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Local News / Automotive

Monday, 26 October, 2009 8:26 PM

Electrical vehicles coming to the U.S. in 2010; some models available now

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The production version of the Chevy Volt electric vehicle.

by Jason Rzucidlo
americajr@americajr.com

 

DETROIT -- The Chevy Volt, the Think City and the Nissan Leaf are just three of the electric vehicles that will be available for sale in 2010. The Miles ZX40S Electric Vehicle, the Myers Motors NMG and the Tesla Roadster are currently on sale right now. Several companies have already developed recharging stations for electric vehicles. Prototypes were shown at the "Plugging In" battery conference earlier this week in Detroit.

Most electric vehicles can be recharged in four to eight hours, depending on the electrical outlet, 110 or 220 volts. Recharging stations are priced at around $5,000 for a household model with a $2,500 tax credit from the government that expires in 2010.

The Chevrolet Volt is a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is expected to be in U.S. dealerships in November 2010. It will be equipped with a small 4-cylinder gasoline internal combustion engine to power a 71 hp generator which recharges the 16 kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery pack. The car can be driven entirely on battery power for 40 miles and then it can be extended to 300 miles with the on-board generator. The Volt is expected to be priced at around $40,000, which would bring it down to $32,500 with a $7,500 federal tax credit. The car has a top speed of 100 miles per hour. It is a 5-door liftback that will be assembled at the Detroit/Hamtramck plant.

Compact Power Inc. developed the production battery cell for the Chevy Volt. The company is a subsidiary of LG Chem and is already manufacturing battery cells and packs.

"It's coming from our parent company in Korea," said Damian Gardley, director of sales for Compact Power Inc. "We're actually going to be building a plant here in the states. It will be up and running by 2012. You've got a 16 kilowatt hour battery pack. Plenty to get you going from point A to point B. We're working on another plug-in hybrid vehicle for GM. We're also doing some work in the commercial vehicle arena as well as talking with all the major OEMs in America. You'll have these vehicles on the road, starting in 2010 with the Volt and in 2012 in a lot more volume."

The Nissan Leaf is an electric car that is expected to be in U.S. dealerships by the fall of 2010. It will be equipped with an 110 hp electric motor, a 24 kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery pack that comes with a range of 100 miles. The Leaf is expected to cost between $25,000 and $33,000. The car has a top speed of 87 mph. It is a 5-door hatchback that will be assembled in Smyrna, Tennessee.

The Think City is an electric car that is expected to go on sale in the U.S. by the end of 2010. It will be equipped with a long-range battery known as a "Zebra Z36". It will have a driving range of 112 miles. The City is expected to be priced in the mid $20,000 range. The car comes with a top speed of 62 mph. It is a two-door hatchback that will be assembled somewhere in the U.S. once a decision on a location for a factory has been made. It is currently being assembled in Norway, where the company is based.

"It is currently on sale in Europe," said Brendan Prebo, spokesman for Think North America. "This is a sodium-chloride battery, which is a hot battery technology. The vehicles that we bring to the U.S. will also have the option of the lithium-ion batteries in it as well. It's very clean, zero emissions. It's a very fun car to drive. Electric engines have very low speed torque, which means they take off very quickly. It's a very quiet car to drive because there is no internal combustion engine."

The Miles ZX40S is an electric car that is currently on sale from representatives spread across the country. It is equipped with a 72-volt battery that has a driving range of 50 to 60 miles. The ZX40S is priced at $19,499. The car has a top speed of 25 mph. It is a low-speed vehicle, that is mainly used for businesses like golf courses. It is not a highway-ready vehicle. The ZX40S does not come with passive restraints like airbags since it only can go 25 mph. For customers in Washington state, a special ZX40S is available to drive up to 35 mph because the state has a higher speed exemption. MIles electric vehicles are manufactured in China.

The Myers Motors NMG is a single-passenger electric car that is currently on sale in the U.S. It is equipped with a 156-volt DC or 3-phase AC electric motor that has a driving range of 20 to 40 miles. The NMG is priced at $29,995 without taxes or shipping. The car has a top speed of 70 mph. It is a three-wheeled electric car that is being assembled in Hollister, California. Myers Motors is currently developing a two-seat version of the NMG.

The Tesla Roadster is an electric car that is currently on sale at select U.S. dealerships in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and other major cities. It is equipped with a 248 hp electric motor and a microprocessor-controlled lithium-ion battery pack that comes with over 100,000 mile lifecycle. The Roadster is priced at $109,000. The car has a top speed of 125 mph with a range of 244 miles. Over 700 Tesla Roadsters have already been shipped to customers.

Shocking Solutions is one of the companies that has developed recharging stations for electric vehicles. Recharging stations will accept credit cards and subscriber cards that come with lower rates.

"We've started deployment in the midwest, Michigan, Indiana and Ohio," said John Auld, CEO of Shocking Solutions. "We've started installing stations for the last three of four months. We've got locations in downtown Detroit, Ann Arbor, Michigan, some different campuses and attractions in the area as well. The neat thing about this stations is it's a network-based solution. It's a revenue-based solution so if I was a business owner and I installed these, I would actually share in the revenue that goes through these stations to pay for that up-front cost, maintenance, electricity and so on."

The next chapter of the automobile is currently being written. In under a year, electric vehicles will begin popping up in showrooms. The Chevy Volt, Think City and Nissan Leaf are three cars that are very promising to have an environmentally-friendly world.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Think City is coming to the U.S. at the end of 2010.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A uniquely-shaped key for the Think City.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Miles Electric ZX40S vehicle is priced at $19,900.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The vehicle can be plugged into a standard outlet.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

The Myers Motors NMG one-seat electric car is priced around $25,000.

 

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