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Electric Cars: What Could You Buy Now?

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I'm not that impressed with hybrids as they seem too much of a half-way measure and the cool-gadget factor just isn't there for me.  But, actual electric cars - vehicles that are always driven by an electric motor - that appeals to me!  Only two cars come to mind when I think of electrics that I could probably go out and buy now (if I could afford it): Volt & Leaf.  I was pretty sure there had to be a few more so I did a little research and came up with these electric cars that are actually available for sale.

People are expected to suffer from a malady know as Range Anxiety when driving an electric car.  What do you do if you run out of power along, say, a highway?  It's not like someone could bring you a jug of fuel. The Volt addresses this with a backup gasoline engine but all of the other electrics in this article pretty much leave you with a bit of anxiety.

Chevrolet Volt:  The Volt can go 35 miles just on batteries, after that it will go another 370 miles with a small gas engine creating electricity for the electric motor.  It's not quite a hybrid as we think of them because the wheels are never directly driven by anything but the electric motor.  If you didn't drive a whole lot you might go a very long time without buying gasoline.  Price is about $40,000 but tax credits bring it down several thousand dollars.

Commuter Cars Tango T600:  This car has been on the market for a while (though I'd never heard of it before researching this article).  It's a very strange looking car. The range is up to 200 miles with the Lithium battery option. You buy it as a kit and assemble it.  Price is about $108,000.  Yup,  that much.  They are working on some models that will be priced from about $20,000 to $40,000 (fully assembled this time).

Ford Focus E:  I'm not 100% sure you can buy this today but I got the impression that there has been a 2011 model already that has been sold.  It is a very conventional looking car compared to other electrics.  It has a range of about 100 miles and costs about $30,000.  These electric cars still don't come cheap.

Nissan Leaf:  This is also a fairly normal looking car.  Range is about 100 miles.  Price is about $25,000 after Federal incentives (some states offer additional incentives).  It's about the most attractive of the group to me.

Meyers Motors NmG: The name stands for No More Gas.  It's a pretty affordable and pretty odd looking car. It has a 45 mile range and the list price is around $30,000 but that would drop well into the 20s after federal and local incentives.

Mitsubishi MiEV: You are supposedly able to buy this slick little electric for about $22,000 after incentives.  That is a pretty good price for an electric.  It has an 85 mile range which is very remarkable for the price.  Most days I drive well under 85 miles getting back and forth to my job and other little trips.

There are some other electrics out there as well as some mini-cars that are electrics.  The mini-cars are barely an improvement over a really, really nice golf cart.  This is a good sampling of what is out there.  If you happen to own one, or have driven one please, please leave a comment about your experience.

erick99 posted May 09, 2012

I don't need more anxiety so sign me up for a Volt :)

MaryRolle (rep: 23) posted May 09, 2012


So the fact that after a decade of development for the volt and they still had to recall them because of the potential for the battery to explode doesnt weigh on your mind? Natural gas is the way to go, unfortunately at the moment the Civic is the only vehicle available at the moment.

Acidbaby (rep: 6.9k) posted May 09, 2012


While driving home today I noticed a natural gas powered bus and I started thinking about how the price of NG has plummeted as it becomes more and more plentiful. I wondered why we don't have a big push for NG cars as the fuel is plentiful and cheap. It could be that a lot of people are simply uncomfortable sitting on a container of compressed gas - that's what I have read the most. I would happily drive a NG powered car as it seems to me it should work out to be a cheap form of transportation once we got to economies of scale for the vehicle and plenty of places to refuel.

erick99 (rep: 413k) posted May 09, 2012


wonder how the heater and air conditioner drain the batteries...

encorez (rep: 10k) posted May 09, 2012


I've wondered that too. I would guess that those two items are not included in the range figures. They really want to give the longest possible range and I don't think there are any rules yet for testing range.

erick99 (rep: 413k) posted May 09, 2012


there was a toyota rav 4 that was sold very limited and it was electric then toyota pull it off the market i think it was sold mostly in california and then i was searching while reading that they planning on bringing it back for 2013

rd995 (rep: 149k) posted May 09, 2012


I guess the Volt would really be the most logical right now. 35 miles is really not a lot... Hopefully by the time I really decide to purchase my very own car for the first time, they'll come up with something ingenious! (and not weird looking)

arsiel (rep: 13.1k) posted May 09, 2012


i'm not sure, either i heard it somewhere or watched it that creating these electric batteries are more harmful to the environment than petrol.

MrBklynW (rep: 425k) posted May 10, 2012


there are cars already that can drive much father..i mean..i believe toyota came up with a car years ago that goes about 65mpg..but it doesn't sell runs on diesel..not much of a market in the states for cars that run diesel..but yeah.

nimrodboy3 (rep: 68.2k) posted May 10, 2012


erick I work for a large energy company in the NG industry and all I can say is you really havent seen anything yet. It is a shame, in 1989 there were a dozen NG powered vehicles. Today there is one available in the USA.

The prices on NG are going to continue to plummet over the next few months as we are just pumping out so much that right now it is projected the reserves will be full by mid july. And we are just starting to really scratch the surface of the Marcellus and Utica shale formations. It is in its infantile stages yet and we have wells producing 25-30 million cubic feet a day. Compared to just 2 years ago the largest producing well was putting out 15 million cu/ft.

Acidbaby (rep: 6.9k) posted May 10, 2012


I was reading an article about NG in a magazine last week, BusinessWeek I think, and they were talking about how other countries have about given up on fracking because it costs them 8x to 14x what it costs per well in the U.S. Anyway, they were talking about you said about running out of place to store NG and that the supply problem would grow as we keep finding more. Is there going to be an economic disincentive to keep exploring for NG at some point? Does the price get too low? I wonder why we are using the hell out of it everywhere. I read another article (same magazine) about how the coal industry is being up-ended by NG.

erick99 (rep: 413k) posted May 10, 2012