New York-based Visionary Vehicles was originally established to bring Chinese-made vehicles to the US, a plan that would have been perfectly suited to the experience of its founder, entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin. But the promise of plug-in hybrid technology changed Bricklin’s mind, and today, Visionary Vehicles is dedicated to bringing PHEVs to the world.
Along with the as-yet-unnamed EVX/LS, the company’s initial product line features another four PHEVs models: a 5-Door, 7-Passenger Crossover, a 2-Door, 4-Passenger Hardtop Convertible, a 5-Door, 8-Passenger All Utility Vehicle, and a 2-Door, 2-Passenger Convertible Sports Coupe.
- Type: PHEV
- Class: 4-Door, 5-passenger luxury sedan
- Manufacturer: Visionary Vehicles
- Propulsion system: PHEV
- Top Speed: NA
- Zero-to-60: 5.9 seconds
- MPG: 100
- Vehicle range: 850 miles
- Fuel(s): Electricity and gasoline
- Battery system: Lithium-ion battery with phosphate-based cathode materials
- Tailpipe emissions: Yes
The Manufacturer Says...
"Visionary Vehicles will mass produce, Plug-In Electric hybrid vehicles, powered by a fuel efficient, long-life battery system, enabling consumers to own affordable vehicles without sacrificing safety, quality, performance, quality or reliability."
The Critics Say...
Not much, yet. When they do we’ll pass it along.
What We Like
The company’s dedication to safety. In the 1970s Bricklin created the gull-wing SV-1, which, among other safety innovations, introduced us to the side-impact air bag. In short, there’s plenty to anticipate here.
The design. Luxury sedan? That slick design is pretty hot, and it could be the first eco-friendly modern sedan in which chick-magnetism comes standard. Fundamentally it doesn’t look too much different than the SV-1, which isn’t a big surprise—designer Herb Grasse is behind both vehicles.
The price. $35,000! Of course this is subject to change, but it’s a very appealing start.
The business plan. It’s too long to be included here, yet Visionary’s four-point business plan is so clearly outlined on their site, so grounded in pragmatism, and so hype-free, it’s practically a turn-on. That said, during a September 2007 teleconference call Bricklin told X-Prize Foundation chairman Peter Diamandis that the company’s production location had not yet been firmly established.
What We Don’t Like
The specifics. Chiefly, their omission. Frankly, not enough information has been released for us to know what we don’t like. Having said that—yes, we just mentioned getting off on the business plan, and yes, the company is eyeing a 2010 premiere, and yes, hype sucks—but this IS the automotive industry—give us a laundry list of proposed specs, not just a few—after all, nobody holds anyone to them.
Bricklin, who has thrown his hat into the ring in pursuit of the Automotive X-Prize, is a guy with an encouraging track record: He is the only individual to have succeeded in bringing foreign vehicle brands to the US (Subaru and Fiat—as well as the Yugo, but nobody’s perfect); he’s an innovator with dynamite business sense, he’s wealthy, he knows how to move cars, and he has leadership experience in the industry.
In other words, Bricklin just might be the perfect storm, possessing all the right qualities needed to deliver to consumers (and the environment) an aesthetically appealing vehicle that can plug into the grid and earn triple-digit miles per gallon. Yes, PHEVs use gasoline, but in our opinion they hold the greatest potential for being regarded, one hundred years down the road, as the automotive ‘missing link’ of sorts—the crucial technology that came between our once-insurmountable reliance on oil, and our independence from it.
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