Empty at the charging station: Only a few e-cars on the market
Electric cars are still relatively expensive: The small car Reva NXR will cost 17,000 euros and will be available from the last quarter of 2010
Car: empty at the charging station: only a few e-cars on the market
Nice words are easy to say – cars are much more difficult to build. For years now, people have been raving about electric cars and their advantages, but they hardly exist to this day. Anyone who wants to drive electrically still has to resort to exotic vehicles.
Electric cars are a big topic – but anyone who wants to buy one will hardly get more than a shake of the head. The large series manufacturers are far from having started selling, only a few niche suppliers can already deliver. The registrations are correspondingly low: the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) names exactly 162 electric vehicles for 2009. A conventional VW Golf can do that in one morning. If you want to roll through the city without exhaust fumes today, you either have to make compromises or dig deep into your pockets.
The Tesla Roadster is currently the only electric vehicle that can compete with conventional cars. However, it costs us almost 100,000 euros. Nevertheless, the US company already reports 1100 sales, a fifth of which were delivered to Europe.
A number of electric small and micro cars are cheaper: The Hamburg-based company Luis sells the four-door 4U in the format of a Fiat Panda, which costs around 40,000 euros. Alternatively, there is the Tazzari Sero from Italy, which is comparable to a Smart and is sold by the importer Smiles from Aub in Bavaria for 23,990 euros.
Smiles also offers other electric companions: the City-EL, derived from a recumbent bicycle, for 9,990 euros and the Indian Reva i with two seats for 12,990 euros. This in turn is to be followed in the last quarter by the four-seater NXR for around 17,000 euros. All of these electric minis have a range of between 50 and 200 kilometers and can reach speeds of up to 120 km/h.
"With these niche vehicle concepts, it will hardly be possible to comply with the federal government’s requirements and to bring one million electric cars onto the road by 2020," estimates Nick Margetts from market researcher Jato Dynamics in Limburg. “For this, the large series manufacturers have to go along with it. But until then we need a little more patience."
After all: At the end of 2010 it should actually start. Then in Germany you can buy the Mitsubishi i-Miev that is already available in Japan. There should also be a Citroën C-Zero and Peugeot iOn. All three companies name around 40,000 euros as a guideline.
Also at the end of the year, the Nissan Leaf is in dealerships – but only in Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Great Britain. "We start with the delivery where the government funding is greatest," explains press spokesman Michael Bierdumpfl. Three more waves are to follow, with Germany only being considered in the last. “But from the end of 2011 you can buy the Leaf all over Western Europe."
Until then, the competition will be stronger: 2011 is also the European launch date for the electric Opel Ampera and its sister model, the Chevrolet Volt. Both should have a range of more than 500 kilometers with a built-in emergency generator.
By 2012, Renault alone will have four all-electric two-seater city cars in the style of the Twizzy Z study.E. to the family-friendly sedan based on the Fluence. In addition, the Smart Ed, which has only been used in a fleet test up to now, and the Mercedes B-Class will then start. For solvent customers, the Tesla sedan with a speed of over 200 km/h should be ready by then. And those who like it sporty can then buy the E-Tron derived from the Audi R8 or the electrified Mercedes SLS.
In 2013, in addition to the electric small car Up and a battery-powered Jetta for the US market, VW also wants to offer a Golf for electricity instead of fuel. At the same time, BMW will bring the first purely battery-powered vehicle onto the market: a small car that has so far been called the Mega City Vehicle or Project i.
"The range of electric vehicles will grow significantly in the next two or three years," believes market researcher Nick Margetts. But: “As long as the batteries do not become dramatically cheaper, electric cars can hardly compete with petrol or diesel engines."
Many companies share this fear – and loudly call for government funding. With them, Nissan, for example, has managed to price the Leaf very competitively: In California, where electric cars are financially supported, the car costs less than a Toyota Prius or a Honda Civic with hybrid drive, according to the manufacturer. And in the four European starting countries, too, the government grants push the price below the 30,000 euro threshold. Nissan spokesman Bierdumpfl still doubts whether this will succeed in Germany: “Without funding, we will hardly be able to get there."
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