Now we have Ferrari on board of our Green Mobility Revolution. Crucial thing and catalyst for our Next Big Thing to take off will be understanding that Electric Cars and Hybrids are not plastic toys any more made in the back yard. All Major producers have announced Electric Cars and Hybrid models, once they will be on the roads by the end of this year investors will realise the magnitude of this coming tectonic shift.
"BERLIN, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- The next resource conflict could be about minerals and rare earth elements needed to fuel the green economy, as China, which supplies most of the minerals, is considering limiting exports."
The Globe and Mail:
The Green Gap
The Green Gap
GENEVA — Published on Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2010 1:09
PM EST Last updated on Thursday, Mar. 11, 2010 3:35AM EST
The latest sign that the car business is undergoing some sort of tectonic shift: Ferrari wants to offer hybrid versions across its entire lineup within the next three to four years.
That's from the Italian auto maker's chairman Luca di Montezemolo at the 2010 Geneva auto show. “It is not every day you see a green Ferrari,” said Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, the chairman of Fiat and Ferrari, as he introduced a 599 GTB Fiorano hybrid coupe with a 6.0-litre V-12 engine.
This Ferrari has a regenerative braking system, hybrid battery pack and electric motors. Ferrari calls the hybrid powertrain Hykers – HY for hybrid, KERS for Kinetic Energy Recuperation System. Racing fans will know Ferrari used KERS during the 2009 Formula One racing season.
Ferrari says the system could raise city fuel economy by almost 50 per cent. The plan is to make Hykers an option on every model in the Ferrari lineup. “This is a first step of a long project and we want within three years, maximum four, to have a hybrid Ferrari car ready for every single product of our range,” Montezemolo told reporters.
Of course, what was good for the Italians, was even better for the Germans. Porsche showed a voluptuous 918 Spyder hybrid concept car, a ready-for-market Cayenne hybrid sport-utility vehicle (SUV), and a 911 GT3 R Hybrid with an electrical flywheel-generator.
Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz said its F 800 Style, a seductive-looking design study, could accommodate hydrogen fuel cells or hybrid power systems if necessary. The Mercedes was interesting and suggests a future design direction for the brand.
Audi, too, was in on the hybrid act with what looked to be a nearly production-ready hybrid version of its A8 flagship sedan. For pure electrics, Audi unwrapped its A1 E-tron electric car concept that could be in limited production by 2012.
Still, the other bookend to this story comes from Tata Motors, the Indian vehicle maker that owns Britain's Jaguar and Land Rover. Tata plans to bring an electric version of the world's cheapest car, the Nano, to Europe in three years. The Nano starts at about $2,500 (U.S.) in India.
Ravi Kant, Tata Motors vice-chairman, said the final production version of the electric Nano unveiled at the Geneva auto show will be also reasonably priced. The United Kingdom and Scandinavia will first get the electric Nano. But it's reasonable to expect Tata to push the electric Nano into North America; Tata has already said a North Americanized Nano with a conventional gasoline motor is coming to the United States, though not likely Canada any time soon.
The point of it all is very simple and straightforward: the spotlight at this year's Geneva show was on zero-emission technology. From Ferrari to Tata, the green theme was on display everywhere.
But hybrid sales are not booming in any part of the world. In Canada, they fell significantly last year. So much of the hybrid hype ring a tad hollow.
The problem with hybrids, of course, is that they are very expensive. Dual powertrains may not entirely double the cost of a hybrid over single-engine cars, but hybrids are still very costly. Especially in light of today's gasoline and diesel engines, the ones getting more and more efficient.
With Geneva's Palexpo halls ringing with promises of 35 per cent fuel economy gains, reporters were left scratching their heads, wondering if those claims would show up in the real world. If not, the question is, will consumers pay several thousand dollars extra for a 5 to 10 per cent fuel economy gain? The answer is probably not. So hybrids surely will only take off when the costs come down.
Hard questions aside, the Geneva show is this year's first Europe-wide chance for the entire industry to showcase its latest products. Europe's second big show of the year comes in the fall in Paris, which shares the spotlight in alternate years with Germany's Frankfurt show.
The industry used the spring to show off its green credentials. Aside from the newly converted hybrid and electric vehicle proponents such as Ferrari and Porsche, the usual suspects were there, of course.
Nissan showed its Leaf electric car that is the product of billions invested in zero-emissions vehicles with its alliance partner, Renault of France. The Leaf will go on sale in Europe and the United States late this year, followed by Canada by the middle of 2011.
Pure electrics aside, however, it was the abundance of gasoline-electric hybrids at Geneva that really was the shocker. Hybrids have often been the butt of jokes at past European auto shows; Europe has relied on diesel engines to squeeze out fuel economy gains, rather than hybrids.
But this year hybrids were centre stage in Geneva – they leapt from concept to reality. Cases in point: hybrid versions of Porsche's Cayenne, the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A8 were all prominent, to name three among many. Word on the show floor boiled down to this: hybrids are quickly moving from the fringes of the industry to mainstream.
The full hybrid A8 is part of Audi's strategy to bypass mild hybrids en route to full-electric vehicles. CEO Rupert Stadler says there are more synergies between full hybrids and future electric drivetrains than between mild hybrids and electric cars.
Stadler was taking direct aim at the A8 rivals in the big luxury saloon segment. Both Mercedes-Benz and BMW are selling so-called mild hybrid versions of their flagship sedans, the S-Class and the 7-Series.
Even with hybrid mania in full swing, smaller cars were in focus at Geneva. Small cars and Europe go hand-in-glove, of course. The interesting piece is that we who live in North America are going to start seeing more and more of them shipped over the pond from Europe.
The Nissan Juke subcompact crossover is a perfect example. It had its global debut in Geneva and will go on sale in Canada this fall. Then there was Fiat's Alfa Romeo brand. It unveiled a key model for its revival, the Giulietta that replaces the 147.
We're not likely to see the actual Giulietta in Canada, but we will see the platform underneath. Fiat's global compact platform, however, will be wearing Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep top hats in 2012-2013. This is part of the revival plan for the Chrysler Group now controlled by Italy's Fiat.
For the most part, Geneva was entertaining, filled with fanciful images combining what will be and what might be for sale very soon. But there was an elephant in the convention hall: Toyota.
Geneva was Toyota's first major car show since its recall issues hit the news and grabbed the attention of government officials. Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda skipped Geneva, though a vice-chairman was there to read a statement to reporters, apologizing for service failures and promising to re-evaluate the company's processes.
It was a startling admission of failing amid all the green-car promises. And perhaps it was a different sign that the auto industry is undergoing some sort of tectonic shift. "