EWeek has up a roundup of electric, hybrid or incredibly fuel efficient cars that will be shown at the 2009 New York Auto Show and, presumably, at many auto shows around the country over the next year.
You know what the first one will be:
The third-generation Prius hybrid vehicle has more "oomph" under the hood than previous iterations, with an expanded 1.8-liter engine, 160 hp and roughly 50 miles per gallon for combined city/highway driving.
But how about:
The Mini E is powered by a 150 kw (201 hp) electric motor fed by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The car has a range of 156 miles "under ideal conditions," and 104 miles "under normal conditions." The BMW Group’s public field trial will use 500 cars; actual mass production, however, could be a long time away.
The Karma’s sleek chassis moves from Point A to B utilizing a hybrid "Q Drive," featuring a gasoline engine that powers a generator that charges a lithium-ion battery that powers the electric motor that drives the rear wheels. The car uses its electric motor for the first 50 miles of driving; after that, it operates as a regular hybrid vehicle.
Also on view: The Scion IQ, the Chevy Equinox, the Cadillac Escalade, and the Cadillac Converj. We feel sorry for the American car companies: struggling with survival while upheaval in the general car market becomes imminent can’t be easy. And the technology is still so new, getting the public onboard may be an uphill struggle.
And where’s the nuclear industry in all this, if anywhere?
“Clean” electric cars are a shill for the nuclear power industry. There is no dirtier or more foolhardy source of energy than nuclear.
So there you go.
Well, actually, there’s a fair amount of debate of how to absorb a huge new need for electricity within the current system.
The BBC lays out the issue nicely:
In the future, more of the UK's electricity is expected to come from nuclear power stations or from alternative energy sources such as wind or wave power. Both produce energy when they can rather than when consumers want it.
Nuclear power stations are less able than, say, coal fired power stations to adjust production to meet demand peaks during the day and troughs at night. Similarly, wind and wave power will produce a lot of electricity during a stormy night, regardless of whether or not consumers and companies want it.
Electricity generated at night when nobody wants it must either be stored or it will be lost. If the UK as a nation had a fleet of these cars being charged overnight, then the power industry's income from drivers would come on top of the income it currently gets from homes and companies.
Of course, a lot of new nuclear plants will replace older nuclear plants, though generally producing more electricity into the bargain. We’ll let the wind and solar folks do their own “shilling,” but the overall idea is to power “green” cars with “green” energy.
So, really, there you go.
We didn’t want to take away from EWeek’s slide show, so here’s the Chevy-Segway Puma. The name is an acronym: Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility vehicle. Frankly, that just seems a stack of words to fit puma, but that’s how it works sometimes. See here for more, including more pictures and videos. We expect it’ll be at the auto show.