To give you an idea of what the VentureOne is, this is a TopGear video on the Vandenbrink Carver, which is a three wheeled vehicle that utilizes a unique tilting action to turn. See for yourself:
Interestingly, the Carver is about $60,000, and the electric/hybrid VentureOne is targeted to be between $18,000 and $25,000 using this same tilting technology. Seems like a lofty goal; and this concept had been in the works for years with nothing more than a computer generated image, up until now. I was starting to lose hope, but the VentureOne was finally unveiled at the 2008 New York Auto Show in the Automotive X Prize entries and it looks good:
They are projecting the two-seater wlll have a 0-60 of 7 seconds and a top speed of about 100 mph. The vehicle will come in three models, two hybrids and a full ev:
VentureOne Vehicles plans to release in California initially in 2010 because they have more lenient 3 wheeled vehicle laws. Hopefully, this car comes to fruition, because it is a very exciting electric concept at a reasonable price. You can find out more about VentureOne at FlytheRoad.com and actually participate in the vehicle’s development in their forums. For example, members actually participated in deciding the final design. Neat idea.
The Aptera is another three wheeled electric car that will be technically classified as a motorcycle once it hits the road. The vehicle will come in two models, the Typ-1e and the Typ-1h, an all electric model and a hybrid model respectively. The electric version will be able to travel 120 miles on a charge and accelerate from 0-60 in 10 seconds with a top speed of around 85 mph. Not as fast as it looks, but at $27K for the electric and $30K for the hybrid, the Aptera is a worthwhile investment if you want a head turner that saves the environment as well as your gas fund. The Aptera seats two comfortably and is safer than it looks according to the Aptera site, where you can reserve your own Typ-1e for $500 down. Production will start in late 2008.
Google.org recently donated $2.75 million to Aptera and Actacell, a Lithium-Ion battery producer. Touchstone Energy Cooperative wants in on the action too, with a shameless Aptera plug to show they’re environmentally conscious. But the video gives you a good view of the car:
The electric automobile industry seems to a have wild, wild west aura about it right now, with its brave, independent startups and entrepreneurs, gold diggers, snake-oil salesmen, and vigilante policing. This atmosphere will continue until the big guns decide to take over and crush the little guys.
But for now, we have companies like Spark EV. Apparently, it was run by a guy in his basement, but still managed to make VentureBeat’s “30 electric car companies ready to take over the road” It mainly just consisted of a guy buying electric cars from China and selling them to dealerships in America; not rocket science. Well, homeboy couldn’t operate at the speed of business and the dealerships got mad over undelivered cars. Mad enough to press charges and effectively end our guy’s operation. But before this, he did create enough hype to be recognized on the world stage with his computer generated image of the Comet concept (see above, it was supposed to be released early 2008). Did he even have the wheels yet? Was it really going be fabricated, or was he a snake oil salesman looking for investors? We’ll never know, you can make your own educated guess from the Spark EV site, which now is nothing but a spiteful tale written by the CEO about his company’s demise. Speaking about yourself in the third person in fairy tale format never helps your credibility. I don’t know if this story is encouraging because it seems as though anyone can start an electric vehicle business, or disappointing because some of the major players in the ev market are such shady operations.