Who Resurrected The Electric Car?

As the price of gas continues to rise, fewer folks are buying automobiles--especially gas-guzzlers like trucks and SUVs. Throw in a limping economy, record job losses, and a crippled housing market, and it's amazing anyone drives anywhere other than to work and the grocery store. There's also the growing environmentally conscious crowd who is concerned over the impact emissions from internal combustion engines have on global climate change. Short of everyone switching to bicycles as their primary means of transportation, what are cash-strapped, eco-friendly people to do? Philadelphia steel wholesaler Barry D. Bernsten thinks he has the answer: electric cars.

 Credit: BG Automotive Group Ltd.
Where others have failed before, Bernsten is so confident that he will succeed that he claims that he's financed his electric car project with his own cash. Bernsten has formed Philadelphia-based, BG Automotive Group Ltd., which plans to sell 4,000 electric cars starting this October. Bernsten's first batch of cars will be inexpensive Asian imports with the batteries and electric motors installed in his Pennsylvania plant. How inexpensive? How does $16,000 sound? There must be a catch, right? There is...

The maximum speed the cars will be able to achieve will be 25mph. As such, they will be limited as to which roads they can legally drive on. For states that permit them, they will be limited to roads with 35mph or slower speeds. Ironically, Pennsylvania is not one of those states, but "Pennsylvania. State Sen. Stewart Greenleaf (R., Bucks) is sponsoring a bill to allow the cars on public roads." The cars will go from 80 to 150 miles per charge, depending on the vehicle's specific battery configuration, and they can be charged from either 100V or 220V outlets. Color options will be black, white, silver, red, blur, yellow, olive green, lime green, and copper. There is no word yet on what other accessories might be available as options, such as power-hungry air-conditioning or power windows. Bernsten has targeted the market for these low-cost, low-speed, electric cars as "urban commuters, students, and vacation-home owners."

With a keen eye on the limited practicality of his first batch of electric cars, Bernsten plans on having high-speed electric cars ready for the market by the middle of next year. In fact, the BG Automotive Group Website promises "Electric Powered Automobiles, MiniVans, Trucks, Buses, as well as Maintenance/Utility Vehicles, and Touring Vans."

Whether Bernsten can actually pull this off remains to be seen. Can he succeed where others have not? Will there even be enough of a market for these low-speed electric cars? If you want one of the first 4,000 cars for yourself, all you need do is plunk down a fully-refundable deposit of $250 to reserve your four door, five passenger, hatchback to be delivered in October... Or maybe November... Or possibly December.