Electric vehicles spark at Paris car show

25 Фев 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Electric vehicles spark at Paris car show отключены
Electric Car Pariss Electric Roadster

Daimler’s Smart car is currently being trialed in a rental scheme for companies in London.

by Staff Writers

Paris (AFP) Oct 3, 2008

Carmarkers rolled out a slew of electric models at the Paris motor show Friday, with a view to filling dealer showrooms by 2012 when new European legislation on curbing emissions kicks in.

About a third of the new models presented at the show are clean cars that use a little or a lot of electricity, said Francois Roudier of the French carmakers’ group CCFA.

Big names like Germany’s Daimler and lesser known entities such as France’s Heuliez have shown all-electric models here, hoping to cash in on both the new regulations and consumer fears over soaring oil prices.

Some are still prototypes, like Renault’s ZE Concept, which the company describes as a socially-responsible vehicle, while others are already well into the test phase, like Daimler’s Smart car, which is currently being trialed in a rental scheme for companies in London.

Carmakers are in a rush to get their models onto the market before new European Union legislation kicks in in 2012.

Under the EU proposals, automakers selling new cars in Europe will have to cut carbon dioxide emissions to an average of 130 grammes per kilometre travelled by 2012, from about 145-150 grammes on average currently.

Those that miss the target would face fines for each car breaching the new limits.

These new norms are the driving force (behind the push for electric vehicles), as well as the rise in oil prices, said Jean-Philippe Le Denmet, an analyst with research firm Global Insight.

The electric car is a concept that has been around for a century but it is an idea that has struggled to become a mainstream reality.

Until recent years, the seemingly unendless supply of oil provided little incentive to develop alternative energy sources for vehicles.

And technical matters slowed things up too — electric batteries were liable to explode, electric cars ran out of power after relatively small distances, and recharging was painfully slow.

But things have changed.

There have been major developments in recent years as regards batteries, which for cars are now mostly long-lasting lithium-ion ones, said Herbert Kohler, Daimler’s chief environmental officer.

Their autonomy has greatly increased. Heuliez says its three-seater subcompact Friendly, revealed at the Paris show and set go on general sale by 2012, will be able to travel up to 250 kilometres (155 miles) after one charge-up.

Daimler however says its electric Smart can do only around 100 kilometres.

The infrastructure needed to make electric cars viable — such as recharging stations — should be a relatively simple matter to set up, said Sylvain Vitet of the French electricity firm EDF’s vehicle section, noting that all that is needed is a suitable electric socket.

But industry norms do need to be established to make sure that electric car users can take their vehicles anywhere.

We’re in contact with the major carmakers, said EDF’s Vitet.

Carmakers say they are aiming electric autos at people who will use them mostly for short urban trips to go work or to go shopping or for social outings.

The electric car is not … enough to be multifunctional, said Cyril Francois of Heuliez. Long trips would mean using very large batteries that would use up space and weigh down the vehicle, he noted.

Electric vehicles are thus likely to take a modest share of the market, despite new rules in the EU or elsewhere.

Norbert Reithofer, BMW’s new boss, reckons that even by 2020 only between 5 to 10 percent of new models will be electric.

Manufacturers are however confident they can create a market. Venturi, from Monaco, has even revealed an all-electric sports car.

Heuliez says it aims to sell electric vehicles from 10,000 euros (14,000 dollars) but Daimler has yet to set a price for its model.

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