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EVs Move Downmarket at Detroit Auto Show

Chevrolet reveals concept for mid-range EV

1 min read
EVs Move Downmarket at Detroit Auto Show
Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors Co. (GM), speaks after unveiling the Chevrolet 2016 Bolt concept vehicle at the 2015 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015.
Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Carmakers are falling over themselves to announce full-electric, hybrid, and alternative-fuel vehicles at this year’s Detroit auto show. Chevrolet announced a concept for a mid-range fully electric car, the 200-mile-range Bolt, that might cost around $37,500 before tax credits in its 2017 lineup. The Bolt, designed by an Australian subsidiary of GM, will use a battery under development by LG that has a less block-like design than conventional battery packs and could offer carmakers more design flexibility.

The only current widely distributed electric car in that price range, the 84-mile range Nissan Leaf, will see “a lot of enhancements,” in time to compete with the Bolt, says Nissan-Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn. Other companies, such as BMW and Audi, are also commercializing full EVs, but the Chevrolet announcement is a sign that mainstream American carmakers are now stepping into the fray.

At the top of the market, the only electric contender is Tesla’s Model S, a $100,000 luxury car that sold about 33,000 units last year, the Detroit Free Press reports. Tesla also repeated its promise to add a new $35,000 electric car to its lineup, the Model 3, but the timing is unclear.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at the show that he welcomed competition from the Bolt and other new models: “I think that’s great. I hope to see a lot more of that.”

Honda and Toyota, meanwhile, continue to work on hydrogen fuel cell technology. Honda announced a 2016 model-year fuel cell vehicle with a 300-mile range. The carmakers also have full-electric and hybrid vehicles scheduled for the 2018 model year.

Yet recent lower gasoline prices may slow demand for alternative fuel vehicles. Auto Nation CEO Mike Jackson told the Wall Street Journal that for now, “The industry will lose money on [electric vehicles].”

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Chinese Joint Venture Will Begin Mass-Producing an Autonomous Electric Car

With the Robo-01, Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely aim for a fully self-driving car

4 min read
A black car sits against a white backdrop decorated with Chinese writing. The car’s doors are open, like a butterfly’s wings. Two charging stations are on the car’s left; two men stand on the right.

The Robo-01 autonomous electric car shows off its butterfly doors at a reveal to the media in Beijing, in June 2022.

Tingshu Wang/Reuters/Alamy

In October, a startup called Jidu Automotive, backed by Chinese AI giant Baidu and Chinese carmaker Geely, officially released an autonomous electric car, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition. In 2023, the car will go on sale.

At roughly US $55,000, the Robo-01 Lunar Edition is a limited edition, cobranded with China’s Lunar Exploration Project. It has two lidars, a 5-millimeter-wave radars, 12 ultrasonic sensors, and 12 high-definition cameras. It is the first vehicle to offer on-board, AI-assisted voice recognition, with voice response speeds within 700 milliseconds, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8295 chip.

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