Ford, Audi and GM electrify CES

Tuesday, 11 January 2011 00:02 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Auto manufacturers have begun an invasion of the Consumer Electronics Show that will only grow in magnitude and significance in future years.

Ford CEO Alan Mulally showed off the Ford Focus EV during his keynote presentation. The sedan will be differentiated from the competing Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt by having double the charge rate (6.6 kilowatts).

Ford’s Nancy Gioia said a fully depleted battery can be recharged in three to four hours. Ford will begin manufacturing the vehicle at the end of this year, and will roll it out to 19 target cities during 2012. The all-electric vehicle will have an estimated driving range of 80-100 miles.

Ford will offer a home charging unit for $499 through Best Buy, which makes it the least expensive charger on the market. Ford has customised the EV charger that was co-developed by Leviton and Coulomb Technologies to accept power at up to 32 amps.

Audi unveiled that it would commence production by the end of 2012 of two plug-in vehicles that were previously concept cars, the A1 e-tron plug-in hybrid and the A8 e-tron battery electric vehicle. Audi’s Chief Executive Engineer Ricky Hudi said the performance-oriented A8 e-tron would have a top speed of 250 kilometers power.

Both vehicles will use lithium ion batteries manufactured by Sanyo. Audi is incorporating Tegra II graphics chips from NVidia to drive the displays for the vehicles, and the company would use Google Earth maps to enhance the mapping used in its navigation system.

NVidia also is licensing the chips to Tesla Motors for the large 17 inch display that will span from the top of the steering wheel to the floor in its upcoming Model S, as well as to BMW for some of its gas-powered cars. EVs will provide significant opportunity for graphics chip designers who can offer products that minimise the power draw on the batteries while maximising display quality and responsiveness. Also at CES General Motors is showing for the first time in the U.S. the EN-V (pronounced envy), a two-passenger EV that can be programmed to drive and park itself.

Rolls-Royce car sales up 170% in 2010

LONDON: The rich got rolling last year, pushing Rolls-Royce Motor Cars to its highest sales figures since BMW took over the company seven years ago.

The luxury automaker said on Monday that it sold 2,711 cars in 2010, up 171 percent over the previous year.

The United States remains the No. 1 market for the cars, which sell for 200,000 pounds ($310,000) or more. But the Asia-Pacific was the best regional market as Rolls-Royce reported strong sales gains in China , Japan and South Korea .  The 2010 sales were still short of the company's all-time record of 3,357 cars in 1978.