Category Archives: events

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.
Tagged ,

Exploring Chicago Arts District: January 2nd Fridays

Originally posted on Venue Cricket blog!

On the second Friday of every month, the artists of Chicago’s Arts District open their doors to the public.  This community, which displays so many varieties of creativity, is the very definition of a hidden gem.  Spanning just a few contiguous blocks around 18th and South Halste­­d, the art walk offers a new surprise at every door.  And in some cases, the door even opens into an artist’s home.  With an unassuming bed tucked in the corner, the visitor is reminded that he has been given the rare privilege of entering the place where the artist lives and breathes his work.

Strangely, a visitor wandering into the same neighborhood on any other day of the month will be struck by its ghost town feel.  With all of the galleries and creative spaces locked down, only a few window displays hint at the spirit of the community.  Giant unoccupied spaces, easily spotted thanks to their full glass facades, serve as a reminder of the artist’s struggle and the recent exodus from this area.  However, behind many of the closed doors the creative process continues, and once a month the neighborhood comes alive.

Chicago Arts District - January 2nd Fridays

  1. The art walk is well attended, but not crowded.  Freshly fallen snow gives S. Halsted a magical quality.
  2. To get relief from the cold, stop by Whisky Ginger, a charming vintage shop.  The owners, Stevie and Dan, greet visitors at the door, offering them cups of hot toddies (warm whisky drinks, of course).  The engaged couple lives right behind the chalkboard, which they thought up as a creative solution to separate the two spaces.
  3. The Chicago Art Department presents “Fight Club”, a boxing photo exhibit complete with live boxing to set the mood.
  4. Rooms Gallery features “She Who Will be Slapped”.  With a look of deep despondency, the lead actress from the dramatic film projecting on the wall sits perfectly still before the audience.
  5. Black Cloud Gallery showcases the nonprofit Architecture for Humanity.  This fun exhibit features retro view finder reels and ping pong balls (which are piled up to represent donations that guests have left for the organization).
  6. Bryan Sperry Studio displays a room full of robotic creatures.  Each sculpture is unique in design, color, and facial expression.  The figures are so detailed that they almost feel alive, perhaps an extra terrestrial species.
Tagged ,