General Question

AlexLavidge's avatar

What's the most practical electric car in the market today?

Asked by AlexLavidge (37points) May 29th, 2008

I think I’m ready to get an electric car, but I’m not about to pay $92K for a Tesla Roadster. I just need something that’s simple, practical, that I can drive around town, can get up to 50–60 mph, and has at least a 100 mile range. Any ideas on what’s the best?

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4 Answers

marinelife's avatar

Well, they are not that many choices. A bunch of the ones from the 90s have been killed. According to this Consumer Reports blog entry on the industry, there are two reasonably good choices. They are still pricey, but much better than $92K.

Your best bet is probably the EBox by AC Propulsion.

” The eBox is a previous-generation Scion xB that’s gutted to rid itself of the original engine and transmission. It’s converted by a company called AC Propulsion and uses the same technology found in the Tesla roadster. The eBox uses an electric direct-drive system, so there’s no need for a shifter. Instead, there’s a controller that interfaces with a special display on top of the steering column. Regenerative braking – the capture of braking energy that is channeled through the motor to recharge the batteries – can be adjusted. Under the front seats resides a 400-volt lithium-ion (Li-Ion) battery pack. It has a 120-mile range and takes two hours to charge through a 220-volt outlet; hooking it up to a regular household 110-volt outlet doubles the charge time.

On the road, the eBox feels quick and quiet. The company says it will reach 60 mph in seven seconds and has a top speed of 100 mph. In the most aggressive regenerative braking setting, decelerating takes place by lifting off the throttle, which I found to be quite abrupt. With practice, you can actually drive the car without using the brakes. With the conversion adding a whopping 600 pounds to the vehicle, you’d think that the ride and handling might be somewhat challenged. AC Propulsion President Tom Gage says that spacers have been added to the springs and the tire pressure was increased, but acknowledges that even with two passengers on board, the load exceeds the gross vehicle weight limit of the xB (a mere 825 pounds). However, the xB’s stiff suspension seems to pull it off. The eBox costs $55,000, not including the Scion xB. ”

EVcast's avatar

First, it depends in where in the world you live. I cannot tell from your profile, since you mention the Tesla I will assume you live in the USA. The Tesla, by the way, is starts as $109k now (ouch).

As you mention, you will need something that exceeds 50mph, so the many neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) that are available today will not do. If you are willing to settle for a shorter range (30 miles-ish), sticking with the sub-$92k price range, if you wanted a car within the next few months you have only one confirmed option: the NmG by Myers Motors. This will set you back $36k and it is only a one seater.

Guildenstern's avatar

There is a waiting list over 2500 deep for the Aptera. Phoenix must prove it means business this June but it could be a while before you could get a vehicle from them. An e-Box, while nice, is a little pricey. I’d check out this. If you jump on the list now, you may not have to wait too long.

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