Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Electric cars were the big buzz at the 63rd Frankfurt Auto Show this week

Analysts have long contended that a roadblock to the deployment of electric cars has been the lack of infrastructure to ensure they can be charged, whether at home, at the office or at stations in the city or along a highway. Building that infrastructure could cost billions and billions of dollars. Europe is likely to get charging networks faster than the U.S. because of its higher gasoline prices, greater population density and compact size compared with the United States.

CBC reports:
The race is on among the world's auto companies to make electric cars go farther on a single charge, bring the price down to compete with gas-powered vehicles, and give drivers more places to recharge them than just the family garage. Electric is the big buzz at the 63rd Frankfurt Auto Show this week, and nearly every major automaker has at least one on display. Renault introduced no fewer than four electric models, while Tesla, the only company producing and selling purely electric cars, handed over the keys to its 700th all-electric vehicle, a blue Roadster Sport, to a German buyer at the show.

If the models unveiled Tuesday are any indication, the notion of electric cars as small, stunted boxes with little range is about to be junked. "People have realized that … electric vehicles don't have to be golf carts," said Diarmuid O'Connell, vice-president of business development for Tesla Motors Inc. "They don't have to be anemic little putt-putts." The company's sleek, two-seat Roadster — which in the U.S. sells for $101,500 — has a range of 393 kilometres on one charge. Its planned Model S, which will seat seven and has a 483-kilometre range, will go for $49,900 US. Read more at CBC.