Authored by Jon Mercer in Automotive
Published on 01-13-2009
The big three U.S. automakers are all in a race to create the first American made all electric car. On Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the American auto makers vowed to offer consumers all-electric or hybrid-powered vehicles in the next few years. GM’s concept car, The Volt, which is a hybrid-electric concept vehicle, was a big draw at the auto show. GM has said that the Volt will be available for consumers by 2010 and will have a 40 mile drive range on one battery charge.
Ford Motor Company says it will have a small electric car ready for market in 2011. Ford says the project car, which is yet unnamed, will get 100 miles to a charge and that they plan to offer an electric commercial van in 2010. Ford told reporters at the North American International auto show that they were moving toward more hybrids and plug-in-hybrids. Ford plans to offer electric cars in all urban markets with initial sales of five to ten thousand units.
Japan was not detoured by the U.S. automakers, Toyota, currently leading the industry in hybrid-auto manufacturing and sales, showed off its new electric concept car at the auto show. Toyota promises to market its electric car in the U.S. by 2012. Toyota also says that it plans to offer a hybrid car for its Lexus brand this summer.
Japan’s Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. Says it has plans to promote commercialized electric cars in the near future. Nissan stressed that all electric cars still in the development stage, even it’s own, would be limited to only short-distance travel for now because of the limitations of battery storage technology. For this reason, Toyota still considers its gasoline-electric hybrid technology to be of great importance.
The Honda Motor Corporation said that it will begin selling its new Insight concept vehicle in Japan this February. The company has plan to launch their next generation of hybrid cars in Europe and the United States in March and April. The Insight has a listed gas mileage of forty miles per-gallon in the city and forty-three miles per gallon on the highway. Honda has proposed that their electric-gasoline hybrids have the potential for as much as seventy-two miles per gallon.
While all the auto makers at the Detroit show agreed that last year’s $4.00 a gallon fuel prices were an anomaly, they also agreed that it was a brief glimpse into our future, and serves to emphasize the need to continue developing green automobile technology.