While the Barker Hanger was still mostly empty on Friday, the day before the Alt Car Expo starts in Santa Monica, I caught up with the Phoenix Motors and Altairnano crew standing next to the electric Phoenix SUV prototype. Bryon Bliss and Daniel Elliot of Phoenix Motors said the SUV is currently going through safety testing, just like any other vehicle destined for commercial sales. In fact, that was their main message, that the electric SUV will drive and feel like an ICE SUV. The 480 ft lbs. of torque and the rest of the powertrain have been electronically adjusted to make the vehicle feel "normal." One slight difference: while the prototype model doesn't beep when backing up, the production model likely will, otherwise you might not know it's coming. Expect the Phoenix SUV in the second quarter of 2007.
I also spoke with Roy Graham, Senior Vice President for Commercial Development at Altairnano, about the nano-titanate lithium-ion batteries I first wrote about at the EDTA Conference. You can listen to Graham explaining how the batteries will work in the Phoenix SUV here (~5 min. interview, 1.3 MB file). Also, check out a picture of the batteries under the hood after the jump.