Could There Be a Battery Electric Car In Your Future?

A BEV is all that's needed for 90 percent of the weekly errands for most urban/suburban families.

Published: 23-Jan-2009

By David Kwan

No, we're not talking about beer here. When it comes to cars, BEV is the acronym for Battery Electric Vehicle. MINI and SMART are already gearing up to road test BEVs in selected consumer markets. Both can be seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

I got to drive prototypes of a Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid and tiny Mitsubishi BEV. The Escape was very refined and almost plush. The Mitsubishi i MIEV felt a bit like an enclosed version of the GEM, but with much more refined driveline and suspension.
The I MIEV will be introduced soon in Tokyo, but the NAIAS prototype is being sent to Ann Arbor for cold weather testing. How appropriate is that?

I may have been part of the first two-electric vehicle family in Michigan. One of my fellow sailors happened to head up Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) for Daimler-Chrysler and assisted us in obtaining demo closeouts on a red GEM and a blue GEM.
These are known as Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEV) and are limited to 35 mph. They are popular in temperate climate master planned communities like Celebration, Pelican Bay, Seaside, and even in not-so-temperate Bay Harbor, Mich.


The company is working with a number of vehicle manufacturers on the development of batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles and expects more announcements like this one to come.

With seating up of four people who use all the large muscle groups, the car can easily cruise at speeds of up to 20 mph.

ZAP is hoping to keep the MSRP at $30,000 for the Alias three-wheeler pictured here.


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