August 20, 2009

Electric Cars Coming Next Year

I'm personally looking forward to electric cars. I think that its the inevitable future and it will be good to make a major step towards getting off of our oil dependency. Driving an electric car should also be cheaper. The Chevy Volt is a model I've talked about before and they've recently made some news by claiming the Volt will get 230MPG. That claim seems somewhat dubious but thats another topic. The Volt was one of the first major announcements on electric drive cars. They are still making good progress on the Volt, and you can see a video of a test drive of preproduction model. Many car makers are planning to have either fully electric cars or cars that have electric drive train and a gas backup. Below are a list of all the electric drive train cars currently planned for production that I could find.

Tesla Roadster
100% electric
Top Speed : 125 MPH
Range : 220 miles
Price: $101,500
Availability: Now in limited quantities

BMW Mini E an electric version of the Mini.
100% electric
Currently only available in limited numbers in California.
Top speed : 95 MPH
Range : 96-156 mi.
Price : $850 / month lease
Availability: Now, but all units leased out.

Chevy Volt
Wiki page
Electric with gas extender
Top Speed:
Range: 40 miles electric, up to 640 with gas
Price: $40,000 ?
Availability : Late 2010

Nissan Leaf
Additional info.
100% electric
Top speed : 90 MPH
Range : 100 miles
Price : estimated at near $30,000
Availability : 2010


Tesla Model S
100% electric
Top speed: ?
Range: 160 to 300 miles
Price: $49,900
Availability: 2011 or 2012

Chrysler ENVI line of cars

Dodge Circuit
100% electric
Top Speed : 120 MPH
Range : 150-200 miles
Price : ?
Availability : 2010

Jeep Patriot
Electric with gas extender
Top speed : 100 MPH
Range : 40 miles electric, 400 miles with gas
Price: ?
Availability: 2010

Jeep Wrangler
Electric with gas extender
Top speed : 90 MPH
Range : 40 miles electric, 400 miles with gas
Price: ?
Availability: 2010

Chrysler Town and Country
Electric with gas extender
Top speed : 90 MPH
Range : 40 miles electric, 400 miles with gas
Price: ?
Availability: 2010

There is some talk of other models as well but they had less details. Toyota is planning an all electric vehicle by 2012 and plug in hybrids selling to fleets by late 2009. There are reports that Daimler is apparently working on an electric version of the Smart car.

From the list above, it seems to me that the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf are most likely to be practical mainstream cars first on the market. The Volt and Leaf are both scheduled for 2010 and they have functional test models now.

The Tesla Roadster and MINI E are on the road now but neither is very practical and their availability is limited. The Tesla Roadsters are very expensive. The MINI E is already out there but in such limited quantities and such a high price that it is not really what I'd consider mainstream production level. The Chrysler cars have less certainty in their schedule so I am not expecting they'll be on the road faster than the Volt or Leaf.

I've got my eye on the Nissan Leaf. It looks like a practical solution that will work well in the city. Plus the price is relatively low at $30,000 level. If it delivers as promised then the Leaf might be a good buy.

We'll have to wait and see which car hits the road first and is available to buy at a reasonable price.

2 comments:

  1. For people like me who travel lng distances (100 miles each way is not unusual), these vehicles don't offer a lot. Also, the cost of electricity isn't included. With Cap & Trade possibly coming, electricity costs will go up. Looks like a double wammy to me..

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  2. If you travel that much then an 100% electric car won't be very practical. The cars like the Volt will have a gas engine to act as backup when/if you run out of electricity so they could work.

    As far as the cost of electiricty that will vary a bit but the website for the Tesla Roadster at least says they figure it will be about 1 cent per mile. Thats about 10-25% the cost of gas.

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