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Li Ion All-Electric Sports Cars Materialize; Production Set For This Year

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On: Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 11:31AM | By: Chris Weiss

Li Ion All-Electric Sports Cars Materialize; Production Set For This Year

Tesla is looking at a much more competitive future. Not only is Mercedes plowing full steam ahead with its SLS AMG E-Cell, but a new competitor just made things official. North Carolina-based Li-Ion Motors—a company that previously seemed to be hedging precariously on the edge of vaporware—announced at the Detroit Auto Show that production is go for its Inizio and Wave II models. And the company is looking at a quick turnaround, claiming that it will deliver the first models to customers this year.

Not only will Li-Ion compete with Tesla, it used its announcement to undercut the company, claiming that the Inizio represents the "world's first all-American all-electric supercar," a title which seems to belong to Tesla, though the Inizio does step performance up a notch or two.

Whatever the timeline, the Inizio is indeed a promising car in the high-performance electric vehicle market. While the car isn't exactly the most innovative or original in terms of looks (anyone else seeing a Mitsubishi 3000GT/Dodge Stealth?), its all-electric powertrain (170 kW or 290 kW motor with lithium-ion batteries) delivers speeds of up to 170 mph, acceleration of 3.4 seconds to 60 mph and a range of up to 250 miles. Those numbers all compare favorably to the Tesla Roadster, which hits 60 in 3.7 seconds, tops out at 125 mph, and offers 245 miles per charge. The Inizio will cost a little more, with Li-Ion quoting a base price of $139,000.

While the Inizio will compete against Tesla and other high-performance electrics and hybrids, Li-Ion also has something more pedestrian for average commuters. The Wave II is a two-passenger vehicle set to base under $40,000. That model uses a 47 kW electric motor and lithium-ion batteries with Li-Ion's Battery Management System (BMS). Last year, the Wave II took home $2.5 million in the Progressive Automotive X Prize competition, achieving 202.5 MPGe.

As of this month, Li-Ion has started taking deposits for both cars. The Wave II entails a fully refundable deposit of $99 while the Inizio will run a fully refundable $1,000. Both vehicles will be offered in limited numbers, but Li-Ion has yet to determine exact numbers. You can make your deposit and find out more at Li-Ion's website: li-ionmotors.com.

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