Episode 400 – EVs In The News, Pininfarina Dominates China, Formula One Returns To The U.S.

May 26th, 2010 at 12:21pm

Runtime 9:01

Electric vehicle news from Magna, Mahindra and Nissan. Pininfarina, the Italian design house, controls about 30 percent of the Chinese design market. Formula-One racing is coming back to the U.S. in 2012 but probably not where you would expect. All that and more, plus we find out why the sedan and hatchback versions of the new Ford Fiesta are styled differently.

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Transcript and Story Links after the jump . . .

This is Autoline Daily for Wednesday, May 26, 2010. EPISODE 400!

And here’s what’s going on in the automotive world.

MAGNA TO BUILD LI-ION BATTERIES
And we start out talking about electric cars. Canadian supplier Magna announced that it will build two plants to manufacture lithium-ion batteries, one in the U.S. and one in Europe. Bloomberg reports that this represents Magna’s first foray into making batteries and it will invest up to $600 million to build the facilities.

MAHINDRA BUYS REVA
Meanwhile, half a world away, Mahindra in India is buying a controlling stake in a company called Reva which makes electric cars. Reva has been working with General Motors to develop an electric version of the Chevrolet Spark, but Bloomberg reports that GM is now looking at other options as to what it will do. Reva is developing an EV called the NXR that is supposed to go on sale next October in Europe with a price tag of €15,000 which is a bit over $18,000. It is supposed to hit a top speed just over 100 kilometers an hour and have a range of 160 kilometers, about 100 miles.

GHOSN DEFENDS EVs
Now, back to Detroit where Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn was in town yesterday singing the praises of electric cars. He said that the first year’s production of the LEAF electric car is sold out, which is about 18,000 units. And he dismissed analysts and competitors, like Honda, who question whether EVs are really going to catch on. But here’s my Autoline Insight. Carlos Ghosn has not exactly bet the farm on EVs. But he sure put down a big bet, a $4 billion bet. He claims that Nissan will be selling 500,000 EVs globally by 2012. That’s only two years away. That’s mighty ambitious. And he sure faces stiff competition. A study by Price Waterhouse Coopers says that automakers will have 42 different electric models on the market by then. Carlos Ghosn has to pray that he hits his sales targets, which he should be able to do as long as governments around the world offer massive subsidies for buyers. But I don’t think those subsidies will last more than a few years. And if EV sales hit the wall when those subsidies dry up, Ghosn will be remembered as the guy who saved Nissan, and then took it down a blind alley.

BMW DEMONSTRATES SAFETY TECHNOLOGY
Automakers are always coming up with more and more safety features. Things like knee airbags to blind-spot warning systems were the stuff of science fiction just 20 years ago. Some of the newest ones on the market today include active systems that automatically apply the brakes if a crash is unavoidable. BMW offers a version of this technology on its redesigned 5 Series and it recently put it to the test. This picture shows the dramatic difference. The car in the background was crashed following standard Euro NCAP guidelines. It impacted an offset barrier at 64 kilometers an hour. The 530d in foreground hit the same barrier, but its brake-intervention system slowed it down to 40 KM/H just before impact – quite a difference. Obviously hitting a wall at a slower speed is a better, but applying the brakes does more than that. Occupants are pushed forward into the seatbelts AND the vehicle strikes the barrier at a slightly lower angle since the nose pitches downward.

CHRYSLER BACK IN CHINA
According to the China Car Times, Fiat is ready to reintroduce the Chrysler brand in China. This follows a failure of its own joint venture in the country with Nanjing Auto. Chrysler was partnered with BAIC, the Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation, but Fiat is eager to pair it up with Guangzhou Auto. It’s uncertain which models would be offered, but the article mentions that Chrysler could build Jeeps there to capitalize on the Chinese’s affinity for compact SUVs.

PININFARINA DOMINATES CHINA
And speaking of China, Pininfarina, the Italian design house, likes what it sees there. According to the AP, it’s estimated that the company controls about 30 percent of the Chinese design market, working with automakers like Chery and Brilliance. In fact the company is making more money in developing countries like Brazil, India and China, than it is in Europe and that’s been the case for nearly five years. To help grow its business the company is also offering engineering services to its Chinese customers.

CHINA CAR SALES TO HIT 17 MILLION
And no wonder Pininfarina is doing so well there. According to Gasgoo, Chinese car sales could hit 17 million units this year.

