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Published on June 24th, 2009 | by Joanna Schroeder

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ExxonMobil Takes Auto Industry by Storm With Launch of Fully Electric Maya 300

June 24th, 2009 by  
 

Today, the oil industry has become a player in the auto industry. ExxonMobil is launching the Maya 300, a lithium-ion battery powered car that can drive up to 120 miles on one charge yet has the look and feel of a gasoline-powered car.

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This announcement comes on the heels of a whirlwind of investments by the oil industry to help position them as players in the biofuels industry. Many oil companies have either purchased ethanol or biodiesel plants and/or made investments in cellulosic technology and development companies. Does this announcement set the stage for the rise of other players to take over the helm of U.S. auto industry?

The Maya 300 was developed in conjunction with Electrovaya, a pioneer in the development and manufacturing of Lithium Ion SuperPolymer battery systems. The two companies have worked together to, “develop the innovative urban vehicle that will be a ‘game changer’ in advancing transportation alternatives.” ExxonMobil actually developed the lithium-ion battery separator film and was the first company to introduce the lithium-ion battery in 1991.

The Maya 300 charges in 8-10 hours, plugs into a regular household 110 volt outlet and will be available to consumers for around $20-25,000 in 2011. To my knowledge, this will be one of the most affordable consumer electric vehicles on the market. The Tesla Sedan sells for around $50,00, the Chevy Volt is expected to retail around $30,000 and the bare-bone Toyota Prius starts at $22,000.

The car is being launched in a very cleaver way. ExxonMobil and Electrovaya have partnered with the Maryland Science Center on a program called Altcar, which will educate residents and visitors in Baltimore on the future of energy efficient transportation. But the coolest part is that people can rent the Maya 300 and take it for a spin to get the feel of driving an electric car. This is one of the first electric car share and rental programs in the country and I’m sure it is no coincidence that it is so close to Washington, D.C.

In addition, the AltCar program is supported through an energy efficiency exhibit which includes hands-on activities for children and a full-scale car that showcases the numerous energy saving technologies currently being used by the auto industry.

In a company statement released today, Van Reiner, CEO of he Maryland Science Center commented, “Consumers have shown a demand for car sharing programs around the U.S., and it is a logical next step to utilize this business model to demonstrate the growing desire and need for energy efficient transportation that is key to addressing environmental concerns. The new exhibit also will be crucial to helping expand the knowledge of our visitors on this critical and important topic.”

There is no word on whether the AltCar program along with the exhibit will travel to science centers across the county.

Tomorrow I’ll be speaking with Sankar Das Gupta, President and Chairman, Electrovaya and Pat Brant, Chief Polymer Scientist, ExxonMobil Chemical Company about this new venture. So stay tuned for more scoop on The Maya 300 including its performance specs (which would be more exciting if I were able to test drive the car–hint, hint) and how the two companies predict the transition to the new transportation paradigm will play out.


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About the Author

Joanna is a writer and consultant specializing in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture issues.



  • Antonio Andolini

    You forgot to mention this:

    “Top speed of the Maya-300 is electronically regulated to either 25 or 35 mph, as per state regulations.”

    Another overpriced NEV.

  • Antonio Andolini

    You forgot to mention this:

    “Top speed of the Maya-300 is electronically regulated to either 25 or 35 mph, as per state regulations.”

    Another overpriced NEV.

  • Dave S.

    Top speed of 35MPH? What a waist of money and technology! It’ll take me over an hour to get to work, if I don’t get run over by a tractor-trailer!!

  • Dave S.

    Top speed of 35MPH? What a waist of money and technology! It’ll take me over an hour to get to work, if I don’t get run over by a tractor-trailer!!

  • John Hollenberg

    More greenwashing from ExxonMobil.

  • John Hollenberg

    More greenwashing from ExxonMobil.

  • TJ

    Antonio Andolini, where did you get your information that the top speed is 35 mph? Please provide link.

    My opinion is that ExxonMobile would never make a electric car that could meet the specs mentioned above and have a top speed of 60 mph. What is their gain except to crush all other electric car manufactures? Once they have destroyed the other electric car companies, they will close down their own electric car division.

    Therefore, ExxonMobile stop telling the world about your baby chicks until you have at least laid one egg.

  • TJ

    Antonio Andolini, where did you get your information that the top speed is 35 mph? Please provide link.

    My opinion is that ExxonMobile would never make a electric car that could meet the specs mentioned above and have a top speed of 60 mph. What is their gain except to crush all other electric car manufactures? Once they have destroyed the other electric car companies, they will close down their own electric car division.

