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Electric Cars Now and Then at the Chicago Auto Show

CHICAGO, Illinois, February 11, 2014 (ENS) – In 1901, visitors to the first Chicago Auto Show in the old Chicago Coliseum saw the latest models of electric cars right alongside petrol-powered vehicles. Back then, 38 percent of automobiles on U.S. roads were powered by electricity.

Manufactured in Indianapolis, Indiana, the electric-powered National line of vehicles occupied one of the largest spaces on the main floor with electric runabouts, four-passenger models and wagons.

Fast forward to Saturday, when the 2014 Chicago Auto Show opened to the public at the McCormick Place, the nation’s largest convention center.

Out on the one million square foot exhibit floor, 11 gleaming electric or hybrid-electric cars and one fuel cell model are displayed. The two most prominent electrics on the floor are the extended range Chevrolet Volt and battery-powered Nissan Leaf. But there are many others.

There’s the 2015 BMW i3, with its all-carbon-fiber body and electric motor mounted low in the rear axle. Going on sale in the United States in March, it features 22 kWh worth of lithium-ion batteries parked inside an aluminum frame with a single-piece, carbon-fiber body shell enclosing that.

This car is BMW’s response to the demand for mega-city-mobility, with zero local emissions, near-zero noise, and a range of 75 miles (120.7 km).
2014 Ford C-MAX Solar Energi

2014 Ford C-MAX Solar Energi (Photo courtesy Chicago Auto Show)

On view is the Cadillac ELR, a luxury plug-in hybrid compact coupé developed and manufactured by General Motors. The ELR’s 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack powers about 35 miles (56 km) of range and enables a top speed of 100 mph (160 km/h). Deliveries to retail customers in the United States began in December 2013.


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