Electric vehicles (EVs) are seen as a key component in America's carbon-free energy diet of the future, and Ford is ready to step into the role of supplier. But before you putter down to the dealership in your gas guzzler with down payment in hand, take note: Ford's first mass-market foray into all-electric vehicles is the Transit Connect EV, a delivery van available later this year -- to large fleet customers only.
With Detroit reeling and Toyota busy trying to explain away some rather egregious design flaws, it might seem like a ripe time for an innovative car company to introduce a mind-blowing, paradigm-shifting idea to the automotive world. This is not that idea. Hungarian car company Antro's ambitious reinvention of the modern auto involves creating a six-seat hybrid-solar car that splits into two three-seater cars.
Cars could shed their image as energy hogs and become mobile storage points for the electric grid, if engineers backed by the National Science Foundation get their way. Hybrid electric vehicles might even feed unused electricity back into the grid and earn money for their owners, not unlike how some homeowners who create renewable energy can sell back electricity to utility companies.
India has proven friendly to small vehicles in the past, but its new golf cart-sized armored car took us by surprise. The battery-powered Anti-Terrorist Assault Cart (ATAC) can carry two fully-armed soldiers or security officers along as is traverses narrow indoor corridors and rides service elevators in the hunt for evil-doers, Agence France-Presse reports.
Nissan can officially start its engines for its all-electric car, Leaf. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has finalized a $1.4 billion loan to the car manufacturer that should help it retool a Smyrna, Tennessee factory to build electric cars, and also revamp an advanced battery manufacturing center. Nissan's projects are expected to create up to 1,300 American jobs.
The 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was quieter, smaller and shorter than in years' past. But it was not, however, depressing, and considering the smoldering wreckage that is the automotive industry, that's quite an accomplishment.
In September, Audi of America president Johan de Nysschen called the Chevy Volt a "car for idiots" and said that electric vehicles were "for the intellectual elite who want to show what enlightened souls they are." Audi must have felt the need to atone for the harsh words, because the following month the German carmaker announced that it would build the baddest electric car yet: the E-tron, an all-electric supercar that could go on sale in the U.S. in two to three years.
The first morning of this year's Los Angeles auto show, the CEO of General Motors, Fritz Henderson, was scheduled to give the keynote address. The night before, he got fired. (Excuse me: He "resigned"). That, however, was the only real drama at this year's show, and for the sake of the auto industry, that's a good thing.
For around 13 grand, Electric Cars of Springfield (ECOS) will turn your old beater into an all-electric commuter car. But for a few bucks (around $77,000) more, they'll build you an entire, turn-key sports car. It's called the Harbinger. It hits an electronically limited 117 miles per hour, gets to 60 mph in five seconds and undercuts the Tesla roadster on price. Did I mention it comes with Lamborghini-style scissor doors?