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Audi E-Tron joins the electric car market

The Audi E-Tron, the carmaker's electric car, is seen in this file photo.
September 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Electric cars are hardly new. Several have hit the market in the past few years. Now comes one from Audi, which it calls a luxury electric.

"What's going to happen now is that there will be luxury brands coming in to the market, which really tend to drive the trends of what people want to buy in any market segment," said Jeff Curry of Audi.

The E-Tron, as Audi has dubbed it, is built using the A3 five door. Like other electric cars, it offers smooth, quiet power.

Driving range from the lithium-ion battery is around 90 miles, which should actually be fine for most people.

No word yet on price. That will be announced closer to when the final version goes on sale in about two years.

In showrooms already is an electric car from a Los Angeles-based start-up called Coda. The bodies are built in China, then sent to Coda's factory in Northern California.

The cars don't look like anything special, but the company says they have a distinct advantage.

"Our product has best-in-class range, up to 125 miles. There's no other competitor out there. If you want to buy range, there's really no alternative," said Thomas Hausch of Coda Automotive.

A lot of people probably wonder why it's taking so long to get these electric vehicles available for sale. Well, the auto industry has had decades upon decades to perfect the internal combustion car. They're working on the electrics now as fast as they can.

Coda has been ramping up for several years now, and the car is finally arriving. They even did an interesting press event in the Los Angeles riverbed to demonstrate it, showing how quickly it can go backwards - something only an electric can do. Though, really, why would you?

In practical terms, there's the zero-emissions nature of the power system and overall cost.

"In a five-year study driving 15,000 miles, it's already cheaper today," Hausch said. "You don't have to worry about battery, we have the best-in-class warranty: 10 years, 100,000 miles. We think the battery is going to last 300,000 miles."

From new brands to familiar ones, many car companies are going electric. The question now is, will lots of car buyers step up and go electric too?


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