Each Spring along the damp river bottoms of Iowa, a delectable type of mushroom suddenly emerges: the morel. Easily identified by its sponge-like head, it has been eagerly sought by mushroom hunters like my grandparents, who would collect a "mess" of them and saute them in butter. I can still recall their wonderful, spicy taste.
So, when I learned that a company in Iowa was introducing a trio of highway-capable electric vehicles this Spring, virtually in EV World's backyard, I immediately thought of those mushrooms my grandparents discovered along the banks and tributaries of the Nishnabotna River in southwest Iowa. EnVision Motor Cars just seemed to spring out of nowhere, the first report of the company coming in the form of a news article in the Des Moines Register.
My initial attempt to contact the reporter who wrote the story stalled and it would be several more weeks before I'd again hear about the company, this time in a pair of press releases announcing distribution agreements with EVCarCo and Gabus Automotive Distributors. Now I finally had a contact for EnVision Motor Company in Ames, Iowa; and on Good Friday, Thomas Gleisner and I spoke by telephone for more than half-an-hour about the company's Spring mushroom-like emergence from self-imposed obscurity.
Where company's like Wheego, ZENN and Miles have focused their efforts on introducing low-speed electric vehicles based on European or Asian-built gliders (engineless chassis) in order to avoid having to go through expensive crash testing and airbag certification to meet U.S. highway safety standards, EnVision opted to bite the bullet and get their vehicles, based on the Romanian-build Dacia platform, fully crash-certified. Not only did the company decide to offer three different vehicle configurations: a station wagon, a delivery van, and a pickup -- all based on the same Dacia chassis -- they also chose to go with a high-temperature sodium nickel chloride battery, which Gleisner claims gives their Electric Motor Car-branded vehicles a range of up to 200 miles on 24kWh of energy, purportedly based on independent, third-party tests.
And how much will these vehicles cost, you're asking yourself? Listen to our exclusive MP3 podcast and find out. You can do so by clicking on either of the two MP3 players icons to the right, or by downloading the 8.1MB file to your computer hard drive for transfer to and playback on your favorite MP3 device.