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Posts Tagged ‘New York Auto Show’

Only two cars were on display at the show: Hyundai’s updated ix35 which is on public roads already, and Toyota’s FCEV concept. Honda decided not to bring their prototype for some reason – their entire booth was surprisingly void of anything electric or “sustainable”. You have to wonder why they decided to do that.

If you follow my articles on KITCO News you will know that I had the privilege of driving the ix35 fuel cell car in Germany last year. So I was happy to get confirmation of their plan to release 1,000 fuel cell cars in California during 2014. The roll-out is about to begin, and the terms are very attractive: $499 monthly lease, which includes “all you can use” hydrogen for the duration of the term. There aren’t many refueling stations yet which is a downside, but California just pledged to build 200 of them, and the ix35 has a range of over 300 miles, similar to a Tesla, so it shouldn’t be too big of an issue unless you want to travel town-to-town.

Toyota FCEV

Toyota FCEV

Toyota, on the other hand, assured me that the prototype on display will be very close to the final product. The rear view cameras will be exchanged with conventional mirrors, of course, and crash test requirements will surely take a toll, too. I hope the sparkly headlight LEDs will stay; they look really cool (pic below). According to statements made by Toyota the company was able to reduce the cost of building the power train by over 90%, and they are planning to sell the cars below cost at a price comparable to a battery electric vehicle (typically $30-40k). Here is a link to a Toyota press release giving more information on their plans, and a link to a Reuters article on pricing.

If 2014 is the American year of the electric car, I have little doubt that 2015 will be the American year of the hydrogen car.

Toyota FCEV LED headlight

Toyota FCEV LED headlight

(Pictures: Felix Albrecht)

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Hardly any manufacturer at this year’s auto show did not bring an electric or “alternative energy” vehicle along. With Tesla being absent, all players in the “pure electric” segment are in the 80-100 mile range with batteries varying from 22 – 28kWh (except for the Toyota RAV4 EV which still has a 42kWh battery, it seems.) The only surprise to me, perhaps, and a bit of a disappointment, was Mercedes’ confession that their new B-Class EV won’t have more range either. While an official EPA rating for the U.S. is still pending, the product specialists present said it would be anywhere between 80-100 miles per charge.

Most of these cars will reportedly go on sale in the U.S. some time this year with CA and other coastal regions receiving priority – all because of the energy credits to be obtained, no doubt. The “rest” of the country will get the cars in 2015.

There was some confusion on the use of the word “range extender” which to BMW signifies a petrol engine while being used to describe regenerated energy by everybody else. Technically, I believe that BMW will have to accept at some point that what they have created is a hybrid, and not an electric vehicle. Here are some pics, all taken by my son Felix, by the way:

Toyota RAV4 - EV

Toyota RAV4 – EV

Mercedes Benz B-Class EV

Mercedes Benz B-Class EV

 

IMG_4469

 

VW e-Golf

VW e-Golf

IMG_4831

Kia Soul EV

Kia Soul EV

IMG_4766

 

 

Not much new in the hybrid section, and I sincerely hope BMW will forgive me for lumping them in here. I realize there is a pure electric version of the i3 but if internal sources can be trusted then the majority of customers is opting for the “REx” (range extended) version, which – as I said before – makes it a hybrid in my book. So here we go:

 

 

Audi A3 e-tron

Audi A3 e-tron

BMW i3 / i8

BMW i3 / i8

BMW X5 eDrive

BMW X5 eDrive

 

Trunk, unusable if you want to show off the cool blue eDrive cover.

Trunk, unusable if you want to show off the cool blue eDrive cover.

 

Cadillac ELR - if the Chevy Volt just doesn't look fancy enough in your garage.

Cadillac ELR – if the Chevy Volt just doesn’t look fancy enough in your garage.

 

Porsche 918 - more fun to run on conventional gasoline because of the flames coming out in back.

Porsche 918 – more fun to run on conventional gasoline because of the flames coming out in back.

 

I will post pics of hydrogen powered vehicles and other novelties in a little while so please check back later.

Finally, here are high-res versions of the pics used in my KITCO News report on the show:

Kitco Slide 1

Kitco Slide 2

 

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Chevrolet Camaro 2008Easter – not only a caloric religious holiday but also the time of the New York International Auto Show. I’ve been going for many years although it isn’t one of the really important events car buffs don’t want to miss. But it’s as good as it gets around here, so why not? Five years ago I decided to try out my new digital camera on the occasion, and I submitted a few pictures to a German car website (also new at the time) named Carspotting. And would you know it? One of my pictures shot to #1 of the most viewed pictures and has since stayed there with over 300,000 views and counting. Counting, but counting slow because in all honesty I don’t think the site is doing so well. But that’s besides the point.

The trophy picture? Here it is – a “bumblebee” yellow Chevrolet Camaro. Which might surprise you as it surprised me. Neither is the picture special in any way, nor is the car something people take much notice of over here. Which goes to prove that Germany’s romantic relationship with the American Way of Life is still alive and well. A relationship frequently expressed through admiration combined with a shaking of the head. Hard to explain, but it’s there.

IMG_1759So what is the picture I liked best? Here it is: a detail of the then also new Audi R8 (yes, five years ago, time flies…) which I thought combined the white car with the red background in a great way. Oddly, the website has a second scale of “most voted for” pictures, and it emerged on that scale just a year ago. I believe this scale doesn’t even take into account whether people like or dislike an image, it just counts the votes. But what the heck. Seeing it there made me happier than topping the other list – I remember waiting forever to get a clean shot the way I wanted it with all the people there.

WP_20130329_027I have now decided to never look at this website again – it made me happy while it lasted but, like the Camaro, it’s getting stale and it is time to move on. So while this blog has no deeper meaning or message than this it will serve me as reminder of my decision. The blog, and the repeat I did on the Audi. Five years later and it’s still looking pretty hot, don’t you think?

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