170 MPH Electric Car Has Troubled Maker

Can it be a true sports car if the china doesn’t rattle in houses all up and down the street when it goes by? The INIZIO is certainly sleek and sporty, and it claims a top speed of 170 miles per hour. But it’s also fully electric, with zero emissions.

Li-ion Motors, the company that won $2.5 million in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize in September — money, it seems, that the company desperately needed — calls the INZIO a “super car.” It’s super-expensive, that’s for sure: Li-ion pegs the starting price at $139,000 for the custom-built vehicle, which is expected to become available in mid-2011.

Li-ion INZIO super car

image via Li-ion/The Auto Channel

Li-ion says the car’s lithium-ion batteries and management system “generate a power output of more than 40kW (upgrade to 96.7kW available), while its electric motor delivers 145kW.” Driving range is 250 miles and it boasts a zero-to-sixty time of 3.4 seconds. If verified, that makes it slightly more a beast than the Tesla Roadster Sport, which Motor Trend tested at 3.7 seconds.

The INZIO comes with all manner of bells and whistles — rotational doors, a hydraulic lift system that raises the car 3 inches “for comfortable access,” lots of leather and suede, a kick-butt sound system and so on. Those eying the car, however, might want to stay abreast of Li-ion’s financial situation: The New York Times reported recently that a series of missteps “raise questions about whether Li-Ion Motors meets key criteria for the X Prize: the ability to mass-produce a car.”

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.