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Who's driving the electric car market?

Wednesday, March 04, 2015 - 02:23

Electric cars have failed to take off in the way many automakers hoped. But as Ciara Lee reports from the International Motor Show in Geneva some still see huge potential for battery-powered vehicles.

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It's the super car of electric cars. The Quant F is aiming for style and environmental sustainability. On show at the Geneva carshow, it can accelerate from 0 to 60 in three seconds- as fast as a Maclaren. But it does it without any harmful emissions. Its total range is a 800 km - almost double the distance most current electric cars can cover without needing a charge. The Quant F uses electrolyte flow-cell technology - which creates power by passing an electric current between tanks of salt water Nunzio La Vecchia is Chief Technical Officer. (SOUNDBITE) NUNZIO LA VECCHIA, CHIEF TECHNICAL OFFICER, SAYING: "This is unique and very very special. And we build around this flowcell technology a nice supercar. A four seater, E sport limousine with a unique design. I think very sexy. Passion." But the electric car revolution seems to have lost its way somewhat. Concerns over battery life remain unresolved, and low oil prices have given regular cars a boost. Many also find the electric car option too costly. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS REPORTER CIARA LEE, SAYING: "It looks like something out of an action movie and can reach speeds of up to 300kmh. It won't cost a fortune in fuel, but can an electric car of this standard ever really be a realistic option for the mainstream consumer?" Renault-Nissan, Audi and BMW have all launched electric vehicles. And now there is talk of Apple also wanting a slice of the pie. Renault-Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says it's still a key area for investment. (SOUNDBITE) RENAULT-NISSAN CEO, CARLOS GHOSN, SAYING: "The pressure on emissions is going to be so strong and it is going to be practically impossible to meet these new limits without zero emission technology. So I continue to believe that this is going to be one of the basic technologies for the car industry future. So the more you develop it, the better you are going to be." The Quant F is just a prototype. But crash tests are being carried out in the U.S. and Germany. It may not be one of the big sellers of this year's show, but it is being hailed one of the most interesting.

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Who's driving the electric car market?

Wednesday, March 04, 2015 - 02:23