I have argued before that plug-in electric cars that also have a small diesel or gasoline fueled engine, for operation when batteries have already spent their charge, will fare much better than the electric cars that some companies have proposed. I, for one, would feel much better investing in a high end car that I knew would not leave me stranded on the side of a road if I get stuck in traffic, or if I decide to make a few wrong turns and get lost in the middle of this country. I am all for a car that gives 100mpg+ (e.g. Tesla gives 135mpg in all-electric mode) but it should not be a toy that may not work at times.
That is why the news that Tesla’s second generation car platform, called WhiteStar, will include a small gasoline engine is great news. This would make their $80-100K luxury/sports car much more usable for a wider audience. I believe they still need to prove they can make money as a sub-scale manufacturer and not remain a tiny niche play in toys, but certainly White Star’s concept is, in my humble opinion, headed the right direction.
Tesla Motors, the people who put the all-electric car on the map, are going to work with gas too.
The San Carlos, Calif.-based company will produce two basic types of its Whitestar sedan, due toward the end of 2009. One will run completely on batteries. The other will be a range-extended vehicle, or REV, CEO Ze’ev Drori said in an interview. In an REV, a small gas motor recharges the battery pack while the car is being driven. The battery pack on these types of cars only goes about 40 to 50 miles on a charge, but because it gets recharged while driving, the range of these cars will be longer