Will 2009 See the Return of the Electric Car?

Every generation thinks it has discovered electric cars – until they realise their limitations.

Published: 27-Dec-2008

Every generation thinks it has discovered sex, and every generation thinks it has discovered electric cars – until they realise their limitations. So says a car industry sceptic, quoted in The Sunday Times.

But can the Mini E prove the sceptics wrong this time around??It's certainly attracting a lot of attention, not least from politicians who appreciate the PR potential of a car that "combines the best of British design with environmentally friendly engineering and a cool image", says Nick Rufford and Joe Dunn in the same paper. And it's no milk float in terms of performance either:?the battery gives the equivalent of about 200bhp, a top speed of 95mph, a performance on a par with the standard Mini Cooper, and a probable range of 150 miles. Having driven it, says Adam Towler, also in The?Sunday Times, "I can't help thinking our motoring future isn't so depressing after all".

Its success all depends on sales. But there won't be any of those for a while yet: 500 are going on trial in the US, but only on a lease for $850 a month. In the meantime, can you still go (relatively) green for 2009? The Mini sits in the middle of the only two fully electric options available.


Ray Lane, managing partner of venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins, Caufield and Byers, which has invested in Think, believes Think could eventually sell as many as 30,000 to 50,000 City cars a year.

The production electric vehicle to be introduced in 2010 will have a unique bodystyle and is not based on any existing Nissan model, unlike the technology 'mule' pictured above.

The 100-mile range electric car has been operating with Japanese power companies for the last two years.


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