VentureBeat has a look at 27 electric car companies - these things are springing up like weeds now.
It’s official: Green car madness has taken over. After seeing more electric and hybrid vehicle startups than we could keep track of, we finally decided to start keeping count.
We’ve compiled a list, below, of 27 startups, listed according to their release date, with additional information on fuel type, range, top speed and price. Most haven’t yet taken venture funding, but where applicable, we’ve listed financial backing.
While we’ve got some overall favorites (Miles, Tesla, Think) and a few favorite oddballs (Aptera, Commuter Cars, Eliica), we’ve for the most part withheld judgement. Still, if you have any of your own predictions about which companies will succeed or — far more likely — fail, we’d encourage you to make them known in the comments.
A note on our method: While most manufacturers are planning more than one model, we chose the one that seemed either most commercially viable or closest to release, depending on our own (discretionary) formula. We didn’t included well-known consumer models like the Toyota Prius or Chevy Volt, or startups like AC Propulsion that only do battery conversions for consumer vehicles. ...
Wired, on the other hand, is sticking closer to the status quo, looking at more efficient cars using oil based fuels - "Gasoline Is Here to Stay, But It's Greener Than Ever".
The Detroit auto show is where automakers showcase their latest Big Ideas, and this year's show features some of the most advanced green technology to date. There will be several hydrogen, electric or hybrid concept vehicles unveiled. But the biggest news will be the green tech in the gasoline and diesel engines that will power most of our cars in the next decade.
"The internal combustion engine is not going away for a very long time," said Casey Selecman, an industry analyst at CSM Worldwide. Cars will become much cleaner and more fuel-efficient, he said, but "it's going to be an evolutionary change, not a revolutionary one."
It's a chaotic time for the industry as it moves toward a greener future without surrendering its past. Despite a worldwide push for vehicles that run on alternative fuels, the industry has invested too much in the combustion engine to abandon it. That's why the North American International Auto Show in Detroit Jan. 19-27 will see the unveiling of the 620-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 and Kia's latest sport utility vehicle alongside the Saturn Vue Green two-mode hybrid and Toyota's A-BAT hybrid pickup concept.
Concept cars will provide glimpses of where automakers are headed. General Motors is touting hydrogen with the Cadillac Provoq. Chrysler's bringing the Dodge ZEO electric sports car. BMW will bring along the X6 Active Hybrid concept.
But the greenest stars may be the gasoline-burning Ford Explorer America and Audi R8 diesel concept vehicles. Both feature what several industry experts called the engines of the future, and they highlight the trend toward turbochargers, variable valve timing, direct fuel injection and clean diesel. Automakers see such technology as the fastest way to significantly improve fuel efficiency and emissions.
"None of this sounds green, but it's the dominant green technology we'll see alongside hybrids for the next 10 years," said Eric Noble, president of Car Lab, an auto industry consultancy.
Cleantech.com reports that Lockheed Martin is to use EEstor ultracapacitors. I suspect Cryptogon might be right about the origin of this technology.
Bethesda, Md.-based Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) announced that it signed a deal with EEStor to use the secretive Ceder Park, Texas, company's ultracapacitors for military and homeland security applications. ... The company said EEStor is developing a ceramic battery chemistry that could provide 10 times the energy density of lead acid batteries at one tenth the weight and volume. ... Lockheed Martin said EEStor's batteries are planned to be non-toxic, non-hazardous and non-explosive, as well as half the price per stored watt-hour than traditional battery technologies.
Toronto, Ontario's Zenn Motor (TSX: ZNN), which makes low-speed electric vehicles, has the exclusive rights to use EEStor's storage system in small vehicles. Lockheed Martin said qualification testing and mass production of the ultracapacitors is planned for late 2008 at EEStor's facility in Cedar Park. The EEStor supercapacitor cells are said to use barium titanate coated with aluminum oxide and glass to achieve a level of energy capacitance claimed to be much higher than what is currently available in the market.
More transport links:
* After Gutenberg - The Plug-in hybrids are coming
* After Gutenberg - Electric City Car Market Factors
* AutoBlog Green - Cool videos: air propelled train, personal street car
* Detroit Free Press - Ford to unveil eco-friendlier engine
* Christian Science Monitor - In India, the world's cheapest car from Tata debuts to fanfare, criticism
* MetaEfficient - Aptera Test Drive A Success!