Tim Collins, KleenSpeed CEO describes his new electric car [EV], the KAR, as the “car of the future” and the “VW Bug, in the electric version,” when it was unveiled at the San Francisco Auto Show. Collins referred to Volkswagen because it was “for the people.” If KleenSpeed can find a manufacturer, it could very well upset the EV market as it is, and make it more accessible to the general populace.
Generally speaking, EVs have a couple major strikes against them, when it comes to marketing, including limited range and excessive cost. Affordable EVs today get a max of 75 miles, which is statistically not a bad range, but still is a major sticking point for those considering an EV. To get more range, of course, you can pay more for an EV with range nearing 300 miles, but this puts it out of most people’s budgets.
Striking a fine balance between range and affordability, the KleenSpeed KAR is expected to be priced at around $10,000 – not including the ~$175/mo battery lease – and have a range of about 150 miles. Yes, it is a small car, but not a micro-car, something along the lines of a Toyota Yaris 2-door hatchback, which it could compete with for size. With a 150-mile range, KAR outstrips any EV currently on the market in anything less than $40,000.
The KAR was shown in two versions, including the KAR S, with an upgraded race-inspired suspension for a more sporty driving experience. The quality of the car is what would be expected of a $10,000 vehicle, and sources a Chinese body mounted on the EV skateboard. Only one problem, though, because KleenSpeed isn’t a manufacturer, KAR and KAR S might never become more than prototypes.