EV Innovations unveils electric car prototypes

  • 22-May-2009 12:09 EDT
evi wave2.jpg

EV Innovations' prototype Wave model is to be an affordable, two-seat commuter car that is eco-friendly. (Stephen Ashley)

­Hidden in the back of the lower deck of the Javitz Convention Center at the 2009 New York International Auto Show was a modest kiosk that displayed the latest home-grown, prototype electric car designs from EV Innovations (EVI), a 60-employee company in Mooresville, NC. The new entries are the Wave, a curvy, two-passenger commuter car, and the Inizio EVS, a sports car that the firm claims will go from 0 to 60 mph (0-97 km/h) in 4 s and reach a top speed of 170 mph (274 km/h).

The latter aims to compete with the Tesla Roadster, whereas the former presumably will go up against the Tesla Model S. Unfortunately, both models were displayed wholly incomplete, although Project Manager and Director of Product Design, Ron Cervan, said that EVI is ready to take orders on both.

EVI, formerly Hybrid Innovations, for the last nine years has made its name converting Mini Coopers, Pontiac Vibes, and other small cars to electric power, Cervan reported. In the meantime, the company has developed its “own large-format lithium-polymer batteries—chemistry, manufacturing, and all,” he said, adding that EVI currently conducts small production runs to fabricate the batteries for its products and has created in-house a battery-management system to monitor performance of the electrochemical cells in its cars.

The Wave, which appeared as a fiberglass mockup, is intended to be an affordable EV for commuters. Starting at $34,900, the prototype two-seater will have a maximum range of from 120 to 170 mi (193 to 274 km) on a single 8-h charge (at 110 or 220 volts) and a top speed of 80 mph (129 km/h), Cervan said.

“The Inizio EVS,” he continued, “is a ground-up design sports car with a lightweight carbon-fiber body and a range of 160 to 200 miles per charge.” The sports car, which was just a wheeled chassis and seats at the show, will be available at the end of 2009 or the beginning of 2010 at a starting price of $139,000.

Company management plans to enter one of the cars in the Progressive Automotive X-Prize competition to design and build super-high-mileage cars that consumers want to buy. "We haven’t decided which one yet,” Cervan noted. “It depends on which model gets the most attention.”

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