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POWERING UP

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Mar 10, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

POWERING UP

By JOHN GRAFMAN

Often times, life can be as dependent on luck as it is on ability. Being in the right place at the right time is as important as having the goods. One only wonders how different the results would be if GM had continued production of the EV1 until the market was right for the product. Now, as gas prices eclipse the three bucks-a-gallon mark again, we are looking for some alternatives, something green, and perhaps even purposeful.

In a packed wing of the Petersen Museum on the first of March, we squeeze our way beside what promises to be an industry revival with the first effort of a new auto company. Phoenix Motorcars is debuting its all-electric pick-up before the press and invited guests for the evening. Tonight, Phoenix deftly makes use of this golden opportunity to combine a bit of Hollywood, South Korea, and Ontario into one enticing vehicle. Surprisingly, this is perhaps one of the best efforts at an electric car that we have seen in some time. Given the guest list, its nice to see the host is up to the occasion.

L to R - Suzan Hughes, Ed Begley Jr., Gloria Kisel

Ed Begley Jr. gives an introduction to the company like few can. Besides having actually had a prior opportunity to experience the truck first hand on HGTV's cable show "Living With Ed," he doesn't need to act his way through the presentation. Mr. Begley is truly passionate about his living green, and Phoenix just made his life that much better.

The roll out with its "Green Carpet" is to introduce the all-new automotive venture in Southern California. Combining a South Korean-built SsangYong Actyon Sport pick-up truck (sans internal combustion engine) with an electric drive system developed in cooperation with several other key companies allowed the start-up to create the first five passenger electric on the market! Dan Elliott, CEO of Phoenix Motorcars gives credit where credit is due stating "We're equally as excited to be working with a team of brilliant partners, Altairnano Technologies, Boshart Engineering and UQM Technologies."

Adrienne "AJ"Janic

The debut gathers a number of Hollywood celebs like Adrienne Janic from Overhauling , long time activist Daryl Hannah, and Ed's wife and co-star Rachelle Carson Begley, as well as several others.

Certainly, saving the world has always been a favorite cause for the tinsel town set. This affair is very much along those lines, but the concept of electric being truly green is up for debate. Yes, electricity can be generated using renewable non-polluting means, but we haven't been able to provide nearly enough from those sources. So we still use less than desirable means to create the power needed. On the flip side, the car itself produces no environmental concerns in the propulsion system; hence the vehicle itself is green. Over time, we can make the leap to having clean electricity via everything from wind to solar. For the time being, however, we will have to just make due. Certainly, the dependence on less foreign energy sources is probably a good idea on all fronts.

Aside from the fuel issue, both quality and materials seem to be on par with what we see from the current car manufacturers - and beyond that of most niche alternative energy, specialty-built products. However, as far as trucks go, does this have the right stuff? The design is contemporary, yet smallish and far less tough in appearance than the competition in the truck market - i.e, the domestics, along with Nissan and Toyota. The pick-up they are showing here also doesn't look up to the task of what the traditional trucks have been used for. The marketplace still hasn't been as accepting of more garden-variety pick-ups in comparison to heavy haulers. However, in the limited numbers that Phoenix can produce, it should sell out in a blink. Keeping in mind that with the millions of trucks purchased each year in America, just a small fraction of that market is still a decent number of vehicles - and this newcomer should be able to capitalize on that.

When it comes to reinventing the wheel, Phoenix isn't waiting for someone else to take the lead. It may be hard to imagine, but this small local company is taking the lead among the industry heavyweights. The company's new truck boasts zero emissions, an all-battery power NanoSafe(TM) production battery pack system, 100+ miles per charge, speeds of 95 m.p.h. carrying five passengers and full payload, high torque with 0-60 mph in 10 seconds, an exceptionally long battery pack life (250,000 miles/12+ years), an off-board charger taking 10 minutes to recharge to 95 percent capacity, and an on-board charger needing six hours to recharge from 220V a plug-in.

The occasion is punctuated with a custom red and black version the SUT, for which will reside in the Petersen Museum at the alternative energy display. Phoenix does provide a working model at the affair for invitees to get real hands-on experience. No price is set yet for the truck, but it should be available to the public in 2008. While that might be right around the corner to some, for the rest of us petroleum junkies, it can't come soon enough.

Feel the energy at www.phoenixmotorcars.com

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