Plug-In Electric Vehicle Insight From The 2014 New York Auto Show

3 years ago by Eric Loveday 21

2015 BMW i8

2015 BMW i8 in New York

Nissan LEAF Makes An Appearance In "The Depths" Of The New York Auto Show

Nissan LEAF Makes An Appearance In “The Depths” Of The New York Auto Show

Looking back at the 2014 New York Auto Show, our take is that it was a disappointing showing for plug-in vehicles, but others such as James Bell, head of consumer affairs at General Motors and Matt Miller, auto industry reporter for Bloomberg News, see the show in a different light.

James Bell of General Motors stated:

“I think the mistake that many people in the industry and in the media maybe thought was that — when the Nissan LEAF came out or the Chevrolet Volt — was that suddenly people would drop their gasoline cars and rush for them. No, it’s not that way.  This is going to be a slow evolution, but it’s also a Pandora’s box moment. It’s not going to go back in. Electrified vehicles are the way to meet those emissions in the future.”

Matt Miller of Bloomberg News commented:

“Really the key for the future, I think, is hybrid technology, so rather than having a car like a Tesla, completely electric-powered, you have a car like the BMW i3 or i8, which has a small gasoline motor to help charge the battery when it’s needed and electric motors to drive.  That’s got to be the future.”

Both comments were made on the New York Auto Show floor and both remarks suggest that, despite a relatively lackluster showing for plug-in vehicles, the discussion still often center on the fact that plug-ins are the future.

Source: VOA News

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21 responses to "Plug-In Electric Vehicle Insight From The 2014 New York Auto Show"

  1. David Murray says:

    I’m still disappointed there was no Focus Energi at the NY auto show. I’m beginning to wonder if Ford is really going to release that vehicle or not.

  2. Brian says:

    I think the fact that pretty much every automaker at the show had a plug-in of some sort was telling in itself. Sure, nobody released grand plans to produce the next ground-breaking EV, but there they were, alongside the rest of their lineup. I agree with the sentiment of James Bell. It may be a slow uptake at first, but EVs are here, and there is no turning back.

  3. Jeff D says:

    a small gasoline motor to help charge the battery when it’s needed and electric motors to drive. That’s got to be the future.
    I disagree with this Matt Miller comment. Plugin hybrids are the now, not the future. BEVs are the now and the future.

    1. Mint says:

      The way I see it, we can make $1500 range extenders today if there was demand (Tata motors made a whole 38hp car for $2500).

      So in order for a 200-mile EV to compete with a 80-mile EV with a range extender, not only will consumers have to accept pure EVs (less convenient than gas on road trips), but batteries would have to cost $50/kWh for the cars to have equal price.

      If BEVs are indeed the future, it’ll be the distant future.

      1. David Murray says:

        I have wondered about what a range extender should cost. I mean, if you go into a hardware store and buy a generator you’ll find that they cost thousands of dollars for a good one, and even that one would not be able to produce enough power to drive an EV down the highway. (presumably you need around 30 to 40 KW)

        A $1,500 generator is lucky if it can charge an EV at full L2 power.

        I realize it is a different market and probably different economies of scale. That’s why I was surprised BMW would offer the REX for $3,800. I think that’s a reasonable amount to pay.

        1. Johnny GT says:

          My Volt, at highway speeds (65+) into a headwind only uses about 22kW. At slightly slower speeds(~55), with no wind, it’s around 14-16kW

          1. Mikem says:

            Interesting.
            This is the first time I’ve seen a highway consumption number based on actual observation.
            Thank you for your posting GT!

        2. pjwood says:

          You can’t compare a retail generator, to an ICE, by markup.

      2. DeeAgeaux says:

        Batteries need to come down to $100-$110 per kWh to match ICE powertrains.

        Battery prices are steadily coming down.

        In order to meet CAFE and European emission standards ICE powertrain’s cost is constantly inching upward.

        My guess is they intersect in about 10 years.

        1. Spec9 says:

          No, they really don’t have to be that cheap.

      3. vadik_veselovsky says:

        Compare total cost of ownership not vehicle price.

        BEVs are competitive now.

    2. Sublime says:

      It’s a matter of how far out you define “now” and “future”. 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? The capabilities of 60kW Model S at $25k would mark the end of gasoline/hybrids. The question is, when does that happen?
      I’m hopeful about battery tech, but the reality is its been a slow march in improvement and you can’t put a time table on innovation.

    3. Tesla Model S says:

      cant wait till gas becomes scarce!!!!

  4. QCO says:

    I think both comments have merit….

    Bell is right about drivetrain electrification in some form or another being here to stay this time. The benefits are simply too compelling, as they were for locomotives and ships, which never looked backed after electrification. But he is also right that it will take a long time to evolve given the generally conservative car buying public, which are rightly suspicious of new technology until the successful track record emerges.

    Unfortunately Miller also makes a valid point about hybrid dominance for some time, mainly because battery development is still short of providing a direct replacement in terms of range, refill time, and potentially durability. Even with the benefits of efficient electric drive, locomotive and ships generally rely on an ICE as the prime power source.

    Hybrids and plug-in hybrids will dominate for a long time, especially for the mainstream. But the good news is that BEVs are out of the closet, here to stay, and will grow market share over time, especially where the applications make most sense (urban, delivery, ….). That’s a pretty good outcome in a post EV-1 world!

    1. Tesla Model S says:

      *bevs will do okay as long as gas is still around

    2. TomArt says:

      I’d like to see more hybrid designs due to their efficiency, particularly the part about not idling.

      I would highly approve of a Federal law that would require every vehicle manufactured/imported on or after a certain date to have start/stop tech, we’d save $billion$ per year, as a nation, in personal business and gov’t savings.

      Hybrids would be much better because they can operate at low speeds with the ICE off, creeping through heavy traffic and cruising down residential and inner-city streets, where start/stop tech only works when the vehicle is stationary.

      1. TomArt says:

        Regardless, my next car will be a Tesla.

      2. Rick says:

        I wrote regulations for a living, and one of the main things I learned is that policy makers should set the goal, not pick the technology. I think the Feds are doing it the right way by setting efficiency goals (X mpg by Y date) rather thank saying you must use this or that technology. Governments do not do well went they try to pick a winning technology. If stop/start technology makes sense as part of the solution to meet the goal, manufacturers will use it. If some other technology is better (or is developed) manufacturers should be free to choose it rather than be tied to a specific technology.

        1. Rick says:

          And if I made as many spelling errors in my job as I just did in that comment, I would have been fired.

          1. Brian says:

            At least in your job, you had an edit button 😉

  5. Mike I says:

    There is one thing I’m sure of. Every car I buy for the rest of my life will be a plug-in. After having both solar PV and a plug-in car for whole year, I’m quite sure that plug-in cars are the best way forward.