Electric SUV is delayed

Phoenix Motorcars, the company that wants to bring you all-electric SUVs and trucks,won't be coming out with their cars this year after all.

Phoenix Motorcars, the guys who want to bring you all-electric SUVs and trucks, won't be coming out with their cars this year after all.

CEO Dan Elliot posted this note on the company's site late Thursday night:

A Phoenix truck Phoenix Motorcars

"We must also thank you for your patience in our development progress as we have worked to bring our product to market. We recognize that our product rollout has taken longer than originally expected as we continue to work through certification with the California Air Resources Board (ARB), finalize our financing package, and set up our production facility that will allow us to deliver at the sales volumes we are targeting.

"While Phoenix Motorcars had hoped to begin initial deliveries of its vehicles by this fall, we have decided to delay deliveries until early 2008," the note stated.

Getting cars through the certification process isn't easy and costs a lot of money. Testing--along with the millions of dollars required for design and manufacturing and advertising--is one of the many reasons why you don't see a lot of successful auto start-ups. Tesla Motors is still finalizing testing on its roadster, which it hopes to get out before the end of the year.

Phoenix has more than 500 orders for cars. Pacific Gas and Electric is one customer, Phoenix says. The company has shown its cars at the White House and the Lake Tahoe Summit.

The company's SUVs run on the lithium titanate batteries from Altair Nanotechnologies. The cars are expected to run for about 130 miles on a single charge and hit about 100 miles per hour. The key to the battery, says Altair CEO Alan Gotcher, is that it can be recharged quickly.

The SUVs will first be sold to utility companies and municipalities. These companies buy large fleets of cars and often they don't leave town. Thus, the 100-mile range isn't as big a problem as it is for the consumer market. Later, it will hit up consumers. (Here is an article on Phoenix CNET wrote last year.)

Phoenix is one of a number of companies pumping electric cars. There is also Miles Automotive in Southern California.