The Fortune Brainstorm Green business conference last week had a handful of cutting-edge electric vehicles on display.
The Electric Mini will start being leased to customers in California next month. Unlike a hybrid, the Electric Mini runs entirely on batteries. A driver can get about 100 miles of driving from a full charge. But that range comes at a cost: the batteries take up most of the back seat.
The 2010 Ford Fusion, which is now being made available to dealers, is a hybrid, five-person sedan that gets about 40 miles per gallon. The car can go up to 47 miles per hour on its nickel-metal hydride battery pack. Inside, the dashboard includes a feedback bar to show drivers when they are running on the battery or the gasoline motor.
Here is one of 20 modified Ford Escape SUVs being tested by Southern California Edison and other utilities exploring the impact of plug-in electric vehicles on the electricity grid. The plug-in Escape can go up to 40 miles per hour and 40 miles on its 10 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack.
Another concept in the neighborhood electric car field is this one from Canadian company ZENN, which stands for Zero Emissions No Noise. The car is likely to be most useful in urban areas, gated communities, or campuses because the top speed 25 miles per hour.