Hybrid Electric Cars

These Are The Companies Building Tomorrow's Electric Cars...Today

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted June 16, 2009

About two weeks ago, Coda Automotive (a new electric car manufacturer), announced that it will have an all-electric sedan hitting the California market in 2010. The Coda electric car delivers a range of between 90 and 120 miles on a single charge, with a top speed of 80 mph.

Tianjin Lishin Battery is supplying the batteries for this particular vehicle. You may be familiar with Tianjin, as this is one of the world's largest manufacturers of lithium-ion cells and a key supplier to Apple, Motorola, and Samsung.

Coda is expected to have about 2,700 vehicles available in 2010, with production capacity set to reach 20,000 by 2011.

Of course, Coda's electric car is just one more option in an ever-growing line of higher mpg (or mpg equivalent) vehicles. Truth is, from the smallest suburban garages to the biggest automakers, these next generation, fuel-efficient vehicles really are being developed quite rapidly compared to where we were just a few years ago...

  • GM's still committed to getting the Volt out next year.

  • Ford will be pumping out new electric vehicles in just two years.

  • Mitsubishi recently announced that it will begin leasing its i-MiEV electric car in Japan, next month.

  • Subaru's new Stella EV is expected to be available to consumers this summer

  • Daimler has invested in Tesla Motors (maker of the electric vehicle sensation, the Tesla Roadster), and will use Tesla's batteries in its Smart electric car...which is expected to hit later in the year in a testing phase.

And don't forget the guys (and gals) that are converting conventional and hybrid vehicles to Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs)...right now. While conversion are nothing new, the momentum behind conversions is definitely growing and developing.


We recently saw Raser Technologies (NYSE:RZ) show off its electric Hummer (with a 40-mile all-electric range) in Washington. And a small California company - Plug In Conversions Corp. - has just completed a new software upgrade that enables all-electric driving at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour in a converted Prius.

Building Tomorrow's Vehicles...Today

A new generation of engineers is also being groomed to take on the personal transportation challenges of tomorrow. In fact, last Friday, students from Ohio State University took first place in the EcoCAR Challenge - an advanced vehicle technology competition run by the DOE, GM and the Argonne National Laboratory.

Essentially, this challenge requires students to design and build advanced propulsion solutions, utilizing a variety of clean vehicle options. These include...

  • All-electric

  • Range-extended electric

  • Hybrid

  • Plug-in hybrid

  • Fuel cell

The students also incorporate lightweight materials, improve aerodynamics and use alternative fuels, like ethanol, biodiesel and hydrogen.

Interestingly enough, Ohio State also announced a 2,000 mpg-equivalent solar car just last month. It's not a practical vehicle you could drive to work everyday. But the technology that these college students are developing is exactly the kind of technology that so many car manufacturers ignored , or simply denied for decades. Of course, that all changed when gas hit $4.00 a gallon.

Nonetheless, we're certainly excited to see what the future holds for a new generation of fuel-efficient vehicles. And while I am partial to electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (particularly because these vehicles more than meet my needs, as well as the needs of more than half the daily commuting population), there are dozens of potential options coming down the pike. From electrification to advanced biofuels to new designs of old ideas - the race is on to take us out of the stone age of vehicle development...and into the 21st Century.

Which do you think will take the lead?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

To a new way of life, and a new generation of wealth...

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