The past six months have been a hot time for plug-in vehicles. Automakers large and small have unveiled pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids, from Detroit Electric's racy SP:01 to Fiat's tiny 500e and Volkswagen's fuel-sipping XL1.
If there's a lesson to be learned from all this recent activity, it's that plug-in vehicles come in all shapes, sizes, and costs. Volkswagen's XL1, for example, weighs a scant 1,753 pounds, while Cadillac's ELR checks in at 4,070 pounds. And Chevy's pure electric Spark is expected to cost less than $25,000, while Detroit Electric's SP:01 will start at $135,000.
We offer a collection of photos of vehicles unveiled at recent auto shows, including Los Angeles, Detroit, and Geneva, as well as two cars expected to make their debuts at this month's Shanghai show. Click the image below to start the slideshow.
The Fiat 500e, unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November, is the first retail electric car in Chrysler's 87-year history. (Source: Chrysler Group)
Good point, MyDesign. I can see that hybrids will continue to improve and continue to come down in price. They will come down in price partly because of increased volume over the next decade and because of competition. I can't see this path for EVs.
Engineers from both Ford and GM have told me they expect the cost of lithium-ion battery packs to dip to $250/kWh some time after 2020. If that's so, it would probably cut about $8,000 out of the price of a Volt battery. That would be a huge boost for the Volt and for every plug-in hybrid, especially those with larger batteries.
Cost is a major factor, ChasChas. Automakers are expecting a lot out of their customers. They're expecting customers to buy a car with limited performance and high costs. And as Chuck mentioned, these cars may have low resale value if they need a new battery.
Good points, jhankwitz. It's not just the automakers investing in the EV/hybrid technology. It's the tier 1 suppliers as well. Some companies such as Lear are engineering the entire drive train for their customers.
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