Fritz - forgot to respond to your second question. Tesla Motors is working on a supercharger network (which is actually free to Tesla owners) that will recharge their 300-mile ranged car to 80% of the battery within a 1/2 hour.
What about 0-60 in under 4 seconds says underpowered? The fastest IC car under $50K does 0-60 in 4.4 seconds while the fastest of all costs $2.4M. Cost for this level of performance just isn't an issue. Look for more split hybrid vehicles with independant electric direct drive at the wheels - torque at the wheels has a big advantage over torque into a transmission and independant control gives much better steerability. Also, brake fade is much lower. 0-60 doesn't tell all of the story though: vehicles with independent electric drive clean up on the serpentine. On a high performance car, it's relativley easy to add 100+ HP to each of the front wheels with a motor/brake module. While hauling around a battery isn't much joy, it does provide good distributed weight and low center of gravity for traction and stability in a way that's just not possible with a monster V8.
To add to the comment about lackluster sales of HEVs and Electrics:
I think the sales of HEVs and Electrics is purely based on desire of the company to promote it properly. The Prius has gone from a single model, to a family of models. This is because they advertise the model properly, and you can walk into a Toyota Dealer and walk out with one the same day. Americans want it here and now, and if they walk into a dealership and are told they can have it in 3 or 6 months, you will lose the sale most of the time. It is a system adopted by the American Companies, that is DESIGNED to fail, and yet... people ARE buying and waiting for them. Imagine if they were available for purchase THAT DAY!
It looks like naperlou strikes out with the statement that most of these cars are small and underpowered... and to relate that to the sale of electric and hybrid cars makes little sense. The people that read the blurbs at the bottom clearly saw the incredible speed and power of some of the vehicles. Others, that push the boundries of distance use less power and get lighter. You think a Chevy volt or the BMW and many other HEVs and Electrics would disagree vehemently that these cars are underpowered. Electric car technology is the future of car design, and this show proves it. There will be many ways to get the electricity to run the cars, but the simplicity of electric will lead to less expensive cars that just don't have the kind of breakdowns, failures and maintenance costs of ICE based autos. For now, we will continue to stick ICE engines in them to increase distance issues, until we find better ways to store the power we need, even though many Americans work within the range of available electrics.
Rob, we are already there. I'd venture to guess that Europe will be leading the "charge" in this arena since their standard electricity is already 240 volt. There is no question about performance. Look at this month's Motor Trend and see how the Tesla S Faired with the Porsche, BMW M5, and Mercedes 100k cars.
Hard for me to believe anyone would mention "underpowered" as these cars are hitting 0-60 in under 4 seconds.
Whether you want to believe it or not, EVs are HERE to stay this time!
I agree with you, Naperlou, but we're unfortunately seeing that EVs and plug-in hybrids are a better fit for the luxury segment, largely because lithium-ion batteries are so expensive. I would hate to think how much the 60-kWh battery in the Mercedes SLS AMG costs.
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