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Revival of the electric car: against industry’s gloomy forecast, hybrid & electric cars light up Paris Auto Show


By WcP.Observer - Posted on 04 October 2008

Paris motor show 2008

(quote)

Against a backdrop of generally gloomy sales forecasts and belt-tightening, a chorus of optimism rose from automakers at the Paris show as the technical hurdles of hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicle development -- primarily involving the cost and capacity of advanced-chemistry batteries -- are gradually being overcome. "Two years ago nobody said an electric vehicle was even possible," said Pitt Moos, marketing manager for Smart USA. "Today everybody is saying, 'We're going to make one.' "

Smart speaks publicly for the first time about ED: Electric Drive - a first for the quirky microcar

At the show, Smart -- the maker of those tiny two-seat city cars -- announced plans to build all-electric vehicles for Europe by the end of the decade. But it hasn't said what its intentions are for the U.S. market. "The challenge has always been the battery," Moos said. Compact, energy-dense lithium chemistry batteries for automotive applications are expensive and can be hazardous. "We have just in the past couple of months become comfortable about a method of making lithium batteries for cars," Moos said. "Now some people are starting to quote Obama: Yes, we can."

Peugeot's RC HYmotion4 concept car at 2008 Paris Auto Show

Peugeot dipped into diesel-electric waters with its Prologue crossover, which will go into production next year. Peugeot and Citroen, siblings under PSA Group, will share a hybrid system called Hymotion4, which involves an efficient diesel engine powering the front wheels and an electric motor/lithium battery driving the rear wheels. The car's hybrid drivetrain uses a 70 kilowatt electric motor up front and a 1.6-liter gas engine in the rear, with a combined total of 313 horsepower. The car can be driven electric-only, gas-only, or with gas and electric power. Peugeot claims 52 mpg and only 109 grams of CO2 per kilometer.

Nissan's Nuvu concept car at 2008 Paris Auto Show

Among smaller cars, Nissan revealed its quirky bubble-shaped NuVu concept, a proposal for an electric city car circa 2015. Nissan takes it as a given that future city cars will be electric. The Nuvu demonstrates a small, agile car with unique interior space. The car is about 9 feet long and uses 2+1 seating--there is only one seat on the driver side, and a front and rear seat on the passenger side. The Nuvu also has solar panels to help charge the batteries. Nissan says many of the concept car's electric powertrain components will power the company's new, still-mysterious dedicated electric vehicle, expected in 2010. Mitsubishi, meanwhile, talked up its i-MiEV electric cars with lithium batteries and about 100-mile range.

Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHybrid

Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW unveiled full-size luxury hybrid production models with lithium batteries: the S400 BlueHybrid and the 7-Series hybrid, respectively. Mercedes-Benz Chairman Dieter Zetsche said the S400 -- powered by a 275-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 and a 15-kilowatt electric motor and a lithium-battery pack -- will be the world's most economical luxury car with a gasoline engine. The car will be able to accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 7.2 seconds and get about 29 miles per gallon. "This is just the beginning," Zetsche said. "With this technology, we can hybridize all of our models in rapid succession. This car proves Mercedes will be able to downsize its emissions without downsizing its products."

Among the French domestic carmakers: Renault unveiled its Ondelious concept, a large SUV crossover that combines a diesel combustion engine with electric motors (situated in the wheel hubs) powered by a single 4-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.

Hyundai shows a hybrid version of its Santa Fe at the Paris Motor Show

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of CBS Interactive, Jerry Garrett / New York Times, Antoine Antoniol / Bloomberg News, and Telegraph, UK

Original Source: Los Angeles Times and Concept cars at the 2008 Paris Motor Show (with image gallery)

Related Articles: Green Ink: Hybrids Rule at Paris Auto Show, Hybrid and Electric Cars Shine in Paris

It's absolutely INSANE to know how far cars have come over the span of 8 years. Back in 2008, electric cars were something of the future. These days, they're faster and much more efficient than gasoline vehicles. It's amazing to know how many improvements can be made in less than a decade. Then again, technology is always advancing forwards. Whether in the automotive industry or the technological industry. And that's far from the tip of the iceburg - there's been heavy advancements in mobile technology as well.

Back then you couldn't play pack-man on the iPhone 2G without freezing. These days, you're playing full fledged 3D intensive games like Racing Rivals and using Racingrivalsclassified at the SAME TIME.

Technology is an amazing thing.. I cannot wait to see where we'll be 10 years from now!

Whoa! These are some cool electric cars. Of those featured, the Nissan Nuvu is very different. Its interior and exterior parts for Nissan are unique compared to other Nissan cars. It's very cute! I would love to test drive one.

I think that if the electric cars will have success we can except that many of us will get rid of their cars. There are several car donations agencies and I think I would like to buy a new car. I'm very happy for you, also!

Good thing you've posted this one sir. I will be using some information of yours for my thesis. Thanks!

Electric motors are really very innovative one.. these motorcars stands for fuel efficiency which comes with reduction of air and sound pollution. Electric cars are true example of Eco friendly vehicles.

The presence of electrical in the market today is truly beneficial to the public since it merely addresses the problem with the skyrocketing price of gas. On the other hand, the purpose of these vehicles is truly Eco-friendly and the Paris auto show was made to let people know about it. Not just car models are being show here however because there are also maintenance process that's going to help people in times of car troubles. Plus the fact that they also revealed efficient stuff truly meant for replacement and tuning which includes the basic such as Front Bumper Cover, ignition system, transmission etc.

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