Miles Electric Car Delayed But Coming

It’s the Holy Grail of the current alternative fuel vehicle, according to its would-be importers—a full-function, freeway-capable five-passenger sedan that runs on electricity alone.

The latest company to promise the vehicle is Miles Electric Vehicles, a Santa Monica, CA-based company that is planning to bring such a Chinese-built EV to the U.S. market by the end of 2009. The arrival time for the XS500, which the company says will be the first affordable, all-electric highway sedan, was confirmed in a HybridCars.com interview with the company’s COO at the Green California Summit & Exposition where Miles was a “Gold” sponsor (second only to the top-level “Platinum”). It has been pushed back from an early estimate of 2008.

COO Jeff Boyd said the car, which will cost “in the $35,000 to $39,000 range,” has been delayed as safety equipment is added and certified—to bring the vehicle up to the safety levels mandated in the United States. Boyd said it costs a company $6 million to add current spec airbags to the XS500—alluding to but not mentioning Tesla Motors dodge of that cost by applying for a waiver to introduce their EV with older-version airbags. He said he expects to sell 18,000 to 30,000 units of the car the first year through a 70-dealer network, focusing on fleet sales that the company has pioneered with its low-speed vehicles.

The Miles XS500 is battery electric four-door sedan. According to Miles Electric Vehicles, the Miles XS500 can travel at a maximum speed of 80 miles per hour, and achieve a range of more than 120 miles. The body of the vehicle was designed by Pininfarina, the legendary Italian car design house.

The bottom line is bringing an EV to the U.S. is a complicated an expensive task; Miles seems to be moving forward, but at a slower pace than anticipated with costs, and the final purchase price, coming in higher than anticipated.


  • kent beuchert

    A clone of the crappy EV-1 can hardly be called any kind of
    “holy grail.” The ZENN poered by the amazing EESTor stoage cells – now that’s the holy grail.

  • Hal Howell

    If that’s the best Pininfarina can come up with they should have gotten someone else to design their car. Even GM has better designs. Someone should remind them that the year is 2008 not 1978. $35,000 may be more affordable than $98,000 but its hardly a bargain especially for a car that has a top speed of 80 and a range of 120 miles. I’ll stick with my Prius.

  • Skeptic

    “Vaporware, oh, Vaporware …”

    If I was clever, I could write a whole tune about these folks (and the rest of their ilk – rhymes with fesslah). It’s all about keeping the venture capital flowing. When that finally runs out (and they blame the bad old gummint reg’lations for killing it), they’ll move on to the next fad …

    (sung to the tune of Galveston by Glenn Cambell)

  • Anonymous

    the design stinks, how can they bring an all electric car into the market in 2009 when it looks like an 80′s nissan sedan.

  • Atkins JD

    Given the cost, speed and limited range, it would seem that the market is strickly for a commuter, or fleet vehicle. It follows that a family would still need a regular vehicle to handle their needs. If I was a US Automaker I don’t think I would worry about this car, because I can still make it on the other one that eveyone else has to have. The real competion comes from an electric vehicle that can serve all areas of a persons needs. So far looks like the Hybrid still has that market cornered and if you don’t want a Hybrid then I guess one of these and a Hummer would work too.

  • Dom

    It doesn’t look any worse the the first generation honda civic hybrid. 1st and 2nd generation Prius are both ugly. Insight is ugly. So what’s the problem?? I think the real issue is the range, or lack thereof. Oh, and the price too.

  • ex-EV1 driver

    Unfortunately, this article doesn’t really convince me of much. Miles has been so secretive that we really have no reason to believe that they are not vaporware.
    For all the naysayers, however: 120 miles of electric range with even a minimal charging infrastructure is sufficient to meet over 95% of most people’s driving needs and 100% of a second car uses.
    Remember, you can easily charge your car at home while you sleep so it is full every morning. No need to ever go to or care about gas stations or prices – EVER. Think about that next time you’re standing there filling your Prius.
    Future sub-30 minute fast charging could allow these vehicles to meet close to 100% of a person’s needs with only a slight amount of added delay when taking long trips. This kind of fast charging is actually pretty easy for any batteries and the electrical infrastructure to handle.

