When you think of an electric car, you may imagine a vehicle that provides no power, no safety, no range, and taking forever to recharge. Now, think of George Clooney buying a new kind of electric car, a model that shatters all the stereotypes.
Introducing . . . the Tango.
Why would Clooney buy a Tango? Along with jaw-dropping Porsche-esque performance, the Tango is good for the environment. Its fuel cost is eight times better than that of a typical gasoline car, amassing the equivalent of 195 miles per gallon. Such efficiency makes even a Prius seem like an SUV.
“Our goal is to make the Tango as recyclable/reusable as possible,” explained Bryan Woodbury, the Vice President of Commuter Cars, Inc., the company that makes the Tango. In an exclusive GNN-i interview, Woodbury elaborated that in addition to the Tango’s efficiency, “The lead acid batteries are recyclable so they get reborn as new batteries and they’ll never end up in a landfill.”
Commuter Cars is also working on a $3,000 solar array for charging the car, which could eliminate the need to ever buy fuel (or electricity) for the car again. If you spend $58 per week to fill your tank, you use more than $3,000 to buy gasoline every year. Eliminating that cost is good news for any gas pump-weary commuter. Plus, in certain areas of the country a Tango owner can sell the excess solar energy back to the power companies.
So what makes this car fun enough for a movie star? It’s fast — fast enough to blow the doors off most cars, even some exotic sports cars. With a zero-to-60 acceleration in four seconds and a top speed of 150 mph, the Tango is anything but slow. However, George Clooney may not choose this car to take on dates. It seats two, but in a jet-fighter configuration with the passenger behind the driver.
Ultra-narrow, however, doesn’t mean unstable. Like the familiar Mini, Tango was designed to have a low center of gravity, making it more stable, and less likely to roll over than most sports cars on the market today.
As for the notion that tiny equals ‘death trap,’ there was no trade-off with safety. The Tango was designed with a full safety cage, known in auto racing as a roll cage, to protect the occupants in crashes at speeds up to 200 mph. The roll cage reportedly meets or exceeds SCCA and NHRA standards, with four times more protective steel in each door than a typical SUV, a standard that most full size cars don’t meet.
As for the range, Tango was designed to go between 80 and 150 miles on one charge, depending on the battery options purchased, and 80 percent of the power can be recharged in ten minutes.
As a final value-add, an ultra-narrow car doubles the capacity of existing freeways, and expands the capacity of every parking garage ever built. And at home, a two-car garage becomes a four-car garage.
Currently, the Tango is sold as a mostly assembled kit to be built by a qualified mechanic in one day. George Clooney bought the top-of-the-line T6000, which now costs over $100,000. The kits are currently assembled in the company’s garage in Spokane, Washington, but Commuter Cars is seeking the funding to produce ready-to-drive affordable models. “With $50M in funding for engineering and mass production tooling, we could be selling production Tangos in two years,” claims Woodbury. The Commuter Cars Web site shows that you can reserve models today starting at $18,700.