FORMULA ONE RETURNS TO THE U.S.
Formula One racing is coming back to the U.S. but probably not where you would expect it. Austin, Texas will host the U.S. Grand Prix starting in 2012 in a deal that runs through 2021. The city will build a purpose-built track, specifically for F1. I sure hope the city of Austin knows what it’s getting into. F1 is famous for screwing all the different American venues that have made the investment to hold Formula-One races. Just ask the Indianapolis Motor Speedway what it thinks about the millions it spent to have Bernie Ecclestone pull the rug out from under them.

If you’re paying close attention to the new Ford Fiesta in the American market, you’ll note that there’s a hatchback version and a sedan version. And they have different front-end styling. Why did Ford do that? We’ll take a look, right after this.

The 2011 Ford Fiesta is just about ready to make its debut in North America. As you probably know, two versions of the car will be available, a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback. You may have also noticed that each has a different-looking front end. So what’s that all about? Well that’s just what we asked Steve Pintar, the chief program engineer for the Fiesta.

So what drew customers to the four-door?

And what was the appeal of the hatchback?

Pricing for the four door starts just under $14,000 but the hatch is nearly $2000 on top of that. So it will be interesting to see if buyers prefer the looks of the hatch or if they’d rather save money and go with the sedan.

And don’t’ forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours tomorrow night. Our guest for the show will be Sheila Ronis, an expert in military and defense matters, all talking about the ties between the military and the auto industry. Yes, the auto industry still plays a significant role in the national defense. But maybe in ways that you would not expect. That’s tomorrow night at 7 p.m. EST on Autoline After Hours.

And that’s it for today’s top news in the global automotive industry. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog, The Auto Channel, Car Chat, WardsAuto.com and WWJ Newsradio 950

Electric vehicle news from Magna, Mahindra and Nissan. Pininfarina, the Italian design house, controls about 30% of the Chinese design market. Formula One racing is coming back to the U.S. in 2012 but probably not where you would expect. All that and more, plus we find out why the sedan and hatchback versions of the new Ford Fiesta are styled differently.

44 Comments to “Episode 400 – EVs In The News, Pininfarina Dominates China, Formula One Returns To The U.S.”

  1. Nick Stevens Says:

    Good and informative show, John

    Not much to add. Your reservations about EVs and about Ghosn’s place in Auto History are well placed. Still, Nissan seems determined to become in the EV market what Toyota succeeded in becoming in the Hybrid market, ie, dominating it.

    But the Pure EV market is a far tinier segment than Hybrids or evne plug-in hybrids.

  2. pedro fernandez Says:

    Ford has made a mistake by not offering a 3 door Fiesta at a lower price than the others, I happen to think it looks better also. John, congrats on the 400th show, still going strong. The success of the EV market will depend on what happens to the price of oil. there are way too many hot spots around the world where a conflict could easily break out, thus affecting the price of crude worldwide.

  3. Todd J. Says:

    Awesome review! One of the best episodes yet!!!

    I’m THRILLED to see F1 come back to the US too. I was one of the lucky few who got to go to the last race in Indianapolis and loved it. If we can get USF1 off the ground, we should really be able to pick up some support. It’s interesting because most of the manufacturer sponsors say that the US is their most important market… hopefully Bernie Eccelstone will recognize this.

  4. Nick Stevens Says:

    hybrids and plug ins especially are fully capable to address temporary peaks or even permanent higher prices in oil.

    pure evs are impractical and can only serve as city fleet cars or sixth cars for wealthy families.

  5. pedro fernandez Says:

    This car classification by size is confusing, the new Fiesta, a subcompact, has a longer wheelbase and total length than my 98 “compact” Corolla and the total length of the Fiesta is more than the 2002 Focus, another compact. So, have the classifications changed through the years where now a subcompact is the size of a previous compact, and the midsize is equal to a previous full size?

  6. tj Martin Says:

    Brilliant I say . Bringing F1 to Austin Texas . Who’d of thunk it ?But what a great small , vibrant , educated , diverse US city to choose .

    I’m sorry but Indy just never caught on as to what it takes to put on an F1 Race properly . They could of learned a lot from their neighbor to the NE ( Montreal ) Indy’s ticketing practices , lousy Tourism Board, lack of mass transport etc. made the Indy F1 Race more a chore than a joy to go to . Whereas one phone call to the Montreal Tourism board and I had my Race Tickets , Hotel , Subway Pass , Airline reservations and Restaurant Discount coupons waiting in the room when I arrived . ( and not to the Chain restaurants either )

    My guess is knowing Austin as I do they will throw one heck of a week long party . The Euro/UK types will enjoy it much more and in the end we’ll all be asking why Austin wasn’t picked from the onset . They might even rival/top the weeklong extravaganza that is the Montreal Canadian GP .

