Last Updated Feb 4, 2011 7:22 PM EST CNNMoney claims "Volt Sales are Kicking the Leaf's Butt." Yes, Chevy Volt is outselling the Nissan Leaf by a better than 3-to-1 margin (321 versus 87, in January). But those numbers aren't the whole story, as the Volt and Leaf are trying to reach different markets. In a nutshell:The Volt is for people who want a transition from the gas-powered hybrids of the Prius variety to a vehicle that can run on electricity but isn't dependent on it -- hence the Volt's small gasoline motor, which kicks in to produce more juice when the battery is drained. The Leaf is for people who want all that the electric car revolution promises, right now: no tailpipe and total freedom from the pump. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has in fact placed the Leaf at the center of a strategy by Nissan to push toward not just limited emissions, but zero emissions. Dreams versus reality So the two vehicles are really citizens of different EV nations. The Volt is meant to transition us … [Read more...] about Battle of the Electric Cars: Is It Really Fair to Compare Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf?
Who killed the electric car
Last Updated Oct 5, 2009 10:11 AM EDT As a car writer, people ask me for advice, and I recently got this communication from friend Etienne via Facebook: "Jim, I need guidance," it said. "Please...I TRIED and CANNOT get used to the lack of sound when my son's Honda Civic hybrid..doesn't make any sound. It gets me nervous. Is there a hybrid with a fake engine sound? (or something)?" Funny you should mention that, Chou Chou, because, as Chelsea Sexton (the electric car advocate and former GM employee seen in Who Killed the Electric Car?) recently noted on her blog, it's become a major controversy, one that has already inspired legislation. This is gathering momentum despite the fact that no one has been seriously hurt by an electric car (one blind person reportedly had her foot run over in a parking lot). A bill known as the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act, introduced last January, would "direct the Secretary of Transportation to study and establish a motor vehicle safety standard that … [Read more...] about Should Electric Cars Make Noise? U.S. Law May Require It.
Last Updated Feb 11, 2010 2:55 PM EST Will 2010 be the year the electric car finally generates some sales? Or will this eternal car of the future short-circuit again? Leaf, Chevrolet Volt, Fisker Karma and Tesla Model S are all planning rollouts this year and the buzz is certainly brewing. Still, there are two big problems. First, it's maddening to estimate how many "hand wavers"--people who wave their hands when asked if they would buy an EV-- will actually buy. Nissan, for instance, estimates 25,000 people are interested in the Leaf, and stops on the company's recent Leaf tour were mobbed. But that's no guarantee of anything. In the '90s, there was strong interest in the General Motors EV-1, the first modern commercial battery car, but only 600 people leased it, killing the electric car for a generation. This is why manufacturers are starting small; Ford anticipates producing only 5,000 or so EVs for the next few years. And second, there's the question of battery costs. The … [Read more...] about Batteries Included: The Dodgy Economics of the Electric Car
Last Updated Dec 1, 2010 4:09 PM EST General Motors is really betting heavily on the electrification of the automobile, and it made that plain Tuesday when the company said it would add 1,000 engineers and researchers to its EV team. The thousand-dollar question: Will this plugged-in company complement the plug-in hybrid Volt with a battery electric, effectively "EV2"? EV1, as you recall, was the battery electric approved by Roger Smith that failed in the marketplace and inspired Who Killed the Electric Car? GM isn't saying yes or no about the introduction of a battery electric before 2015. Spokesman Rob Peterson told me:We're not ruling it out, but I think it's fair to say that we wouldn't call it "EV2." Battery technology is still new and just coming into its own. The vehicles will develop greater capabilities, the batteries will achieve higher energy densities and there will also be a lot of infrastructure installed -- charging stations. So that means consumers will be able to … [Read more...] about GM Might Build a Battery Electric Car, but It Won’t be the “EV2”
Concern over gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon combined with concern over greenhouse gases have caused consumers to reconsider the electric vehicle. In fact, President Obama is hoping to get people charged up about electric cars by offering big rebates. But would you ever buy one? On "The Early Show," CBS News Correspondent Ben Tracy reported that Chris Paine, a proponent of electric cars and documentary filmmaker, has an all-electric Tesla roadster that goes from zero to 60 miles per hour in about four seconds. But, Tracy pointed out, Paine knows just how long and slow the road has been for electric vehicles. Paine's documentary, "Who Killed The Electric Car?" chronicled their rise back in the 1890s and then again in the 1990s. Both times, car makers gave up on electric because gas-powered cars were cheaper and went further. Now, Paine has a new film, called "Revenge of the Electric Car." It shows intense competition among auto companies to mass produce a new era of plug-in … [Read more...] about CBS News Logo Is electric car era finally dawning in U.S.?