PHOTO CAPTION: Chrysler 200C EV is range-extended electric concept car.

Automakers Place Faith in Hybrids,Electric Cars

Hyper-efficient yet expensive and low-volume vehicles might seem like another industry misstep, but they could generate enough excitement to suggest a viable future for Detroit.

Published: 15-Jan-2009

Beaten down by a global recession and propped up by government money, American automakers will call out a vision of an electric-powered future during the next two days of the auto show in Detroit that's more about survival than sales.

Four of the world's largest automakers will either show new hybrid, plug-in hybrid or all-electric models, as will smaller players such as China's BYD and start-ups Tesla Motors and Fisker. General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC will show off new electric concept vehicles, while Ford Motor Co. will tout its trials of plug-in hybrid SUVs and plans for battery-powered vans and sedans.

Such models alone can't cure Detroit's massive financial ills, and touting hyper-efficient yet expensive and low-volume vehicles when nervous customers have turned toward cheaper alternatives -- when they shop at all -- might seem like another industry misstep.


The Air Car may do better than fuel-cell cars, but experts say that using grid power to charge a battery-powered electric vehicle is much more efficient than using electricity to compress and store the same amount of energy in a tank.

A 70 mile range and 45mph top speed means that the two-place electric car can compete with anything in its class, but at a price that is higher than its competition.

Concept vehicle is powered by 200kW electric motor, driven by combination of hydrogen fuel-cell and 16 kWh lithium ion pack that afford 40 miles of grid-charged driving range, and a total range of 300 miles


blog comments powered by Disqus