Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Electricity strikes back!
The American Automobile Association (AAA) magazine ran an article with this title recently, and suggested that the American car buyer's mantra should be "It's the gas prices, stupid!" No doubt this year's high gas prices have caused many American drivers to rethink their vehicle choice, and auto manufacturers are responding to the shift. One data source shows that the price point of $3.75/gallon caused purchases to shift almost 32% away from SUVs and almost 35% into more fuel-efficient vehicles. Electric vehicles (EVs) may be coming to a dealer near you sooner than you think!
Updated Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards first passed in 1975 are now pushing for double the current fuel efficiency in passenger cars by 2025: that means average MPG should rise to 54.5 in just over a decade, which is a huge change considering slow development to date.
Did you know that many of the first American-made cars were electric? In 1900, 28% of vehicles on the road were powered by electricity. To illustrate how slowly EV technology has improved: consider that early models covered up to 60-75 miles per charge - ever heard of Milburn Electric cars from the 1920s or Commuta-cars from the 1970s? - and the current Nissan Leaf only covers 100 miles per charge.
Development in the field slowed when gasoline-powered engines dominated the market, but . The hybrid gas-electric Toyota Prius is increasingly popular, and a plug-in hybrid model has joined the growing family. Tiny Daimler Smart Cars have gone electric too. More and more automakers are jumping into the market.
Watch for these new EVs on a road near you:
2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta, with up to 70mpg thanks to a turbocharger by Honeywell
CODA EV with a 100,000-mile battery guarantee, 150-mile range, $30k pricetag after incentives
Renault Fluence first production vehicle to use battery-swapping infrastructure