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BMW i8 to Make US Debut at 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show

In what may be a prelude of the future urban market, a Detroit-based manufacturer named EcoV Electric is offering an electric vehicle for just under $12,000.

The EcoV is geared towards urban driving — lower speed commutes over relatively short distances — and can go 25 to 40 miles on a charge. It charges by plugging into a standard wall socket and the company pegs the cost of the electricity for a recharge at a mere 50 cents. Thanks to those reduced fuel and maintenance costs, and the $11,999 price tag, they also estimate the car should pay for itself within a year. Safety-wise the EcoV is built with a roll cage frame, and the lack of a large gasoline-powered engine block actually makes electric cars safer in head-on collisions in general.

Obviously, these features also come with limitations most American car customers aren’t used to. The key is realizing they’re well-geared towards two specific emerging markets.

One is urban commuters: people who live in denser areas and use their cars for short trips to work or the grocery store, while relying on rented cars, air travel, or public transportation for longer trips. Traffic congestion resulted in an estimated 56 billion pounds of carbon pollution in 2012, so turning all that commuting over to electric power could come with climate benefits. Furthermore, demonstration projects are already showing how digital technology and the smart grid can be used by individuals to control when and how their electric vehicles are charged, which cuts down on their electricity bills.



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