Chicago Auto Show Inspired Review of 6 Electric Car Startups

Apteracar1.jpgThis article was originally posted on the Venue Cricket blog.

In 2009 CNN Money published a list of 6 hot electric car startups, all of which were due to release a new model by 2012.  In honor of the Chicago Auto Show going on this week, we have decided to do a review of how these startups delivered on their ambitious plans.  In summary 1/6 companies went under, 0/6 companies delivered on time, and 3/6 have gone to market by the present date.  Start up life is hard people!

1. Model: Tesla Model S
Power: Electric only
Range: 160, 230, 300 mile range options
Expected sale date as of Nov 2009: Late 2011
Current Status: Deliveries now scheduled to begin in mid 2012.  Customers can currently reserve a car with a $5,000 reservation payment.  The price of the vehicle remains at $57,400 as initially planned.

2. Model: Fisker Karma
Power: Extended-range electric
Range: 32 miles (all electric), 230 miles (gas + battery)
Expected sale date as of Nov 2009: Summer, 2010
Current Status: This vehicle was initially scheduled to launch in late 2009.  After several delays, the first deliveries were made in late 2011.  However, pricing was off from initial plans of $88,000, with cheaper models running over $100,000.  A cool fact about this vehicle is that it has a solar paneled roof, which is capable of adding up to five miles per week to the car’s range if the weather is cooperative.  Though not terribly impressive, it is an interesting technology and a good start!

3. Model: Aptera 2e
Power: Electric only (plug-in hybrid version available later)
Expected sale date as of Nov 2009: Early 2010
Current Status: Aptera Motors went out of business in December 2011.  That’s too bad because this promised to be quite a unique car.  The vehicle (pictured above) was to have three wheels and would seat two adults.  Although it never made its way to the general public, the 2e did make an appearance in the 2009 Star Treck movie.

4. Model: Bright Idea
Power: Extended-range electric
Range: 40 miles (electric only), 60 miles (gas + battery)
Expected sale date as of Nov 2009: 2012
Current Status: Production has been pushed back to 2013.  The company currently faces a lack of funding and is now waiting for the Department of Energy to process their loan application under the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing Program.

5. Model: Wheego Whip
Power: Electric only
Range: 40 miles
Expected sale date as of Nov 2009: Summer 2010
Current Status: The Wheego Whip finally became available to consumers in April 2011 after numerous delays.  At launch the car’s price was around $30,000 as expected but has since dropped to about $20,000.

6. Model: Coda Sedan
Power: Electric only
Range: 150 and 125 mile range options
Expected sale date as of Nov 2009: Late 2010
Current Status: The vehicle just made its auto show debut in January 2012.  Delivery to consumers will begin in February 2012, with the lowest cost option priced at $37,250.  Better late than never!

Ella Lief is the co-founder of Venue Cricket a marketplace for Chicago Event Venues.  You can follow her on twitter: @venuecricket.
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