Saab 9-3 ePower EVEnlarge Photo
It's debatable whether this is a concept car or not. Saab plans to build 70 identical electric cars in the first phase of a consumer trial, all of them electric conversions based on the current 9-3 SportCombi--what we call a "sport wagon".
Like so many test programs by major automakers, the Saab 9-3 ePower program puts electric vehicles in the hands of actual consumers so the manufacturer can accumulate data on how the cars are really driven, recharged, and otherwise treated in "real life" usage.
Saab points out that the station wagon's interior space is entirely preserved, with a 3.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack stuffed into leftover space that used to contain the gas tank, exhaust system, and other components.
A 135-kilowatt electric motor drives the front wheels, and the 9-3 ePower is claimed to reach 62 mph from a standing start in 8.5 seconds, quick for an electric vehicle this large and heavy.
Given Saab's Swedish roots, the carmaker says it is confident their battery pack will provide full power at temperatures as low as -22 degrees Farenheit (-30 degrees Celsius), and deliver a real-world range of up to 125 miles.
2010 MINI Scooter E ConceptEnlarge Photo
Ah, brand extensions. Where would carmakers be without 'em?
The latest consumer object to wear the increasingly dispersed MINI brand is this all-electric scooter concept, which owner BMW claims uses styling cues from the Mini (errrr, round headlights?) and wears the traditional British Racing Green color.
Like the Smart Escooter, the Mini Scooter E uses an electric motor contained inside the rear wheel hub. Unlike the Smart scooter, however, Mini hasn't yet released technical specifications or performance details of its electric two-wheeler.
We do know that it contains an integrated 16-foot charging cord connected to an onboard charger for its lithium-ion battery pack.
The electric scooter is the work of Project i, BMW's advanced-technology group that aims to design more sustainable vehicles, including the Mini E and BMW ActiveE fleets of all-electric test cars. The first volume production car from the group will be the 2014 BMW MegaCity, a carbon-fiber-bodied all-electric urban vehicle.
2010 Smart Escooter ConceptEnlarge Photo
Earlier this year, the 2011 Smart Electric Drive was launched (in small numbers) into global markets. Now, Smart has expanded its notion of "urban mobility" from four-wheeled vehicles to two-wheeled ones.
The Smart Escooter uses a 4.5-k ilowatt (6-horsepower) electric motor inside the wheel hub, delivering 30 mph at most but a generous 62 miles of range. It includes a small photovoltaic solar cell array on the front panel, which might generate enough energy to ... illuminate the instruments? We're not sure.
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