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.
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 photos motorauthority 008
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.
Ed Begley Jr. and Phoenix
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.
ZAP Alias as shown at the 2009 NADA
Yet another Automotive X Prize entrant, the Zap Alias was first announced in 2007. Promised by Zap automotive, whose three-wheeled Xebra Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) can be found in gated communities nationwide, the three-wheeled Alias promised Batmobile looks, seating for three and a range of around 100 miles per charge.
Except it didn’t.
Originally, the Zap Alias was billed as a two-seat sportscar capable of over 150 miles per charge. It was also expected to go on sale for around $30,000 by the start of 2009.
In the intervening time, Zap has continued to produce copious amounts of press releases, giving it plenty of wanted, and sometimes unwanted, media attention.
But two years after the supposed launch and the X-Prize loosing Alias still hasn’t reached market readiness. Zap claims its car will be available soon, although we can’t find an official set launch date.
The firm is taking $1,000 deposits for the $38,500 three-wheeler - but has yet to detail exactly when the launch will be. The wait continues.
AC Propulsion eBox
Although this electric car is technically a conversion, we feel it merits mention as in our list as it never really went beyond a few vehicles.
But we have to admit: of the cars featured here, the eBox is the one we’d most like to see being sold today - even though we doubt it will ever be sold.
Founded by Alan Cocconi, the engineer responsible for designing the power controller circuitry in the original GM Impact and EV1, AC Propulsion’s wall of fame reads like a who’s who in the electric vehicle world.
The eBox, a converted Scion xB, may have looked a little dowdy but contained AC Propulsion’s AC-150 drive system, capable of providing up to 200 horsepower to the wheels. It had a top speed of 95mph, a range of 180 miles and the ability to recharge in around 2 hours using a high current level 2 power source. The cost? $55,000, for the conversion, with the donor vehicle not included.
The prototype eBox’s battery pack contained 5,300 ‘off-the-shelf’ lithium-ion cells, which the observant may notice as being similar to the packs in the 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5.
And you’d be right. In fact, every Tesla Roadster on the road today is based on tAC Propulsion’s integrated AC-150 system. Other vehicles using AC propulsion technology include the Mini E, the Venturi Fetish and the Peraves E-Tracer.
As for the eBox? Hollywood Actor and electric car advocate Tom Hanks owns one, but it’s a safe bet that very few of us ever will.
2011 Coda Sedan electric car, at 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show
Finishing off our list, here’s the car we think will most likely make it to market, all be it many years after its initial concept.
But hang on. Isn’t Coda Automotive only two years old?
Yes. But its first car, the 2012 Coda Sedan, is a little older.
Named the XS500 and first announced by Miles Automotive in 2007 as a 120 mile-per charge, $30,000, five seat sedan, the car was expected to be the first affordable mass produced electric car the U.S. would see.
But the initial 2009 launch date came and passed, and Miles Automotive launched a new firm, Coda Automotive. In the process, the XS500 vanished and the Coda Sedan was born.
Coda Automotive’s own schedule for launch in 2010 has come and gone and a new date of fall 2011 has been set for the car.
Let’s hope the Coda Sedan is everything its eager maker claims.