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Who’s who in the world of electric cars

Posted by Laura Grant on October 26, 2008
Posted in Transport

At the beginning of the year the electric car seemed but a distant dream. But in the past few months there’s been a rash of announcements about new electric cars – even a South African one. We’ve compiled a list of 12 + a plug-in hybrid that we’ve found on the Internet of late. It’ll be interesting to see how many of these make it to market.

Tesla Roadster
The ultimate electric sports car, apparently owned by the likes of George Clooney, started to roll off the production line in July. It goes from 0 to 100kph in about 4 seconds, has a top speed of about 200kph and can go for about 400km on one charge – as long as you don’t drive it like a sports car. Tesla Motors says that about 1,200 people have already paid a deposit to reserve the $100,000 car.

The company has announced that it plans produce a five-passenger luxury sedan powered by a lithium-ion battery pack. The Model S is expected to roll off the assembly line in late 2010.

Venturi Volage

This fully electric babe magnet that was at the Paris Motor Show recently goes from 0-100 in less than 5 seconds. Its top speed is said to be about 250kph and it has a range of 300km (but not at top speed, I’m sure). It looks like it’s planned for production in 2012. Read more at Inhabitat and Venturi Volage.

Chryser Dodge EV
Inhabitat also featured Chrysler’s Dodge EV recently. It says it does 0 to 100kph in five seconds flat, its top speed is about 190kph, and a single charge could last up to 320km – in city driving.

Electric Porsche

The E-Ruf Porsche electric Model A is an all-electric concept car based on the Porsche 997. It’s being made by Ruf Automobile GmbH, a German automotive company that tunes Porsches. To get the low-down, visit Road and Track, they took it for a spin and posted lots of pictures. Treehugger also wrote about it.

Mini E
BMW’s electric Mini, which will make its global debut next month at the Los Angeles motor show, will have a range of more than 240km. It goes from 0 to 100 km/h in 8.5 seconds and its top speed is 152kph. It will go for 240km on one charge. The MINI E will initially be made available to select private and corporate customers as part of a pilot project in the US states of California, New York and New Jersey. Read more on CNN and Market Watch

Pininfarina B0 (B-Zero)
This little car, which is my personal favourite, was also unveiled at this year’s Paris Motor Show. It has a range of 240km and an electronically limited top speed of about 130kph and goes from 0 to 60kph in a time of 6.3 seconds. Read about it on EcoGeek and CarTech. And you can go to Pininfarina’s website to see more pictures. The roof has integrated solar panels and the inside is quite lovely.

Smart Fortwo EV

DaimlerChrysler has produced an all-electric version of the Smart Fortwo and will run a market trial for the car in the UK, leasing it to select corporate customers. It goes 0-60 kph in about 6.5 seconds and a top speed of about 110kph. London’s metropolitan police are even driving them. See also Green Car Site and LeftlaneNews,

Tata Indica EV

Indian car manufacturer Tata has announced that it will be selling an all-electric car based in the Indica hatchback (pictured above) in Norway in 2009 and then in India in 2010. The electric Indica can go from 0 to 60kph in “less than 10 seconds” and it can go for about 190km on a single charge. There is talk of an electric version of the Tata Nano being on the cards, as well. Read more at EcoGeek and Cleantech. See pictures of the Indica EV prototype that was launched at the SIAM show in India in September at Cubi[CC]apacity

Lumeneo Smera

This one’s pretty unusual-looking, but it does have a certain French elegance. It’s been designed to deal with congested roads and to be easy to park. It seats two people and is, quite remarkably, only 80cm wide. Athough you wouldn’t think it to look at it, the car’s top speed is 130kph, it goes from 0 to 100kph in 8 seconds and it has a range of 150km. I found it on Inhabitat. See more pics on Lumeneo’s website.


REVA is a battery electric vehicle made by the Reva Electric Car company in India. It is a hatchback and can apparently seat two adults and two children. t’s been commercially available for a while. It is designed for low speed, congested, urban conditions and is classified as a quadricycle (category L7e) under UK and European law. In the UK it’s sold as the G Wiz. More on Wikipedia.

Citroen C Cactus

This car debuted as a concept hybrid that could apparently do “100 miles to the gallon” but a concept Cactus electric car was unveiled at this year’s Paris motor show. The interior of this car is quite something. Go to Citroen’s website for some pictures and Smart Planet has written about it. Like the hubcaps.


Nearly last but not least is South Africa’s very own Joule electric car. We’ve written about it quite a bit already on this site, but briefly: it goes from 0 to 100kph in 15 seconds; it’s top speed is 130kph and it can go for 400km on a single charge when fitted with two batteries.

Chevy Volt

This one’s not really a totally electric car, it’s more of a plug-in hybrid, although GM doesn’t seem to like to call it that. It has a range of about 60km on the onboard battery, enough for the average American commute, but a conventional engine kicks in for longer journeys. See the Chevrolet website for more info and pics.


2 Responses to “Who’s who in the world of electric cars”

  1. Justin
    October 27th, 2008 @ 9:33 am

    Thanks for the summary. Can’t wait for some non-butt-ugly competition to the Prius in SA.

    I was sold on the Prius concept until I saw it.

  2. Matt
    January 19th, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

    are they on the road already? the technology is very young and the battery is damn expensive. wait another 5 years then layman can afford to buy one..

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