Up and Coming Electric Cars

25 02 2010

BMW Megacity

BMW City EVBMW is working on a small electric car that could launch in 2012. The Megacity is a low-slung three-door four-seat hatchback coupe. The car is smaller than the Honda Fit, and will have a projected range of 100 miles. The BMW Megacity, which could be sold either as a BMW or Mini, is not much more than a concept at this stage, but pressure on BMW to meet California’s zero emissions vehicle requirements might bring the car to life—albeit in small numbers.

BYD E6

Subaru 1REIf China’s BYD can deliver on its big promises for the E6 all-electric crossover, then it could take the US by storm. (Investment guru Warren Buffet is betting that BYD will come through.) Unlike the small city-oriented electric runabouts on slate from established carmakers, the E6 is a five-passenger wagon capable of carting a typical American family. Moreover, the E6 has a range of 200 to 250 miles and boasts a 0 to 60 mph time of less than 10 seconds. Top speed is 100 mph. The vehicle can be fully charged in about 10 hours by plugging into a standard household outlet. BYD says that it takes only 10 minutes to charge to 50 percent capacity and 15 minutes to the 80 percent level. BYD has been in the battery business only since 1995, and started building cars in 2003. Considering that the company maintains an R&D department with 8,000 engineers, it’s not surprising that the initials BYD stand for “Build Your Dreams.”
BYD showed the E6 at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show along with its F3DM and F6DM plug-in hybrid sedans. It announced plans to sell the F6DM in the US within a few years, although it didn’t set a firm schedule for any of its electric-drive vehicle—probably wise, since the cars have not yet been certified for sale, and face questions on quality, crashworthiness, and equipment.

Coda (Electric Sedan)

Coda Electric SedanSouthern California automaker Coda Automotive announced plans to bring a new electric car to the US from China in 2010. The all-electric sedan is based on an existing gas-powered four-door car, known as the Hafei Saibao 3, built in Harbin, China. Re-engineered with a lithium ion battery, the Coda sedan promises a driving range of 100 miles. The MSRP for the Coda sedan will be around $40,000. The scrappy California company may be the first start-up to offer a practical and affordable electric car to mainstream buyers.

Ford Focus EV

Ford Focus EVThe Ford Focus EV, due out in late 2011, is the first electric car designed for the generic aisle of the dealership. Ford’s plans for the Focus EV are not aimed at buzz and sizzle. Instead, the company is focused on addressing the biggest obstacle between EVs and the mainstream: cost. By choosing an existing platform—the Focus—and using technology developed by auto supplier Magna, Ford will save the expense associated with developing a unique design. The Ford Focus EV is targeted to have a range of 100 miles between charges, courtesy of a 23 kWh battery pack.

Ford Transit Connect Electric

Ford Transit Connect ElectricWith the introduction of the Ford Transit Connect Electric, unveiled at this week’s Chicago Auto Show, Ford may have produced the first green halo truck. When you combine car-like driving dynamics, cargo capacity and accessibility with the the built-in marketing opportunities for small businesses to emblazon the large exterior panels with green slogans such as “Zero-Emissions” and “100 percent electric,” it makes for a compelling package. The vehicle has a 75 mile per hour top speed and can drive up to 80 miles on a charge—perfectly fine for the needs of a local delivery cycle.

Mercedes BlueZero

Mercedes BlueZeroIn late 2008, Mercedes-Benz unveiled its BlueZero concept vehicles—the core idea is to build electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel-cell cars on a single platform. Daimler had previously announced that its next generation FCV fuel cell cars will be built on a subcompact (B-class) chassis in 2010. Migrating to the BlueZero would only be a minor adjustment. Daimler’s future electric cars could also shift to the BlueZero—because the guts of its electric cars already fit in the smaller Smart and A-Class. Sharing platforms and technology architectures could allow Daimler to telescope development and production timelines, and save money on rolling out new electric models. At this stage, it’s still a concept.

Mini E

Mini EThe limited edition Mini E car is based on the Mini Cooper platform. The car’s 380-volt battery is comprised of 5,088 individual cells, and can be recharged using a standard 110-volt electrical outlet. The battery pack has a maximum capacity of 35 kilowatt hours. BMW will offer a specialized high-amp wall-mounted device that will allow a full replenishment of the battery in less than three hours. The Mini E will have a cruising range of 150 miles. Approximately 500 cars are slated for production and lease to select customers in Southern California and the New York area. Pricing, as well as production beyond the first 500 units, is not yet determined.

