News / Economy

    At NY Auto Show Electric Cars Coming On Strong

    At NY Auto Show Electric Cars Coming On Strongi
    X
    April 21, 2014 9:03 PM
    Plug in your car, then unplug, and drive away. More and more consumers are doing just that. At the 2014 New York Auto Show many automakers unveiled electric or hybrid vehicle to address the growing global appetite for environment-friendly cars. While some technological challenges remain, the market is heating up. VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Plug in your car, then unplug, and drive away.  More and more consumers are doing just that. At the 2014 New York Auto Show many automakers unveiled electric or hybrid vehicle to address the growing global appetite for environment-friendly cars.

    While some technological challenges remain, the market is heating up. 

    A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle from Toyota converts hydrogen into electricity, has a smooth ride, strong accelertion, and leaves no carbon monoxide behind.  

    “We think that hydrogen is the future of electric vehicles because they’re so much more convenient," said Toyota's Wade Hoyt.  "And the way it works is that the hydrogen wants to combine with the oxygen in the air. It forms H2O, which is water vapor, is the only exhaust, so it’s a true zero emissions vehicle.   And you get electricity out of that combination."

    Many manufacturers are now producing hybrids and electric vehicles.  Ford has unveiled an all-electric Ford Focus and Chevy is touting its environment-friendly Volt. While electric cars are easy on the environment, they can also offer strong preformance.  Tesla's has ferocious acceleration, pushing the car from zero to about 100 kilometers per hour in three-point-seven seconds, with a top speed just over 200 kilometers per hour.  Electric motors deliver strong acceleration because they offer more torque than equivalent gasoline engines. That is why luxury brands, like BMW, are experimenting with this new technology.  

    But the switchover from gasoline is an evolutionary process, says James Bell of General Motors.

    "I think the mistake that many people in the industry and in the media maybe thought was that -- when the Nissan Leaf came out or the Chevrolet Volt -- was that suddenly people would drop their gasoline cars and rush for them.  No, it’s not that way," he said. "This is going to be a slow evolution, but it’s also a Pandora’s box moment.  It’s not going to go back in.  Electrified vehicles are the way to meet those emissions in the future.”

    Alternative fuel vehicles account for just one million of the than 60 million cars produced worldwide annually.  But in 2013 the number of hybrid and electric cars doubled. Automakers still don’t make money on electric cars because of the high cost of battery technology. Tesla's battery, for example, costs $50,000, about half of the vehicle’s total selling price.  But manufacturers pay the costs because they believe electric vehicles are an important part of the industry's future.

    Matt Miller, auto industry reporter for Bloomberg News, says a mixture of old and new technology is the winning strategy.

    “Really the key for the future, I think, is hybrid technology, so rather than having a car like a Tesla, completely electric-powered, you have a car like the BMW I-3 or I-8, which has a small gasoline motor to help charge the battery when it’s needed and electric motors to drive," he said. "That’s got to be the future.  Then you get something like 90 or 100 miles per gallon, [19 to 21 kilometers per liter] which is decent and you still get the torque when you need it.”

    The challenge is to produce a car with long, inexpensive battery life that allows the driver to travel a long way between charges.   Automakers expect many millions will then decide to switch from gas to alternative fuel.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    World Currencies

    EUR
    USD
    0.8769
    JPY
    USD
    107.28
    GBP
    USD
    0.6842
    CAD
    USD
    1.2528
    INR
    USD
    66.384

    Rates may not be current.