    Now can we just convince Montemezola of Ferrari , if he gets his way in providing a third car to round 2 of the USF1 team , revival : to not paint the car in Red White and Blue Stars & Stripes and rather to revive the old N.A.R.T. Ferrari White and Blue paint scheme .

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    If such conflicts do occur, whether in Korea or the middle east, people will get fearful and hold back on spending, no matter if it’s EV or hybrid or whatever. There’s nothing like fear of a major war to get people into the fetal position and save their money. Again I am bullish on the used-car market.

  8. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pedro,

    as you know, each generation of a car model is always bigger than its predecessor. The original Accord was much, much smaller than any modern Civic and probably weighed less than even the Honda Fit.

    Because of this it is possible that today’s subcompacts ar ebigger than 20 years ago’s compacts etc.

    Some cars jump categories, such as the current Accord and the new Sonata have grown into the EPA “Large” category, while the equally big camry is still a mid-size EPA rated car. It obviously is not an exact science, but even if it were exact, a car of, say, 109.99 cubic feet of interior volume would be in one category and its competitor at 110.01 cubic feet will be in the larger one, and it is quite possible the 109.99 one would have far more USEABLE interior room than the “larger” one.

  9. pedro fernandez Says:

    tj right on, I can just see the F1 crowd flocking to the mechanical bulls and getting plastered in honkytonk bars.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    Nick, I think the Accord has gotten too big, I know that’s what people want but I miss the way the smaller 1990′s Accords and Camrys could maneuver around town and still be comfortable enough for a longer trip. I remember renting a 93 Camry and I was floored by how much better it was than my 86.

  11. Nick Stevens Says:

    In my own case, it would probably never make sense to sell my car and get a hybrid, much less an EV, no matter how high gas prices go, unless the car I have is totaled or… needs a new engine AND transmission, but even in that case, it probably makes no sense to me to buy a hybrid or EV either, but the same car i drive now, or an LS430 used, or an LS460 used, or…

    But for the average driver, who drives 12,000 unreimbursed miles a year (reimbursed business miles excluded): The average car will probably make 20 MPG (AVERAGE, not HWY!). At $3/gallon, that’s a mere $1,800 a year. Suppose it DOUBLES, (and stays there, although usually it always drops back) it will be $3,600 a year.

    If you get a prius, you’ll get 50 MPG (ok, 40 in the worst snowbelt conditions), so your cost will be only $900 at $3, or $1,800 at $6/gallon. Just by switching to a not even plug-in hybrid, you can make $6 gas equal to $3 gas in your old car.

    if you get a plug in like the Volt or the plug in prius, it is possible you will never use any gas except for long trips, and the above gas cost could be close to zero even with a non-pure EV.

    So who needs the Leaf?

  12. Brett Cammack Says:

    Once there are enough contemporary EVs in the hands of consumers, the narrative will change regarding them.

    Most people do not comprehend that they will meet the majority of driver’s transportation needs. People will buy them as secondary vehicles, initially, and then discover that they have become their primary vehicle and their gasoline-powered vehicle will become the one they turn to the 20% or the time the EV won’t go the distance or haul the load.

    I think too many of us have an image in our mind of a glorified golf cart or some quirky homebrew EV like the old Rabbit cabrio I saw the other day at the Walmart. Nobody here has lived with a state-of-art EV and so are exercising conjecture that is probably not terribly well-founded.

    Once there is enough real-world consumer experience feeding the narrative, they will become desirable and commonplace for urban drivers. No, they won’t sell a lot of them to ranchers in Montana and Wyoming, I agree.

  13. Nick Stevens Says:

    Pedro: The 91-94 camrys looked great, esp. in dark green with beige leather and the v6, many of them were on the road and many still are today here!

    I don’t mind the accord getting bigger, if you neeed a smaller car there is the civic or the corolla, who are as big and heavy as my 90 accord coupe was.

    I do mind that as the Accord got bigger, its wheelbase did not get as long, and it looks bad from some angles with these huge front overhangs and its stupid grille. But in the back it looks very good.

  14. HtG Says:

    Re the Austin F1 track. I wonder if Michael Dell, founder of the computer maker had anything to do with F1 coming to Austin, the PC maker’s home. Dell is a driving enthusiast, so much so, I heard he has his own track at home.

