In addition to Renault's four electric concept cars, lots of other car companies had electric concept cars on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show too. But will they have the nerve or commitment to go ahead with them? The answers are far from clear.
Renault is counting on the rising price of gas to make us turn electric. Other car dealers are betting on hybrid because the combination of gas plus electric will make buyers feel safer. But many still had an electric concept on show. Mini had this cutie on display, but stated flat-out that they had no intention of ever building it. More questions after the fold.1. Electric Cars that will be built For Sure
Hyundai is working very hard on an electric car for the Korean market. They expect to have it ready for 2010 and it will have a range of 150 km. They are focussing on Korea because of the severe environmental problems there.
Ford has its Focus BEV electric. It will go 120 km per charge. It has 15 already in the UK as part of a testing programme with the Scottish energy department and will be in a borough of London in 2010. They want to get them out by 2011.
Citroen, the other French car maker is also working on an electric. Their car will go 120 km. and will charge in 5 hours. The French post office is considering using 500 of them on their routes. Since the routes are fairly short and within a set area it would be easy to get them charged and running with confidence.
Brabus is a tuning company that turns down-market cars into up-markets.... So they have taken a Smart car, customised it with leather seats and a Tesla motor(!) and made it an expensive car. Hard to figure.
How could we talk about electric cars without mentioning the Tesla. A few were on display at the show, and men were falling all over them. The Tesla is electric, sexy and very expensive. Made in California and owned by the likes of George Clooney, it's a dream come true for some. Priced affordably at 99,000 euros, many have been sold.
2. Electric Cars that are Maybe's...
We loved the Trabant. It's an old east German clunker, fondly remembered as smelly, slow and unreliable. A consortium is trying to put together the funds to build a new model in east Germany: completely electric, solar heated and ecological. This one is the only one in existence.
Toyota came out with a plug-in with a lithium battery. They have distributed 500 for test runs in 2010. Their electric car will go 20 km. which is hardly worth the trouble.
3. Electric Cars For Show Only At This Point
BMW say they want to get an electric car on the market as soon as possible. This one was a concept only, but they have produced 612 of them for trial and research purposes--"field study"--as they call it. However it may end up as a hybrid, they aren't making any commitment at this point.
Audi has its e-tron on display and it is gorgeous. They are planning it for 2012 in a small series limited edition. It will go 250 km., which is far, and will have more battery energy to manage it. They are going for an expensive electric super sports car first and then making a cheaper line.
Volkswagon has an electric car on show, called the e-motion (cute). They are thinking of making them for 2013. It will take 5 hours to recharge and will travel a range of 130 km. No promises here.