• Jan 9, 2011
Most automakers have displayed at least an inkling of interest in plug-in vehicles. Some, like Nissan, Tesla and General Motors, have already launched their first new models. Others, such as Toyota, Hyundai and Fiat, have announced plans to debut a battery-powered auto soon. Earlier this month, Automotive News (sub. req.) detailed ten automotive industry leaders that strongly support advanced technology vehicles. A rundown of that list looks something like this:
  • Akio Toyoda: Toyota's CEO shows an affinity for all types of electric-drive vehicles.
  • Carlos Ghosn: Nissan-Renault CEO is devoted to dominating the battery-powered vehicle segment.
  • Chung Mong-Koo: Hyundai's chairman is determined to make the automaker a technological leader.
  • Elon Musk: Tesla's CEO has reached out to automakers to expand the use of its electric-drive components.
  • Sergio Marchionne: Chrysler-Fiat CEO looks to revamp vehicles, improve fuel efficiency and launch electric autos.
  • Ferdinand Piech: Volkswagen's chairman strives to turn VW into the world's largest automaker. VW-Audi have numerous plug-in vehicles in the works.
  • Joel Ewanick: GM's CMO aims to expand the market for the automaker's plug-vehicles, which include the Volt and Opel Ampera.
  • Ed Whitacre: GM's former CEO played an influential role in launching the Volt.
  • Frank Stronach: Former head of Magna who is credited with creating the supplier's E-Car Systems division.
  • Jeffrey Immelt: General Electric's CEO who recently announced the company's intent to purchase 25,000 plug-in vehicles.
We couldn't help but notice that electric drive is now pretty much synonymous with being at the forefront. The auto industry seems to agree on this one thing, at least.

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]


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  • 14 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      and Honda?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I love my Honda Fit but I have been consistently disappointed with Honda's hybrid IMA systems. I hope their EV catchup plans turn out to be as revolutionary as the current Fits magic seats! If so, it will be my next vehicle.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Honda is busy playing catch-up, they rolled out some ho-hum concepts before getting some enthusiasm for their planned Fit EV and their somewhat vague PHEV plans. It still looks like they'll be a bit late to market, though.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't agree with the naming of Whitacre. The Volt program was started years before under Wagoner, but really it was the brainchild of Bob Lutz, love or hate him.

      Piech is another story, his support or lack thereof for electric and plug-in cars depends pretty much on the political climate and who he talks to. In any case VAG hasn't shown any commitment to alternative drivetrains beyond "everybody else is doing it, so we'll go along".
      • 4 Years Ago
      Neat....will people actually pure EV's....not in mass. Profits are going to be near zero if anything at all on pure EV products for another 10+ years. Don't expect companies to build products that people will not buy just because it makes you feel good inside or feel "Green". MONEY talks....
      • 4 Years Ago
      No mention of Henrik Fisker?

      He might be a small fish in a big pond - but he's making a pretty big leap of faith that PHEVs will be successful.
      • 4 Years Ago
      For the record according to their statements Nissan intend to lead in pure electric cars, and are agnostic on using batteries or fuel cells as they become available.
      They intend to be no more than part of the pack with hybrids, again according to their statements.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Every automaker worth their salt is pursuing a bevy of "advanced technologies".

        While some partisan EV supporters might not appreciate it, there will be markets for a variety of EV solutions.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "We couldn't help but notice that electric drive is now pretty much synonymous with being at the forefront."

      Absolutely. So much so, GM tries to brand their Volt hybrid an electric car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The only ones who have truly bet on EVs: Carlos Ghosn & Elon Musk. All the others have only made speeches, prototypes and/or announced their intention to "dominate" or something. Not impressed.

      Most of them are waiting to see how the public adopts EVs to start really getting into it. Toyota, Ford and Audi/VW all have the capacity to create great looking competitive EVs, but there is no leadership to push them.

      Talk is cheap. Money talk, bullshit walks, etc.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah... Those phonies at GM are making pretend electric vehicles. So what's the biggie about 40 mile all electric range?? What if I want to drive 50 freakin miles dude???

        Nissan has the real idea with a real EV. And soon as they straighten out the few nagging bugs and start shipping actual cars to people who've paid deposits - in 8 months or so (according to Nissan) we'll see a real electric vehicle on the road!

        http://www.allcarselectric.com/blog/1052832_will-2011-nissan-leaf-sales-suffer-due-to-delayed-roll-out

        Money talk bulsh!t walk etc...



        • 4 Years Ago
        Good point, Ford has announced a EV, and isn't even mentioned.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Benefit's of not sending Massive Amounts of Currency to Foreign Oil finally dawning on these countries?

      Unlike the US, Foreign Governments CONTROL Capitalism for the benefit of the Host Country.

      - Cleaner environment.
      - Cheaper transportation, that has multi-source energy: Coal, Wind, Solar. Means the Arabs can't shut down your economy.
      - You are not at the mercy of oil speculators.
      - You can Self-Fuel with Solar.
      - A small Global Warming benefit.

      Because electric utilities will invest in infrastructure improvements, going Electric will create More US Jobs. Then, the Multiplier Effect kicks in, creating a ripple of more US jobs.

      We need to convert to EV's ASAP, it's the best thing for a nations economy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now, as for this article - nice work. It is good to position the corporate leaders in the electrification of transport in the eyes of the public.

      It was Tesla that started it all by daring to use off the shelf Li-ion batteries made to power computers - for a monster automotive package. They have led the way in battery technology. This pissed off Bob Lutz who is used to leading in the muscle car category and Bob was likely ticked to hear a Silicon Valley startup was building a 0-60 in 3.7 seconds wicked production car. So he put the Volt team together for an E-REV.

      These guys are VERY important to the successful transition from imported foreign oil that costs Americans $450 BILLION ANNUALLY - to domestic, increasingly sustainable electric energy.

      Thanks Eric L and Autoblog G for plugging these guys who are helping to make the future better.
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