At the 2008 New York auto show, the race is on to offer a production electric car. Major automakers Nissan, Subaru, and Mitsubishi showed working vehicles, while an upstart brought in a conversion with impressive stats.
The Cube is an existing gas-powered Nissan model sold in Japan. Nissan converted it to an electric drive for the Denki Cube concept, using a lithium ion battery pack which gives it a 100 mile range. Its top speed is 75mph.
As a concept, the Denki Cube gets a futuristic dashboard, with an LCD instead of an instrument cluster, plus a center display with icons for navigation and other car functions. A big display also shows whether the car is in Park, Drive, Reverse, or Neutral.
Subaru announced it will put two R1e electric cars in service with the New York Power Authority for test marketing. The R1e is driven by a 40 kilowatt motor which can push it up to 65mph. Its lithium ion battery pack gives it a range of 50 miles and can be charged to 80 percent capacity in 15 minutes, using a special quick charger.
Mitsubishi's iMiEV is an electric car built on the company's i car platform. The i car will be marketed in the U.S. by 2010, although the electric iMiEV is only a test vehicle at this point. It can go for about 100 miles on a full charge with its lithium ion battery pack.
Hybrid Technologies uses its proprietary battery management technology to convert existing cars, fitting them with lithium ion battery packs and electric drive units. The Liv Wise is converted from a Toyota Yaris, and has a range of 90 to 100 miles, with a top speed of over 75mph. The company has converted many other vehicles, including a Mini Cooper and a PT Cruiser.
The Liv Wise has a touch screen in the dashboard that monitors the car's power, and includes a range meter. When the car only has 25 miles of range left, it flashes a warning on the screen, and again for every 5 mile increment left.