All major auto-manufacturers are designing their own electric cars

GM Chevy VoltAs oil prices are soaring and there’s no relief in sight, drivers try to save and gas-guzzling vehicles have become unsalable. Prompted to act or to disappear, all major auto-manufacturers have come up with their own models of electric and semi-electric cars. The first electric vehicles that will be manufactured on a grand scale could be launched as early as 2010. Next to an increased demand for cars which consume no gasoline, the prospect of severe punishments for high fleet emissions made auto-manufacturers rethink their attitude towards cars which are driven by electricity. Especially the EU’s plan to force auto-manufacturers to reduce the average carbon dioxide emissions from all new cars sold in the EU from 2012 on to 130 grams. Unless the fleet average emissions meet this overambitious target, hefty fines will follow. On Monday, France and Germany agreed to soften the European Commission’s plans and to give manufacturers a bit more “breathing room” while introducing cleaner technologies. The agreement demands that both – auto-manufacturers which produce larger luxury cars and those which produce smaller vehicles – have to contribute to cuts.

General Motors came up with the Chevy Volt which combines a lithium-ion battery – which will be the only power source for a range up to 40 miles –  with gas or ethanol which will recharge the battery when empty to extend the range up to 640 miles. Unless driving more than 40 miles a day the Chevy Volt won’t use any gasoline and produce zero emissions. Nissan Pivo 2Nissan’s futuristic concept car “Pivo 2” is powered by a lithium-ion battery. Daimler is going to release an electric, rechargeable version of its micro-car “Smart” in the UK.

electric SmartEurope’s largest car producer Volkswagen plans to launch an eco-friendly version of its future Up! city car using lithium-ion batteries from Sanyo until 2010 and to be the first car company to provide a carbon-free, safe and affordable grand-scale electric car.

The biggest challenge is to make batteries more efficient and to extend the range of electric cars so that they can compete with established gasoline driven cars at a competitive price. To bridge the time until batteries have sufficient capacities, most electric cars which have already been launched are lease vehicles so that the drivers don’t have the financial risk and are provided with the latest battery technology.

Volkswagen electric Up!Mitsubishi iMiev

More about the electric car’s comeback:

The electric car on the fast track 






Filed under Economy, Environment, Uncategorized

11 responses to “All major auto-manufacturers are designing their own electric cars

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  8. spiros

    If they are all coming up with electric cars, why can’t they top the roof with PV panels so that they can be charged up during the day as well without having to ‘ plug in ‘ . It may not provide the full amount for everyone, but it’s a good way to recharge whilst in the parking lot !@

  9. economax

    @ spiros, you’re absolutely right! And indeed, some car makers are planning to put PV panels on top of their cars, e.g. Toyota plans to equip its next generation Prius with solar panels on the roof. This will help to run the air-conditioning and other on-board accesoires. Check out

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  11. Pingback: Portugal to join Israel and Denmark to be among the first countries shifting to electric cars on a grand scale « What Matters

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