    Being a sourpuss, I’m going to bet the new track will be designed by Herr Tilke, and it will really really suck as far as passing opportunities. Lordy, has the sport turned into jiggle and bling, even the drivers are bored.

    You reading this Charlie Whiting?

  15. Nick Stevens Says:

    Brett: you are the one that cannot see that hybrids, and especially PLUG IN hybrids, can give people ALL the benefits of the EV AND be able to go on long trips too, which are essential for a family.

    YOU may have an affluent family that owns 6 vehicles, and can afford to buy EVs for around town only, but most DO NOT and own just ONE or two.

  16. dave Says:

    The cost of the EVs is what will hold them back. The Gov. kick back SHOULD be at the point of sale to the car company. If that was the case then the would have a chance, but that is not the way it works. IF i could walk in and get a VOLT for 30 grand then OK. But you have to pay the full price of whatever 40+ and you MAY get the cash back on you taxes the next year, IF you dont owe.

  17. dcars Says:

    Hi TJ, F1 screwed Montreal too! The city loved the race and F1 made them beg to have it back. Their has to be another reason that F1 is returning to The US and I think I know what it is. The groups that race in F1 spend a lot of money to race and market their cars, but F1 didn’t race in the North America. NA is probably the biggest market for Toyota, Honda, BMW, Ferrari and M&B. Except for the last two, with very few wins and no races in the US I would bet those guys said why bother. With huge scandals and losing three major groups F1 had to do something, I’m sure Indy, Watkins Glen and Long Beach etc…. were not interested in taking another bath with F1 so they turned to an unsuspecting small town Texas.
    I think Montreal is too nice a place for the likes of F1, they should have stuck with the Indy cars.

  18. Nick Stevens Says:

    Nissan is takin ghuge losses selling the EV Leaf for $32.5k, or $25k after the $7.5k tax credit, so cost is not the issue, it is the horribly small RANGE of the pure EVs and the corresponding famous or infamous “Range Anxiety.”

    And when an EV is advertised as having a 100 mile range, this means FIFTY miles in REAL driving.

  19. pedro fernandez Says:

    On paper, the Volt sounds like a real good idea, weekday commuting car, if you don’t live too far from work and then on weekends for those trips around town and go see grandma a couple of hours away, you got the backup generator to keep you going w/o the running out of juice anxiety that EV’s will have.

  20. Nick Stevens Says:

    The Volt is a bit more expensive, but it has no range problem. If they say it can go 40 miles on electricity, you can probably use it for a 20 mile commute if you can recharge it at work, even in winter and cold, and back, without using any gas. But even if it runs out of juice, the extra cost of gas for a few miles will be no big deal, and unlike the pure EV, it will not run out of juice unless if you have an empty gas tank.

    But Tpyota is soon (maybe even before the Volt is actually on sale?) coming out with the Plug-in prius soon, which will probably be cheaper than the Volt and more dependable, reliable and with a better interior..

  21. pedro fernandez Says:

    Around here there’s a company that will transform your Prius into a 100mpg plug-in version, however I don’t know if that would void the warranty or how effective the system really is. I would imagine the biggest problem with these EV’s will be the running out of power when you’re still far away from home, bad weather, traffic jam etc. I would say that and the cost of the car would put it at a disadvantage over a hybrid or the Volt.

  22. Salvador G. Says:

    JohnMcElroy Reports:
    …Carlos Ghosn has not exactly bet the farm on EVs…. by 2012… A study by Price Waterhouse Coopers says that automakers will have 42 different electric models on the market by then.

    1. I’m just going to ask… Does anyone think -Carlos Ghosn is betting that incentives will continue for some reason??
    -

    2. As China continues to build up its middle class – Buying Chrysler is probably the best thing that happen to FIAT.

    3. Finally, for a state that was claiming rights of seccesion because of the socialist increase of goverment spending – Spending millions of Taxpayers money on a F-1 race is probably “THE HYPOCRISY MOVE’ only Texas.

  23. Nick Stevens Says:

    “pedro fernandez Says:
    May 26th, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    Around here there’s a company that will transform your Prius into a 100mpg plug-in version, however I don’t know if that would void the warranty or how effective the system really is.”

    I am sure all these aftermarket conversions do void the warranty. The ones I saw are also very expensive so it makes no sense for most people who own a Prius to update it to a plug-in. How much does the shop near you charge?

