Most electric vehicles are best used as second cars, given their short range and long recharging times.
Now comes the Innova Dash -- a "third car" that lies somewhere between a golf cart and a passenger vehicle.
“It’s meant to be more of a third-car option than a primary vehicle,” said Marta Cyhan, Innova's U.S. managing director. “This is for people to try out, rather than [opt for] complete substitution.”
Innova, an early-stage company based in Oak Brook, Ill., starts taking orders on the mini-electric car today and expects to deliver them starting in October. The company plans to produce an initial run of up to 100 cars.
With a top speed of just 35 mph, the Dash is intended for in-town trips -- and it's illegal to drive on freeways. But it has a range of 90 miles on a full charge, comparable with larger electric cars. Innova calls the pint-sized car an "urban electric vehicle."
The car will cost between $9,995 and $13,000, not including destination fee, depending on whether buyers choose a lead-gel battery with a range of 45 miles, or the more costly lithium-ion battery for the full 90-mile range.Innova hopes to sell the Dash in Southern California, Northern California, New York and parts of Illinois and Florida.
Within those launch markets, the company is targeting families and new college grads to latch onto the two-seat Dash. “It’s meant for typical suburban living,” Cyhan said.
She also said the company would explore four-seat options further down the road, along with a pickup version for commercial applications.
Innova estimates drivers will spend less than 25 cents a day to drive the Dash, assuming they drive roughly 30 miles each day and pay 11 cents per kilowatt-hour, on the higher end of charging rates.
Though it falls short of solving every transportation need for the average driver, the Dash has the potential to advance consumers’ slow embrace of electric cars. “When you see it, you want to drive it,” Cyhan said. “There’s an opportunity for the Dash to make electric part of people’s lives.”