10 Electric Cars You Can Buy Today

by Benjamin Jones on September 16, 2008

Image: jurvetson

The internet is abuzz with news of new electric cars that all seem to be coming out in 2010. It seems like every day we hear more about the Chevy Volt “extended range electric vehicle,” but not so much about what’s available right now. If you’ve got an itchy trigger finger and a hefty wallet, there are a few options for you right now.

Who Sells the Electric Cars?

1. Zap

Model: Xebra

Price: $11,700

Top Speed / Range: 40 mph / 25 miles

Everyone was a little skeptical of Zap after Wired went and exposed a lot of shady doings over there. I won’t say that I’m any less skeptical now, but a forum member took the plunge and actually bought a Zap Xebra. His reports are interesting, and he seems to like the car, even though the government might not be so fond of it. Zap’s three-wheeled electric “cars” fall into that gray area where they’ve tried to register them as motorcycles to bypass safety regulations, but the government is starting to say “hold on, that’s no motorcycle!” Definitely check your local laws on these vehicles before taking the plunge.

2. Commuter Cars

Model: Tango

Price: $108,000

Top Speed / Range: 150 mph / 200 miles (with Lithium Ion batteries)

The Tango T600 is the like the Tesla Roadster’s slightly odd cousin. At first you think “oh, that’s weird,” until you realize that you’ve fallen in love and are getting married. That kind of what my experience looking at this car was. At first I wondered if someone had chopped a Smart ForTwo in half in order to be ironic about how small it was, then I realized this little sucker is extremely light, compact, and can do 0-60 in a very respectable 4 seconds. It’s certainly not cheap, but it’s the ultimate pocket racer if you really want to surprise the competition.

3. Dynasty Electric Car Corp.

Model: IT SEDAN

Price: $19,000

Top Speed / Range: 24 mph / 30 miles

The IT sedan is what’s known as a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV), meaning that it is speed regulated to about 25 mph, even though it might be able to go faster. In some places, these are illegal because of the low top speeds, so if you’re looking into one you should check out local laws. There are however, good for putzing around town, if you live in that kind of area.

4. GEM

Model: e2

Price: $6,795

Top Speed / Range: 25 mph / 35 miles

Most people, myself included, are shocked to hear that Chrysler owns an electric car company, but once you scratch the surface, it becomes obvious that GEM’s NEVs are more like glorified golf carts than anything that could be morphed into a production electric car. Now, this isn’t an insult to NEVs, but you can tell by the fact that GEM’s vehicles cost thousands less than electric cars from companies like Dynasty’s that they’re not meant to be much more. If you’re looking to cruise around your country club estate in eco-style, this NEV might be for you.

5. TWIKE

Model: TWIKE

Price: $35,000

Top Speed / Range: 53 mph / 100 miles

The TWIKE, as a human-electric hybrid is sort of in a class of its own. It can run entirely on electric power, but using pedals inside the vehicle, both the driver and the passenger can pedal to help charge the battery and extend the range. I got to see one of these this year at HybridFest, and even though it looks pretty cool, I’d be scared to take it out anywhere where I would be nearing the max speed. 40 mph, maybe. But not 50 mph. Also, a starting price of $35k makes it a bit cost prohibitive, even though it’s very well made.

6. REVA

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sFTosNNOpc

Model: Standard

Price: $16,000

Top Speed / Range: 45 mph / 70 miles

The REVA, or the G-Wiz, as it’s known in the UK is the much mocked and sometimes loved electric car from India. Watch Top Gear for more humourous commentary.

7. Myers

Model: NmG

Price: $35,000

Top Speed / Range: 75 mph / 30 miles

The NmG stands for “no more gas,” and it’s another one of those vehicles I had the pleasure of seeing at hybrid fest. It’s a small and incredibly aerodynamic vehicle, but it only seats the driver and can’t take on much cargo. However, the aerodynamics allow the NmG to reach decently high speeds and it seems like a reasonably fun ride for less than the $100k price tags on the Tango or Telsa Roadster.

