The market is responding to energy prices with a raft of new fuel efficient commuter vehicles. I thought I’d mention a few here – many of these vehicles or modifications are competing for the X-Prize, and a few, like Hymotion’s BREM for the Toyota Prius, are available today. The automotive market is changing fast, and 100 mpg looks like it will become a realistic target for drivers in the next few years! Where available, each model’s projected cost, mileage (for commute purposes), and top speed are provided.
Hymotion BREM for 04-08 Toyota Prius – $9995 (plus the price of a Prius), 100mpg, 100+ mph top speed. Hymotion’s battery-range extender module converts a standard 46mpg Prius into a 100mpg plug-in hybrid for under $10,000, and is available today in a handful of major cities.
Tesla Motors – $100,000, 200mpg, 140mph top speed. You can have a high-performance electric car today that costs 2 cents per mile to drive, if you’ve got 100k to burn.
Available by 2010/2011:
Chevy Volt – Exact details unknown (more here), but GM is aiming for a 2010 release of the plug-in hybrid Volt, which will have an all-electric range of 40 miles, and effective mpg of 100+ when used as a commuter vehicle.
Phoenix Motorcars’ Electric Truck – $47,500, 100+ mpg (exact figure unknown), 100mpg top speed. Phoenix has developed all-electric truck and SUV models that it is currently selling to fleets, and will release to the public in 2010.
Poulsen Hybrid – Poulsen is developing a conversion technology which can be installed on the rear wheels of any vehicle to turn it into a hybrid.
Nissan has announced work on an electric vehicle with a 2010/2011 delivery date, but few details are available.
Toyota is working on a plug-in version of the Prius with a 2010 deliver date as well.
Small Commuter Vehicles: Most available in 2009-2010
GreenVehicles Triac – $20k expected price, 200+ effective mpg, 80mph top speed, and 100 mile range. The Triac is a three-wheeled commuter vehicle designed to help urban commuters park their larger vehicles during the daily grind.
Aptera – $30k, 230mpg, 85mph top speed. Another three-wheeled vehicle, Aptera looks more like a plane than a car, but still has two seats plus space for a child car-seat in rear.
Venture One – $20-25k, 100+ mpg, 100mph top speed. This three-wheeled commuter vehicle looks more like a motorcycle, and incorporates technology that enables it to automatically “lean” as it moves through curves.
Commuter Cars – Tango T600 available today for $108k, T100 target of $20k, 100mpg+, 120mph+ top speed. George Clooney owns a T600, whose tandem seating allows for two passengers or a rear child seat.
Fuel Vapor Ale’ – $75k, 92mpg achieved to date, 100mph+. This is another three-wheeled commuter car, but it’s shaped a bit like a rocket and is designed for high-end performance.
This list is not exhaustive, though I believe I’ve covered most of the credible efforts currently afoot. Feel free to add others in the comments below if you feel they were erroneously omitted.