What Ever Happened To...? 5 Electric Cars We Should Have by Now

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Aptera 2e production intent vehicle

Aptera 2e production intent vehicle

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Nissan may have got heat recently for its long, drawn out and significantly delayed rollout of the 2011 Nissan Leaf, but it isn’t the only company struggling to fulfil its own sales figures for 2011.  

Over the past two years there have been a whole barrage of cars which were promised to the consumers by the end of the first quarter of 2011. But how many of those cars have actually made it to production and are in the hands of eager owners?

Here’s our list of 5 electric cars we were assured would be here by early 2011 but which seem to have got a little delayed in the process.

Aptera 2e

Back in 2007 when Aptera’s bold new design for a fuel efficient car featured on the cover of Wired Magazine many electric car fans thought the world was just about to change.

In the new electric car world, vehicles would no-longer assume the conventional boxy designs of the past 100 years. They would cut through the air like giant scythes and transport humanity on a wonderful utopian journey towards an oil-free existence in a vehicle that looked a little like an aeroplane.

The problem is, we never reached that point. At least, we haven’t yet.

Even though Aptera promised us it would start selling its futuristic two-seater by the end of 2008, the firm’s delayed production and failed entry into the Progressive Insurance Auto X-Prize has meant that we’re still waiting for the car we though would change the world.

Will we ever see it? Franky we’re not sure. Aptera are still working on the vehicle and regularly send out newsletters to keep buyers up to date on the development schedule.

Will we see it before the end of the year? We’re doubtful.

Lightning GT

lightning gt photos motorauthority 008

lightning gt photos motorauthority 008

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We first got our sneak peek at the Lightning GTEV electric sportscar back in 2007 when it was a tubular chassis and a set of components in a workshop somewhere in rural England.  

It may not have looked like a car at the time, but we were promised it would be the ultimate electric sportscar, with high capacity state-of-the-art batteries, in-wheel motors and a 0-60 time of 4 seconds flat.

Initially designed as the Ronart Lightning before being rebranded the Lightning GT after Ronart launched a new brand for its electric range, the Lightning GT promised Aston-Martin looks, Tesla performance and an exclusive price-tag.

But company woes and restructuring as well as an increased development cycle has delayed the initial launch by over two years.

Back in 2008 when our sister site Motor Authority reported on the GT, the 700 hp, 250-mile car was scheduled for an early 2010 launch.  Current estimates from Lightning put the GT’s launch as being somewhere in early 2012.

Unlike more mainstream market cars, the Lightning GT is guaranteed a customer base looking for exclusive British charm, but we have to admit: we’re a little disappointed the GT isn’t with us now.

Phoenix SUT

Ed Begley Jr. and Phoenix

Ed Begley Jr. and Phoenix

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Another Californian startup and former competitor in the Automotive X Prize, Phoenix Motorcars first promised an all-electric double-cab pickup before we’d even heard of TeslaMotors.

Its story is one we’ve hard play out time and time again. Back in 2006 the firm promised a $45,000 double-cab pickup truck capable of speeds of up to 110 miles. It also promised an SUV capable of up to 250 miles per charge.

Sadly, neither came to market as quickly as we’d all thought they would.

Instead, the firm went through severe restructuring, takeover and bankruptcy before rising, like its mythical namesake, from the ashes.

Its website contains one solitary press release, dated July 2010, where it promised deliveries of its SUT by the end of 2010.

But while Phoenix had promised vehicles long before 2011 we’re still waiting. How long we wait is a completely different matter.

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Comments (12)
  1. What happened to Zenn Motor Corp? ZMC's CityZenn model was to be ready for purchase 2007 with a super duper capcitor from EEStor.

  2. What is really funny is that ZENN is still taking investors money. Albeit not very much anymore, they are still a public company and you are free to invest in them. If you read their disclaimer, it is about 5 times longer than most public traded companies, Never a good sign!

  3. Yeah, And What about the 5 or 6 cars, in the past 30 years, that got a 300+ mi. range..or the 20 or so in the past 100 yrs that got a 100 mi. range, at 30 mph.
    No, My 1981 EV goes 15 mh with a 15 mi. range. Why is that? Will I have to buy Chinese or Indian to get 100?

