Germany's Green Reversal
Audi and BMW give up diesel for electric
As it turns out, there may be some meat to both the BMW and the Audi concepts. In Audi’s case, the company displayed the latest version of its e-tron -- an all-electric car with a range of around 155 miles. Unlike other EVs, this concept is designed to evoke emotion instead of inducing a coma. With 204 horsepower and -- according to Audi -- a little less than 2,000 lb-ft of torque on hand, the e-tron should be a blast to drive. In a departure from most Audi products, the concept is designed to be a rear-wheel-drive car with both electric motors positioned at the rear wheels. Even more surprising is the fact that Audi says a version of the car will be on dealer lots by the end of 2012; this is no piece of vaporware. Analysts are already suggesting the e-tron my eventually become the rumored R4.
Meanwhile, BMW brought along its ActiveE Concept, which is essentially an electrified 1-Series. The car made its debut in Frankfurt last year, where it showed off its rear-mounted electric motor good for around 170 horses and a range of 150 miles. But it was in Detroit that the company announced it would be putting the ActiveE in the hands of real-life drivers to begin a massive test program. BMW has already flirted with EVs in the form of the MINI E, essentially a battery-powered MINI Cooper. According to the German carmaker, around 600 ActiveE Concepts will be on the road by the end of the year.
So what about diesel? Have BMW and Audi abandoned the fuel they championed so vehemently last year and the years before? We doubt it. Instead, odds are things will go back to the way they were before fuel prices began flirting with interstellar travel. Europeans will continue to get efficient diesels and American drivers will be left with whatever Hollywood makes popular.
(Photos courtesy of Audi and BMW.)
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