No Electric Fiat, But EV Football in Bologna
Besides allowing everyone to have a close look at all the new cars on each manufacturer's stand, auto shows often provide opportunities to test drive the latest models. That was the case at the recent Bologna motor show. There was an indoor track to test-drive EVs, and a outdoor one with many ups and downs to test off-road vehicles. Same as last year, but there was something new in the form of a game. It was a bit like the very first computer games, from the 1970s. Little Smart Electric Drive cars were driven forward, or in reverse, trying to hit the virtual ball shown on the screen. With football hugely popular in Italy, that game brought crowds looking at EVs. Let's hope Smart will do it again elsewhere.
The rest of the show was quite poor regarding electric mobility. Italy makes the world's best supercars, but it has yet to exhibit the same enthusiasm towards EVs. There were 463 electric cars sold in Italy from January to November—out of a total of 1,314,868 new cars.
It should change in the future, but as of today, selling pizzas is a much larger business than selling electric cars in Italy. This is where we'll take a pause to say how commendable Nissan's work is. In every motor show in Europe, Nissan is the company that tells the people that the electric car works. Nobody else but Nissan. There will be competitors sometimes but they will come only after Nissan's huge effort to introduce EVs. One that will follow Nissan is Mercedes, which showed its electric B-class concept in Bologna, but this car's future is still unclear.
The Renault Zoe then had its Italian debut, and it will be available next Spring, but Renault's losing so much time explaining its choice not to sell the car's batteries. Those are to be leased, and Renault says that it makes the buyers feel more secure. But the customers are quick to point out how the scheme turns them into cash-cows.
Behind the Nissan LEAF on the picture above (in yellow and red), a new EV was introduced in Bologna. It's called the GreenGo iCar0, and it's some kind of a Smart look alike, but it's more of a low-speed vehicle with a 6-kW motor and a 10.8-kWh battery. The Renault Twizy is much more convincing.
The Twizy is not a car, and it's greatest point is precisely that it doesn't try to be one. People already have cars. But how about a small and silent personal commuting tool for the city? The Twizy proves there's a market for it. Of course, many people are asking for more small cars like it, but the electric Fiat 500, which was introduced only a few days earlier in Los Angeles, was not in Bologna, the largest motor show in Italy.
New to EVs? Start here
What Is An Electric Car?
Before we get going, let's establish basic definitions.
A Quick Guide to Plug-in Hybrids
Some plug-in cars have back-up engines to extend driving range.
Electric Cars Pros and Cons
EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.
Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
Eight Factors Determining Total Cost of Ownership of an Electric Car
EVs get bad rap as expensive. Until you look at TCO.
Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
Guide to Buying First Home EV Charger
You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
With the right utility plan, electric fuel can be dirt cheap.
The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).