Yes, Tesla has sold over 1,000 of its sports car and will be offering a second model at $57K, roughly half the price of the original Tesla Roadster, but what about the rest of us non-Hollywood moguls? Well, the electric cars are coming.
Nissan already has 20,000 deposits on the $32K Leaf which is battery electric, 5-door , 5-seat with 100 miles range. Hugs from polar bears are optional.
Toyota has plans to offer a plug-in hybrid version of the Prius, 500 of which are alread in fleet trials around the country. A dealer offering was planned for 2011, but recalls on the standard Prius may delay that. A proposed pure battery electric version is intended for late 2011.
General Motors will be back, (have you seen Who Killed the Electric Car? You can catch it online at TopDocumentaryFilms.com and other film documentary websites) with the Chevy Volt, which is a plug in hybrid with 40 miles electric range, and a supplemental gasoline-operated generator to give another 300 miles. They intend to manufacture 10,000 in 2011.
Ford plans to offer the Focus in four versions in 2011: Battery Electric, Plug-in Hybrid, Hybrid, and conventional drive train. Ford already sells the Transit Connect Electric compact van. Richmond plans to acquire four of these, possibly acquiring 40 additional electric vehicles if they pan out. The media reports that the van can do up to 80 mph and has an 80 mile range. I guess at full speed you can only drive for an hour. But in Broad Street traffic who knows, you might sit in one spot all day.
Mitsubishi already has the best-selling micro-compact electric car in Japan, and will offer a modified version for the US market in 2012 with a 50 to 80 mile range in a low $30K price range.
The Chrysler GEM, which looks a bit like a space-age golf cart, is an under 25 MPH light vehicle priced under $10,000. There are about 40,000 distributed around the United States in university towns, fleets, and retirement communities.
Chrysler plans to offer an electric version of the subcompact Fiat 500 in 2012 with a 100 mile range and a $32K price tag, and expects to build 56,000 of them in 2014.
Fisker is producing a luxury sports plug-in hybrid in the $90K range for 2012 with a questionably sustainable 403 hp, and will have to overcome the model name: Karma.
And how much in these announcements will change. A lot is our guess, but it does seem that we are at the beginning of a new era in automotive design.