To say that the United Stated states has a love affair with the automobile is probably an understatement. After all we have been perfecting the gas car for over a hundred years.
In 1908 Ford Motor Company debated the model T, regarded as the first affordable automobile and the model that popularized the gas car.
Ford’s big innovation was the assembly line, which automated the assembly process and allowed Ford to build a car that the average worker could afford.
Now, 102 years later the vast majority of cars sold still rely on fossil fuels. That could begin to change starting in late 2010.
6 year old electric vehicle startup, Tesla Motors, hopes to replicate what Ford did over 100 years ago. The exception, this time the gas engine is being replaced with an electric motor.
Another difference, by the time Tesla rolls out the Model S major car companies like Nissan and GM will already have electric powered vehicles on the road.
Speaking of Nissan, the company has partnered with Radio Shack (now rebranded as ‘The Shack’) and 7 time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, to promote the upcoming 2011 Nissan Leaf.
Built on the same successful platform as the Versa, the Leaf will sell for about $25,000 after federal rebates and advertises a range of 100 miles per charge. Nissan tells us that 80% of Americans drive 40 miles or less per day, so they are marketing the Leaf as a primary vehicle.
The Detroit News reported that Nissan has gathered 13,00 pre-orders in the U.S.A and 6,000 in Japan. By 2013 Nissan hopes to sell half a million Leafs, that represents less then 1 percent of annual vehicle sales stated the paper.
Not on sale until 2012, the Model S will carry a price tag of $45,000 and Tesla is estimating between 15,000 – 20,000 cars will be built annually. Tesla is also promising to expand their portfolio with a crossover and van after the model S, though the company has been vague about details such as pricing and availability.
Before either the Leaf or Model S show up in dealerships the much anticipated Chevy Volt will go on sale in November 2010. The main attraction of the Volt is the road trip friendly range extender. According to GM officials the Volt will go the first 40 miles emission free, until the gas engine (rang extender) kicks in, providing an additional 300 miles between fueling. The catch, the Volt will carry a $35,000 price tag and is not a true zero-emission vehicle.