Electric Vehicles a big focus for NAIAS

One of the biggest trends of the North American International Auto Show 2011 is Electric Vehicles. Almost every auto manufacturer has some kind of electric vehicle in their range....

One of the biggest trends of the North American International Auto Show 2011 is Electric Vehicles. Almost every auto manufacturer has some kind of electric vehicle in their range. Some are further down the development path than others, with Volks Wagon and Honda, both showing off a concept electric cars, while Ford’s Focus Electric will ship later this year. Also on display was Tesla’s Roadster S model which is already shipping.  Even the luxury brands are getting in on the act with Mercedes Benz and Lexus both showing off electric hybrid offerings.

It seems some manufacturers are nervous about jumping both feet into the EV game and are offering hybrid electrics as well as fully electric models. While traditional hybrids like a Toyota Prius used a combination of hydrogen and petrol engines, hybrid electric engines use a small traditional petrol engine to power a generator that charges the electric batteries. With EV distance being a major consumer concern, this is a way auto-makers transition between the two technologies.

Its clear that the automotive industry has a very electric future and hybrids are simply a stop-gap until the battery technology can fully service consumers demands. Similar to hybrid hard drives which provide the some of the speed of SSD without the cost. In that market SSD is clearly the future, we’re all just waiting for them to be affordable.

This puts consumers in a strange position, should they invest now into technology that’s ultimately dead before it begins ? Or should they wait a couple of years and get a car of the future ? Either way, electric vehicles are here to stay.

Earlier today press were invited to attend the Ford Press Conference regarding their upcoming offerings. As we know from last week’s CES news, Ford are releasing the 2012 Focus Electric. Early this morning (US time) Ford announced the C-max.

Ford NAIAS Press Conference Photos

More photos from the North American International Auto Show

It was interesting to see Kinect on show in a couple booths, both Ford and Chevy.

Kinect at NAIASKinect at NAIAS

The Ford implementation was a virtically mounted Kinect that detected when a person was within range (quite close), then that person was green screened and placed on a video background. As you can see from the photos, I was placed in front of a waterfall. This is a shows the diversity of Kinect for new and exciting applications in digital signage and interactive displays.

techAU is attending the North American International Auto Show as a guest of Ford Motor Company, covering flights and accommodation. My opinions posted here are my own.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
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