Car talk is electric at Vegas tech show

January 8, 2016

Talk by automakers attending the CES tech show this week in Vegas was nothing short of electric.

Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen have made it clear they are betting on electric vehicles for the future, even though the segment is only a small sliver of the global industry.

Some of the vehicles unveiled at the Consumers Electronics Show have been concepts or prototypes, but GM displayed the final version of its Chevrolet Bolt, which aims to capture buyers who are interested in without the price tag of a Tesla.

The boldest statement however came from California startup Faraday Future, which on Monday in Las Vegas unveiled its FFZERO1 concept car, resembling a Batmobile and touted as a game-changer in the industry.

The company, which has revealed little about its financial backing or management, has already said it would invest $1 billion in a Nevada manufacturing plant and that it expects cars to be produced withing two years.

Volkswagen used CES to unveil its BUDD-e—a version of its hippie favorite Kombi minivan transformed into an electric, connected vehicle of the future.

The German automaker, hit by a global scandal over its diesel cars, said it expects the electric ones to be on the road by the end of the decade.

Ron Montoya of the auto research firm, said VW has a possible winner with the minibus.

"You can easily see that being a production car," he said.

"Not only would it be a very stylish car that a lot of people have emotional connections with, but it could be potentially one of the first (electric) minivans."

In a move that could make electric cars affordable to a mass market, GM showed its definitive version of the Chevrolet Bolt and confirmed it would be in production later this year.

The Bolt is designed to travel 320 kilometers (200 miles) between charges. And it will cost under $30,000 after tax breaks, GM said.

It also features some of the connected technology found on rival vehicles including a Wi-Fi hotspot offering access to apps and services.

"The Bolt EV is truly the first EV that cracks the code of long range and affordable price," GM chief executive Mary Barra told a CES forum.

Ford meanwhile reaffirmed its plan to invest $3.5 billion over the next five years in electric car development, with a goal of producing 13 new EV or hybrid vehicles by 2020.

Several other automakers are also committed to electric, and some see the segment gaining traction, even though electrics only represented 0.08 percent of the global auto fleet at the end of 2014.

The Norwegian example

There are signs consumers are warming to EVs. In Norway, for example, one out of every five cars registered last year was electric.

"EVs will play a bigger role in the automotive future—there's little question about that," said Kelley Blue Book analyst Akshay Anand.

"The Bolt is a big step simply because of its price and range."

Anand said there is still some reluctance, however. Lower fuel prices have reduced the sense of urgency and "most consumers want an EV as a primary vehicle, so range and charging time are critical factors.

A new model?

One company that has had success in some respects is Tesla, whose highly regarded have become a hit.

But its has been too high for the general public.

Faraday Future and others have hinted about a new ownership model, raising the prospect of plans that allow consumers to get a car as needed without a hefty commitment.

This takes on a new perspective if cars become autonomous.

"VW hinted that cars might become 'devices' at some point in the future," Anand said.

"The social aspect of a car is bizarre to think about, but it could very well happen down the road."

Explore further: GM unveils Bolt electric car in Vegas

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1.6 / 5 (7) Jan 08, 2016
Lower fuel prices will not stop the penetration of electric vehicles. The lure of no oil spots, no big consumables, no tuneups, no emissions checks, no belts and chains, no noise, no stink will do it, as well as the economics of 2 - 5 cents/mile.
1.5 / 5 (8) Jan 08, 2016
I think the kids who rate this post down should go try an electric car. It may hurt their feelings to be proven wrong, but they will get over it.

As battery cost plummet, we will see the eventual takeover of electricity over petroleum for may uses. These are not new ideas, we put many dollars into electric vehicles in the 1980's with the Electric Power Research Institute to get where we are today.
Uncle Ira
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 08, 2016
I think the kids who rate this post down should go try an electric car. It may hurt their feelings to be proven wrong, but they will get over it.

Cher is that an invitation for me, again? You sure do love to toss out the bait, eh? And then complain about what you hook, eh again? Skippy you are the most remarkable moron in the place today, so far.

I don't know why anybody should care about the votes up or the votes down either. Everybody gets a vote and is allowed to use him anyway they want to without worrying about whether glam-Skippy approves of him. Now why you don't write some foolish stuffs so you can show everybody what the goober you really are. And you can wear the silly looking pointy cap (with the stars and moons on him) while you are doing it.
1 / 5 (7) Jan 08, 2016
Over 17% of the new cars in Norway are pure electric, thanks to tax benefits and subsidies. They are not as big as the ones we give to petroleum or nukes, the subsidy-driven and failed technology favored by the Congressmen owned by Big Money. But they are changing the society and making it cleaner and cheaper to live.

Think of the health care costs dodged by ridding ourselves of polluting power.
Uncle Ira
4.4 / 5 (7) Jan 08, 2016
@ glam-Skippy. Truce for a minute while I ask you the serious question for this time, okayeei?