  4. Forget all the three wheelers, they have never sold well and never will. Phoenix had a number of problems, from the extremely expensive yet poor energy density Altainano NanoSafe batteries to the Ssyangyong(?) gliders that stopped shipping.
    As far as I know you can still buy an Ebox conversion if you have the coin.

  5. Co-workers just cancelled their name on the waiting list for the Leaf but that was more related to Nissan's non Support of unions (WI & Walker bill anyone?)
    I wonder if current gas prices (and overseas issues)will put electric cars in the forefront?

  6. Hudson: how exactly does the selection of a French-owned, Japanese-based company, manufacturing and sourcing parts globally, with final assembly in Georgia, tie in to Wisconsin budget debates? What role did Carlos Ghosn, other Nissan execs, Leaf design engineers, or others play in legislation in Madison?
    Finally, exactly how is a participant in automobile manufacture and retailing identified as a "non-supporter" in employment contract terms of public employees by your co-workers?
    This should be interesting...

  7. I can't imagine anyone shelling out $38k for a light weight 3-wheeler low quality kit-car type vehicle. Companies that make 3-wheel cars do that just so they can circumvent the safety laws as they are classified as motorcycles. You can buy far superior, well built and safe EVs like LEAFs and Volts for the same price.

  8. They are coming, slowly and safely and just in time as gas rises again. Tesla has already made over 1,000 roadsters and the model S at half the cost and with a choice of 3 ranges up to 300 miles is touring the US now and will be available in 2012.
    The FORD focus will also be here in 2012 and the LEAF was just getting up to full production in Japan when the earthquake hit. The TENN USA factory is also ramping up. The VOLT is increasing production too.
    The world will change as they get up to speed. Just like cell phones and PCs' it will take a while but once they get moving cost will drop , range will increase and peak OIL will not be as big a disaster to those who adjust.
    Even hybrids are coming out more and more. prius alone will have 3 or 4 models. Each step is closer to clean air and energy security. Charging at night when we have excess is very smart.

  9. I'm amazed that Peak oil is still floating around - Bakken oil reserves has killed that theory, which kept getting "updated" as the orginal predicted peak oil date came and went, about a dozen times.
    As for me, anyone supporting unions is an accessory to fraud and extortion. One reason I won't buy any American auto touched by a ($142K per year) UAW unskilled laborer. Small wonder GM has to buy 90% of its parts from China in order to compete.

  10. I'm amazed at the number of ignorant citizens that still think Peak Oil is not going to be a problem. They don't understand the difference between *amount* of large-chain hydrocarbons ("oil") someplace (Alberta tar sands, Bakken shale, Venezuela Orinoco heavy crude), and the RATES OF PRODUCTION that will be possible in bringing this stuff to market. Bakken shale produces 400,000 barrels/day of oil, after decades of development. Good if you happen to OWN those 400,000 barrels/day, but not a solution to decline rates at the supergiant oil fields. New production is not just added to existing production - existing production rates are declining faster and faster. World crude oil production plateaued in 2005.

  11. What happened to the Aptera? The new CEO ousted the two founders. He then told engineering to redo the entire design. From simple belt-driven rear-wheel power, to transaxle-driven front wheel drive. Made the body taller and wider for big Americans. Made the windows roll down so you could go through a drive through. Cupholders. Added mirrors instead of the camera to see behind. Added a lot of weight. And cost. So the car became fat, obese, complex, and thousands of dollars more expensive - from 21 to 28 grand. And the company lost years of market access, ran out of money, never delivered the cars, never go federal funding. And the Aptera popped a door open and almost tipped over during a slalom run in front of evvverrryone watching. Which it wouldn't have done if he hadn't turned it from a shark into a walrus so fat people could fit in with their Big Macs.

  12. GM told EV car companies not to sell them or they have a choice. All EV car must be expensive like Tesla car company, which no one can afford to buy a car at $100,000. Another way, car like GM Volt avg 40 mile electric and 37mpg for $40,000. Come on! Even Toyota Hybrid is only $23,000 an avg 50-60 mpg. Come on GM, you guy are kill us in very way.

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