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11/18/2008
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Image Gallery: Highway-Speed Electric Vehicles

As battery cell technology advances, expect electric automakers Miles, Myers, Aptera, and Phoenix to shift production of electric cars and hybrids into high gear.

With the heads of Detroit's Big Three automakers groveling before Congress, hats in hand, electric and hybrid carmakers are racing to market vehicles that promise to replace our gas-sucking buggies.




The Miles all-electric midsize sedan reaches a top speed that exceeds 80 mph.
(click for image gallery)

The odds against these upstart automakers are formidable, but interest in low-emission vehicles has never been greater. We look beyond golf carts at highway-speed electrics and hybrids that show plenty of moxie, if not quite production-readiness.

Miles Electric Vehicles

Miles is a Santa Monica-based maker of a highway-speed all electric midsize sedan which is slated to be available in Q1 2001. The sedan can top 80 mph and has a 100+ mile driving range. Its proprietary lithium-ion battery pack is guaranteed for 8 years or 100K miles. Projected MSRP is $40,000 - $45,000 and drivers may be eligible for a $5,000 - $7,500 tax credit under legislation recently passed by Congress.




The 3-wheel Aptera can achieve top speeds in excess of 85 mph, going from 0-60 in under 10 seconds.
(click for image gallery)

Aptera Motors

If the Miles sedan is Ed from accounting, the aerodynamic Aptera Typ-1e is Chuck from the Bonneville Salt Flats. The aerodynamic Aptera Typ-1e could not look more different than the battery-drawn coach from Miles. Its sleek design owes more to the aviation industry than to Detroit's standard-issue boxes on wheels.

With 300-mpg and zero emissions, the Aptera Typ-1e was hailed by Popular Mechanics with a Breakthrough Award in October 2008 and is a contender for the Automotive X Prize.

The company estimates its all electric version will cost $27,000 and its plug-in hybrid $30,000. Production of the all-electric may begin this year and the hybrid in late 2009.

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