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As the price of gas continues to rise, fewer folks are buying automobiles--especially gas-guzzlers like trucks and SUVs. Throw in a limping economy, record job losses, and a crippled housing market, and it's amazing anyone drives anywhere other than to work and the grocery store. There's also the growing environmentally conscious crowd who is concerned over the impact emissions from internal combustion engines have on global climate change. Short of everyone switching to bicycles as their primary means of transportation, what are cash-strapped, eco-friendly people to do? Philadelphia steel wholesaler Barry D. Bernsten thinks he has the answer: electric cars.

  Credit: BG Automotive Group Ltd.
Where others have failed before, Bernsten is confident enough that he will succeed that he claims that he's financed his electric car project with his own cash. Bernsten has formed Philadelphia-based, BG Automotive Group Ltd., which plans to sell 4,000 electric cards starting this October. Bernsten's first batch of cars will be inexpensive Asian imports with the batteries and electric motors installed in his Pennsylvania plant. How inexpensive? How does $16,000 sound? There must be a catch, right? There is...

The maximum speed the cars will be able to achieve will be 25mph. As such, they will be limited as to which roads they can legally drive on. For states that permit them, they will be limited to roads with 35mph or slower speeds. Ironically, Pennsylvania is not one of those states, but "Pennsylvania. State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R., Bucks) is sponsoring a bill to allow the cars on public roads." The cars will go from 80 to 150 miles per charge, depending on the vehicle's specific battery configuration, and they can be charged from either 100V or 220V outlets. Color options will be black, white, silver, red, blur, yellow, olive green, lime green, and copper. There is no word yet on what other accessories might be available as options, such as power-hungry air-conditioning or power windows. Bernsten has targeted the market for these low-cost, low-speed, electric cars as "urban commuters, students, and vacation-home owners."

With a keen eye on the limited practicality of his first batch of eclectic cars, Bernsten plans on having high-speed electric cars ready for the market by the middle of next year. In fact, the BG Automotive Group Website promises "Electric Powered Automobiles, MiniVans, Trucks, Buses, as well as Maintenance/Utility Vehicles, and Touring Vans."

Whether Bernsten can actually pull this off remains to be seen. Can he succeed where others have not? Will there even be enough of a market for these low-speed electric cars? If you want one of the first 4,000 cars for yourself, all you need do is plunk down a fully-refundable deposit of $250 to reserve your four door, five passenger, hatchback to be delivered in October... Or maybe November... Or possibly December.

Mccain . Actually yesterday on Late Night with Conan he told people he was give a cash reward somewhere around $300,000 I believe, I'm not sure. to the person who creates a electric car that will actual be used and get on the road.
There are plenty of electric car designs in the works right now, and a few already on the road. Never have I seen one so pathetically slow, though. Also, by saying that they are working on better ones to be released next year, Bernsten just doomed his current batch of electric cars. No one will buy them if they know better is coming shortly. 

Marco C
Wow, Lev, that aptera is butt ugly. 🙂 I don't think the technology is quite there to produce a cost competitive, reliable, relatively high-performing all electric car, that doesn't look ridiculous.

However, I do think the technology is one or two generations awat from producing a more efficient hybrid, with a relatively powerful, variably cylinder car, that looks just like its non-hybrid counterparts. Honda already has a hybrid Accord that performs just as well as the standard Accord. And Chevy (and I beleive a few others) have combustion engines with variable cylinders (only 2 cynlinders fire when idling, the other cylinders fire when performance is needed.)

There's no reason, a modern automobile can't be redesigned to be a little lighter, and maybe even stronger, employing the technologies mentioned above, that performs very well by today's standards, and gets 40 - 50MPG. And only costs 15 - 20% more that a standard vehicle.

I personally like the Hydrogen car's they seem to be a better option. They have them available to a limited number in a small ( San Bernadino Valley I believe )area of California lease only. But I'd race a Hydrogen batt car against your electric anyday lol.
That "butt ugly" car, which I think looks like cars always should have, by the way, gets 130 miles/gallon after it runs out of batteries from it's overnight charge. It also is supposed to cost around $30,000, so that's not too bad.

Truly, there is no reason we can't have more efficient cars now, it's just that foolish styling and a perceived desire for more HP by the American public that we don't have better cars these days.

I don't mind the design of that car at all Lev. It's a little too small for my liking though but that comes with the territory obviously. The thing I like about the BG here is that it's a little more tradtional in terms of styling... but maybe that's just because I'm use to looking at that type of body style.

Real electric cars. The Tesla Roadster is a beast.

Ha, timely post for me. I think Hydrogen is a great way to go IMO. You can easily and affordably adapt all current gas cars to run on it. I am currently modifying my 97 Ford Explorer and it'll cost me around $400 bucks in the end and can be reversed quit easily as well. It's proven, easy and runs super clean. When it's done I hope to see anywhere from a 20-50% boost in MPG and more complex (and more expensive) models claim to go even higher.

In my highschool we actually had an electric VW Karman Ghia and that was in the late-1980's it was a class project left over from the class of 1965, and it still ran back then.

Just goes to show you that our current cars could be doing much better without being hybrids...IF big oil and big auto didn't "cooperate" by giving us crapy fuel economy!
And a big hell yeah to the Tesla!!! That thing rocks. I'm glad someone else already brought it proves that electric can be damn fast!

http://www.fastcompany.c...0/motorhead-messiah.html . I think he's from my hometown. 🙂


shanewu wrote:

And a big hell yeah to the Tesla!!! That thing rocks. I'm glad someone else already brought it proves that electric can be damn fast!

Induction engines have always been very powerful... if you have the juice for them. Battery tech just hasn't matured enough until recently to make it practical.


I heard the Chevy Volt will be hitting the roads of the US in 2010.  They managed to get the energy companies involved as well.

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"The maximum speed the cars will be able to achieve will be 25mph".

Completely impractical. I'm guessing this is only aimed at people who never leave a single huge city - and it's probably not fit for that purpose.

I only live 10 miles from where I work, but the minimum speed on the interstate is 45mph (and you'll get rear-ended if you drive that). Even taking the feeder road, 25mph is half the speed of moving traffic.