Small automakers roll out electric cars

The climate is right for electric cars, and several automakers are rolling out new models. It’s “an untapped market that is phenomenal,” says the CEO of Zap, which introduced the three-wheel electric Xebra last month (yes, it comes zebra-striped). While low-speed, relatively low-price vehicles like Miles Automotive’s ZX40 and the Tomberlin Group’s E-Merge E-2 are hitting the road, it’s the sports cars that are getting the most attention. The swanky Tesla Roadster is only the start: Wrightspeed Inc. is developing a $100,000 sports car that could go up to 120 mph and run for 200 miles between charges, and Phoenix Motorcars will sell two 85-mph, 120-miles-per-charge cars. Companies estimate that charging an electric car costs a mere one to three cents per mile. Actress and electric-car plugger Alexandra Paul says the new models will defy the idea “that an electric car is pokey or doesn’t have range.” And if a Baywatch babe says it, you know it must be true.