    Therefore, ExxonMobile stop telling the world about your baby chicks until you have at least laid one egg.

  • Don Steinke

    Why do state regulations restrict the speed to 35 mph?

    I’ve heard that some EVs are restricted to 35 mph because they don’t have airbags.

  • Don Steinke

    Why do state regulations restrict the speed to 35 mph?

    I’ve heard that some EVs are restricted to 35 mph because they don’t have airbags.

  • Ripe4Change

    Does anyone believe they’re serious? How will they make money selling less gas?

  • Ripe4Change

    Does anyone believe they’re serious? How will they make money selling less gas?

  • Ripe4Change

    whats with the “by storm” in the title?

  • Ripe4Change

    whats with the “by storm” in the title?

  • ChuckL

    Ripe4change, Why do you liberals insist on fomenting false information? The so called “oil companies” also are developing biofuels, solar power, and additional power sources. They should properly be called “Energy Companies”. The petroleum products that you use include plastics,faux leathers, eyeglass lenses, water pipes, and much more.

    It’s really nice to be able to blame them for the problems that exist when gasoline prices rise, but the major cause is our government’s shortsightedness in failing to utilize our own petroleum resources efficiently while we develop alternative energy sources in an economical way.

  • ChuckL

    Ripe4change, Why do you liberals insist on fomenting false information? The so called “oil companies” also are developing biofuels, solar power, and additional power sources. They should properly be called “Energy Companies”. The petroleum products that you use include plastics,faux leathers, eyeglass lenses, water pipes, and much more.

    It’s really nice to be able to blame them for the problems that exist when gasoline prices rise, but the major cause is our government’s shortsightedness in failing to utilize our own petroleum resources efficiently while we develop alternative energy sources in an economical way.

  • Some great feedback. I added another post today and answered some of your questions. Yes, the speed is limited to “city limits” which are most often 35 mph. The car is only approved by the DOT as a “neighborhood” vehicle, so it can’t drive on the highway. However, it can go faster and Electrovaya is working on a version of the car that is approved to drive highway speeds.

    Also, on the safety issue, it passes all safety tests for city driving and does have airbags.

  • Some great feedback. I added another post today and answered some of your questions. Yes, the speed is limited to “city limits” which are most often 35 mph. The car is only approved by the DOT as a “neighborhood” vehicle, so it can’t drive on the highway. However, it can go faster and Electrovaya is working on a version of the car that is approved to drive highway speeds.

    Also, on the safety issue, it passes all safety tests for city driving and does have airbags.

  • Null Hypothesis

    Chuck, that is ridiculous. North America has enough oil resources to last a few years only. The reason electric cars haven’t come to market yet is because GM sold the patent on the NiMH battery to Chevron who now prevents anyone from using them in an electric car. Instead, we have to use the next best thing, lithium batteries, which have taken 7 more years to develop to be usable.

  • Null Hypothesis

    Chuck, that is ridiculous. North America has enough oil resources to last a few years only. The reason electric cars haven’t come to market yet is because GM sold the patent on the NiMH battery to Chevron who now prevents anyone from using them in an electric car. Instead, we have to use the next best thing, lithium batteries, which have taken 7 more years to develop to be usable.

  • Well… This is really not that hard to figure out. BYD in China is making electric cars that run pretty well and some even have a petrol engine as backup in case you run out of juice in the battery. They have a purely electrical model that goes from 0 to 100kmph in 8 seconds. I believe Exxon simply wants the public to feel electric cars are slow and unreliable by nature expecting things to remain the same for longer.

  • Well… This is really not that hard to figure out. BYD in China is making electric cars that run pretty well and some even have a petrol engine as backup in case you run out of juice in the battery. They have a purely electrical model that goes from 0 to 100kmph in 8 seconds. I believe Exxon simply wants the public to feel electric cars are slow and unreliable by nature expecting things to remain the same for longer.

  • andy

    ‘by storm’…. ‘game changing’

    The next generation of EVs have to hit 100kmph. It’s no use if it cant do the freeway, especially at 20k.

    Next year we might see some companies produce something affordable which changes the game.

    ExxonMobil are just putting their brand on an NEV. Greenwashing. Like BP spending more on advertising their alternative fuel research than actually funding it.

  • andy

    ‘by storm’…. ‘game changing’

    The next generation of EVs have to hit 100kmph. It’s no use if it cant do the freeway, especially at 20k.

    Next year we might see some companies produce something affordable which changes the game.

    ExxonMobil are just putting their brand on an NEV. Greenwashing. Like BP spending more on advertising their alternative fuel research than actually funding it.

  • You misspelled ‘clever’

  • You misspelled ‘clever’

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