8. ZENN

Model: ZENN NEV

Price: $12,000

Top Speed / Range: 25 mph / 35 miles

ZENN is Canada’s own NEV maker, but recently they’ve battled the government over the basic legality of NEVs on Canada’s roads. ZENN, like other NEV makers, produces electric cars that aren’t meant to do much more than run around on local streets. However, unlike GEM’s cars, they are a bit more substantial, but also a little cheaper than Dynasty’s cars.

9. Venturi

Model: Fetish

Price: $435,000

Top Speed / Range: 100 mph / 155 miles

The Fetish is a French electric supercar for people with, well, an electric car fetish. You’ll pay out the nose, and it’s not exactly the fatest electric car out there, but if you like the style and the Frenchness and all that, it may be the car for you.

10. Tesla

Model: Roadster

Price: $108,000

Top Speed / Range: 125 mph / 225 miles

Didn’t think we’d forget the Roadster, did you? The Roadster may be expensive, but it’s becoming the Prius of the electric car world. I won’t bore you with details, because you probably know them all, but suffice it to say it’s fast, cool, and pure electric. #1 on my list.

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{ 34 comments }

1 Justin September 16, 2008 at 10:21 pm

These cars are great as far as research and production “projects”. None of them are anything I could drive though. I wish we could get a government incentive to produce something with hwy speed (55-60mph) and a 80mi range. This would cover the commuter duty for most people. A commuter EV would greatly reduce emissions -far more than a short range car.

2 xebra September 17, 2008 at 2:35 am

Though ZAP has received a lot of bad press in the past, fact is it is the only company that offers a sedan, trucks, scooters, off road EVs and bikes. No one else can make this claim. And they are setting up a manufacturing facility in Kentucky where they will be making the Alias, their sporty two seater with a 100 mile plus range.

3 mpgomatic September 17, 2008 at 4:18 am
4 Jiff Jones September 17, 2008 at 8:04 am

#1 Telsa, #2 Venturi! Awesome rides!

Jiff

5 me me September 17, 2008 at 9:21 am

there’s one missing.

6 nirad September 17, 2008 at 9:34 am

i want to want an electric car, but all of these are too small & goofy looking, or too expensive. it seems to me that a better strategy would be to buy a micro-car chassis from a big manufacturer and drop in an electric motor and batteries.

7 Benjamin Jones September 17, 2008 at 9:40 am

Nirad –

That’s basically what Mitsubishi has done, but it’s not available yet: http://ecomodder.com/blog/?s=imiev

8 justanotherpunter September 17, 2008 at 10:07 am

I’d like to see some indexed information about battery life, replacement cost, etc.

9 huhwha September 17, 2008 at 10:16 am

I want a tango so bad, I wish it was under 20k

10 Ohmaar September 17, 2008 at 11:56 am

[Sigh!] And the greenies wonder why electric vehicles aren’t catching on. It’s like Marvel created a new character based on Steve Erkle and these were the concept sketches for his dork-mobile.

11 Nathan September 17, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Man, I can’t wait for the Aptera to come out. 2 seat, 90 mph, 120 miles, $27k. And it looks sexy to boot, unlike NmG’s clown car.

12 nathan nairn September 17, 2008 at 5:35 pm

i just saw the movie, ‘who killed the electric car’, great documentary about electric cars. I am glad to see them back out on the market and I hope soon they will become more affordable.

13 Upscale Swagger September 17, 2008 at 5:58 pm

that Tesla Roadster looks so nice.

14 Stein September 17, 2008 at 5:59 pm

Miles EV?

http://www.milesev.com…. looks better than most on your list! Tesla looks like a sweet ride tho

15 Adrian September 17, 2008 at 6:15 pm

What about the Apterra? http://www.aptera.com/
It’s on the cheap end of the above, and (imho) it’s a beauty

16 John September 17, 2008 at 6:16 pm

OK what was the point of this article again??

10 Electric cars that you either cant afford or wouldnt be caught dead in.

There Fixed the title for you.

If your trying to get people interested in electric cars might I suggest taking a few seminars on motivational speeking. Electric cars are going to be the vehicles of the future , lets try not to kill them off in the publics mind before they even have a chance.

How about an article on electric vehicles that would actually be usefull and affordable.

I can make a car that runs on electric , and I can sell them for $50 or less. Radioshack has them but youll need to go on an extreame diet to get in them.

