Eco Rides of the Future

E.B. Boyd by E.B. Boyd | January 26th, 2009 | 3 Comments
topic: Green Living, Green Tech

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A new car looms in my future. My current ride has over 200,000 miles on it. While it’s still going strong, there’s no escaping the fact it probably won’t make it to 300,000. Normally, I’d just go out and get another full-size model. But with innovation going like gangbusters in the zero-emissions, alternative fuel, small neighborhood car space, I’m thinking I might try a new strategy: Buy something small and cute (and easy to park — a big plus in crowded cities) for everyday driving, and use a rental or car share service for bigger trips.

Below are some of the electric car contenders I’m keeping an eye on. None of them are on the market in the United States today. But with all the activity in this space, some of them just might be for sale by the time my current car conks out.

The Peapod

peapodYou’ve probably seen the Peapod’s predecessors tooling around city parks (in the worker truck model) or retirement communities (in the golf-cart-on-steroids model). But Chrysler is planning to launch a fully enclosed, city-ready model this year, that can go up to 30 miles at 25 mph on an eight-hour charge. Granted, that’s not very far very fast, but for making a grocery run, picking up the dry cleaning, and heading to the gym? Could be just the thing. Greenecomobility.com

G-Wiz i

g-wiz2Originally created in India by the REVA car company, the G-Wiz i is all over London. It can get up to 50 mph and go about 50 miles on a full charge, which takes eight hours (but you can get 80% of the juice in just two-and-a-half). My favorite part? The electric cord running from your house to the car’s battery (like in this photo). The neighbors are going to be green with envy (or inspired to move in the same direction?), once gas gets back to $4 a gallon! goingreen.co.uk

Mini-E

miniBMW seems committed to putting an all-electric version of the popular Mini Cooper on the market. It’s in the process of running a year-long pilot program in which 500 drivers from the Los Angeles and New York/New Jersey areas are leasing one of the all-electric models and providing feedback to the company. The test model can go up to 156 miles on a charge and reach top speeds of 95 mph. But BMW still has questions about the long-term endurance of its batteries, hence the field test.Miniusa.com/minie-usa

AIRPod

airpodGoofy looking, yes. But cutting edge? Absolutely. Leapfrogging the electric battery altogether, the AIRPod, by Luxumbourg-based MDI, runs on compressed air. Top speed is 40 mph, but it can supposedly go up to 130 miles on a full load of air. And gamers out there will have a head start in driving the car, which is controlled by joystick rather than conventional steering wheel. It is supposed to go on the market in Europe and New Zealand this year and hit the U.S. market in 2011. mdi.lu

Comments

  1. Those are all really really great, but I must say they have to get away from the names that make me think of wetting my pants. ;)

    jennifer chernoff | January 27th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. I like the look of the PeaPod, it’s the only one that doesn’t like something you are likely to break by just looking at it, never mind trying to clamber into.

    Concept cars are just that… concept.

    Only when we see the end of the oil oligarch industry will we start to see such great concepts come to fruition.

    SolReka :: solar cookers | alternative energy | February 20th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. GM(America) bankrupt – the Volt a vapor ware nightmare of sheet metal and Korean batteries designed primarily to get government loans! The “Shanghai Taxi” proven in tough service for over two years now, and not exportable to U.S.? Politics creating a drain on foreign oil imports – thats all folks! Bugs Bunny is bankrupt! The EV-1 destroyed by corporatism in the U.S.A. – they have more power in lobbies, and share-holder’s votes than the sham elections ever did! The world looked to the U.S.A. to set trends for over 100 years now! xenophobia and hegemony are not trends, neither is bankruptcy! What the Hell happened to the Western World? I’ll tell you: the Asian Fact! We are finally up against something we cannot control! and we don’t like it. Cars in the next decades will be Hybrid and battery models save for a few American die-hards, that will pay over $15.00 deflated dollars U.S. a gallon for gasoline just to hear the roar of a V-8 engine, like any addict would! Electric bullet trains will replace jet plane and long range cruises by car, and lifestyles will be economically shaped, in spite of great moaning and groaning by the populace. Shiite happens, America, get used to it!

    Uncle B | November 29th, 2009 | Comment Permalink

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