Friday, January 8, 2010

Electric cars: Price is all about range

With electric cars, it seems that what you pay for is range.

And generally, range means battery size, although certainly vehicle weight and aerodynamic qualities play a role.

(Image: The THINK City car. Credit: THINK.)


The golf-cart-looking GEM car gets about 30 miles, and costs under $8,000 in its most basic model.

Need a pickup truck? Zap has one with a 30-mile range at $15,000.

There's the Dynasty electric vehicle, with a 30-mile range, with a basic model that sells for $14,000.

Those three are low-speed models, generally with a 25-mile-an-hour maximum. For street cars, though, the per-mile-of-range pricing isn't a lot different.

BG Electric cars is promising a Chinese-made, 45-mile-per-hour sedan with a 60 to 120-mile range, depending on configuration, for $16,000 to $27,000. But it seems to be having difficulty bringing it to market on schedule. It was promised last year.

The THINK car, which is to be manufactured in the U.S., may be on sale late next year at $25,000 with a 100 miles range.

The Mini Cooper electric car, the Mini-E, gets about 150 miles to the battery charge, and runs in the $50,000 range.

The super-hot Tesla Roadster gets 200 miles of range out of a list price of $109,000.

It's not a linear chart, but generally, what you pay for in an electric car is range. Based on the numbers above—and clearly they may change with time and alterations in design and capacity—you get a mile of range for somewhere between $250 and $550.

The most basic vehicles are in the lower end of that range. Hotter cars like the Mini-E and Tesla, move up the range.

With the GEM it's $267 a mile of range.

The ZapTruck is $500 a mile.

Dynasty is $467.

BG's promised price works out to $225 to $266.

THINK is $250 a mile.

Mini-E is $333 a mile.

And Tesla is $550 a mile.

The GM Volt, promised late this year, runs more, near $1,000 a range mile, (40-mile range at a price less than $40,000), but it's not a pure electric car. It will have an on-board gas-powered range extender, making it more akin to a hybrid.

© Jan TenBruggencate 2010

1 comment:

Carol Bain said...

This is a thoughtful review of electric "purebred" vehicles. Significant tax rebates are also a cost factor. If you purchased an electric vehicle before Dec. 31, 2009, you will get a rebate of about $4,000 for the GEM and higher for more pricey E-V's). This type of tax incentive may be offered again this year if promoted.