Some new electric-vehicle manufacturers pulled out the stops to get the attention of reporters and auto insiders during the preview days of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week, including trapeze artists performing death-defying acrobatics high above the Cobo Hall convention floor, and former General Motors vice president Bob Lutz talking to a hologram of Thomas Edison.
With electric vehicles still a small sector of the global vehicle market--even hologram Edison acknowledged “the transition will still take some time”--companies with all-electric offerings recognize the importance of competing for attention, according to a report in the Midwest Energy News.
“Customers have to know you exist,” said Lauren Flanagan, executive chair of another Current Motor, an electric motorcycle company based in Ann Arbor, a startup that counts Lutz among its supporters and investors. “I think what’s clear is the market’s real. We know we’re going to cross the chasm on these barriers and then we’ll see mainstream adoption,” she said. “So, you don’t want to be left behind without a product.”
VIA Motors, another startup supported by Lutz, can back up its hoopla with wheels on the ground, after signing agreements to supply its electric SUVs to Verizon and Pacific Gas and Electric.
VIA Motors President Alan Perriton said that, given the two companies combined have 30,000 vehicles on the road, they could “single-handedly kick-start the electric vehicle revolution all by themselves.”
VIA takes GM base trucks, like the Chevy Silverado, and outfits them with electric drive trains, using electric motors from Remy and advanced lithium-ion batteries from A123 Systems, according to Ward’s Automotive. Its latest addition includes a plug-in SUV that has a 40-mile range in all-electric mode and another 400 miles of range on its V-6 engine, similar to the Chevy Volt.