Some ‘green’ cars have already hit the market, while others are in the pipeline. Read on to get a glimpse of a few of these new breed of cars.
Nissan Pivo 2 concept car
The vehicle resembles a futuristic bubble car and is powered by advanced compact lithium-ion batteries. The car can travel about 78 miles (about 124 km) on a single charge and plugs into a regular home electric socket. The car’s cabin part can turn in a full circle. Its wheels too can turn at 90 degrees to allow the car to drive sideways as well as forward. Each of the four wheels is powered by the company’s advanced electric in-wheel 3D motor. It’s a ball-shaped vehicle that can easily be manoeuvred into tight spaces while parking without backing up. The robotic bubblehead in the cabin can detect the driver’s mood by analyzing changes in facial expressions. The robotic head can also say programmed phrases such as, ‘relax, don’t worry,’ if the driver seems upset. The driver’s facial expressions are analyzed by the robotic bubblehead’s digital camera eyes and a microphone that studies the driver’s voice for changes in volume and speaking speed. The Japanese automaker says that although the Pivo 2 is fully functional, it is too expensive to hit showrooms at this point.
Nissan’s Mixim all electric concept car
At the 62nd Frankfurt Motor Show, Nissan showcased its Mixim Concept Car: a compact vehicle for young drivers. The driver sits centrally, with two seats behind, while the steering wheel and controls are inspired by computer gamers. The car is powered by Nissan’s electric motor/generator that uses compact lithium-ion batteries. Sitting on a 2530mm wheelbase, Mixim is 3700mm long, 1800mm wide and 1400mm high. Despite being a concept car with no guarantee of being turned into a series production model, Mixim’s development is in line with the Nissan Green Program. It produced for sale; it is expected to be priced in the range of $12,000 to $15,000.
The NmG (No More Gas) Personal Electric Vehicle
Developed by Dana Myers of Myers Motors of US, NmG, a three-wheel electric vehicle, designed halfway between a car and a motorbike, offers room for just one person and the battery only stays charged for 30 miles (48 km).The car can achieve a speed of over 75 miles per hour (120 kmph) at a cost of $0.02 per mile. It needs to be plugged in into a 220-volt socket to be fully recharged in 3 hours. Available in many bright colors, the car is priced at $36,000.
The Toyota i-REAL is a one-seat electric vehicle that wraps around the passenger’s body and runs at a maximum speed of 30 km per hour in the high-speed mode and moves slowly among pedestrians at same eyesight height in the low-speed mode. The ‘car’ uses three wheels, two at the front and one at the back.
The Chrysler ECO Voyager
Chrysler’s ECO Voyager luxury electric concept car, marries an American design with fuel cell range-extended electric vehicle technology. The four-seater car is driven by an electric motor, with power supplied by a lithium-ion battery pack capable of a daily commute of about 40 miles (64 km).The electric motor develops 200 kilowatts (268 horsepower), enabling acceleration from 0 to 60 miles per hour (96 kmph) in less than 8 seconds.
Honda Civic Hybrid
The Honda Civic Hybrid is a hybrid version of the Honda Civic sedan. The Civic Hybrid, a four-seater, features a lightweight, low-friction 4-cylinder engine complimented by a DC electric motor that’s less than 2.5″ wide. Power for the motor is stored in a compact battery pack behind the rear seat. The battery comes with an 8-year/80,000-mile (128,000 km) warranty. The car’s interior is equipped with an automatic climate control with air-filtration system. Media reports claim that the car could be launched in India late this year or in early 2009.
Tara Tiny Series
Jostling along with Tata Nano, this July, will be Tara International’s Tara Tiny and Tara Titu: zero emission, electric cars that cost only Rs 99,000.At the moment, four variants of electric cars are ready at the Tara International factory at Palta, a few kilometers from Kolkata. These are Tara Tiny, Tara Titu (two-seater and four-seater, respectively), Tara Shuttle, and Tara Carrier. While Tara Tiny and Tara Titu are priced at Rs 99,000 (approximately), Tara Shuttle and Tara Carrier are priced at Rs 500,000 (approximately). The company will also launch electric bikes priced between Rs 12,000 and Rs 35,000. The running cost of these cars is about 40 paisa per km, while the two-wheeler’ running cost will be as low at 15 paisa per km. (100 paisa = 1 rupee).
Dodge Zeo Concept Car
The Dodge ZEO is a four-passenger, 2+2 sport wagon from the Chrysler stable. With a larger lithium-ion battery pack on board, the ZEO has a 250-mile driving range. The steering wheel, column, and instrument cluster is treated as a single freestanding design element in the ZEO, and the instruments are displayed on a thin blue acrylic viewing screen. According to Chrysler, ZEO’s 268-horsepower, rear-drive motor will get you to 60 miles per hour (96 kmph) in 5.7 seconds.
Launched in 2001, the REVA is a battery electric vehicle designed for low speed manufactured by Bangalore-based Reva Electric Car Co. A fully automated (no clutch, no gears), two-door hatchback four-seater, the car can be charged by plugging on to any 15 ampere socket. It is powered by a 37 kW AC induction motor that drives the front wheels, and uses sodium nickel chloride batteries. Unlike most electric vehicles, it has an onboard charger to facilitate easy charging. A full battery charge takes less than seven hours and gives a range of 80 km. In quick-charge mode (two-and-a-half hours), the car is good enough for 65 km. A full charge consumes about 9 units of electricity. Climate control seat and remote controlled AC has been recently incorporated to the car’s features. Customers can choose from over 2,000 shades and can customize their REVA by mixing and matching these features. The car is fitted with a wireless tablet or an embedded appliance that integrates into a high-resolution single touch-screen display stating speed, state-of-charge, range and sensor inputs as well as personal communication tools like GPS-based in-vehicle navigation, a GPRS modem for Internet and e-mail and Mp3 music. The car comes in two models — REVAi Standard, REVAiClasse. Another REVAi Special Edition is about to hit the market. The first two variants are priced at Rs 306,000 (ex-showroom Chennai) and Rs 340,000, respectively.
This is a hybrid electric midsize car developed and manufactured by the Toyota Motor Corporation. Priced at $21,500, the car can charge its battery from a household electrical unit. The Prius first went on sale in Japan in 1997, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. The Prius is sold in more than 40 countries and regions, with its largest markets being those of Japan and North America.
This is a small family car produced by Renault-Nissan, priced at $27,990. It is available in several countries in various versions: 3-door hatchback, saloon, coupe, convertible, and station wagon. Renault-Nissan has also teamed up with Project Better Place, a Silicon Valley start-up, to introduce all-electric vehicles and a network of charging points in Israel and Denmark by 2011.
Smart Fortwo ‘bionic’ cabrio
A micro hybrid drive, this car, from Daimler AG, is a two-door convertible, two-seater. There are three roof removal options and one can set it to any position one wants while the car is in motion with flick of a switch. Production delivery of the car is expected in 2010. It will feature 30 kW (41 hp) output and a top speed of 70 mph (112 kmph). It will be capable of 0-30 mph (0-48 kmph) in 6.5 seconds. This electric car can travel up to 72 miles (116 km) between charges. It typically takes about 8 hours for a full charge. It is priced at $22,900.