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Just how many electric car start-ups are there?

How many electric car and plug-in start-ups are there in the world today? I count 16, but I have may missed some.

I woke up today ready to write a story on the three-wheeled electric cars coming from Venture Vehicles when a question dawned on me. How many electric car and plug-in start-ups are there in the world today?

Electra glide in silver Zenn Motors

I count 16. They are: Tesla Motors (sports cars), Wrightspeed (sports cars and plug-in drivetrains for trucks), Fisker Automotive (electric sedans), Zap (low-speed and sports cars), Miles Automotive (low speed), Zenn Motors (low speed), AC Propulsion (retrofitting Scions for electric), Phoenix Motorcars (SUVs), Aptera (three-wheelers), Porteon (low speed electrics), Lightning (sports cars in England), Reva (economy cars), Ultramotor (electric trishaws), Myers Motors (freakish three-wheelers featured in Goldmember), Think (electric economy cars) and Venture Vehicles (three-wheeled electric cars.).

You'll see photos and video of Venture's car next week. The test drive was a hoot.

That doesn't even count the major car companies--GM and Nissan--committed to coming out with electric cars and plug-ins, or the people doing diesel hybrid buses. And there are also the three electric scooter and motorcycle guys: Zero Motorcycles, Vectrix and Brammo. And it doesn't count the golf cart guys. Or the battery guys like Altair Nanotechnologies.

Again, if I missed you and your grandmother's car company, forgive me. These are just the ones I've written about and can recall. History shows that most of these companies will be wiped out. Most car start-ups never get far, in part because of the outrageous capital costs involved in tooling up factories. But there are a lot of good ideas out there.