US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit’s Electric Avenue

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Hardly any traffic on Detroit‘s Electric Avenue

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-hardly

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Much of Detroit’s Electric Avenue 2010 looks like something out of a giant toy store. This tricycle is called ZAP. His rear wheel is more of a roller than a tire.

Source: UP

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-detroit

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Also the MAV (Multi Amphibious Vehicle) from the South Korean manufacturer CT&T is anything but commonplace.

Source: UP

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-hardly

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US manufacturer Saba shows the Carbon Zero e-sports car.

Source: UP

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-traffic

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Idea of ​​a design college: the futuristic Ev Wave II glider.

Source: UP

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-hardly

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The US company Commuter Cars has so far sold ten copies of their vehicle called Tango, one of them to George Clooney.

Source: Detroit Auto Show

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-hardly

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The only adult car on Electric Avenue is Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV. It even has four seats, quite conventionally.

Source: Detroit Auto Show

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-hardly

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The Nissan Leaf with five seats is even more family-friendly.

Source: Detroit Auto Show

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-detroit

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From CT&On the other hand, there are also mobiles that are more reminiscent of mobile kiosks.

Source: Detroit Auto Show

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-show

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Source: Detroit Auto Show

US Auto Show: Hardly any traffic on Detroit's Electric Avenue-show

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Little rush: queuing is not the order of the day in Detroit’s new exhibition area.

Source: Detroit Auto Show

One of the spectacular world premieres at the current US auto show was not supposed to be a car, but “Electric Avenue" be: A kind of theme park with over twenty electric cars to touch and test drive. But Detroit‘s Elektroland has more of the character of a fairly uneventful playground.

F.For Rick Woodbury, the place on "Electric Avenue" – at the very back in the last corner of the Detroit Motor Show, next to Dow Chemicals – is pure paradise. Probably never before has the President of Commuter Cars and his single-lane carbon construction with integrated cage called Tango received so much attention as it does here: His vehicle looks like two Mack trucks have gripped it from the sides – 99 centimeters wide, 2.57 meters long, two seats in a row, 210 km / h fast, and the sprint to almost 100 km / h should be possible in around four seconds.

Admittedly: Commuter Cars can only build one car per month, has only sold ten so far and, with a starting price of 150,000 dollars and a range of 200 kilometers (more powerful batteries cost more), is not exactly a pioneer for mass e-motorization. But at least Woodbury is one of the few manufacturers of everyday pure electric cars at the fair whose vehicles are already for sale.

It is one step further than the Chinese manufacturer Build Your Dreams (BYD) at the entrance to Electric Avenue. The company, founded by Wang Chuanfu in 1995, is now the world’s second largest manufacturer of lithium-ion batteries for mobile phones and, according to its own statements, is preparing to become the market leader in automobiles as well: In five years, BYD aims to be number 1 in China , In 2025 even on the globe. “That means eight to nine million vehicles per year, around 30 percent of them as hybrids and electric cars", specifies BYD export manager Henry Li.

BYD wants to achieve this on the one hand with the hybrid model F3DM, on the other hand the pure Stromer e6, which has been announced for some time, should do it. “He’ll come in the spring", Li assures, "The price has not yet been determined." In order to keep costs low, the Li-Io batteries preferred by other manufacturers should not be used, but cells on lithium-ion iron phosphate. Advantage: less flammable and cheaper to manufacture. Disadvantage: "They can only take up 80 percent of the energy of a Li-Io battery of the same size, so we have to use more cells for the same range," says Li. That means: the car is heavier and offers less space for the passengers.

At just under 2.3 tonnes, the high-legged, 4.5-meter-long five-seater is a real chunk, even if the independent design is definitely pleasing. BYD promises a range of 330 kilometers, which would be above average, the top speed of 140 km / h is acceptable.

A seat test shows where the Chinese urgently need to top up: the front foot space is severely limited because of the batteries. At the back it is so uneven that even a thick carpet cannot hide the shortcoming. That plastic can do everything is not surprising, but the switches and buttons wobble when you look at them and one can rightly doubt whether they will survive longer than a year.

In view of this, the question that arises as to whether the cars will eventually come from Europe and the technology from China is avoided by Li: “With e-cars there is a lot of room for cooperation, because this is a completely new market. You need a lot of partnerships in different markets. ”For example, BYD is currently negotiating with Volkswagen on batteries.

When looking for highlights on the 3600 square meter Electric Avenue, we stumble across the South Korean manufacturer CT&T (by its own account the world’s largest manufacturer of e-cars), which presents at least 24 e-cars. The majority, however, consists of slow golf karts and rolling kiosks, between which a purely electric concept sports car is mixed.

As if freshly fled from comics, ideas from various universities and small manufacturers appear like the Saba (once an English Strathcarron, later called Javan, now its four-cylinder engine in America and waiting for an electric motor), the 2SSIC Electric Coupe (a South African Brock Coupe kit), the futuristic EVII Wave glider or the three-wheeled, three-seater ZAP from California, the single rear wheel of which is wider than a ten-pin socket. On the other hand, the Nissan Mixim, a prototype for the Internet generation, with an electric motor for each axle, is more playful.

And then we discover two real alternatives: Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, the only grown-up e-car with four seats, 64 hp, 135 km / h top speed and 130 km range and already sold 1,500 times, as well as the five-seater Leaf, the end this year Nissan is to become the first mass-produced electric car (160 kilometers range, 145 km / h top speed).

However, the electrifying effect of the E-Avenue has yet to develop so that it will also be supported by other major manufacturers in the future. Audi and BMW, for example, preferred to present E-Tron and Concept ActivE at their domestic exhibition stands. The builders of the American Tesla Roadster (a pure sports car with a range of 480 kilometers, 288 PS, around 200 sold) positioned themselves next to the related Lotus stand, the manufacturers of the Norwegian Think City (115 km / h, 160 km range, 2+ 2-seater, 40 hp) saved the entire exhibition stand: They prefer to show the Stromer to potential customers in the basement at the “EcoXperience”, where visitors can try out some hybrid and e-models on an indoor test track.

There, around 20 cars – from the Smart to the Mercedes B-Class F-Cell to the Chevy Tahoe Hybrid – try to curve around artificial shredded mounds of shredded material at walking pace at the same time. Not easy with a distance of around 150 meters, which is too short to entice a hybrid to start its internal combustion engine. And although the BYD e6 was also registered as a test vehicle, even marketing professional Li cannot say why none of his cars appear there.

The tango’s presence is all the more pleasing: thanks to its ridiculous width, it dances easily through the masses of tin. However, due to the lack of speed, he cannot prove that he can take corners quickly on all four wheels. But Rick Woodbury assures that the largest part of the weight of 1364 kilos is due to reasons of center of gravity near the car floor.

After all, he was able to convince one of the most prominent Hollywood greats: the owner of Tango number 1 is George Clooney.

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