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PHOTO CAPTION: Opel RAK electric runabout concept.

Low-Speed Urban Electrics Viewed with Caution, Curiosity in China

Two and three passenger commuters like those debuted at 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show could be important options for drivers in Chinese cities.

Published: 12-Oct-2011

Many Chinese automotive specialists are smiling from ear to ear these days, because many German brands introduced their electric city cars on Frankfurt Auto Show early last month, which are similar to their ideal low-speed electric car.

Audi Urban, Volkswagen NILS and Opel RAK e are two-seater or one-seater city cars with smaller batteries and motors. The cars much smarter than Daimler Smart only weigh around 500kg, and the top speed is about 100 km/h. Holding hands with Renault Twizy, they have constituted a European camp of low-speed electric cars.

Currently, the bad news for electric car is that the high-cost and short-lived battery results in short driving range and long charging time, so as to hinder the development of electric vehicles in the long run. Well, if you think like this, since the short driving range electric car can only stretch its legs within the downtown, why not just positioning it as compact mini city car? If it happens, electric cars gain the approval to have a short driving range and tiny body, thus the capacity of battery pack could also be reduced to optimize the cost and charging time. This time, Chinese automotive specialists and European car makers think in a same way.

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