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.
Bernard Shusman
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

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7537
JPY
USD
103.79
GBP
USD
0.6032
CAD
USD
1.0957
INR
USD
60.522

Rates may not be current.