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New auto manufacturers pop up every now and then, and with the current auto market shifting in all sorts of ways, newcomers are starting to find some room to grow. The most well-known manufacturer to make a name for itself was Tesla, but more companies have been popping up, and a lot of them are from Silicon Valley.
No, not Nikola Tesla, although that guy had some amazing inventions, and the company itself is named after him. The electric car company Tesla Motors, which is a branch of Tesla, Inc., was founded in 2003, and the company started to gain recognition in 2008 when it released a new electric car, the Tesla Roadster. It wasn’t just an electric car though, it was an electric sports car.
Soon after in 2012, they released an electric luxury sedan, and in 2016 Tesla released an all-electric crossover, soon followed by another vehicle concept. It became apparent quickly that Tesla was bringing some new ideas about automobile design and technology to the game. At the moment, Tesla Model 3 is slated for release this year with a starting MSRP of $35,000; when it was unveiled in March 2016, 325,000 units were reserved, totalling $14 billion potential sales. That makes Tesla Inc. the second largest global pure electric car manufacturer, with Nissan-Renault being the largest.
Founded in 2015, Karma Automotive is one of the newest pure electric car companies in the U.S. The company actually came to being the same way Nissan-Renault became Nissan-Renault-Mitsubishi. A Chinese company purchased assets of a dying car manufacturer, Fisker Automotive, and then got back to work with a plug-in hybrid powertrain acquired during the sale.
At this time, no vehicles have been released, but the Karma Revero debuted last year in September 2016. It’s based on the old Fisker Karma, due to its public appeal. For now, Karma only plans on manufacturing 3,000 units - maybe a test run of sales. Production will begin sometime this year.
Related to Fisker Automotive, this electric vehicle automaker was founded and launched in 2016, and is actually a relaunch of the Fisker brand as a competitor to Tesla Inc. However, Fisker Inc. has also yet to release a vehicle for mass production. At the moment, their all-electric sports car, Fisker eMotion, was revealed last year, October 2016, and is powered by a different battery from that of other manufacturers. At this time, the popular battery type is lithium-ion, or a lithium-ion polymer, but Fisker Inc. is using batteries made of graphene, a transparent and flexible conductor for electric energy and 200 times stronger than steel.
Another new electric vehicle manufacturer is Faraday Future. The company was established in April 2014, and they debuted their first vehicle, the FF ZERO1, in January 2016 at the Consumer Electronics Show. The vehicle was later dubbed FF 91, and it made another big appearance a year later at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show. Production and release of the FF 91 is slated for 2017. The FF 91 has 15 percent more energy than a Tesla Model S and the company received over 60,000 reservations for the car in less than two days. The vehicle cost is less than $300,000 to build. With that many reservations, even at $15,000 a unit, Faraday could net a total of $1 billion (before production costs) in its first year of sales.
Trying to do the same as Faraday, Montenae Industries is trying to make the most affordable electric vehicle yet with a target price of $6,695. Sounds a little impossible, and the company has hit some roadblocks. With all the features vehicles are expected to come with today, including technology and safety, that’s a pretty tight budget. Currently, their prize vehicle concept is the Corvus. There is literally next-to-no information on it at this time. This is a company trying to revolutionize automobiles, but we don’t exactly know how yet.
There you have it. A nice collection of new and small American automobile manufacturers, all of which are introducing some pretty amazing new concepts and products. Maybe 2017 will be the beginning of an all-new age for automobiles. We already have A.I. on the horizon, so let’s go all-electric, too. Now it’s just the sci-fi human-battery thing to work out …
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