I want to know about the 3 or 2 cents per the mile thing. Sometimes I got to drive the 500 or 400 miles to meet my tow. 3 or 2 cents per mile would sure make me happy a lot.

Will it be a long time before they make something that will go that far? That can carry me and all my stuffs I need to carry? I am sure the other goobers would make the big fun with me about it, eh? But that for 3 or 2 cents per the mile would make that worth it. Choot, they already make the big fun with me when I drive Mrs-Ira-Skippette's little tiny car into town.
1 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2016
Okay. But you have to stop this silly attack nonsense.

VW just came out with a concept vehicle with a 300+ mile range. It will be a few years before we see it in showrooms. I get about 100 miles on 24kWh of electricity. At night I can get it for a dime or less/kWh. That is 100 miles for $2.40. No gas no gas stations, no fill-ups, no oil, no tuneups, the works. They will work well in the South, with its reduction of hard winters.

We endured a lot of ribbing in the 1980's for pouring money into the losers we had to start with, but decades later, it is working out. I suggest you determine how far you travel, into the range of various vehicles, and the location of public charging points. I have many in California, but they are not as cheap as charging at home. I am waiting for the induction charger for mine. so I do not have to plug it in.

Like those in Norway, I chose the VW e-Golf because the vehicle has had about 40 years of ergonomic improvements, and

1 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2016
The e-Golf was listed at 36,500, but I found one with 40 miles on it as a demonstration car with all the guarantees and tax bennies, for 27,300. With the Federal and State tax credits, another 10,000 was taken off, so it cost us 17k. We save about 40-50 bucks a week with it.

With your generator, you can have not only power, but transportation too, in the next long-term emergency.

Good luck.
1 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2016
" they already make the big fun with me when I drive Mrs-Ira-Skippette's little tiny car into town."

When they snicker, just beat them off the line at the traffic light. Electric motors have 100% torque at zero speed, unlike gas engines. You could also hold your nose at the diesels.
Uncle Ira
5 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2016
" they already make the big fun with me when I drive Mrs-Ira-Skippette's little tiny car into town."

When they snicker, just beat them off the line at the traffic light.

Yeah, that's all I got to do, let Mrs-Ira-Skippy hear about me doing that with her car.

Electric motors have 100% torque at zero speed, unlike gas engines.

That is why I wish and campaigning all the time for our bosses to switch over the electric drives for the boats like they have been doing with trains for a hundred years. Out of 108 towboats we only got three that have the electric drive on them, and not probably double that on the whole river.

You could also hold your nose at the diesels.

Choot, I do not ever notice diesels on the road now. After spending 21 to 14 days at the time on the water, that ain't even noticeable at all.
1 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2016
I see your "truce" is over in the other threads. I tried to be decent with you, but you are unable to resist the attacks.
Uncle Ira
4.3 / 5 (6) Jan 08, 2016
I see your "truce" is over in the other threads. I tried to be decent with you, but you are unable to resist the attacks.

Well glam-Skippy in goober speak, "truce" don't mean forever. It don't even mean treaty. It means temporary for a certain purpose. What it means to you? You sound like it should mean "Ira-Skippy has got to be nice to me even where I am being a couyon to him". I am pretty sure that is not what it means.
1 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2016

This is a science site.
Uncle Ira
5 / 5 (5) Jan 08, 2016

I give you a good bye too over on the other article. See you later when you get back Cher.

This is a science site.

Yeah, that's what we have been trying to explain to you since you been here. It's why you so frustrated when peoples keep finding the things wrong with all the things you make up hoping nobody will check. Peoples here usually like to look things up and check things even you think that is unfair.
1.2 / 5 (5) Jan 09, 2016
It will be interesting to see the experiences and reactions of others who get electric vehicles and charge them with PV, essentially. I think it is going to change transportation and power systems. Induction charging at night will be de rigeur, I imagine, with those having PV trading their daytime power generation for night-time charging of their vehicles.
1 / 5 (5) Jan 10, 2016
The adoption of EV transportation will lead to the increase of battery storage at home, since the advantages are now practical. A used EV battery, no longer capable of producing 85-120kW can still provide a few kW to a home if the kWh capacity is still good.

With a set of PV, maybe some emergency generator backup, one can become electrically isolated and still provide power for survival and transportation. Taking advantage of time-of-use rates can pay for it all.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 10, 2016
A 250cc motorcycle can get 34 kilometers/liter, 80 miles/gallon. Use that for the small trips. Electric batteries do not yet have enough energy density to economically flow with traffic
1 / 5 (5) Jan 12, 2016
A 250 cc bike is not decent transportation unless you are a kid in good weather. My Suzuki X-6 took me all over central Thailand in 1968, but is not fit for driving here in commuter traffic, sucking up car and bus fumes, taking hits, and getting wet and dirty.

I like my electric car because it has performance similar to a bike. I can get out of the way when required.

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