There's another entry in the low-speed electric car wars, and this one is in it to win it. That's the message we got from Columbia marketing manager Greg Breckley, who was at the Washington Auto Show with his company's new car, the Crossline.
The Crossline is a concept vehicle in the sense that it isn't available yet and probably will change a little bit – the name, most likely – by the time it becomes available this summer. The car will have a top speed of 25 miles per hour (35 in the jurisdictions that allow it) and that's just fine for the low-speed vehicle market Columbia is shooting for. Breckley told us that Colombia will stay focused on the low-speed electric vehicle market because, "there is enough competition in the full-speed segment," Columbia's Greg Breckley.
Instead of trying to compete with Nissan or Coda or Ford, Columbia want to sell its vehicles to groups like the military or universities. In fact, Columbia sold 1,000 low-speed electric utility vehicles to the Army earlier this year and has so far delivered 600 of them. About half of the vehicles are SM4-TN passenger model and the other half are the SUV-LN truck.
Columbia's vehicles use a lead-acid based powertrain that the company has been evolving for the last five years. For the Crossline, the company is considering using absorbed glass mat batteries, and Breckley said they have been performing great in testing thus far. Columbia designed the Crossline with Aixiam Mega, a French company. Columbia used to import rolling chassis from France, but now buys all the components and does the final assembly in Reedsburg, WI. The Crossline should be out by the end of the year (hopefully) at a MSRP of under $20,000. Yes, that's before any tax credits.