    Also, that 100 mPG claim is as much crap as the 230 MPG for the volt. It would be far more useful to tell us what is their real life range on batteries only, then each driver can do the math using his exact commuting miles etc.

  24. pedro fernandez Says:

    The asking price is $9k for a conversion system installed what an effing rip off and people are actually reporting around 67 mpg NOT 100 You would have to keep the car 20 years and drive like a long haul trucker to get your money back.

  25. shan Says:

    I was very disappointed to finally see the end result of what will be the Fiesta in the U.S. market. They made HUGE mistake by designing the car to “look” like every other watered down domestic car, rather than giving us the exact copy of whats available in Europe. The Big 3 still have a ways to go before winning over buyers like me.

  26. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’m glad F1 is coming back to the US, but I wish it had been at Indy so I’d only have a 55 mile drive to the race.

    I’ve never been to Austin, but I hear it is a very nice city, for being in Texas. I wish them well, and hope Bernie treats the people who put up the money for the Austin track better than he treated Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

  27. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Happy 400th Show John.

    Pedro, a 3 door Fiesta needs to be $11,999 to start.

    Chrysler in China, boy are their designs going to get aped. Maybe the Chinese have what it takes to breathe life into that Elderly brand that is asking to be extinct, like they did Buick.

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The 300 might do well with the new middle class in China.

  29. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Does this plug in conversion for the Prius include additional batteries or replacing the nickel metal hydride batteries with LiPo batteries? If not, there is no way the “conversion” could be of much benefit at all.

  30. HyundaiSmoke Says:

    Im sorry guys, but when I think Chyrsler I mostly think 80s despite quick mental glance of DUB 300Cs in the hip hop culture.

  31. Nick Stevens Says:

    “# pedro fernandez Says:
    May 26th, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    The asking price is $9k for a conversion system installed what an effing rip off and people are actually reporting around 67 mpg NOT 100″

    While this 67 MPG may be a good average, it still does not say anything. Did thes epeople include the cost of the electricity and converted it to equivalent MPG? I bet most of them did not! SO in reality, it could well be 50 or 55 MPG, which, in warm weather, you can average easily with an ordinary prius in city and highway.

    If I were to get a plug in, keep the 7 for long trips and use the plug-in only for commuting and shopping around town (no trip is longer than 6-8 miles!), then I would get a trillion MPG, if not INFINITE MPG, since I would never have to use gas, IF I was dumb enough NOT to include the cost of miles done in electric mode.

    You would have to keep the car 20 years and drive like a long haul trucker to get your money back.

  32. Nick Stevens Says:

    “shan Says:
    May 26th, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    I was very disappointed to finally see the end result of what will be the Fiesta in the U.S. market. They made HUGE mistake by designing the car to “look” like every other watered down domestic car, rather than giving us the exact copy of whats available in Europe.”

    I have seen a test fiesta in my U up close, in dark blue metallic and tan interior. On the outside, it looks far better than any other small car, or any other ford small or large.

    The base $14k is not much, but it is only for the 4 door which IMHO does not look half as good as the hatch.

    Because the 4 door was designed as an afterthought, like the first Jettas were Golfs with a butt artificially pasted on the back.

  33. Nick Stevens Says:

    If you do all the math, including the cost of electricity, I doubt there is any driver in the whole USA that would save a NET dime if he pays the $9k for the conversion, compared to a non-converter Prius, but If you can find one let’s do the math.

  34. Nick Stevens Says:

    And the above does not include the cost of the risk due to the voided warranty, assuming you start with an older, out-of-warranty Prius it will make no difference.

  35. pedro fernandez Says:

    the conversion does include the battery, but it’s not worth the the extra cost just to get a few MPG extra and it does not even include the cost of electricity. I agree with the Fiesta evaluation, just buy a 4 or 5 yr old ZS3 or ZS5 Focus and save yourself a ton of dough

  36. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit:I think you meant Lithium ION,not LiPo’s.I run all LiPos on my rc helis and you know how dangerous they can be when charging.For those that don’t know,lithium polymer batteries have to be charged with a “balancing” charger,cells need to be charged separately then balanced.I spent a good sum of money on a high quality charger,ALSO,they sell explosion proof bags to safely charge our batteries and then we can only run them down to about 75 or so percent safely.I wonder if the lithium ion batts are the same.

