As the electric car market continues to grow, the number of new electric cars available in 2010 will far outweigh any previous years. Competition and demand in the electric car market has increased over recent years, leading to major improvements in the technology associated with these relatively new vehicles. Consumers are now actively awaiting the introduction of new electric cars to the marketplace and they can expect a bumper crop in 2010!
So what vehicles will hit the headlines in the electric car market in 2010?
We will attempt to cover some of the more eagerly awaited electric cars expected in 2010, although in reality this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The Tesla motor company is one of the most successful electric car manufacturers in the world at this moment in time. This is a company which is relatively new but has literally hit the ground running, with the Tesla Roadster grabbing many headlines and catching the eye of many consumers around the world. Despite the fact that the first Tesla Roadster was introduced back in 2006 and delivered to the marketplace in 2008, the company has continued to develop and improve this very impressive vehicle. The 2010 Tesla Roadster is a two seater rear-drive sports car which has a single speed fixed gear box. The vehicle itself is powered by a 375 V AC induction air-cooled electric motor capable of producing 14,000 revs per minute. The output peak from the motor is an impressive 288 hp and it is easy to see why the vehicle is proving very popular. The 2010 Tesla Roadster is capable of a maximum 125 mph and can do 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds with a range of 245 miles. The expected battery life is around seven years or 100,000 miles with a fairly light 3.5 hours fully charged time.
There is no doubt that the Tesla Roadster looks and feels like a traditional sports car and is set to take the market by storm with various improvements going down very well. There are few vehicles which can come anywhere near the Tesla Roadster but as competition increases and more manufacturers enter the fray, there is no doubt that consumers will benefit even more in the future.
The Mitsubishi MiEV was officially launched in Japan in 2009 with retail sales beginning in April 2010 in the Japanese marketplace. However, the vehicle will very soon be available in many other areas of the world with a price tag of USD43,000 in Japan, USD50,000 in Hong Kong, USD56,000 in the UK although the U.S. market could be priced at the lowest end of the spectrum at around USD30,000. So what has the Mitsubishi MiEV got to offer?
The Mitsubishi MiEV is causing something of a stir in electric car circles due to the fact that Mitsubishi claims that the vehicle emits around one third of the level of CO2 than the equivalent petrol powered vehicle. However, a number of electric car experts have challenged his claim with some even believing that the total CO2 omission, when you include the electricity source, could actually be in excess of a petrol powered equivalent. However, the specifications of the Mitsubishi MiEV are as follows:
- Top speed is 81 mph
- Maximum range 80 miles
- Seating capacity for four adults and luggage
- Basic weight 1,105 kg
- One speed gearbox
- Antilock braking system
- Active stability control
- 47 kW AC permanent magnet synchronous motor
- Alloy wheels
- Electronically controlled door mirrors
- Electric windows
- Central locking
- Low battery warning system
- Break power regeneration
- Electronic power steering
- Energy-saving mode available
These are just a few of the specifications of the Mitsubishi MiEV 2010 model which many believe will go on to become one of the more popular electric vehicles available at the moment.
The Citroen C-Zero is being marketed as a city car and has been built as part of a venture between Citroen and Mitsubishi motors. While there are some differences between the Mitsubishi MiEV and the Citroen C-Zero, the Citroen C-Zero is simply a French version of the original Mitsubishi vehicle which has allowed Citroen to expand its own range of smaller electric vehicles.
The specifications for the Citroen C-Zero include an electric motor capable of delivering 47 kW or 64 hp although it is the 81 mph maximum speed and range of 80 miles which will be most important to consumers. As you might expect from one of the newer electric cars to hit the market the Citroen C-Zero has power steering, airbags, air conditioning and a whole host of other accessories which are becoming commonplace not only in the traditional car market but now the electric car market. It is interesting to see that while a full charge of the car’s battery takes around six hours it is possible to recharge up to a level of 80% in just 30 minutes.
Citroen has been for sometime renowned as a small car specialist and the Citroen C-Zero is certainly a welcome addition to the fold. It is interesting to see that we now have the opposite ends of electric car market spectrum covered with the Tesla Roadster offering something for sports car lovers and the smaller Citroen C-Zero offering something for those looking to make short journeys around town.
The somewhat strangely named Nissan Leaf is one of the most eagerly awaited electric cars to hit the market in 2010 although it may not be available globally until 2012. The "Leaf" tag is an acronym for Leading Environmentally-Friendly Affordable Family Car which explains the slightly bizarre name. However, as with everything which the Nissan company becomes involved with there are high hopes for the Nissan Leaf which will eventually be available in the U.S., Japan, Netherlands, Portugal, UK and Ireland.