  • Todd1964

    You can buy a whole lot of gasoline for the $13k additional cost over the HCH and Prius. The automakers need to realize that once the “greenies at any cost” have their automobile, the only way to sell everyone else is value. The average American family chooses their transportation needs based on their pocketbooks. If you have only so much to spend, your not going to go looking at a $39k car, if you can only afford a $25k car. It is true the lure of zero gasoline is great and can save money, can it save enough over a Prius or HCH even if gasoline is $5.00?

  • mdensch

    Fact: You’re not going to sell a frumpy looking four door sedan like that for $35,000+, even if it is engineered to run on air — at least not to more than a handful of buyers.

    It’s true that it’s performance parameters would meet 95% of people’s driving needs but it just costs too darn much. A Neighborhood Electric Vehicle like the ZENN would meet 85% of people’s driving needs, maybe more, and even at $10,000-12,000 sales aren’t exactly setting the world on fire.

    Still, we need products like this to keep coming so buyers at least have some choice and the market place can sort out what works and what doesn’t. (When automobiles first came out they were little more than expensive play things for the rich.)

  • nitewatchman

    The only real way to eliminate the energy crisis is to reduce consumption.

    Fewer Comsumers = Less Energy Consumption

    Lets bring back the Plague!

  • Dave99

    I still have questions about the safety of this car. As I’ve heard, Chinese companies make cars that are much less safe, a part of why they are dominating their home market, foreign companies set higher safety standards and as a result the cars were more expensive. This, in addition to my tour of the crash test facilities at Ford in Dearborn, would steer me away from this vehicle. I would want to see some proof that the crush-zones and overall impact performance was engineered with great care.

  • vinayababu

    with these limited ranges of Miles XS500 I would still welcome the car, provided they deliver it as promised and give a guarantee of battery life of 100,000 miles or 10 years life of car. When some one with not so great reputation as a manufacture comes with promises it takes time to accept it.

  • Anonymous

    This is a very true comment. I work in the Railway Industry, our industry was horrified that there were 5 or so work related deaths last year.

    The Chinese were very proud that they had reduced the number of work related deaths in their railway industry by 3,700. They did not disclose how many still died.

    Safety standards are lax or none existant.

    nitewatchman

  • froggy

    It looks better than any ZAP or Xebra design. But I think the BYD models from China are cheaper , run on Lithium batteries and they were in the Detroit Auto show this year so they are NOT vaporware.

    In fact BYD (Build Your Dreams) sold 100,000 of their F1 models in China in 2007. It appears that electric vehicles are back in style again.

    Wonder what a set of replacement batteries will run you?

  • NS

    This is still not a cheap car. The most affordable EV still is ZAP’s sedan the Xebra (http://www.zapworld.com/electric-vehicles/electric-cars/xebra-sedan) at about $12,000 or thereabouts. What is more important is, its available right now, not sometime in the future.

  • Anonymous

    who cares what the car looks like,i would drive that car.gas is going to the sky and I know am not getting any more money from my job,to fill my tank.

  • Anonymous

    look,it took 100YEARS TO PERFECT THE INTERAL COMBUSTION ENGINE, MY BET IS THAT THE ELECTRIC CAR WILL ONLY TAKE 5 TO 7 YEARS THE KEY HERE IS THAT FINALLY MANY OF THESE COMPANIES HAVE STARTED SOME THING THAT BIG OIL AND OUR GOVERNMENT CANNOT, I REPEAT CANNOT STOP!!!

  • gasguy

    Yes – but when big oil drops it back to $40 a barrell in 2 years will we all still be thinking green or going back to our old ways?

  • skeller

    In the design point of view, I think that the price range of $35,000 to $39,000 is just too high. And I have doubts about the safety of this car. A lot of Women Drivers like me think a lot about safety issues, and if I’m ever getting this car, I would have to be sure that it’s safe.