  37. Nick Stevens Says:

    GA, Kit:

    Regardless of the technical details, assume the best case situation, it STILL makes no sense to anyone to convert the excellent 50 MPG REAL averag eMPG Prius for $9,000 extra, no matter how many miles or what miles they do every year. If you can think of anybody you know or do not know who could do better with the $9k conversion, let’s DO the math.

  38. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Nick:It seems the Prius is just fine the way it is imho,or,”if it ain’t broke…..”.

  39. Nick Stevens Says:

    No question. But the plug in conversion is so uneconomical, that I challenge anybody to produce even one driver of the 200 million in the USA that would benefit from squandering the $9k to convert. (with miles per year, commute distances and all).

  40. G.A.Branigan Says:

    The only improvement to the Prius I can think of would be a diesel engine for aux power.That I believe would increase overall range significantly.That would only be a icrease of maybe $2500. or slightly more….IF it were even available as an option.

  41. B. Berman. Says:

    About F1 comming to Austin TX. I am glad that F1 is comming back to the US. I have never been to Austin but I hear the area is very nice. About the reasons as to why F1 is returning to the US is amatter of speculation. For sure the US is a big market for all the F1 sponsors, but it is certainly not the largest market. That would be China. If the only thing that F1 was looking for was a large market, they could do a second race in China. With regards to Burnie screwing Indy and maybe eventually screwing Austin; I agree that Bernie can be a but head but don’t forget that Mr.George could be Bernies equal in that regard (remember the CART / INDY split). I don’t care for Bernie, but I don’t think that Indy was all his fault. As to why not return F1 to some of its previous locations? Indy does not have enough infrastructure to support the race. Watkinsglenn (As much as I would love for F1 to return to the Glenn) is in the midle of nowhere and no practical way to get there, Long Beach has the same drawbacks as Monaco, and F1 does not want another Monaco. Can’t wait till 2012 for the US F1 race and to see the Euro Chic eating BBQ ribs with their hands.

  42. Brett Cammack Says:

    Nick,

    I see hybrids just fine. I also see the suitability the pure EV. As someone once said, “The EV will never succeed because it only meets the needs of 80% of the driving public 80% of the time.” I consider that to be a fairly accurate representation, presented with a dose of sarcasm.

    As to my financial situation, my wife has been unemployed for over a year now and I was laid off the end of January with damned few prospects in sight. We have a 2006 Outlander LS that will be paid off in less than two years (if we can keep up the payments) and a 20 year old Eclipse GS that has front-end sheet metal damage. One mortgage in default and I move heaven and earth every month to pay the other and keep it current.

    I hope to turn things around sometime soon and when we get back on our feet again, I’ll be looking to replace that old Eclipse. I’d love an EV like the Leaf, or, ideally, an Aptera, but I’ll believe those when I see them.

    When times were good, I drove about sixty miles a day to/from work, and the past few years when times were so-so, I drove around 15 miles a day to/from work here in Daytona.

    Why do I need a hybrid? I don’t drive far enough to require the extra cost and complexity. Besides, I HAVE THE OUTLANDER that I can take if I need to drive a distance or haul something.

    I don’t think I’m singularly unique in this country (regardless of what my wife might say, and I still haven’t figured out if that’s a good thing or not…) with regard to my daily vehicle requirements.

    The problem with EVs is the problem with your perception of them as some sort of non-serious frippery simply because you can’t use one as your only vehicle and hop in it for a 300 mile run to grandma’s at Thanksgiving.

    My point is that once real, state-of-art EVs are in the hands of John Q. Public and some time has passed for people to discover that there are no sacrifices involved with their use, just some adjustments, then the narrative will change and they will gain broader adoption as a result.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    G.A.Branigan Says:
    May 27th, 2010 at 10:33 am

    “@ Kit:I think you meant Lithium ION,not LiPo’s.I run all LiPos on my rc helis and you know how dangerous they can be when charging.”

    I fly rc (fixed wing) but am old fashioned. I still use glow engines, except for a small electric for which I use nickel metal hydride batteries. I could quadruple the run time of the electric by using LiPo’s, though.

  44. Andrew Charles Says:

    A compact or subcompact for marketing purposes is not necessarily a compact or subcompact according to the EPA. The original Infiniti M series I think was officially a subcompact according to the EPA size classification. Not only are many new “subcompacts” as large as some older compacts externally, but many would also fit into the EPA’s compact class for internal space. Other than the EPA guides there are no hard-and-fast rules. According to VW the A6 is still a C-segment sedan, the Passat is still in the B-segment and the Golf is still in the A-segment.