At Frankfurt Motor Show, automakers push EVs, hybrids

At Frankfurt Motor Show, automakers push EVs, hybrids

Automakers at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week were pushing their electric vehicle and hybrid credentials. Volkswagen, which in the past had pooh-poohed electrics and pushed diesels, now says it plans to be the global EV leader by 2018.

Manufacturers say they want to be prepared for more stringent government regulation – not just the rules already on the books in the United States but those expected in Europe and China.

Short-term, nobody will get a return on these investments, Daimler AG chief executive Dieter Zetsche told the Associated Press. But definitely, long term, the development will go in this direction, and if you dont learn this lesson today, you will not be in the game tomorrow.

Although the Toyota Prius is now in the top 10 selling cars in the United States and EV sales numbers are slowly growing, battery cost and range anxiety – concern about how far the car can drive on a battery charge – are obstacles to continued growth. And ALG has just cut residuals for EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids, a move that will likely raise lease payments and reduce consumer demand.

In Frankfurt, Volkswagen showed an electric version of the Golf, which will go on sale in the United States in early 2015. It also has a plug-in hybrid Audi A3 Sportback and battery-assisted Porsche 918. The company plans to have 40 hybrids, plug-ins and battery-electrics by 2018.

Nissan also plans to be the EV leader. Andy Palmer, Nissan Motor Co. executive vice president, notes that Nissan has 75,000 EVs on the road now, while VW has none. Electric and cars are as inevitable as taxes and death, Palmer told the Detroit News.

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