The Greater L.A. AutoShow 2005
By Jeffrey the Barak
Do electric cars have to be boring mutations of golf carts? Not if they are made in Monaco and cost more than, well almost anything.
One shining star at this year’s Greater Los Angeles Auto Show is the Venturi Fetish. If this two-seater, rear-drive roadster doesn’t catch your eye too quickly, the sound from the nearby giant video screen surely will. This car is no gasoline hybrid, it’s all battery and motor tucked into a beautiful carbon fiber shell.
This is a car that emits a sound as beautiful as a Lambourghini growl, but completely different, and if you live somewhere that gets it’s electricity from solar or hydroelectric power stations, it’s a nonpolluting vehicle.
It accelerates from 0-60MPH in 4.35 seconds and reaches a top speed of a respectable 105.6MPH, while achieving a range of 217 miles between charges. Charging under 80 Amps takes 3.5 hours, and charging slowly under 16 Amps takes 16.5 hours, but extends the life of the power packs.
The car is available in California for around $337,500 plus taxes etc., which is not exactly affordable, but if you want to own today’s most amazing electric vehicle, that’s the price you have to pay.
Another noteworthy electric car has a footprint smaller than some touring motorcycles. The Tango by Commuter Cars Corporation looks as if it might tip over, but they have demonstrated that it never does by having their vice-president Bryan Woodbury tear around a road coarse that could tip a go-cart.
According to CCC, “With over 1,000 ft-lbs. of torque, the Tango can accelerate to over 130MPH in one gear. Without needing an energy robbing transmission or differential, it accelerates from zero to 60MPH in about 4 seconds and finishes the standing quarter mile in about 12 seconds at over 100MPH”
The $85,000 T600 carbon fiber Tango is hardly cheap, but the makers claim the price becomes zero over time as there’s no fuel to buy, time is saved in heavy traffic by lane-splitting, and it can be parked as a motorcycle, facing right towards or away from the curb. Future production models may go for $85,000 (the T200) and $18,700, (the T100), but the T100 will not feature the insane performance of the racy T600.
Of all the cars on display at this year’s show, only two were electric and fast. They have taken very different routes to this unique place.
Jeffrey the Barak is the publisher of the-vu