Phoenix Motorcars, based in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., had big plans to shake up the EV world, but fell short and finally sputtered into Chapter 11 in April 2009. Its fate is undetermined but the prospects are not high. The company had planned to use engine-less vehicles supplied by Ssangyong, Korea’s fourth largest automaker as the basis for its electric vehicle line in the US. (Ssangyong doesn’t sell cars in the United States). Analysts questioned Phoenix’s business model for years and its capacity to deliver a $45,000 electric SUT in any quantities. It now appears that the few models that were produced will become collector’s items.

Phoenix was working with UQM Technologies, which has 25 years of experience in building high-performance motors, generators, and controllers. The rechargeable batteries were supplied by Altair Nanotechnology, and the vehicle integration was to be completed by Boshart Engineering. The Boshsart relationship ran into legal problems.

The rise of Phoenix—its promotion in the media and at industry events where it promised 6,000 units for the consumer market in 2008—provide further evidence of the difficulties faced by start-up companies trying to bring an all-electric vehicle to market.