News / Economy

Electric Cars Lead New Models in 2011

Multimedia

Electric cars have been in development for a few years, but industry experts say more efficient batteries, improved performance, and greater consumer acceptance could transform 2011 into the year of the electric car. Our reporter looks at some of the models you'll see in showrooms soon.

Electric cars are set to go mainstream in 2011.

And automakers are all vying for a slice of the potentially lucrative market.

Japanese carmaker Nissan says its new Leaf will appeal to green-minded but budget-conscious consumers.  It's priced at about $30,000. But product planning director Mark Perry calls it  the affordable electric family car.

"This is the world's first affordable pure zero emission car, battery electric, no gas, no oil," said Perry. "Never have to go to a gas station, never have to do an oil change. Zero emission - there's not even a tailpipe."

French auto maker Peugeot is also getting into the game with the fast charging iOn, designed for short trips around town.  

And Renault's diminutive two-seater, the Twizy, boasts a full charge in just under four hours.  

Renault says with a range of about 100 kilometers per charge, it's ideal for city use.  

But industry experts say the limited range of most electric cars is still a barrier for consumers.

American car maker General Motors believes it has the answer with the new hybrid Volt - which began appearing in showrooms in December.

GM West Coast communications manager Richard James:

"It's an electric vehicle that allows you to drive - if you have a full battery - on pure electricity or your battery reserve for up to 50 miles [80.46 kms]," said James. "What happens after that, to overcome this issue known as "range anxiety," is there's a generator that is built into the car, an internal combustion engine - a gasoline engine essentially - that kicks in automatically, seamless to the consumer, that will charge the battery and so the vehicle will continue to run on its electric architecture for up to 350 miles [563.3 kms]."

But not all electric cars are for the average consumer. Los Angeles Auto Show spokesman Brendan Flynn likes the wow factor of Jaguar's C-X75 hybrid.

"We have this Jaguar that's in the booth right next to us that's a $300,000 electric Supercar that goes from zero to 60 [mph] in 3.2 seconds," said Flynn. "You can go to Vegas and back on one tank of gas."

For those with smaller budgets, Nissan's Micra packs a lot of technology and fuel economy for under $19,000.  Besides keyless entry, it can also check the space between parked cars to tell drivers if the car will fit.

Hybrid or not, Road and Track magazine editor Richard Horman says in 2011, the trend is for lighter, smarter, more economical cars.

"When I started this business, cars and trucks were getting bigger and bigger and bigger and trucks were the big thing," said Horman. "Now cars are tending to get smaller. There's even a little Fiat over at the Chrysler stand.  Cars getting smaller, becoming more efficient packages."

But don't expect the classic gasoline powered car to disappear.  McLaren's Supercar, the MP4-12C, boasts a 3.8 litre V8 twin turbo engine that can go from  zero to sixty in three seconds flat.  But with a price tag of $260,000, it's not for everyone.

You May Like

Video 2nd American Reportedly Killed in Syria

Minnesota television report says Abdirahman Muhumed left area to fight for Islamic State militants More

WHO Fears Ebola Outbreak Could Infect 20,000 People

World Health Organization says outbreak 'continues to accelerate' but that most cases are concentrated in a few local areas More

Angelina Jolie Marries Brad Pitt

Actors wed in small private ceremony Saturday in France More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
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 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 Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
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. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
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.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

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.