New Scientist: 2011 Charge of the Electric Car

Two factors making comeback of electric cars: high capacity batteries and need to revive the American car industry.

Published: 27-Dec-2010

Gentlemen - and women - plug in your engines. This will be the year of the electric car. No, seriously. After seemingly endless testing, technical hiccups and plain reluctance on the part of manufacturers to move electric vehicles from the concept phase to the showroom, it's finally happening. A fleet of new cars powered by the plug instead of the pump will take to the road in 2011.

Leading the charge is the Chevy Volt. With a 16-kilowatt-hour battery and a 110-kilowatt (149-horsepower) electric motor, it can go 60 kilometres on a single charge, plenty for commuting and weekend grocery runs. Critics point out that a 1.4-litre gasoline engine kicks in when the battery runs down, making the Volt a mere hybrid rather than a fully fledged electric car. And with demand for the Volt forecast to far outstrip supply, some dealers in the US are reportedly slapping steep premiums on top of the already hefty $40,280 price tag.

Even if the Volt fizzles, the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus Electric and Renault Fluence will all be widely available in the next 12 months. Then there's Mitsubishi's diminutive i-MiEV, powered by a 47-kilowatt electric motor and boasting a range of 160 kilometres. It has been on the road in Japan since 2009 and is expected to go on sale in both the UK and the US in the new year.


Electric carmaker Reva is now owned by Mahindra & Mahindra

The government is planning on exempting taxes and introducing incentive schemes for customers.

Halo IPT demonstrates wireless charging of a Citroen electric car.

IDTech sees half the money spent on EVs in the next ten years won't be on cars.

EV Cup iRacer debuted in January 2010.

Series of electrically powered car races are scheduled for the UK and further afield.


blog comments powered by Disqus