Despite the fact that the vehicle is not yet available in the mainstream market it received the coveted Green Car Vision Award from the Green Car Journal in January 2010. So what does the Nissan Leaf have to offer?
The Nissan Leaf is being marketed as a zero emission, affordable electric car ,with a very distinctive design. It is believed that pricing for the vehicle will compare favourably with traditional car prices and we should immediately see significant sales pushing through. The vehicle is said to have a top speed of around 87 mph and able to cover 100 miles before a recharge is required - research by Nissan appears to show that this is well within the range of the traditional motorist. While the Nissan Leaf will have air conditioning and other electronic accessories within the vehicle, Nissan have introduced a very interesting and a very high tech option which allows you to dial in using your mobile phone and control the air conditioning and battery recharging facility.
Nissan is working closely with governments around the world to try and ensure growth in the number of recharging stations around the world and indeed has just confirmed a £20 million investment by the UK government into an electric car plant in the UK.
E City Pro
While the Nice Car Company may not be one of the better-known electric vehicle manufacturers in the world the E City Pro is a vehicle which is proving very popular. Priced at just over £10,500 in the UK the vehicle has a top speed of 40 mph and can cover 60 miles between charges with passenger space for two people. While the top speed of 40 mph and the maximum range of 60 miles may not be as high as other electric vehicles coming onto the market in 2010 this is specifically designed for short journeys with charge times anything between five hours and eight hours.
As with the vast majority of electric cars on the market today, the E City Pro is exempt from road tax in the UK and also exempt from the congestion charge in London. It is proving to be one of the more popular small fleet vehicles especially designed for intercity journeys and the very fact there are no emissions is a major plus factor. It is interesting to see that demand and competition is very intense at both the higher and the lower ends of the electric car market.
Mega City 2+2
While the Mega City 2+2 is currently more popular in mainland Europe it is in the UK where we are likely to see an increase in sales in the longer-term. This is a vehicle which retails at just over £13,000 and is capable of a maximum speed of 40 mph with a maximum range of 60 miles. As with the vast majority of Mega City branded vehicles the charge time for the battery is between five hours and eight hours with space for up to four people in the car itself. Not only is the vehicle very efficient to drive, with no emissions at all, but it has also been proven that so-called quadricycles (cars which weigh less than 400 kg) are three times less likely to be involved in a road accident.
The beauty of the Mega City 2+2 is the easy with which it drives but the design has also been improved over the years and no longer sticks out "like a sore thumb". One of the main issues for the electric car market over the years has been the ability to spot an electric car from many miles away! However, designs have improved, technology has improved and ultimately the electric car market is now awash with new and exciting designs and new and exciting vehicles.
Electric cars of the future
As quickly as we review electric cars due for release in the immediate future we see new and exciting vehicles added to the list. The truth is that this sector is still very much in its infancy and as consumer demand continues to grow so we will see investment continue to grow in this very interesting and potentially lucrative area of the automotive industry. Pulling together the environmental benefits of electric cars together with the new and striking designs available today is certainly beginning to erase the stigma which has been connected with electric cars in the past.
When you also consider the likes of Chrysler, Chevrolet, Ford, Dodge and Fiat will also be introducing new and exciting electric vehicles to market there will be many more cars to review in the future.
A simple look at the number of vehicles due to be released over the next two or three years perfectly illustrates how developed the electric car market is around the world. It is also the exceptional range of designs and styles which is catching the eye of many consumers with literally something for everybody at a price you can afford. The ability to take advantage of various tax incentives around the world, both for manufacturers and consumers, should bring down the price of electric vehicles in the future.
While there are many reasons why the electric car market is beginning to take off around the world in truth it is the inability to notice the difference, at first glance, between a traditional vehicle and an electric vehicle of today. Many drivers were initially put off by the cost of electric vehicles, and hybrids, but an increase in capacity has seen prices fall and a number of tax incentives have now been introduced.
It seems almost inevitable that as a battery powered technology continues to improve and develop, and a range of battery recharge stations continues to evolve, we will see environmentally friendly vehicles become the norm in the future. The millions and millions of dollars pouring into the sector has created something of a dream situation for manufacturers and consumers with all parties benefiting from increased demand.
As new vehicles and new technologies are introduced to the marketplace we will be covering these in later articles and bring you up to date with the latest happenings. The electric car market is moving very quickly at the moment and more and more consumers are enjoying the benefits!