This morning serial automotive entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin announced that his Visionary Vehicles company is developing a car that they will enter into the Automotive X-Prize. Visionary Vehicles has undergone a corporate transformation. After launching several years ago with plans to import vehicles built by Chinese manufacturer Chery, the company is now developing a range of new vehicles that they plan to sell beginning in 2010.
Although specifics are scant right now, the first model is planned to have a series hybrid drive-train with a lithium ion battery and plug-in capability. The luxury car, said to the be size of a Mercedes S-Class, is being designed Herb Grasse who designed the original Bricklin SV-1 gull-wing coupe that was briefly built in the 1970s. The plan is to have a battery range of 40-50 miles ( Update: est. 850 miles total with the engine running) and a price tag starting at $35,000.
Continue reading after the jump including specs.
Visionary Vehicles is doing the development work on the new car and the intention is to have running prototypes on the road in 2008. Manufacturing will be outsourced to other companies although the country of origin and the companies have not yet been chosen. Although China is obviously in the running, given recent problems with Chinese products, it is by no means a lock. Bricklin did say that US assembly is not out of the question if it can be done cost effectively.
A manufacturer will be selected sometime in 2008 and the cars that compete for the prize in 2009 are intended to come off the regular assembly line. Bricklin wants to have cars delivered to dealers for sale in 2010. As he did with previous ventures, Bricklin intends to at least partially fund this enterprise by having potential dealers be partners and kick in some money up front. An additional $50 million in funding is also being lined up. The car they plan to compete with is intended to be the first of a full range of cars dubbed the Bricklin Collection.
Given Bricklin's history with Chery, Yugo and his self-named company, the likelihood of success for this project seems limited. Hopefully this project will work out better.
Bricklin Collection Plug-in Hybrid Electric
Luxury Sedan EVX/LS
Curb weight: 3900 lbs
Acceleration: 0-60: 5.9
Range in miles: 850
100 miles per gallon