The 2018 Detroit Auto Show: Where’s the EVs?

 

No auto show commands more authority than the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. This year electricity will be front and center in the automotive industry… or so it seemed it would be going into the show.

The year 2017 was witness to an endless train of time-bound promises for electrical vehicles and automation by all the major manufacturers.

Organizers of the Detroit show feared tech would upstage the cars this year.

Leaders like Ford have felt pressured to up the ante-up on tech, which leads one to wonder if all this posturing will add up to any real action anytime soon.

Some of the promised timelines for electrification, “by 2020,” “by 2022,” and so on, seem so tight it’s hard to imagine these behemoths — the companies, not the cars — making such changes so fast.

Automotive fanatics understand that automation and electrification are works in process, but where’s the proof? One might have expected a little more electrified news from Detroit over the weekend.

Here is what we have so far…

BMW’s Goal is 500,000 EVs by 2019

The i8 Hybrid | plugincars.com

This round, BMW has the i8 and the X2 as showpieces, which they revealed on Monday the 15th, but neither of those cars is fully electric.

At present, BMW is more focused on the hybrid versions of the EV. To they’re credit, they sold their target of 100,000 of what they consider electrified vehicles so far.

BMW has a long road ahead before they can hit half-a-million EVs by the end of next year. In case you lost track, that’s four times what they’ve sold so far.

Next year they will start selling the fully electric version of the Mini Cooper and a fully-electric scooter.

Infinity’s Q Inspiration Breaks Away

Unlike all other Infinity cars, the Q Inspiration, which is yet a concept car, stands independently from Nissan, Infinity’s parent company.

It’s not a souped-up Z. The Q is it’s own car, from the ground up. Opening the doors is only possible via a touchscreen. The dash they’ve replaced with touchscreens too.

The Q Inspiration is nothing if not electrical, but here’s the problem with this otherwise high-tech car. It’s still powered by an internal combustion engine.

There’s one more problem. The Q will not see the production line, but Infinity will adopt some of its electric powertrain in future vehicles,  most likely fuel-powered cars for the time-being.

Ford Promises To Catch Up

As of this writing, this is the biggest news in electrical for the 2018 Detroit Auto Show.

In their latest bid to catch up with the progress and promises made by GM, on Sunday, January 14, Ford announced plans to drop $11-billion into electrical automobile development.

By 2020, Ford promise to offer 16 electric cars. That’s four shy of the 20 vehicles GM promises by 2023, but three years earlier so it’s officially on.

That said, these are only promises. Ford has little electrification on which to hang it’s collective hat yet.

It seems the electrical news this year is all about how 2019 is gonna be so electrified, but many thought that about 2018.

The closest thing to news breaking coming out of Detroit’s show so far is the announcement by Chinese automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group (GAC) that they will sell their all-electrical Enverge in the U.S. starting in 2019.

In their fears about making the Detroit Auto Show like CES 2.0, organizers have made it a veritable electrical fizzle.