Mitsubishi iMiEV

Mitsubishi iMiEVMitsubishi is now taking advanced orders for electric cars in Japan, with production planned for Summer 2009. The production vehicle will be a derivative of the iMiEV (Mitsubishi in-wheel Electric Vehicle) Sport Concept. The production will likely use a single 47 kW motor and 16 kWh lithium ion batteries—to yield about 75 miles of range and a top speed of 80 miles per hour. The vehicle will be a four-seater with a real usable back seat.

Nissan Leaf

Nissan LeafNissan is calling its new electric car—the Nissan Leaf—the “world’s first affordable, zero-emission car.” And they could be right. Unveiled on Aug. 2, 2009, the Leaf is a medium-size all-electric hatchback that seats five adults and has a range of 100 miles. Pricing was not announced (although the company previously hinted at a price around $30,000.) The Nissan Leaf’s closest comparable future all-electric car is the Ford Focus EV. The distinguishing characteristic between the two vehicles could be design—pitting the established look of the Ford Focus against the purpose-built Nissan Leaf, which will go on sale in late 2010.

Pininfarina Blue Car

Pininfarina Blue CarLegendary Italian sports car designer Pininfarina will begin production of its small all-electric four-seat five-door Blue Car in 2010. The Blue Car is powered by a 50 kW electric motor getting energy from a lithium polymer battery pack with 150 miles of range. The company began accepting reservations from European customers in spring 2009. The lease will be about $500 per month. The body of the car is designed as an elastic shell resting forcefully on the four wheels, providing more room than the average city car. Techno-goodies include solar panels on the roof, and the ability to use a smart phone to monitor battery state-of-charge, and to start AC or heat from a distance. Pininfarina will start slow, only in Europe, and aim to ramp up production up to 60,000 units per year by 2015.

Renault Fluence

Renault FluencePatrick Pelata, executive vice president, said that the all-electric Renault Fluence will launch in 2011, starting with at least 20,000 units in the first year. (The gas-powered Fluence debuts in 2009.) The company will produce a smaller compact electric car in the following year. No more details at this time, although its sister company Nissan will introduce its yet-to-be-named electric-only model also in 2012. That’s probably not a coincidence.

Smart ED

Smart EVDespite considerable media buzz for Daimler’s Smart ForTwo, microcars have not taken American roads by storm. Perhaps consumers may be more forgiving of the lack of size and power if the Smart is offered with an electric drive. The first models will likely go to Europe in about 2010. Availability in the US is uncertain. The car will provide 70 miles of range and 70 miles per hour on the freeway. Recharge time from 30 to 80 percent capacity is about three and a half hours. The gas version of the Smart ForTwo has earned low marks for handling, especially at higher speeds.

Subaru R1E

Subaru 1REThe Achilles Heel of electric cars has been the limited range they can travel between charges. The Subaru R1e could help change that. The diminutive two-seater, about 20 inches longer than a Smart ForTwo, has a top speed of 65 miles per hour and a range of 50 miles. More importantly, the time to recharge the 346-volt lithium ion battery pack has been reduced to about 15 minutes. Here’s the hitch: To get the faster charging time, you need a special stationary charger. Using the onboard standard charger puts the electricity refueling time back to about eight hours.

Toyota FT-EV

Toyota FT-EVToyota introduced the FT-EV electric concept at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, hinting that it might offer an urban all-electric commuter vehicle in the next few years. The FT-EV concept shares its platform with the company’s Japanese and European minicar, the Toyota iQ. The iQ is larger than the quintessential minicar, the Smart Fortwo, but not by much. Its wheelbase is a little more than five inches longer, and on the whole, the car is only about a foot longer than the Smart—11.4 inches to be exact. The electric version on display at the Detroit Auto Show, the Toyota FT-EV concept, offers driving range of 50 miles, according to Toyota. The company is expected to launch 10 new hybrid gas-electric models globally by 2012, but has not made firm commitments to bring a full battery-electric car to market.

Tesla Model S

Tesla Model SWhat makes the Model S so cool? First of all, the visual design is gorgeous. Second, it seats five—or seven if you count the two side-facing rear seats for small children. There are killer features, like the 17-inch touch screen that provides all of the vehicle’s interface components such as climate control and entertainment, but also offers 3G or wireless connectivity. But most importantly, the Model S is way more affordable than the company’s $109,000 Tesla Roadster. The current price target for the Tesla Model S is $57,900 (minus a $7,500 federal tax credit)—still not in range for most mainstream buyers but moving in the right direction. The Model S is planned for release in late 2011.

text from  http://www.hybridcars.com/electric-car

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