Start-Ups Want to Elevate the Electric Car

Analysts believe there is definitely a market for expensive, environmentally friendly vehicles, but it will be difficult for small manufacturers to do what companies like General Motors Corp. and Toyota Motor Corp. have not been able to achieve because of cost and technological difficulties.

Published: 16-Jan-2008

DETROIT (AP) — Fisker Automotive and Visionary Vehicles are among the companies planning to bring luxurious plug-in sedans to market, proving that green doesn't have to come in an economical package.

"If I say 'electric,' people think 'slow.' They think electric cars are golf carts," Malcolm Bricklin, chairman and chief executive of Visionary Vehicles Inc., said Tuesday at the North American International Auto Show. "What people don't get is they're very fast, and they're real."

Take the Fisker Karma. The sports car, unveiled this week at the North American International Auto Show, can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds and can reach a top speed of 125 mph. But it can also travel 50 miles on pure electric power — using a lithium-ion battery and an electric motor — before using its small, four-cylinder gas engine. The $80,000 Karma is expected to go into production at the end of 2009.

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