- Buddy (electric car)
Buddy is a Norwegian electric car, produced by Elbil Norge AS, at Økern in
Buddy is the sixth generation of the
Kewet electric vehicle. Originally the Kewet was developed in Hadsund, Denmark, and the first model was made in 1991. Production alternated between Hadsund, Denmark and Nordhausen, Germany. During the first five generations over 1000 electric vehicles were produced, . The vehicle was sold in eighteen countries. In 1998 all rights were acquired by ElBil Norge AS (which at the time was called Kollega Bil AS). Bil is the Norwegian word for car, Norge is the Norwegian word for Norway. For some years ElBil Norge further developed the electric vehicle and in the autumn of 2005 a new model was presented that was first called Kewet Buddy Citi-Jet 6, but is now known simply as the Buddy.
Technology and production
Buddy is a simple, functional, electric city car with a range of 40-80 km depending on season, topography and driving style. Maximum speed is 80 km/hour. Its length is 244 cm, which means that in some jurisdictions it can be legally parked sideways. Buddy is a 3-seater that meets many of the needs of a second car.
The Buddy consists of a strong, hot galvanized steel tube frame, complete with safety cage. The body is made of fiberglass. Other metal parts are treated so that further rust treatment is unnecessary. The
electric motoris a 72V SepEx 13kW, a direct current motor with brushes. Well tried technological solutions have used to ensure maximal reliability.
Currently, the Buddy is delivered with advanced lead batteries, which offer the best price/yield ratio. Completely discharged batteries can be recharged in 6-8 hours. The batteries can be rapidly charged so that one hour's charging allows the vehicle to be driven about 10 km. Charging requires an ordinary, grounded outlet with a minimum circuit of 10 A. The life expectancy for the batteries is expected to be between two and five years, or about 20 000 km, depending on driving and charging habits. A complete battery set costs NOK 19 000 excluding value added tax.
ElBil Norge has made a development fleet of Buddy vehicles equipped with various forms of
Li-Ionbattery technology. When this technology is made available commercially, existing Buddy vehicles will be upgradeable to the new technology.
The Buddy is EU approved by the Vehicle Certification Agency as an electric four-wheel motorcycle. It can be used as an ordinary vehicle without restrictions as to the roads it can be driven on, and drivers require only an ordinary driving license.
Two models of the Buddy are currently available, the ordinary variety and BuddyCab which features a folding roof. In 2007 the production capacity at Økern in Oslo is 5-6 vehicles a week, with a theoretical production capacity of 500 vehicles annually. To meet international needs ElBil Norge is working to establish new production localities. Despite international interest, the Buddy is currently sold only in Norway while the company prepares for export.
Electric cars powered by renewable energy sources do not contribute to the release of greenhouse gases, do not pollute locally and produce considerably less noise than other vehicles. A small electric vehicle, such as the Buddy, is especially efficient in terms of energy and area usage. It uses energy resources 3-5 times more effectively than gasoline or diesel vehicles and can park sideways. In Norway, the authorities allow electric vehicles to dive in bus lanes, use toll roads free, and to park in municipal car (and for electric vehicles classified as motorcycles) motorcycle parking places free. The annual road tax is significantly reduced (NOK 370 in 2007).
Operations and Ownership
Buddy is produced by ElBil Norge AS which in
2003changed its name from Kollega Bil AS. The company was originally established in 1992 and has been in the electric vehicle branch since that time. Managing director is Hans Håvard Kvisle. Elbil Norge AS is owned by the original founders Jan-Petter Skramand Viggo Vargum, in addition to external investors which include Hafslund Venture AS, Gezina AS ( Tharald Brøvig), members of the Selvaagfamily, Lychegaarden ( Jens P. Heyerdahl) og Jan Chr G Sundt. The owners have expanded the company gradually. In 2005, an emission NOK 12 million financed by the existing owners allowed for an expansion of the Økern factory. ElBil Norge had a profit in 2004 og 2005 og has a ratio of owner equity to debt of 90%.
*Buddy ranks 29th in terms of sales by automotive brands in Norway in 2006, ahead of Jaguar, Fiat, Smart and Porsche. [ [http://www.elbilnorge.no/index.php?name=Blogs&mode=display&id=141&bakgrunn=forum Elbil Norge's website.] ]
*While most cars are black/dark/grey/silver, about 80% of Buddys are delivered in strong, bright colours. [ [http://www.elbilnorge.no/index.php?name=Blogs&mode=display&id=157&bakgrunn=forum Elbil Norge's colour statistics.] ]
*Buddy uses bold decorative elements: flowers, hearts, clouds, and flames – and a multitude of colours. One Buddy was designed to match the owner's night table lamp. [ [http://www.elbilnorge.no/index.php?name=coppermine&file=buddy_displayimage&album=7&pos=0&bakgrunn=forum Elbil Norge's Buddy Gallery.] ]
Norwegian Celebrity Buddy Owners
Anne Holt, author
Rune Bjerke, Managing director of DnB NORbank
Rune Haaland, co-founder of the environmental organization Bellona
Jens P Heyerdahl, former managing director of Orkla
Tharald Brøvig, owner of Gezina AS
Siri Kalvig, television meteorologist
* [http://www.elbilnorge.no www.elbilnorge.no]
* [http://www.bilnorge.no/vis_artikkel.php3?aid=18696&tid=8 Bilnorge.no history of the Kewet (in Norwegian)]
* [http://kewet.no/index.php?name=Kostnader&bakgrunn=fordeler Electric car calculator (in Norwegian)]
* [http://kewet.no/uploads/downloads/3_BrukerveiledningBuddy0703lett.pdf Buddy user manual (.pdf) (in Norwegian)]
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