BY: RICK WALKER
This year's Ottawa Gatineau International Auto Show will feature a record number of electric, and Plug-In-Hybrid-Electric-Vehicles. ( PHEV ).
"It's a reflection of changes in the automotive marketplace," said Auto Show organizer Peter Ginsberg. "More major automakers are now manufacturing electric vehicles and hybrids than ever. It's an exciting time".
TESLA will be represented at the Ottawa Gatineau International Auto Show with several vehicles on display, but the real news in the newest offerings from other companies like BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Chevrolet, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia, Nissan, Volkswagen and Volvo.
Nissan has the best selling electric car in the world with the Leaf. General motors has take a giant leap forward with the new BOLT all electric vehicle, and other main stream companies are also now into electric vehicles in a major way. In fact General Motors has made it clear they see an electric future, and Volkswagen executives have announced plans for a major electric vehicle offensive with their objective being the production of 100,000 EV's in 2020, and one million electric vehicles world-wide by 2025.
The electric vehicle wave is building in large part because of government incentives to both manufacturers and consumers. Critics of electric cars point out that only 3% or less of the cars on the road are currently electric and point to shortcomings in technology as evidence that gasoline powered cars will be with us for a long time to come. However the government programs which also include charging stations in some places in Ontario where electricity is "free" are generating a wave of demand for electric vehicles, and the government stimulus in Canada and abroad has resulted in a big expansion in the selection of electric vehicles now being offered to consumers.
The technology is improving at a rapid rate as well. Just a few years ago manufacturers were struggling to produce affordable electric cars with a range approaching 100 kilometers. This year you will see many electric cars that are capable of travelling 385-kilometers on a single charge, and even with that kind of range the vehicles are in the "affordable" range and are even more attractive to consumers in some cases because of government incentives to buy. Incentives and rebates vary by province.
Electrics offer a wide range of benefits including instant power and torque. Electric cars generally accelerate much faster than gasoline powered cars. In Ontario where a large percentage of electricity for the power grid comes from hydro-electric generation, and nuclear power officials with "Plug N Drive" the group that is charged with the task of promoting electric vehicles, say choosing to go with an all electric car, can reduce a driver's carbon footprint by as much as 90-percent.
There is obviously still a long way to go before electric vehicles are fully accepted by the motoring public, but there is no question the electric-vehicle segment has take a huge leap forward over the past year, Look for electrics on all levels of the Shaw Centre in downtown Ottawa during the Auto Show March 21st to 24th.
More information about the auto show is available at www.autoshowottawa.com