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Near Future Trends For Electric Drive

There are many options today for electric cars. A Tesla costs about $100,000 for the Roadster, and the company is expecting to launch a vehicle for $30,000 and $60,000. You can order an eBox from AC Propulsion for $73,000 fully loaded. Also, Vectrix is now selling a freeway-legal electric motorcycle for $11,000. Or, you can buy one of the many electric bikes online for less than $1,000 to about $2,000 for really high-performance electric bikes. Sherry Boschert, author of Plug-in Hybrids:

The Cars That Will Recharge America, rides on sunlight. She charges her electric vehicle with her home’s solar power. Her Toyota RAV4 runs fast on freeways and silent on quiet streets. She uses a zero-emission approach to transportation. Mitsubishi is introducing the iMiEV Sport, which it plans to launch in Japan and possibly other countries in 2009. The car has a range of 93 miles (150 km) and a top speed of 93 mph (150 km/h). The GM Volt is expected to go on sale by November 2010. GM plans to start selling the Saturn Vue plug-in hybrid in 2009.

It is said that it will likely offer the best mileage of any SUV on the market. TH!NK is starting to sell cars in Europe and has now started TH!NK North America, run by Vicky Northrup. I recently called her to congratulate her on starting back up in the United States. Vicky and I had worked closely together on the NYPA/TH!NK Clean Commute Program™. TH!NK has even developed a full-performance electric car, which can only improve its chances for success.

Toyota, Ford, Volvo, and Saab all have plug-in hybrids in early fleet trails. Other fleets are doing their own custom integration of plug-in hybrids from sedans to heavy vehicles. Nissan and Renault are planning to mass produce an electric car that will be initially marketed for large cities by 2012. Internationally, from London to Shanghai, there are increased possibilities that only ZEVs will be allowed in major urban areas.

On the international front, Israel has committed to electric vehicle infrastructure across the country. The State of Israel is working directly with Renault-Nissan, who will manufacture an electric car. They are also working with a California start-up founded by former SAP executive Shai Agassi who will build the electric vehicle infrastructure. They are hoping to have over 500,000 charging stations across the country and up to 200 battery-exchange locations.

While they plan to start with a pilot program of a few vehicles, they would like to mass market them by 2011. In addition, Israel cut the taxes on electric vehicles by 10% to incentivize consumers to buy electric cars.In the meantime, they can convert to electric today and will have EV infrastructure on the road for their public use. We should applaud the efforts by the State of Israel and Renault-Nissan to work together to create this EV market.

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