See our updated report on Electric Cars In 2011.
At MetaEfficient, I am a strong advocate of car-free living (see my review of the books How To Live Well Without Owning A Car and Car-Free Cities). However, clean, electric vehicles can be useful in some situations. If you recharge them using a renewable energy source such as solar power, they are completely emissions-free. The least expensive way to get an electric car is to convert your current car to an electric vehicle — see this article I wrote more info. Here’s a round-up of the pure electric cars that can be ordered today:
This week, the Green Vehicles company made the surprise announcement that the Triac, a three-wheeled electric car, is ready for sale. Green Vehicles will be offering this lithium-ion powered vehicle, that has a 120 mile range and has a top speed of 70 mph. The engine has a 20 kilowatt electric motor, and a regenerative braking system. It takes about 6 hours for the vehicle to recharge from a regular electrical socket. Green Vehicles just opened a new retail location in San Jose. This is an interesting one to watch!
Link: Green Vehicles
You may have already heard of the 100% electric Tesla sportscar. This car boasts some impressive numbers: 220 miles on a charge, 0 to 60 mph in 3.9 secs, and the equivalent of 135 miles per gallon. The starting price is $109,000. The first models of the Tesla vehicle recently rolled off the production line. Due to demand, you’ll have to wait six months to put in a order for next year’s model. Some of the celebrities who’ve already bought one are: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert Downey Jr., Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin, Dustin Hoffman and Kelsey Grammer.
Link: Tesla Motors
In Canada, the ZENN Motor Company produces an electric hatchback called the ZENN (Zero Emissions No Noise). This low-speed electric car (or NEV for “neighborhood electric vehicle”) goes 35 miles on a charge, and takes 4 hours to recharge. The ZENN is produced by taking a car without a powertrain (the Microcar from Europe) and installing a electric motor and batteries in it. Drivers get a very functional two seat hatchback that offers 13 cubic feet of cargo space behind the front seats. ZENNs are available for about $15000, from dealers in Canada and the U.S.
Link: ZENN Motor Company
Miles Electric Vehicles offers a line of low-speed electric cars, with a range of about 40-60 miles between charges. The base model is the ZX40 — it’s propelled by a 4 kW DC electric motor, while the ZX40S has a more powerful 6.3 kW DC motor. For maximum performance, the Miles ZX40S Advanced Design offers a 7.5 kW AC induction motor. The tall four door wagon seats four and offers 41 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat folded. Standard features include front and rear defroster, windshield wipers, electric mirrors, and alloy wheels. They are available for $14,900-$18,900.
Link: Miles Electric Vehicles
Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) is a Chrysler company, and has been selling electric car for a while now. The basic configuration is an open design, the cars can be fitted with canvas or hard doors. The GEM comes in many configurations to suit a wide range of applications. GEMs are available from $6,795 to $12,495.
Based in Canada, the Dynasty Electric Car Company produces a range of low-speed electric cars. Their iT Sedan hs an aluminum for the frame structure with an infusion molded fiberglass body and molded plastic bumpers. Electricity is stored in six lead acid batteries. The car recharges in less than 12 hours. Models range from $14,000 to $25,000.