We have all heard the cheers or jeers over electric and fuel cell vehicles that debut at auto shows around the world, but at this year’s Detroit Auto Show we were able to find more cheers than jeers. This year’s show took on more of a “green” exterior and appeased the environmentalist in all of us.
Many debuts for 2015 were cars that took last year’s model or idea to the next level of conservation. Makers ranging from Hyundai to Mercedes featured electric vehicles. Then makers such as Honda showcased a fuel cell vehicle. Trust me I am not one to complain so you will only hear cheers coming from this direction when I cover some of the top cars.
Charging towards the Future
Chevy was one of the first to shock the onlookers with its Chevrolet Bolt. The Bolt will hit a price point of $30,000 and have a range of 200 miles. Chevy is looking to compete with the Nissan Leaf, since both are in the same price range but the Bolt comes with a larger range. This electric car will truly challenge Tesla Motors on becoming the first to make electric vehicles mainstream.[i] Most gas powered cars get 300 miles to a tank, while electric vehicles get around 100 miles before a charge.[ii] The Chevrolet Bolt makes the consumer happy with a range of 200 miles to a charge. Look for the Bolt to hit your nearest dealership in 2017.
Now we move to a luxury EV, the Mercedes Benz- C350 plug-in hybrid. Many might think that this C350 doesn't carry the same firepower that a normal C350 might, but they would be wrong. This EV is a 208-horsepower four cylinder turbocharged machine that can reach up to 130 miles per hour. [iii] Though this machine is fast it can also get 19 miles on an electric charge. One other item to note regarding this hybrid is the battery can be charged in under two hours using a regular 240-volt outlet.[iv]
Where the Hydrogen Meets the Highway
In 2014 we saw Toyota come out with its first fuel cell vehicle. Now we are seeing almost every major car manufacturer joining the FCV game in 2015. Honda was one of those car manufacturers who joined the game this year. The company debuted a five passenger hydrogen powered car that expands upon their first try at an FCV the Honda Clarity. This sedan has a driving range of 300 miles and can refuel in about 5 minutes. Since many might ask why would I buy an FCV when there aren’t any charging stations near me? Well that may be changing within the State of California. Honda has partnered with FirstElement Fuel to build additional hydrogen fueling stations.[v] And believe it or not California has the most hydrogen fueling stations than any other region in the world. [vi]
Hopefully you are as excited as I am when it comes to the new developments in the auto industry that will help to better our environment. I know I would truly appreciate cleaner air after living in the Central Valley for the past 24 years. And if you are from the Central Valley you know what I may be referring to…smog.
[i] “Chevy Could Beat Tesla to Building the First Mainstream Electric Car”, Jan., 14, 2015, http://www.wired.com/2015/01/chevrolet-bolt-ev/
[ii] “ Chevrolet unveils $30k Bolt electric car with a 200-mile range!”, Jan., 14, 2015, http://inhabitat.com/chevrolet-unveils-30k-bolt-electric-car-with-a-200-mile-range-photos/
[iii] “Mercedes-Benz C350 Plug-In Hybrid promises 20 miles EV range, 5.9 seconds to 60”, Jan. 14, 2015, http://www.autoblog.com/2015/01/12/mercedes-benz-c350-plug-in-hybrid-detroit-2015/
[iv] “Mercedes-Benz C 350 Plug-in Hybrid debuts at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show”, Jan., 14, 2015, http://inhabitat.com/mercedes-benz-c-350-plug-in-hybrid-debuts-at-the-2015-detroit-auto-show/
[v] Honda FCV fuel-cell concept makes its U.S. debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show”, Jan., 16, 2015, http://inhabitat.com/honda-fcv-fuel-cell-concept-makes-its-u-s-debut-at-the-2015-detroit-auto-show/
[vi] Driving for the Future”, Jan., 16, 2015, http://www.fuelcellpartnership.org/toolkits/stations