Green vehicles to know about
I've seen quite a few vehicle announcements that have caught my attention lately. One of them was the Fisker I talked about a few days ago. I thought I might spread the word on a few of these and set your expectations appropriately.
A few of these are in the super-sub-compact range of size. As such, tehy get FANTASTIC mileage but probably won't fit the lives of most consumers.
Three wheels means it's not a car so it's not held to the same safety standards (same like the Xebra). The numbers:
The 20kw electric motor can achieve a very reasonable 80mph, and will take you on travels up to 100 miles on any given charge. It takes about 6 hours for its lithium-ion battery to recharge fully and, as with most electric vehicles, it comes with a regenerative braking system. The package for all of this three-wheeled fun runs about $20,000 dollars.
I'll be the first to say it: $20K is a LOT for this little vehicle. My Element just cost $20K.
On the other hand, 100 miles is really good for something of this size and 80mph is excellent. This is about as good as electric vehicles get right now (save for the Tesla) so it makes sense that the price is so high.
The problem, if their desire is to sell a lot of these, is that they fell into a difficult price bracket with a difficult car to sell. The vast majority of people who might want to buy this will probably, because of size and range constraints, need to make it a second (or a third) car. This is obviously no good for a family and, even for a couple, there is not a lot of room to put anything and it definitely can;t be used for long trips.
I would assume that some people would buy this as their commuter car (drive an E Class on the weekends, take the TRIAC to work through the week). That's a great idea but there aren't going to be a lot of people who want to pay $20K for a commuter car. You can buy an older Civic that gets great gas mileage, holds more, and is much safer for under $2,000.
Next up, the brand I just left... this one is via Ecogeek/Motor Authority:
VW has been talking for a long time about their L1 concept, so called because it uses a measly 1 liter of gasoline to go 100 km. For us Americans, that translates to about 230 miles per gallon. Of course, the amazing mileage comes at a price. The car is tiny, more of a tobaggon than a car. The single passenger actually sits behind the driver, like in a small airplane.
Very interesting, this one is. First off, I HATE the idea of a toboggan and would be really irritated trying to have a conversation with the back of someone's head/my windshield. Additionally, Volkswagen likes to tease us with concepts so getting your hopes up about this thing is probably going to lead to disappointment.
Still, I have to admire the one-off-ed-ness of this strange little diesel missile. Some interesting facts can be had from Wikipedia:
There are no rear view mirrors and it instead uses cameras and electronic displays. The rear wheels are close together to allow a streamlined body. The drag coefficient (Cd) is 0.159, compared to 0.30 for typical cars.
For light weight, the car uses an unpainted carbon fibre skin over a magnesium subframe. Individual components have been designed for low weight, including engine, transmission, suspension, wheels (carbon fibre), brakes (aluminium), hubs (titanium), bearings (ceramic), interior, and so on. Empty vehicle weight is 290 kg (639 lb).
The body and frame are designed with crush zones and roll-over protection, and the tandem seating means large side crush zones, and Volkswagen claims protection comparable to a GT racing car.
The plan is 2010 for production. I'll believe it when I see it.
Last but not least, M-Benz, at it again. This one from AutoblogGreen:
This fall, Mercedes-Benz will offer a new A-Class coupe - the A 160 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY - that gets 52mpg (U.S.). In the NEDC consumption calculation, the car comes in at 4.5 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres and emits just 119 grams of CO2 per kilometer. Those are the best ratings in the A-Class range, and the A 160 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY will still deliver 60 kW/82 hp.
Great looking vehicle, too.
This one I have high hopes for - more than the other two at least. It looks great, it's a Mercedes, and the BlueTEC technology is a fantastic innovation. Not likely that we'll see it over here though.
And now, your moment of zen...