Automakers bet on alternative-fuel cars for future

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Posted September 12, 2013

Judging by the slew of electric and hybrid vehicles being rolled out at the Frankfurt Auto Show, it might seem carmakers are tapping a large and eager market.

Automakers bet on alternative-fuel cars for future
BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer gets out of the BMW i8 plug-in hybrid sports car during its world premiere at the first press day of the 65th Frankfurt Auto Show in Frankfurt, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013. More than 1,000 exhibitors will show their products to the public from Sept. 12 through Sept.22, 2013. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

But in fact almost no one buys such cars—yet.

More and more automakers are coming out with electric versions of existing vehicles—such as Volkswagen’s all-electric versions of its Up! city car and Golf compact—or ones they have designed as electrics from the ground up, like small BMW’s electric city car i3.

Analyst Christoph Stuermer at IHS automotive called Frankfurt “the first full-throttle electric propulsion show” that’s about “getting electric drive cars out of the eco-nerd, tree-hugger segment and into the cool group.”

To whet appetites, automakers are making high-performance, luxury versions that give up little or nothing in performance to conventional models. BMW’s i8 goes 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) in a speedy 4.5 seconds. Audi’s Quattro sport concept—meaning it’s for demonstration, not for sale—is an aggressive looking sports car with large air intakes flanking the grille and a whopping 700 horsepower from its hybrid drive. The company says it can reach 305 kph (190 mph.)

 

Read more at: Phys.org



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