products by: Staff Writer

Los Angeles Auto Show Wheels Out Electric Models

December 5, 2012

The Los Angeles Auto Show is the place for car aficionados to go to see the latest models and cutting-edge technology, and attendees at this year’s show got a glimpse of two new electric cars.

Chevrolet unveiled its Spark EV, which not only boasts environmentally friendly features but also an attractive price tag. General Motors Co. says the Spark EV can go from zero to 60 in under eight seconds, according to reports, and that it will have more power and torque than the gasoline-powered version of the car. The 20-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery for the subcompact car can be completely charged in about seven hours on a 240-volt line. (An optional fast charger gets drivers to 80 percent power in 20 minutes.) General Motors hasn’t announced the battery’s mileage range, but expects it to be in the top tier of electric vehicles.

The price of the car will be less than $25,000, once a federal tax rebate is factored in. The car goes on sale next year in California, Oregon, and international markets such as Korea and Canada.

Fiat, which has been making a heavily advertised push into the United States, brought an electric version of its 500 mini-car to the auto show. The 500e is a limited-edition car that fulfills California’s zero-emission regulations for automobiles. The state will be the only place to purchase the 500e, according to reports.

The 24-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery can go a range of up to 80 miles, and charging at a 240-volt Level 2 charging station can be completed in about four hours. While keeping the same compact size and European style as the regular Fiat, the electric version is more aerodynamic, has a new suspension, and a 7-inch dashboard screen instead of dials.

There is little doubt the future of land transportation is electric. The state of California predicts one out of 7 cars on the road will be electric in ten years. Ten years might seem like the distant future, but the truth is auto manufacturers will have to manufacture electric cars at a frenetic pace to keep up with demand, with charging infrastructure racing to keep pace. The next ten years will surely prove to be one of the most exciting times in automotive history.

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