The Investment Prospect of 'Green' Machines

John Rubino looks at the prospects of a handful of electric vehicles companies.

Published: 29-Jan-2008

A few months ago, I interviewed Michael Potts, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Boulder-based green think tank, for a magazine article. As is usually the case with magazines, a lot of Potts’ most intriguing ideas ended up on the cutting room floor because of space constraints. This, for instance:

Right now this is the first time since the 1930s that there are real plausible new car companies going out and raising money, because the technologies available to transportation are just so groundbreaking. A lot of investors are speculating that the old-line companies are just too stuck in their ways. Right now there are six or seven real start-ups that are getting funding. All have interesting niches and very innovative technologies, in an industry that’s been dominated for years by huge multinationals. Some big money is backing them, and there will be a couple of IPOs within eighteen months.

Now, that’s cool. Carmaker start-ups bringing out slick new electric cars that challenge the conventional wisdom of internal combustion, mile-long-assembly lines, and dealership networks. No doubt most if not all of these guys will lose out to Toyota and BMW, but that they’re getting funded at all implies that some smart money sees a very big opening here, both in terms of business model and technology. So maybe they won’t all fail, and among the DeLoreans and Tuckers is a future Porsche. Here’s an overview of the start-ups with the most interesting business models:


The scooters top out at a 25mph speed, although the ones on loan to the Sheriff's Department are calibrated to travel no faster than 18mph.

Powered by advanced lithium-ion batteries and two 67bhp (50kW) electric motors to drive the front and rear axles, the Mixim is a four-wheel-drive car with a theoretical top speed of 112mph and a potential maximum range of 156 miles.

Dodge ZEO is 2+2 electric muscle car for the 21st century powered by 200kW electric drive with 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds and range of 250 miles.


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