As I was looking around today, I noticed that every third announcement had something to do with putting batteries in cars. Not just boring little Priuses either. There are some hybrid and electric cars that actually look interesting on the horizon. As you will notice, the horizon is universally defined as 10 to 12 years. Tons of charged acid after the jump.
I’ll start with boring and build excitement as I go. Thusly, Ford is first up. Alan Mullaly, the Ford CEO, has stated that most Ford products will be electric within a decade. “In 10 years, 12 years, you are going to see a major portion of our portfolio move to electric vehicles.” Their press release says there will be an electric commercial van in 2010, an electric small car in 2011, developed jointly with Magna, and next-gen plug-in hybrids come 2012. Interestingly, the wireframe they used for their battery electric vehicle plan is that of a Focus. Whether or not that means anything is yet to be seen.
Next up is the Vauxhall Ampera, the right hand drive version of the Opel Ampera. Running on GM’s Voltec hybrid platform, like the Chevy Volt, the Ampera’s ICE is only used to provide kinetic energy to a generator, which in turn provides electrical energy to a motor, which provides kinetic energy to the axles. While this all sounds horribly inefficient, the idea is that the ICE will only run at the most efficient RPMs, and is assisted by a battery that holds about 40 miles in it, and can be plugged in to a standard socket. What’s news about this? It has been confirmed for a 2012 release.
Infiniti is has also stated that they will change up their line in 10 to 12 years. Francois Bancon, the “general manager of advanced product planning,” has stated that all Infinitis will be hybrids within the decade. The first hybrid Infiniti to be offered will be an M, which will feature a paradoxically named “series-parallel” configuration. This is supposed to be a “best of both worlds” type of deal. While the regular, gasoline powered M is not going to be phased out yet, Infiniti has stated that they will cease producing gas-only engines within a decade.
A little while ago, I showed you all Giugiaro’s new hybrid concept, which is being billed as the fastest hybrid ever. Well, it has officially been revealed at Geneva now, and it looks both orange and fast. I don’t have too much else to add to that, except that they did, in fact, end up naming it after a defunct British auto manufacturer.
Next is proof that in the future, all cars will have batteries. All cars… even Italian exotics. Ferrari has confirmed that they have begun testing a 599 based hybrid. Worry not, as Montezemolo has said that the car would be “fundamentally a Ferrari.” The company hopes to reduce emissions by 40% by the time 2012 rolls around. To top it all off, they also said “We are currently working on the development of a Ferrari that will use alternative energy sources and which will be based on what we are doing at the moment in Formula 1,” which leads me to think “KERS.”
Lastly, Fisker has said that if they recieve some federal loans they will release a low-cost, plug-in hybrid within two years. They say it will be a more practical version of the Karma sedan. I say that if it has anything to do with the Karma, it will be dead sexy, and thus make me happy.
All in all, it’s clear that putting batteries in cars is the future, like it or not. The good news is that we do have Fisker, Tesla, and Ferrari who are intent on keeping the fun in electric and hybrid cars. So for every 100 boring Priuses, there will hopefully be at lease a couple kick ass vehicles. I just hope “vroom” never gets fully replaced with “whirr.” Hybrid-electric with a liquid hydrogen ICE?
[Left Lane News, 2, Jalopnik, AutoBlog Green, Motor Authority, World Car Fans]