2011 will be the year of Electric Avenue reality

2010 just may have been the year that will live in automotive infamy, as Electric Avenue at NAIAS defined the electrification of the automobile outside of just concept cars, and this set the destiny in place. 2011 NAIAS, though, will define the realities of the EV.

For certain we will see the continuation of technical innovations like Ford’s EcoBoost engines that have the power of a V8 in a 6 cylinder, but the gas mileage of a 4 cylinder. Moreover, we will continue to see the mainstream deliveries of a plethora of plug-in hybrid vehicles, like Chevy Volts, Nissan Leafs and Fisker Karmas. Even the Toyota Prius will follow suit with its own version of a plug-in.

Last year, Reuters noted that Silicon Valley would especially participate this time around. They were right as electric sports car maker, Tesla Motors, went public. That meant selling stock on the open market for cash would support the company’s drive toward full production; and its collaboration with Toyota makes that an even better bet.

For the second time, the NAIAS in Detroit will display an electric alley, where full EVs and Hybrids will have a place to showcase the technology. Some will migrate toward their brand’s display, though, as EVs and hybrids have become more mainstream. and that means the electrification is becoming mainstream and more mature.

Even Buick will be showing its new eAssist™ technology, whereby a small lithium-ion battery supports the electrical system whenever the engine shuts down or coasts to save on fuel

Point is, so much EV birthing went on in 2010 that even utility companies and product companies like GE have a new inroad to automotive. Will the automobile become a new and growing drain on the grid’s electron capabilities? Consider that Automotive News reported last year how Southern California Edison's Electric Vehicle Test Center was helping its utility plants brace for impact.

How much impact? Good question. Probably nothing to cause a major brownout, at least not yet; but the trend seems clear. The electrification of the automobile will definitely add to the multiple burdens of the power grid eventually.

Furthermore, the thought that people will only charge their electric vehicles at night has to be the most naïve and short-sighted view of 2010. Hopefully, 2011 will likely clear that issue up, and will drive the need for faster charging.

Fact is, Americans prefer to live according to their own rules and on their own timelines, and will not be told when they have to recharge.

Yes, the 2011 NAIAS in Detroit will show more energy saving tech than ever before. The internal combustion engine (ICE) will not go away either.

Still, the electrification of the automobile is indeed real. Now if the auto industry can just make them less expensive, and bring about faster charging.

Additional Reading:
Brookhaven Lab phase discovery may convert waste heat to electricity
Fuel Cell & Hydrogen Energy 2011 to be largest energy conference in 22 years
Auto industry turning more to outside research to fulfill technology needs

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