When it comes to electric cars, just like other cars, the big name manufacturers tend to get the press and higher visibility. That means you might know about the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, but not the Tesla electric car. The truth is, you should consider more than just the major manufacturers’ offerings.
While there are actually two vehicles on offer from Aptera (the 2e and the 2h), only one is fully electric. The 2h is a hybrid electric car. They are not currently available for purchase, but, they say it will be soon. It should be noted that, at least for a while, Aptera cars will only be sold in California. The vehicles resemble spaceships. Both will have a top speed of 90 miles per hour. The 2e’s maximum range is 100 miles on a charge, and the 2h should get an extra 250 miles range.
Essentially the same idea as Aptera’s 2h, the Chevy Volt has both an electric motor and a small gasoline powered engine, making it another hybrid electric car. After the maximum range for purely electric travel (40 miles), the Volt’s gasoline engine kicks in to charge the battery and help power the car, providing an additional 200 or so miles of range. The Volt is not yet available, but is expected to arrive at dealers late in 2010.
Nissan’s Leaf is a fully electric vehicle (like Aptera’s 2e) with a top speed of 90 miles per hour and a range of 100 miles. Some states can expect to see the Leaf on dealer floors in December of 2010, but the nationwide rollout won’t come until 2011.
Perhaps the most impressive car on the list, the Tesla electric car is available now. Looking like a futuristic European sports car, it has performance to rival gasoline-powered sports cars. The Roadster is said to get far in excess of 200 miles per charge. The price will exclude many buyers because it starts at over $100,000.
Zap currently has three fully electric vehicles on the market. The Zap Truck XL, Xebra Sedan and Xebra Truck can all be purchased now and are all NEV’s. That stands for “Neighborhood Electric Vehicle” and refers to an electric vehicle that is limited in terms of top speed and maximum range to fairly short commutes at in-town speeds. They do have a car (the Alias) getting ready to hit the market (no date announced) that will top out at over 75 miles per hour and travel over a hundred miles on a charge.
The company’s name is an acronym for “Zero Emissions, No Noise” and their sole model on the market now is the Zenn Electric Car. With a top speed of 25 miles per hour and a maximum range of 40 miles on a charge, it is another NEV.
Maybe the Nissan Leaf will be the electric car for you. If you can afford it, the Tesla Roadster is probably the ultimate electric driving machine. Whichever vehicle best matches your particular needs and budget, though, you should really get to know the competitors. That way, when you do purchase, you’ll be sure you’ve made the right choice.