Electric Round Up From 2009 Detroit Auto Show; MINI, Fisker, Tesla, and Smart

Rex Roy

As the company awaits loans backed by the Feds, the company's smaller workforce sets about building the 1,500 Tesla Roadsters already on order. (Recent workforce cut backs said bye-bye to a quarter of the company.) Approximately 150 of these pure electric sports cars have been delivered as of the 2009 Detroit Auto Show. The two-seater costs $109,000 and promise 0-60 mph runs in under four seconds plus a range of 244 miles (based on tests with the EPA).

A Roadster Sport model runs $128,500 and cuts 0-60 mph times by 0.2 clicks to 3.7 seconds. Using tricks not unfamiliar to those who race model electric cars, the motor stators on the Sport are hand-wound, and the winding density is up, delivering lower resistance and greater motor torque.

Tesla is moving forward with their $49,900 Model S sedan. Although it did not the show the 2011-model sedan, there was talk in the booth about how the extra volume opportunity provided by the sedan would help make Tesla's EV technology more affordable.

Other news out of Detroit is that Tesla would provide battery packs and chargers to Daimler AG for at least 1,000 eSmarts, an electrified smart for two.

Daimler AG/Smart
Smart showed the European version of their eSmart for two in Detroit. No mention was made of Tesla batteries, but the Tesla press conference was held the day following Smart's.

What Smart did say about the $50,000 eSmart; it's powered by lithium ion cells, and that it would become available in Europe some time in 2009. We're already aware of EV-motoring electrification programs in Berlin and several Italian cities, and Daimler has participated in these nascent efforts by loaning small fleets of eSmarts to organizations in these municipalities.

Smart's Detroit press release did announce a relationship between Daimler and Evonik, a German battery manufacturer. The two giant companies will partner in a battery development firm called Li-Tec.

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