By on November 3, 2010

Having won the Automotive X-Prize (if only in the “Alternative” class), Li-ion Motors was all set to become the next big thing in alt-energy auto startups. And, based on its winning X-Prize entry, the Wave II, it seemed that Li-ion was focused on small, practical electric cars. Not so. Li-ion has showed up at the annual SEMA tuner-fest with its first production-intent vehicle, the Inizio… and it’s essentially a slightly faster but more expensive (and uglier) Tesla Roadster. It barely beats the Tesla’s 3.7 second 0-60 time (at 3.4 seconds), and can achieve 170 mph compared to the Tesla’s 125 (for those times you want a big speeding ticket and a run-down battery). Li-ion also expects it to cost 140,000 to the Tesla’s $110,000… and it won’t be ready for two years anyway, by which time Audi will already be eating Tesla’s lunch.

Oh, and if you think that Tesla’s on financially shaky ground, consider that Li-ion has been accused of being a shell game (or, a “bunch of thieves”), has run afoul of the SEC, and reportedly has to spend $75k of its X-Prize money settling a lawsuit. Even the most ardent Tesla-basher has to admit that, compared to this latest EV sportscar pretender, the Silicon Valley startup looks pretty darn good.

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One Comment on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Making Tesla Look Good Edition...”

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    Even the most ardent Tesla-basher has to admit that, compared to this latest EV sportscar pretender, the Silicon Valley startup looks pretty darn good.

    Not to me. You underestimate my ardency. My main gripe with Tesla is not what they did technically. The Roadster is a well-engineered, well-made car. Nothing really new there, but certainly a great car.

    Where Tesla really stands out, though, is how they marketed what they had done. They played on green guilt to vacuum up venture capital, leaving little for better ventures. Then they moved on to government money, clearing a cool half a billion dollars of that.

    So now Tesla sits, with their only product’s life ending soon, and nothing but dreamware to replace it. Elon Musk made himself a billionaire. On paper only, for now, but a billionaire none the less. That’s the only lasting Tesla accomplishment I can think of.

    So I have to disagree. In fact, for me, compared to Tesla, Li-ion looks pretty darn good.

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