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BAIC's C71 EV has hot-swappable battery packs and a questionable sense of style

Tim Stevens

Electric cars hold the potential to eliminate your monthly gasoline bill, but if you want to go more than 100 miles or so at this point you'd better plan to make a bunch of lengthy pit-stops along the way. There are various solutions, like the Volt's on-board generator or Nissan's offer to replace your Leaf with something a little more traditional for long weekend trips into the country. But, to us, battery swapping seems like the best plan. Better Place is the leader in this space but BAIC, the Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company, is showing off its own solution, the charmingly named C71 EV that looks like what might happen if a SAAB and a Toyota spent a crazy night together in Shanghai. It's a $45,000 car with a 60Ah floor-mounted battery pack that can be swapped in just five minutes, each delivering 150km (93 miles) of range and can naturally be charged by more traditional means (a plug) should you not be in such a hurry. The car is said to be available sometime next year, but we've heard that one before.

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