In 2001, Don Panoz proposed a little-known electric car-sharing program for his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. He even had charging stations installed at his offices. Over a decade later Panoz and DeltaWing Technologies are considering a similar scheme, but this time it involves a custom electric three-wheeler that could cost around $15,000.
DeltaWing, led by Panoz, has approached both the State of Georgia and the city of Atlanta to consider an EV-based car-sharing program for the city's employees. The thrust of the program is to allow city workers in the suburbs use the company's proposed EV to drive to the nearest public transportation station, take a train or bus into Atlanta, then use another one of the electric three-wheelers to run around town on city business. It's something that some employees are already doing using both Zipcar and Enterprise's carsharing program.
But DeltaWing thinks it has the potential for broader adoption.
"We think the car sharing program can be expanded to the public, or private citizens could purchase and own these city cars," Gary Fong of DeltaWing told Jalopnik. "This could be a way for in-town residents to have inexpensive transportation and either reduce or eliminate car ownership."
DeltaWing, which is best known for its pointy racer, wants to leverage its motorsports and production capabilities. With congestion on the upswing in its hometown and EV adoption growing rapidly in the state, Don and his crew see an opportunity. However, it can't go it alone, with Fong saying that DeltaWing, "believes it can build EV vehicles and create a car sharing program through its own capabilities and partnerships with other companies and individuals."
As for the car itself, DeltaWing says the sketch above is just an idea and the styling is still being worked out. They want to make it as light, efficient, and safe as possible, and it would use an existing three-wheel car platform that DeltaWing claims is both stable and fun to drive. And by being both a three-wheeler and using a proven chassis, that could help to eliminate some of the legal hurdles of bringing it to production.
Panoz dusted off his 2001 car sharing plan – at the time, dubbed "e-motion" – earlier this year after negotiations with two companies to expand DeltaWings operations, design, and production capabilities began. DeltaWing isn't saying which companies are involved, nor is it giving specifics on which parts of DeltaWing's operations will benefit from the partnerships, but we should know more in the first half of 2015.
But right now, this is little more than Panoz being Panoz, some talks with the state and city, some new partnerships, and very rudimentary design. "We do not have a launch date," says Fong. "But many things are in motion."
Image: DeltaWing Technologies