The New Year brought high expectations for the North American International Auto Show, and those expectations were exceeded.
The first day marked a 3.5 percent rise over the 2010 opening. Electricity literally flowed through the Cobo Center Jan. 15 as the North American Auto Show’s first day of public showing took place. Almost half of every company’s display cars were electric.
Whether it was a hybrid or 100 percent electric, the quantity of electric cars was amazing. When one hears “electric car,” those little, tiny, square-shaped 40 mph cars probably come to mind. Not in this case. These were mean, fast machines. An observer would have no clue they were electric by their appearance and design. That is until taking a look under the hood, expecting to see a roaring engine and discovering a square battery.
Some may wonder if this electrical outbreak will compare to the adaptation of the gasoline pump. The charging units, which are meant to replenish the batteries of 100 percent electrical cars and plug-in hybrids were all over for Cobo Centers guests to check out. The displays offered a preview of how car companies will prepare their customers for the twenty-first century equivalent of the gasoline pump.
Detroit Edison Energy offered free charging stations to the first 2,500 plug in vehicle customers. After the 2,500th customer, the charging stations are not included with the purchase of the electric car – which some were not too happy about.
Ford is best known for its flawless smooth looking mustangs and big rig F-250s, but we may be seeing some new colors from Ford. The company took its commitment to electric vehicles very seriously, displaying plug-in and full hybrid versions of the C-Max. Ford also unveiled an electric Focus with mobile application. The company is even working on technology that will allow drivers to check how much of a charge an electric vehicle has with smart phone applications, where to charge the car, and even get advice how to drive it more efficiently.
While Ford’s electric transition stuck out the most, Toyota is studying the magnesium-sulfur battery as long-term alternate to lithium-ion. Toyota also revealed plans for an electric vehicle under the Scion brand.
The Chevy Volt was named the North American car of the year as it glistened at its showcase. True to its name, the Volt is also powered by electricity. Just plug it in to charge the battery, and most people can commute gas and tailpipe emissions-free for about $1.50 per day. A small and quiet gas generator creates electrical power to drive for up to 375 miles on battery and gas power.
V. Tyler Post and Mark M. Holden