Electric driving: Getting price down and increasing range Special
This article reports on automakers that are working to reduce the costs and increase the driving range of electric vehicles. Additionally, it focuses on four exciting future electric vehicles.
My recent automotive articles have confirmed that automakers are making progress to increase the gas mileage of their vehicles. Many small and even mid-size vehicles are achieving 35-40 mpg on the highway. At the same time, the power output of these vehicles has also increased.
This is good news, however, how are the automakers doing with driving the costs of electric vehicles down and getting the driving range up?
Mercedes is working on compressing hydrogen to over 10,000 pounds per square inch. This will enable more fuel to be stored in its electric vehicles. Dr. Herbert Kohler, Daimler’s vice president of future mobility, says that that the company’s upcoming electric vehicles could have a driving range of over 600 miles. Furthermore, the cost of building a fuel cell (Mercedes is focusing on this technology) has dropped 30 percent in the last three years and 80 percent in the last 10 years.
Meanwhile, Toyota is hoping to sell a hydrogen-powered sedan for $50,000. Although it is still expensive, this is less than one-half what the current FCHV-adv prototype of the vehicle costs.
Honda’s manager of fuel-cell vehicle sales, Steve Ellis, was quoted in Car and Driver saying, “We might end up with a luxury-like price point, and the market will respond to that, while at the same time, we ramp up the volume.”
Real short-term cost reduction will happen from volume production. At present, fuel cells do not have a parts-supply chain required for volume production. Thus, automakers are hoping that they can install fuel-cells in high-end vehicles for early adopters of the technology. Then a supply chain would start to form and costs will be reduced.
In the future, look for electric cars based on the Mercedes-Benz F125
, the Toyota FCHV
and the Honda FCX Clarity
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money.” His automotive site: www.drivethebestbook.com
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