Karma Automotive’s design studio houses two new concept cars – both scissor-doored, fully electric hypercars.

Irvine is a player in the booming electric vehicle revolution

by TOM BERG

The number of electric cars on U.S. roads nearly doubled in the past few years, and Irvine’s tech hub is driving several new advances in the industry.

Luxury electric-car maker Karma Automotive recently opened a new design studio displaying its latest concept car, the SC2 – said to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 2 seconds.

Neuron EV recently unveiled plans for an electric pickup truck to compete with Tesla and which, according to reviews, “looks like the unique luxury truck of the future.”

Meanwhile, a UC Irvine research team is closing in on a new electric-car battery that promises to reduce costs for everyone.

Karma Automotive

Karma Automotive recently invested $10 million in its Irvine headquarters, including a new design studio displaying the SC1 and SC2 concept cars – both scissor-doored, fully electric hypercars.

Inside the studio, Karma designers can display full-scale digital models on a floor-to-ceiling power wall, while clients can custom-order automobile trim, including “jewels, colors and materials.”

“Karma is more than just a car company,” says Matthew Clarke, vice president of marketing and public relations. “We are a technology company.”

Neuron EV, of Irvine, is just 3 years old, but reviews of its upcoming T.ONE electric truck say it “looks like the unique luxury truck of the future.”

Neuron EV

Just 3 years old, Neuron EV is a new face in the electric-vehicle game, but plans for its electric trucks already are turning heads. The T.ONE electric truck “might just be the electric adventure vehicle we all were hoping for,” reported Gear Junkie after seeing a prototype at the Shanghai Import Expo in November.

Neuron is pitching its T.ONE as an electric utility vehicle, and its Torq as an electric semitruck, featuring a cockpit-like setup with the driver front and center.

Neuron EV also produces an electric micro-truck, electric cross- over vehicle and electric bus.

UC Irvine battery research

A research team at UC Irvine is developing a next-generation, lithium-ion battery that promises to bring down the cost of electric cars.

Led by Huolin Xin, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, the team is closing in on a battery that requires less cobalt, a costly material.