Time For A Niche Electric Car?

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Interesting concept, although sales thus far are fairly dismal. A tiny, one-seater electric car with a 30-mile range that is actually pretty zippy (70+ mph). It would be a practical choice for many people who have short commutes and who normally do so all alone in a car designed to hold four or more passengers. It is the Myers Motors NmG – or No More Gas.

TALLMADGE, United States (AFP) – Tired of waiting for big auto to come up with a truly clean car, Dana Myers has developed a tiny solution to the carbon crisis.

Tucked into a corner of his family's factory, behind an industrial crane and giant transformers, sits a fleet of what look like three-wheeled technicolor shoehorns.

Unlike the hybrids currently on offer, his No More Gas runs entirely on electricity. And its engine is powerful enough to zip down the highway.

There is one rather large catch. It has a maximum battery range of just 30 miles (50 kilometres) and room for just the driver and some groceries in the trunk.

Which could be why he's only sold 35 of them.

Dozens of companies have tried, and failed, to switch consumers over to electric cars.

The most spectacular failure was GM's EV1, the subject of award-winning documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?"

Failures among smaller companies are also legendary, said David Cole, chairman of the Center for Automotive Research.

"The sheer complexity is just overwhelming," Cole said, explaining that while safety regulations are a huge hurdle, the biggest problem is finding drivers willing to compromise on comfort and convenience just to go green.

"It's really tough to do."

The Myers Motors website has a lot of information on the car – and a thoroughly annoying auto-play video (hint – get rid of that and allow people to start it themselves guys.) The video will play whenever you go to the main page. Argh. That aside, the car is interesting and would actually work for a lot of average commuters. But it is going to be a tough sell. The car is almost more of a replacement for a motorcycle, as the annoying video points out, but it has a closed cab, good impact protection, heat and a place to plug in your MP3 player. It's a geek's dream! Reportedly, they are working on extending the range to about 100 miles. They come in some eye-popping colors, too.

The question is, is this the right time for the car to catch on? The cars are built in Ohio and have an MSRP of about $35,000.

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One Response to Time For A Niche Electric Car?

  1. Tony Belding says:

    I have to give credit to Meyers. As far as I know, they’ve got the only electric car today that’s highway-capable (not a NEV) and is in production, available today for immediate delivery in the US. I think it’s attractive in a goofy, nerdy, fun sort of way — like something out of a 1970s sci-fi movie.

    However. . . It’s also the poster boy for everything that’s been wrong with electric vehicles: a three-wheeled weirdmobile with limited performance, severely limited range and capacity, and a high price tag. That’s a pretty small niche. Even “homebrew” conversions of gas cars to EVs can often match its range and are more useful, for less money.

    There are a lot of new electric cars in the works: Aptera, VentureOne, Tango, Silence PT2, UEV Spyder, Tesla Roadster, Nissan MiEV, the reborn Th!nk City, and others. If history is any guide, many of these projects will die on the vine. However, even if only a couple of them become real, they could make the NMG look obsolete very quickly.

    I’m holding out for a Tesla.

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