The Vehicle: The V8100 is a China-built, medium-duty electric delivery van with a 241km range and DC fast charging. It boasts a 19,114-litre cargo hold and a 2,722kg payload capacity. Announced: 2017 Promised: 2018 Key Asset: It recently signed rental-fleet giant Ryder as its exclusive service provider. Achilles’ Heel: Unproven Chinese manufacturing quality. Notable Quote: “I know what’s going to happen, in my mind. And I’m pretty outspoken about it, and it’s shocking that not everybody in the world’s an optimist.” —Bryan Hansel, Chanje CEO Chance of Success: 7.3
Local Motors The Vehicle: Olli, an automated, toastershaped, slow-speed ‘cognitive shuttle’ powered by batteries and IBM’s Watson artificial-intelligence software. It’s quite an about-face for Phoenix-based Local Motors, which made its name creating the open-sourced Mad Max– esque Rally Fighter in 2009. Announced: 2016 Promised: 2019 Key Asset: It actually seems to make stuff. Olli prototypes are up and running at the University at Buffalo in New York. Achilles’ Heel: Its small microfactories may not be scalable into the kind of macrofactories needed to produce a vehicle in profit-relevant quantities. Notable Quote: “We prefer to be called action leaders rather than thought leaders. But we do have thoughts about that.” — LocalMotors.com Chance of Success: 4.9 Elio Motors The Vehicle: A three-wheeled twoseater. Elio plans to build the trikes at a decommissioned GM plant in Louisiana. Announced: 2009 Promised: Over and over again Key Assets: The company received USD2.5 million from Overstock.com last spring and plans to raise more money with a cryptocurrency offering. Achilles’ Heel: Elio has consistently moved back its production start date, and its latest promise of late 2019 seems just as specious as those from the past decade. Notable Quote: “I am confident that this will become my car for at least twothirds of the days I drive.” — Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, in a 2018 Elio press release Chance of Success: 3.3
Spira The Vehicle: The Spira4u is a 236kg, USD10,000, three-wheeled, motorcyclebased electric transportation pod. A lighter, cheaper petrol version is also available. Announced: 2008 Promised: 2013 Key Assets: Claims to have once broken the Guinness World Record for longest EV journey on a single charge; was an XPrize finalist. Achilles’ Heel: Most people don’t want to commute in a proselytising corporate mission to save production resources, fuel and lives. Notable Quote: “I would like to think that if I accidentally ran over my little girl that she would live without much harm.” — Spira founder Lon Ballard, Spira4u.com Chance of Success: 2.0 Commuter Cars The Vehicle: One seat wide and two seats long, the two-to-a-lane Tango is an experiment in the capabilities of narrow electric vehicles to combat traffic congestion. Two electric motors deliver an advertised 4,067Nm of combined torque. Announced: 2003 Promised: 2008 and waiting Key Asset: The first car was delivered to George Clooney. Achilles’ Heels: That delivery was over a decade ago. Hand-built and costing ISD240,000, only 12 Tangos have been assembled to date, making mass production unlikely. Notable Quote: “We very much still
exist.” — Rick Woodbury, Commuter Cars president Chance of Success: 1.1 RIP
Aptera Motors (2006–2011) All-electric and hybrid two-door three-wheelers. Fenix Automotive (2009–2012) British supercars. Founded by kit-car mogul Lee Noble after his departure from Noble Automotive in 2008.
Saba Motors (2009–2012) Electric two-passenger car. Founded by mechanical engineer Simon Saba in San Jose, California. Marussia Motors (2007–2014) Russian supercar.