Green

30 electric cars companies ready to take over the road

It’s official: Green car madness has taken over. After seeing more electric and hybrid vehicle startups than we could keep track of, we finally decided to start keeping count.

We’ve compiled a list, below, of 27 (update: the list has reached 30; thanks for the comments) startups, listed according to their release date, with additional information on fuel type, range, top speed and price. Most haven’t yet taken venture funding, but where applicable, we’ve listed financial backing.

While we’ve got some overall favorites (Miles, Tesla, Think) and a few favorite oddballs (Aptera, Commuter Cars, Eliica), we’ve for the most part withheld judgement. Still, if you have any of your own predictions about which companies will succeed or — far more likely — fail, we’d encourage you to make them known in the comments.

A note on our method: While most manufacturers are planning more than one model, we chose the one that seemed either most commercially viable or closest to release, depending on our own (discretionary) formula. We didn’t included well-known consumer models like the Toyota Prius or Chevy Volt, or startups like AC Propulsion that only do battery conversions for consumer vehicles. We also rounded the price to the nearest thousand.

All details are taken from the companies, so we haven’t independently confirmed things like range and top speed details. In case we missed any, mention them below and we’ll add them to the list.

americanelectricvehicle.JPGAmerican Electric Vehicle — Kurrent
Update: Defunct, according to a comment below, although they seem to still be for sale. We’re looking into it.
AEV advises its potential drivers to “Slow down,” which seems like wise advice, given the golf cart-inspired design. Still, it’s ridiculously cheap.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $10K
Range / top speed: 40 miles / 25mph
Release date: Available now

commutercars.jpgCommuter Cars — Tango T600
The Tango is even odder than three-wheeled designs, in some ways: It’s less than half the width of a normal car, and two can fit in a single lane. It also accelerates like a bat out of hell. Future versions are planned to be much cheaper, and have longer ranges.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $108K
Range / top speed: 80 miles / 150mph
Funding: Less than $1 million in angel backing; open to venture funding.
Release date: Available now

dynasty.JPGDynasty Electric Car Corp. — IT Sedan
This Canadian company actually sells five different models, although they all look relatively identical, minus or plus a few pieces of frame.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $19,000
Range / top speed: 30 miles / 24mph
Release date: Available now

elbil.jpgElBil Norge — Kewet Buddy
Somewhat reminiscent of the Think (see below), the Buddy is currently only available in the same country, Norway.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $28K
Range / top speed: / 56mph
Release date: Available now

flybo.jpgFly Bo — 6000 / 2
This vehicle, which bears a strong resemblance to the Smart Car, is produced in China. Spark (see below) distributes it in the United States.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $10K
Range / top speed: 60 miles / 35mph (w/ limiter)
Release date: Available now

geme2.jpgGlobal Electric Motorcars (GEM) — e2
GEM is actually a division of Chrysler, the company has the look and feel (not to mention, apparently, the limited funding) of a startup. Its vehicles resemble golf carts, and are likely used for many of the same functions.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $7K
Range / top speed: 35 miles / 25mph
Release date: Available now

modec.JPGModec — Electric Van
These aren’t actually cars, or even consumer transportation. These electric van / trucks resemble the delivery vehicles you might see bringing vegetables to your local grocery.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $41K
Range / top speed: 100 miles / 50mph
Release date: Available now

myers.JPGMyers Motors — NmG (No more Gas)
Another three-wheeled design, with room for only one passenger. Odd-looking and doesn’t go far, but you can order one today, if you like.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $35K
Range / top speed: 30 miles / 75mph
Release date: Available now

reva.JPGReva — G-Wiz
Despite its distinction as the most-produced electric vehicle around, having been in production since 2001, the Indian-produced Reva isn’t available yet in the United States. It’s considered extremely unsafe at high speeds, so it may never make it over.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: £8K ($16K in US dollars)
Range / top speed: 70 miles (for 2008 model) / 45mph
Release date: Available now

smithev.JPGSmith Electric Vehicles — Edison
The Edison, a large van designed for local deliveries, is Smith’s smallest model, meaning drivers don’t need a special license to operate it. The company, based in the United Kingdom also makes several much larger delivery trucks.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: Unconfirmed
Range / top speed: 150 miles / 50mph
Release date: Available now

twike.JPGTwike — The Twike
Some effort seems to have been put towards making this vehicle look like an insect. Of course, the look worked for the Volkswagen Beetle, and it may be working for Twike; the company sold out its 2007 line last year. It’s based in Switzerland, but sells in several other countries, including the United States.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $27,500
Range / top speed: 80 miles / 53mph
Release date: Available now

venturi.JPGVenturi — Fetish
Another high-end electric sports car, the Fetish is manufactured in Monaco. High labor costs, anyone? The company is also developing two more models, the Ecletic and Astrolab.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: €297K (about $435K dollars)
Range / top speed: 155 miles / 100mph
Release date: Available now

zap.JPGZap! Electric Cars — Xebra Sedan
Update: While Zap! cars really do exist, the company appears to have made itself out to be much more than it is. Check out the Wired.com expose piece on Zap, and think twice before ordering one (or signing up to be a dealer).
We chose to list the Xebra because the two higher-powered versions Zap is working on, the Zap-X and the Alias, don’t have firm release dates. Zap also has numerous retail locations in the United States, and sells cars made by other manufacturers.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $11K
Range / top speed:
Release date: Available now

zenn1.jpgZenn Motors — Zenn NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle)
As with some other available electric vehicles currently available, this vehicle is strictly for short ranges and slow speeds.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $12K – $15K
Range / top speed: 35 miles / 25mph
Funding: This company is publicly traded on the TSX.
Release date: Available now

lightning.JPGLightning Car Company — Lightning GT
The United Kingdom’s answer to Tesla. This will likely remain a boutique vehicle, but the company has plans for cheaper mass-produced models later.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: £150K ($293K in US dollars)
Range / top speed: 250 miles / TBA (but fast)
Release date: First half 2008

sparkev.jpgSpark Electric Vehicles — Comet
Update: Like Zap (see above), it seems Spark is either a scam company or simply incapable of carrying out its plans. Michael Papp, the brain behind Spark, has been arrested and faces trial for taking payments for vehicles he failed to deliver.
Spark has nine models, most made by Fly Bo (listed above). Here, we list the one they designed and manufactured themselves in the United States (most of their vehicles are much slower and cheaper than this one). They distribute their vehicles in Colorado, Michigan, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $33K
Range / top speed: 200 miles / 90mph
Release date: First half of 2008

tesla.JPGTesla Motors — The Roadster
The most-publicized, most-hyped electric car company around. Tesla’s high-performance electric vehicle is reportedly a blast to drive, but various production problems have set the release date back.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $98K
Range / top speed: 221 miles / 125mph
Funding: Backed by Bay Area Equity Fund, Compass Venture Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Technology Partners, VantagePoint Cleantech Partners, and VantagePoint Venture Partners, as well as various angel investors (including Elon Musk).
Release date: First quarter 2008

think.JPGThink — City
A pre-existing company whose older cars are still driven in Norway, this European manufacturer will release its new model in Europe this year, and in the United States a year or two after. Business 2.0 had an extensive story on the company.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $34K in Norway, $15K – $17K in US (projected)
Range / top speed: 112 miles / 62mph
Funding: Backed by DFJ Element, British Hazel Capital, Canica, Capricorn Investment Group, CG Holding, RockPort Capital Partners and Wintergreen Advisers, as well as various angels.
Release date: First half 2008 in Europe, but not until 2009 or later in the US

phoenix.jpgPhoenix Motorcars — Sport Utility Truck / SUV
No cars here, just trucks and SUVs. The company will have an extended-range battery option for 250 miles later in 2008.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $45K
Range / top speed: 130 miles / 95mph
Release date: Mid-2008

aircar.JPGMoteur Developpment International — The Air Car
These tiny, odd little vehicles are powered entirely by compressed air. You won’t be likely to see one Stateside just yet, but India’s Tata Motors has plans to begin production on them this year.
Fuel type: Air!
Price: TBA
Range / top speed: 120 miles / 70mph
Release date: 2008 (month TBA)

