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Phoenix Motorcars intros a truly plug-and-play car

Cyrus Farivar

While everyone and their mother (this author's parents included) have bought one of those hot new environmentally-conscious cars like a Prius, there's an old-new game in town: the purely electric car. This isn't the defunct EV1 we're talking about here, nor some of those other models we've heard about before, this is the Phoenix Motorcars electric SUV, which can be plugged into a wall socket and recharged with the same plug that powers your garden party boombox. Just grab an extension cord, plug in your truck for six to seven hours, and bam, it's good to roll. Simple concept, right? Worried about power under the hood? It'll do 0 to 60 in under 10 seconds, and can sustain a top speed of 110 miles per hour. What about the range? It'll stayed juiced for up to 250 miles, which is a little more than half the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Wanna take one for a spin? You'll have to throw down $45,000 for the pleasure -- the first 500 are due out in 2007, and the next 6,000 will be out the following year. One problem though, it's powered by lithium ion batteries, which have a potential to, erm, explode (if built by Sony, anyway). Still, Altair Nanotechnologies and Phoenix Motorcars say that they've fixed it with an inert anode made of "lithium titanate spinels," whatever that is. (Say, can't we get some of that action in our laptop batteries?)

Update: We neglected to mention that while a normal charge takes six to seven hours, CNET also reports that you can juice it up via a "special charger in about 10 to 15 minutes." [Thanks, Andrew]

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