Tango T600

The Tango T600 is a high-performance, luxury electric car—but don’t let that description fool you. She is unlike any vehicle you’ve seen that fits those adjectives. Although the Tango has been in the news since 2005, only recently—in February of 2008—did the Portland, Oregon-based company deliver the second vehicle.

Type: 100% all-electric vehicle

Class: Tandem 2-seater

Manufacturer: Commuter Cars Corporation

Tango T600

The manufacturer says …

“An ultra-narrow, freeway-capable, stable, safe vehicle that fits anywhere a motorcycle fits … The Tango will revolutionize commuter transportation in the 21st century.”

The Critics Say...

“The Tango is the ideal personal transporter for the Age of Gridlock - or at least an escape pod for your Escalade. Inspired by a particularly nasty LA driving experience, the designers at Commuter Cars made this mini-mini small enough to park head-in at curbside.” —wired.com2

What We Like

The length. At 8’ 5” long, the Tango can park perpendicular to the curb, nestled between two cars in a space that only a motorcycle could fit in to—suddenly opening up to the driver a staggering number of parking spots.

The specs. This a relatively high-performance electric vehicle, with outstanding speed and range.

The upgrade capacity. It appears that it will be possible to upgrade the vehicle’s battery pack from lead-acid to Nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) or lithium-ion (Li-ion) in the future. Both will dramatically improve vehicle performance, in particular range.

What We Don’t ...

The weight. For such a small car, the Tango weighs in at an enormous 3,057 pounds—a full third found in the battery. Finding ways to reduce this weight would do wonders for fuel efficiency. However, that may not be such a good idea, since it relies on this weight for safety reasons.

The seating. Tandem seats just don’t really do it for us, a situation made worse by the fact that in the Tango, the passenger straddles the front seat.

The cost. At $105,000, it’s no wonder George Clooney is among the few known purchasers—the huge majority of us can not afford this sticker price. Furthermore, the high cost effectively cripples the vehicle’s ability to pay for itself over time by avoiding the pump. However, it is this costly due to things like leather interior and an Alpine sound system; future models are rumored to be substantially less expensive (as low as $19,000).

The hype. Specifically, hype like this, from the web site: “The Tango can fit in a future 6 foot lane easier than a truck fits in a standard 12 foot lane.” Great! The problem is, there are no 6 foot lanes, and no one but Commuter Cars Corp is talking about them for the future. This ‘perk’ is absolutely worthless.

The design. Sorry, but she looks hideous, reminding us of one those fish that looks enormous from side but, head-on, appears tiny.

Tango T600 Specifications:

Propulsion system: 2 Advanced DC FB1-4001 9" motors

Top Speed: 150 mph

Zero-to-60: 4 seconds

Vehicle range: 80 miles with standard (lead-acid) battery pack

Fuel(s): Electricity

Battery pack: Lead-acid (80% charge: 10 minutes; full charge: under 3 hours)

Pack options:

  • 19 Hawker Odyssey's
  • 25 Exide Orbital XCD's
  • 25 Optima Yellow Tops.
  • Tailpipe emissions: No

Conclusion

The best thing the Tango has going for it is its clever approach. The manufacturer has not only addressed ‘green’ concerns with the vehicle’s powertrain, but also some of the irritating aspects of driving that few other such cars do, such as parking. The Tango is a step in the right direction, but in order for her to have any real impact—on the market and the environment—the cheaper models need to go into production, and soon.

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