porteon10.pngPorteon — Porteon
Reportedly to be sold alongside houses in small Mexican communities. Like other companies, this one plans to roll out higher-speed models later, but they haven’t gotten back to us yet with more details, including the official name.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $7K – $9K
Range / top speed: TBA / 25mph
Release date: 2008 (month TBA)

spyder.JPGUniversal Electric Vehicles — Spyder
UEV’s Spyder has a sporty design, but the company itself doesn’t seem as slick and polished as some of the competitors. We’re not sure whether that means anything, though.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $70K
Range / top speed: 150 miles / 100+mph
Release date: 2008 (month TBA)

aptera.JPGAptera — Typ-1e / Type-1h
The Aptera Typ-1 is a three-wheeler (two front, one back) available in two configurations. We’ve covered the vehicle here.
Fuel type: All-electric or hybrid, depending on configuration
Price: $27K electric, $30K hybrid
Range / top speed: 120 miles electric, 600 miles hybrid; top speed TBA
Funding: Backed by Idealab and an angel investor, the CEO of Esenjay Petroleum, Michael Johnson.
Release date: Late 2008

obvio.JPGObvio — 828e
Sold in the United States by Zap, the diminutive but high-powered Obvio could almost race a Tesla. It’s designed and manufactured by a Brazilian company that is also working on a cheap combustion engine version.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $49k
Range / top speed: 240 miles / 120 mph
Release date: Late 2008 or early 2009

fisker.JPGFisker Automotive — “Eco-Chic” (Working name TBA)
Fisker will be showing off the first productions models of its cars on January 13th, at the Detroit Auto Show. Created by a world-renowned auto designer, these will compete in Tesla’s high-end market niche.
Fuel type: Hybrid
Price: $80K
Range / top speed: 620 miles / TBA
Backing: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers has invested more than $10 million in Fisker.
Release date: Mid-2009

flytheroad.JPGVenture Vehicles — VentureOne e50 / Q100 / EV
We previously suggested that some might call this vehicle a “glorified scooter.” The company does have supporters, though, who gave us plenty of heat — for a chuckle, check out the comment thread below our story. The three models listed are actually one car with different configurations.
Fuel type: Two hybrids, the e50 and Q100, and the all-electric EV
Price: $20K – 25K
Range / top speed: e50, Q100 and EV respectively: 350 miles / 100mph; 300 miles / 120mph; 120 miles / 75mph
Backing: Backed by NGEN Partners.
Release date: Second quarter 2009

miles.JPGMiles Electric Vehicles — XS500
Founded in 2004, this company already makes and sells two low-speed electric vehicles which are manufactured in China. We chose to list details for its upcoming highway-speed model, which should have a mass market appeal, if the price is low enough.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: TBA
Range / top speed: 120 miles / 80mph
Release date: 2009 (month TBA)

Bonus: Concept cars

We’ve picked out a few companies that represent next-generation thinking in EVs. As noted below, there are many more.

eliica.JPGEliica (The Electric Lithium-Ion Car)
A concept car created by Keio University in Japan, the Eliica has an odd eight-wheeled design and has come close to breaking speed records for combustion-engine cars. The team plans to sell a couple hundred eventually.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: $255K
Range / top speed: TBA / 230mph

velozzi.JPGVelozzi
An X-Prize contestant, Velozzi is most notable for claiming that their car will have a 0-60mph acceleration of under 3 seconds. Other details are pretty thin, though.
Fuel type: Hybrid
Price: TBA
Range / top speed: TBA / 200mph

wrightspeed.JPGWrightspeed — X-1
Wrightspeed admits that its scarily fast prototype is unsafe, and will never be mass-produced. The company is planning a commercial model with the same high performance, but hasn’t given any real details yet.
Fuel type: All-electric
Price: Probably high
Range / top speed: <100 miles / 112mph w/ electronic limiter (but it’s still in first gear when it hits that speed)

There’s also the Automotive X-Prize competitor list, which had grown to 45 teams at last count — a few of which are included on this list, but many not. Most are concept cars.

Favorites? Least favorites? Think they’ll all fail horribly? Speak your piece.

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