9 automakers show off models on EV test track at Chicago Auto Show

ByRob Hughes WLS logo
Monday, February 12, 2024
9 automakers show off models on EV test track at Chicago Auto Show
Nine different automakers are showing off models on the electric vehicles test track at the 2024 Chicago Auto Show.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Nine different automakers have models to check out on the electric vehicle test track at the Chicago Auto Show this year.

Last year, there were four, just another indication of the growing interest in a new class of vehicles.

Calvin Heath said he has been coming to the Chicago Auto Show since he was a kid. A Tesla owner himself and a big fan, he wanted to see the latest and greatest.

"I was ecstatic. I had to be here," Heath said. "You don't have to worry about gas. You don't have to worry about tune-ups. You just plug it in, just make sure your tires are OK. The only thing you have to put in there is washer fluid."

SEE ALSO | ABC7 takes deep dive into future of EVs, Chicago-area charging networks and autonomous driving

This year, 17 car brands have electric vehicles. There is a little something for everyone, from pickup trucks to sedans and crossover SUVs. Still, many consumers have their doubts.

"The number one is range anxiety. People want to be confident when they get in their electric vehicle, they can go a certain distance," said Nissan Senior Product Specialist Peter Tocco.

Tocco said the sweet spot is about 300 miles, or comparable to an average tank of gas for most vehicles.

"When the Model T came out, there wasn't a gas station on every corner either. So you know, the network has gotten much better. It's increasing coast to coast for sure. And as time goes by, it's going to get even better," Tocco said.

According to the International Energy Agency, the share of electric car sales more than tripled from 2020 to 2022. For now, consumers have their choice between electric and gas, but maybe not for long.

READ MORE | Chicago Auto Show 2024 at McCormick Place, Feb. 10-19: Hours, ticket prices and more

"A lot of manufacturers are claiming by 2030 that they're going to be fully electric. So that's kind of the timeline. I don't know if that's going to be hit. Time will tell as more and more people adopt EVs, but the infrastructure has to get there," said Chicago Auto Show General Manager Jennifer Morand.

One attendee took a couple spins around the track.

"It was much quieter. I'm used to regular vehicles where you got the engine noise, but the loudest thing was the steering wheel. It was very smooth," he said.

Smooth and quick, the Nissan Ariya we rode in goes from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds.