We first met the new G2 from Genovation back in January, when the company formally announced it had completed the first phase of its G2 Electric Car program. This week in Detroit at the SAE World Congress, we caught up with Genovation CEO Andrew Saul to see what's been happening since then and to find out what the plan is for the EV start-up company.
First, meet the G2: a two-door, four-seat vehicle that will come in two versions: an all-electric with 100 miles of range (that's 100 miles with all the accessories, including A/C or heat, turned on, Saul said) and a range-extended version that goes 50 miles per charge and than can go 250-300 miles on a gas tank. That all sounds fine and dandy, but here's the bad news: the G2 will cost around $60,000 (at least at first; it could come down in time).
How can an unknown electric car for 60k compete with EVs from established automakers? Saul said the answer can be expressed in one word: performance. The G2 will be able to do 0-60 in under seven seconds and has a suspension tuned for the people who like to put the pedal to the metal. Saul said Genovation is "not trying to compete with the Leaf or the Volt. This is a fun vehicle that doesn't compromise." Saul looked at Fisker and Tesla and realized that Tesla does now offer a range extender (of course, the Roadster can already go 200+ miles and the Model S will be able to hit 300+) and the Fisker Karma "is a four-door, heavy sedan" that costs more than the G2. Plus, at $60,000 a pop, Saul said the project could be profitable if it sells 3,000 vehicles a year.
Saul said that Genovation is currently rewriting the business and production plans. If all goes well, the company could move to Phase Two in the next two to six months. Genovation wants to build 12 prototypes for cold- and hot-weather testing, endurance tests and noise/vibration/handling improvements. In late 2013, Genovation could be taking deposits for the car and deliver the first vehicles in 2014. Saul said the goal is to assemble the car in Maryland, but "we will listen to what other states have to offer."
Genovation is based in Maryland, but hired global company Tata Technologies to work on the car and Tata subcontracted some work to Metalsa (which worked on the frame) and Dana Corp (the thermal management). Tata also ran the G2 through simulated crash tests and Saul said the car "performed very well." Even with all this outside help, the G2 is Genovation's own design and it's aerodynamic shape gives the G2 a Cd of .2, "which is very competitive," Saul said. Genovation is using its homestate ties to the fullest, applying for Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) to get money to bring the car to market. You can read an old press release from Genovation describing the plan – and suggesting that only 1,000 units would need to be sold a year to be profitable – after the jump.
ROCKVILLE, Md., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Genovation Cars Inc. (www.genovationcars.com), a Maryland designer and builder of environmentally friendly automobiles, announced that it recently selected and contracted with American Dynamics Flight Systems (ADFS) of Jessup, Md. to perform the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis of Genovation's G2 electric car.
Through the CFD process, ADFS will use Genovation's engineering files to perform computer-simulated wind tunnel tests, allowing for the refinement and improvement of air flow efficiencies on the G2. The CFD tests will also help increase the high-speed stability of the automobile.
In addition, Genovation also recently selected Tata Technologies to design and prototype the G2 model. The G2 model will incorporate Genovation's research and development that went into its G1 model, an electric conversion of a Ford Focus. The conversion included the installation of an electric motor, battery string, battery management system, safety system, HVAC, controller and instrumentation.
Long term, it is Genovation's goal to operate from a business plan that attains profitability building only 1,000 units a year through manufacturing "pods" that require only a few robots, a departure from the Detroit manufacturing model. To achieve this goal Genovation plans to rely heavily on small teams of well-trained employees. "With this model, we can be nimble and market driven in order to react to where there is a demand and volume is achieved through deployment of multiple pods," said Mr. Saul.
Genovation was founded in 2007 by Mr. Saul. Other top company executives include Robert Irby, senior executive for manufacturing and operations, and Steven Rogers, president and chief technology officer.
Genovation plans to differentiate itself from its competition by better understanding and anticipating the requirements of its clientele; be it the suburban family concerned about spikes in the future cost of gas, green-conscious state/local government agencies, or corporations desiring a fleet of green electric cars.
About American Dynamics Flight Systems:
American Dynamics Flight Systems, Inc. (ADFS), www.ADFlightsystems.com, is a privately held corporation that designs and builds Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) with Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) capabilities. This company has extensive experience in CFD analysis and computer modeling.