The sexy electric Roadster by Tesla Motors has been getting a lot of attention ever since the first photos came out a few years ago. Part of that attention comes from its looks, which were different from most electric cars that came before, but what’s under the hood is just as interesting.

Tesla Roadster Electric Car Photo


BYD is a huge Chinese battery maker who recently started making plug-in hybrids and electric cars. Despite delays some delays in introducing EVs to the US, it is on track to become a big player in the next few years. The electric E6 pictured here is BYD’s battery-powered crossover. There’s also the BYD F3DM and F6DM.

BYD E6 Electric Car photo
The XS500 by the Miles Automotive Group is expected to be a highway-capable electric car sold for $30,000-35,000 in the United States around 2009-2010.
Miles XS500 EV Electric Car photo
the i MiEV by Mitsubishi is a small battery electric car that has got a lot of press lately. Mitsubishi has announced that it would start producing it a year in advance (2009 instead of 2010), and 2,000 i MiEVs will be made in the production run.
Mitsubishi i MiEV electric car photo

The R1E is a small urban battery electric car by Subaru. It was recently tested around New York City.

Subaru r1e electric car photo
The EV1 is now almost a legend, partly because it was one of the first electric cars that the average person could actually drive, and partly because of GM’s campaign to destroy them (see Who Killed the Electric Car?). Recently an EV1 that avoided being crushed was sold for $465k.
GM EV1 Electric Car photo
The REVA (known as the G-Wiz i in the UK) is a small city electric car from India. It’s not the most high-tech EV, and at 745 kg (1,640 lb), it’s definitely not the biggest. But it’s been in production since 2001 and the new version features an improved range.
REVA electric car photo
The ZENN (Zero Emission, No Noise) is a 2-seater neighborhood battery electric car. It has a range of up to 40 miles (64 km) and does not exceed 25 mph (40 km/h). This green car has been in production since 2006.
ZENN EV Electric Car photo
The Tango is an ultra-narrow electric sports car built by Commuter Cars. It sells for an eye-popping $108,000 (you could get a Tesla Roadster for that kind of money), and it is better known as “that electric car that George Clooney drives“. It can do 0-60 mph in 4 seconds.
Tango Electric Car photo
The Aptera 2e (formerly the Typ-1e) is a super-efficient electric vehicle designed be Aptera motors, and it probably has the most avant-garde look of all electric cars featured here. The company also plans a plug-in hybrid version that would get about 300 MPG if plugged in every 120 miles. Google has invested money in the company. The all-electric model will sell for $27,000 and the series plug-in hybrid version will sell for $30,000.
Aptera Electric Car photo
The GM Volt is a “range-extended” electric car is scheduled for 2011. It should be able to drive 40 miles in all-electric mode before a gas engine kicks in to recharge the batteries. More information and photos about the Volt can be found here.
GM Volt plug in electric car photo
Like the GM Volt, the Fisker Karma is a “range-extended” electric car. Its all-electric range is 50 miles, and over that a gas engine kicks in to generate power and recharge the batteries. Fisker has recently opened an engineering center near Detroit
Fisker Karma plug in electric car photo

In the fall of 2008 Chrysler unveiled three electric car concepts, saying that it would produce one. The first is the Dodge EV, an electric sports car.

Dodge EV electric sports car photo


Not only does the impending plug-in Prius poop rainbows and chill out with unicorns, it’s also doing pretty good for itself in “real world” MPG testing. Toyota claims they’re hitting 65 mpg on average, 10 mpg higher than the brand new 2010 Prius “regular,” and credit that fancy new lithium ion battery, which lets the car store up a lot more energy than an average hybrid. They also claim that this didn’t involve any special hypermiling techniques, the drivers were instructed to drive like any other vehicle.

Among the small clutch of green autos on view at the Detroit auto show early next year, Toyota will be debuting an as-yet-unnamed all electric car concept. This is meant to demonstrate the company’s commitment to electric, a move which only makes sense, seeing as the whole “peak oil” thing is pretty much destined to make the gas guzzler obsolete. Still, the car arrives without much fanfare or details — all we really know is that it’s all electric and that it’s smaller than a Prius. This comes after the Japanese automaker’s push into electric fuel cell development and their stated intention to have an EV on the market alongside the next gen Prius hybrid in 2010. Of course, we all thought we’d have flying cars by 2010, but the industry’s inability to produce a robust all-electric motor has certainly put the kibosh on that once great dream.

Update: When we initially posted this item, we ran it with a pic of Toyota’s iQ (a perfectly reasonable move in lieu of the fact that Toyota has yet to release a picture of the car). After Engadget Spanish turned us on to a more suitable image, we moved the iQ car after the break.

[Via Wired]

Toyota Motor Sales announced an expanded commitment to electric vehicles on Saturday, disclosing plans to manufacture an all-electric city car by 2012 and a wider fleet of gas-electric hybrids.

At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Toyota showed off a concept car called the FT-EV, a battery-powered four-seat compact car. Although it’s concept car, Toyota said it will release an “urban commuter” electric car in 2012.

Based on an existing car sold in Japan called the iQ, the FT-EV runs entirely on batteries and has a range of about 50 miles. Like many all-electric cars planned for release in the next few years, the FT-EV is designed for commutes and short trips, potentially as a second car.

In a statement, Toyota Motor Sales’ group vice president of environmental and public affairs Irv Miller said that even though gasoline prices have dipped substantially in the past half year, the auto industry should focus on fuel-efficiency.

“We must address the inevitability of peak oil by developing vehicles powered by alternatives to liquid-oil fuel, as well as new concepts, like the iQ, that are lighter in weight and smaller in size. This kind of vehicle, electrified or not, is where our industry must focus its creativity,” he said.

A number of auto companies, including Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Think, plan to bring out small all-electric cars in the next two years. The commitment of Toyota–maker of the iconic Prius hybrid car–adds more validity to the small electric commuter car category.


Toyota’s FT-EV, a concept car that will be the basis for an all-electric commuter car due in 2012.

(Credit: Toyota)

Still, Toyota said the the gas-electric powertrain of the Prius represents its “core” technology because it can be used with larger vehicles.

On Sunday, the company said that it will move up its previously announced plan to test plug-in hybrid cars using lithium-ion batteries. Current Priuses use Nickel-metal hydride technology but most auto makers are pursuing lithium-ion chemistry for an upcoming wave of electric cars.

At the end of 2009, it will begin testing a fleet of plug-in electric Priuses using lithium-ion batteries. Of the 500, 150 will be made available to U.S. customers for lease.

Toyota’s goal is to sell one million gas-electric hybrids a year in the early 2010s. It will have 10 new hybrid models in that time, including the third-generation Prius and the Lexus HS250h, both of which it introduced this week in Detroit at the NAIAS.