Roadblocks Zap Electric Carmakers' Momentum

Infighting and broken promises mar ambitious companies
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 6, 2008 3:12 PM CDT
A small electric car passes other electric vehicles parked at a rally in support of electric vehicles outside the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento, March 26, 2008.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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(Newser) – The more than two dozen startups racing to produce viable electric cars face a bumpy road, the Los Angeles Times reports, as they navigate infighting, skyrocketing costs, and lack of mass-production know-how. Meanwhile, a successful car would face serious competition from several major automakers working on innovations of their own. "There are things that (little players) just can't do," says one analyst.

One company has put out 26 press releases in the past year and failed to make any of three promised models; it also faces lawsuits claiming fraud. Another company, finding that production costs doubled retail price, severed relations with suppliers and engineers, sparking more lawsuits. But the California startups keep aiming high. “There's a lot of talk, but it's still vaporware,” the analyst adds.