part of the steep descent, we were able to recover about
5% of the total battery capacity through recuperation. From kilometer 140, the
downward gradient was less, so that we could cover the next 20
km without appreciable consumption. Thanks to the recuperation,
we reached Bellinzona, the lowest-altitude point of the journey, with the
same amount of energy in the battery as at the San Bernardino Tunnel. This means that
we covered approximately 50 km essentially without consuming any energy.
|In Stabio, we charged during a meeting with a business partner. Thanks to the 10 kW charger, the battery was fully charged in 2 hours. During the return journey, again we needed no intermediate charging. This was thus the first time in history that an electric vehicle crossed the Alps from one valley to another, without any intermediate charging -- and, at that, twice on the same day.|
|Graphic Representation of the Trip|
|The graph shows the deviation of the battery ampere hour status from the 0.4477 ah/km average we would expect if we covered the same route in flat terrain. The X axis is the distance in km, and the Y axis is the deviation from flat-terrain consumption. The green line represents the journey from Gams to Stabio (read left to right), and the red line is the return trip (read right to left).|
From this curve, we can conclude that: