Electric cars cruising the roads of the Middle East and elsewhere in the world have been frequent Green Prophet clean technology articles ever since Better Place’s founder Shai Agassi launched his unique electric car network concept back in early 2008. Since then, a number of other electric car players have entered the electric or “zero emissions” (ZE) field, especially companies like Ford, General Motors Volt electric hybrid, which began rolling into GM dealerships in late 2010; Nissan’s total electric Leaf Model; and particularly Tesla Motor’s hot and expensive sports and roadster electric car models. But out of all these cars which translate well in the Middle East?
Better Place founder Shai Agassi and the Renault Fluence ZE Salon
While some of these ZE models have begun to find markets in both Europe and North America, with the exception of Better Place’s launch in Israel, the rest of the Middle East is still more or less devoid of these cars; most likely due to the availability of oil at cheap prices.
The pluses and minuses of these still relatively new electric vehicle or EV driving concepts have been given to readers by various news sites, including the well read Popular Mechanics American ‘tinkerers’ news site that has been around for more than 60 years. The Magazine recently published its evaluations on what consider to be the “10 best plug-in cars for 2012 and beyond” .
The models they tested include some of the more well known models such as the Chevy Volt (really a “plug in hybrid” model), Ford’s new all-electric Focus model, Nissan’s Leaf, and a “plug in” version of Toyota’s popular Prius hybrid model.
While these models are considered to be within the ‘affordable’ range of America’s new car market (if prices averaging $30,000 to $40,000 are considered affordable), some other more exotic models were also given positive ratings.
These include those from Tesla Motors, which start at above $50,000 for the Tesla S Model sports roadster and climb upwards to $100,000 and more for their hot two-seater coupe and convertible sports cars.
Although relatively expensive, Tesla electric models have one of highest cruising ranges of all pure electric non-hybrid models of up to 300 miles between battery recharges. Another new electric model that will be coming onto the EV car market is one called Fisker Karma which is actually a high priced hybrid model as it will have a 2.0 liter gasoline engine included with the electric motor.
At around $98,000 and up, it will join the Tesla sports models as being out of most buyers budgets. This also goes for new hybrid and EV BMW i Series models which will only go on the roads “somewhere” in mid to late 2013.
Mitsubishi’s iMiEV electric: a more reasonable buy at $21,625
Getting back down to earth, two new EV models; the i MiEV model by Mitsubishi at $21,625 and a new all electric Honda Fit EV model which will be available only to drivers in California and Oregon at a “modest” price of around $36,500, including government purchase incentives. Of all the models already mentioned, the one by Mitsubishi is the most affordable – if one is satisfied with a small, bug shaped vehicle that barely seats four persons comfortably.
Regarding the Middle East, at present, and despite current managerial shake-ups,Better Place’s Renault Fluence EV car with its switchable battery pack system (the battery belongs to Better Place)is the only electric car network available – and this is only in Israel.
It remains to be seen if other electric models, except limited versions like the Abu Dhabi – Dubai all electric “Superbus” limo model will be seen soon on the roads in the Middle East.
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Car photos: Popular Mechanics