17 Stein September 17, 2008 at 6:31 pm
18 Smith September 17, 2008 at 6:48 pm
19 Go Leez September 17, 2008 at 7:36 pm

Nasty review of the Indian made Reva. I have driven the Reva in India and it handles very well. The Brits still think that they are superior – please wait 5 ~10 years and see which country will be exporting electric/non conventional energy cars. Wager 100 quid that it won’t be the UK!

20 lens42 September 17, 2008 at 8:43 pm

The Headline is really BS. You can pay for a Tesla. which I suppose means “buy”, but you won’t get it for a year. There might be one Tango on the road in the US (Geoge Clooney’s). Again they’ll probably take your money, but so will a crook. I think all but a few of the cars in this list are vapor ware. These companies’ main product is the press release. I would love to see that change.

21 Jazzy September 17, 2008 at 9:26 pm

I’m really into number 7, it has a catchy name and an interesting look.

22 Jason September 18, 2008 at 7:52 am

Here’s a real one:

http://www.greenvehicles.com

23 Seatowngrrl September 18, 2008 at 8:34 am

Stein- thanks for posting the Miles Link. That totally should have been on there in the first place.

24 design September 18, 2008 at 9:08 pm

I love the TESLA! Very cool.

25 Paul September 19, 2008 at 3:12 am

You forgot the Chevy Volt.
The first entry in the games from a real car company.

26 Jay September 19, 2008 at 4:21 am

I’ve seen quite a few GEM’s in Tallahassee, FL but none so far down here in Tampa.

27 Interrobang September 19, 2008 at 3:02 pm

The top speeds on a lot of those cars are utterly pathetic, especially considering that Milburn (a US car maker) was producing and selling an electric car that had a top speed of 40 mph and a range of 100 mi. on one charge — in 1918. It’s only been 90 years, and we can’t do better?!

28 Jim October 17, 2008 at 8:10 pm

The problem with these cars are that they are either too expensive or they are just not reliable. How can anyone be expected to drive a car at a max speed of only 25 MPH? That’s a snails pace!

On top of that people have to wait over night for the charge which only takes them under 100 miles…

There is much more going on with EV conversions. People can convert their current cars into environmentally friendly electric cars for under $10,000 and the car runs great.

29 Geoff Koerner October 19, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Here’s the BugE!
Made in America, Less than $7,000 total, 30 miles at 40 mph with a top speed of 55 mph.
http://www.BugEv.net

30 sj.greenlady November 14, 2008 at 11:34 am

Don’t forget to add the BG C100 to that list! In all my research, I have found this car to be the most safe, affordable and comfortable out there and is loaded with upgrades! See for yourself:

First legitimate electric car coming to the market.
Safe, reliable and affordable.
Check it out…………
Article:
http://planetgreen.discovery.com/tech-transport/electric-c100-vehicle.html
Video-You Tube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hog9wpZCg8U
BeGreen Advocate

31 dfunco1@yahoo.com November 23, 2008 at 10:54 am

I would like to purchase an aultair nano battery. Where can I find it and for what price?

32 William March 29, 2009 at 8:42 pm

I really wanted a Myers motors car but the price was just too steep. So, I got a BugE kit car instead. I just finished it. Mine seems to have a top speed of 52MPH and so far it seems to do what I want. If anyone is interested in constructing one, there are multiple blogs about building them. The design is open enough that the vehicles can be built minimally to keep costs down or built with lots of nice features such as stereos, GPS, better battery technology, bigger motors. I kept mine mostly stock, but put some extra features such as a seat slider, better speedometer, powercheq battery regulators, multiple wire harness disconnects (for easier servicing) & the optional reverse circuit (which I highly recommend since I use it all the time).

33 Dumb Driver October 6, 2009 at 1:18 am

The tesla does look the best. I think it will be only a matter of time before manufacturers will start adding the new H2O fuel cells to power vehicles.

34 mike November 10, 2010 at 7:39 pm

Don’t pay the ridiculus price for a tesla (or any other sports car) even if some look cool. These companies will have to lower the $. I am going to wait till 2011 for other models. I heard from KIA that the “RAY” will be on the market then.

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