Yesterday, we talked about some of the established car companies developing new electric cars. The electric auto business is new, and there’s room for the small players to make the big time. Several newer companies are trying out their stuff on the playing field of the electric car.
Coda’s electric car is a fairly standard sedan for under $30,000 after tax credit. Coda offers 24-hour test drives of their car, and claims easy charging, a superior battery warranty, and a 125-mile range. The company is based in and mostly sells in California.
The car isn’t as funny as the name, I promise. The Wheego is an entirely electric compact 2-seater, running $33,000 before Federal tax credit. It averages a 100 mile range. Just because it’s small doesn’t mean the inside is cramped, though—in fact, it’s quite comfortable.
THINK Electric Vehicles
The THINK is also a fully electric, compact, little two-seater. Technically, THINK is an older company, having been founded in the early 1990s. It’s also not entirely independent, as Ford is a major shareholder in the company. The cars, though, are small power-punchers, also getting about 100 miles per charge. As a European-based company, the availability in the States is limited, and it also costs about $32,000 after tax.
The Fisker Karma is a sleek car, inside and out. Also a car dedicated to the environment, the car gets its natural wood on the dashboard from storm debris, forest fires, or trees sunk in lakes. The roof has a full-length solar panel that wires to the battery to extend range. The Karma is not 100% electric—it gets up to 50 miles running only electric or 300 with fuel. The car is packed for safety, too, with a lightweight aluminum frame guarding essentials, such as driver, passengers, and engine, and the car also boasts 8 airbags surrounding the passenger space.
Tango Commuter Cars
Honestly, this car really does look funny. Imagine taking your car, squishing it to a third of its width, then chopping off the back half. That’s about what the one-seater, fully electric Tango looks like. However, the size does come with advantages—as it’s about 5 inches thinner than most motorcycles, its weaving powers in heavy traffic are unparalleled. The car can go from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, and gives 200 miles of range at 70 mph, or 240 when going at or under 60 mph. It’s sold as an unassebled kit in the United States for about $200k. For those not interested in assembling their own, they can get assistance for an extra $1,000. Or the customer could put their name on a waitlist and get their car for $160,000.
Okay, I’ll admit to prejudice. I love this car. The Tesla is an electric car that is absolutely stupendous. The car plugs in and charges anywhere, which is a benefit most others don’t have. They have an attachment for a mobile charge cord that fits in standard home outlets. And that’s not even the best part. The Tesla Model S, their newest sedan, gets a range of 300 miles to one charge. That’s three times the range of the best cars, outside of the Tango. The car has a light aluminum frame, a battery that covers the entire bottom of the car that makes up 30% of the weight, giving it a low center of gravity that gives it unparalleled maneuverability. Since the motor is rear-mounted by the back wheels, there is storage space in a deep trunk—you can literally buckle kid’s seats into the trunk—and a spacious “frunk” where most cars have their engine. The car is engineered to have only 0.24 wind resistance, giving it a smooth ride, and the excellent suspension means the ride is utterly silent, as well. The door handles “unlock” when you press a button on your key fob that has them pop out of the frame, where they lock themselves by practically becoming part of the car body. This same fob can start your car externally. All the reviews from people who test drive this car rave about its performance, design, and general superior quality. The cars do run more expensive, between $50 and $97 grand apiece, but as production improves, the cost is expected to go down.
These electric cars may well spell the future of the automotive industry. As they, and the cars mentioned yesterday, become more widely accepted, more widely driven, and more widely produced, the road ahead seems to be well on its way to becoming electric.