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

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

A new Iranian leader -- and a strategic shift by the United States -- opens narrow window for nuclear agreement with Tehran More

Column: Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

The fact that Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough, but it could make it easier to build a broad coalition against IS More

Thai Ruler Gives Top Cabinet Posts to Junta Inner Circle

Thailand's army chief has kept an iron grip on power as he extends the government, hand-picking an interim parliament that subsequently nominated him prime minister More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
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 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.

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.