Category Archives: Chicago

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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Chicago Architects Reimagine Neighborhoods

Reposted from the Venue Cricket blog.  Venue Cricket will help you find your next Chicago event venue!

Stop by the Chicago Architecture Foundation at 224 South Michigan Ave and get inspired byChicago Architects Reimagine Neighborhoods. This exhibition puts the city’s leading architects on display as they creatively redesign neighborhoods to modernize the city, bring communities together, and develop industry. Also on display here is the Chicago Model City, pictured below.

Check out these six examples of how Chicago could be, symbolically displayed around the model of Chicago as it now stands:

#1 SuperElevated

John Ronan proposes a plan to modernize the public transportation system. Ronan suggests a suspended monorail, which would be faster and quieter than today’s L. The top of the monorail structure would provide space for walkers, runners, and bikers. The ground level below the monorail would feature a public plaza with street performers and other entertainment.

#2 Roscoe Village

Doug Garofalo and Xavier Vendrell observe that this neighborhood has wide streets but little traffic flow and suggest that the sidewalks be expanded for pedestrians. Smaller streets could be completely cleared from cars, which would be moved to the alleys. Garages could then be converted into businesses or demolished and turned into gardens and green spaces.

#3 The New Neighborly

Today the Near West Side is a dead zone, undeveloped due to a giant parking lot that spoils the neighborhood. Sarah Dunn and Martin Felsen want to replace the asphalt with a material that people enjoy standing on. The space could then be used for other purposes and converted into a dense parking area when needed.

#4 Pilsen Textile Incubator

Patricia Saldana Natke wants to use the empty warehouses of this neighborhood to transform it into a center for garment manufacturing and fashion. The plan leverages the skills for textile and fine art that the residents of this community already have to bring new economic life to the area.

#5 Midway Loop

Ross Wimer envisions Midway as a destination for neighborhood residents and visitors, who could eat dinner at the airport as they watch the planes take off. To accomplish this, Wimer wants to make the airport more accessible by connecting it to the L. He also suggests tearing down the wall that stands as a sound and visual barrier and replacing it with a modern building designed to capture sound.

#6 The Peace Train
Jeanne Gang proposes building a youth center at the Addison station. This structure would bring together children and teens from diverse neighborhoods and encourage them to build friendships, participate in activities, and engage in public service. The shape of this center would evoke Wrigley field, which is not inwardly focused like many stadiums but rather spills its energy out into the city.