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Detroit 2009: It’s all about green now

Auto Shows | January 15th, 2009 by 4

Despite the fact that many automakers decided to skip MotorCity this year, the Detroit Auto Show still remains the most important auto show in North …

Despite the fact that many automakers decided to skip MotorCity this year, the Detroit Auto Show still remains the most important auto show in North America and the place where all the car companies are bringing their best and latest.

This year, the Detroit Auto Show is being marked with a “green tag”. From all the auto shows I have attended so far, I don’t believe seeing one with more electric, hybrid and clean diesel cars, as the one this year at Cobo Hall.

It’s great to see that the automakers are being responsabile and sticking to their “green plant”, even though the gas has fallen from a July peak of over $4 a gallon to well under $2 a gallon and consumers quickly have returned to their old habits.

As Mr. Jim Farley, Ford Vice President of Marketing, pointed out, the market share for fuel-efficient vehicles has fallen again to 15 percent, the lowest percentage since the early months in 2008.

Let’s start with BMW and Mini. The first ever built electric Mini which made its debut at the L.A Auto Show in November, was present in Detroit as well. BMW brings us the X6 Hybrid (dual-mode system), along with the 7 Series Hybrid. Of course, the recently launched BMW diesel models are there as well: X5d and 335d.

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But today it’s not all about BMW. There were many other automakers that impressed everyone with their latest concepts.

Dodge Circuit EV

Propelled by a completely electric ENVI drivetrain, the Dodge Circuit EV posts impressive performance numbers: 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds and top speed of more than 120 mph.

The Dodge Circuit EV utilizes just three powertrain components. These include a 200 kW (268 horsepower) electric motor to drive the wheels, an advanced lithium-ion battery system to power the electric-drive motor, and a controller that manages energy flow.

Working with the latest advanced lithium-ion battery technology, the Dodge Circuit EV has a driving range of 150 to 200 miles between charge. And the best part, the Dodge Circuit EV can be plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet.

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Mercedes-Benz BlueZero Concept

Mercedes-Benz BlueZero Concept brings something new to the table: the options of choosing your powertrain based on your driving range. The standard BlueZero E-Cell uses a 35 kW liquid-cooled li-io battery pack providing 120 miles of driving, while for those of you that have a longer commute, the F-Cell version, powered by a 90kW hydrogen fuel cell, will provide a 240 mile range and E-Cell Plus with a driving range of 360 miles due to the 67 hp three-cylinder engine from the Smart ForTwo.

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Toyota FT-EV Concept

The FT-EV is based on Toyota’s new iQ, a car not yet available in the U.S. The FT-EV is designed for urban traveler and the company claims it can run up to 50 miles on a single charge.

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Cadillac Converj

The Converj, named the “CADILLAC OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES”, is using the electric propulsion technology – called Voltec. The technology enables up to 40 miles of gas- and emissions-free electric driving with extended-range capability of hundreds of miles. The battery is integrated into the Converj’s chassis and stores electricity from the grid when the vehicle is plugged in. It takes less than three hours to recharge the battery at 240V, or about eight hours from a 120V outlet. It also delivers 273 lb.-ft. (370 Nm) of instant torque, for a quick launch, and 120 kW of power. The top speed is 100 mph.

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Toyota Prius

Of course, Toyota Prius could not have been overlooked and the third generation Prius made its debut in Detroit. The 2010 Prius will offer better mileage ratings and enhanced performance, according to Toyota, around 50MPG. The new Prius has three driving modes: Eco, EV-Drive and Power.  A first for the U.S., the Eco mode allows battery-only operation at low speeds for about a mile. The Prius is powered by a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with VVT-i producing 98 hp.  The hybrid system net horsepower is rated at 134 hp.

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Fisker Karma S

Labeled as the world’s first hybrid convertible, Fisker Karma S is one of the main attractions at the Detroit Auto Show. Fisker Karma S Convertible uses the same plug-in hybrid Q-Drive powertrain as the regular Karma S model and will go for 50 miles on li-ion battery power charge. If you need to drive longer than expected,  the 2.0-liter Ecotec direct injection gas engine will help out. Fuel-efficiency? Around 100 mpg.  Henrik Fisker, CEO, announced that 1,300 have been pre-ordered at the crazy price of $87,900.

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Lexus HS250h

Equipped with Lexus’ first four-cylinder gas engine, the 2.4-liter Atkinson-cycle powerplant is part of the latest Lexus Hybrid Drive System, which generates 187 total system horsepower. It also shares many of its components with the 2010 Toyota Prius mentioned earlier.

The HS 250h sedan’s expected fuel efficiency will be more than 30-percent better than the most fuel-efficient model currently in the Lexus lineup.

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Of course there were many other hybrid, electric and diesel cars displayed, such as Chevy Volt, the gorgeous VW Bluesport Concept or the Chrysler 200C Concept, but we’ll stop here and get back to our bimmers now.

  • JKP1187

    And BMW missed a huge opportunity to steal some thunder from Toyota and Honda with the 123d: “If you want amazing fuel economy, but actually ENJOY driving a car, come see this.”

  • bsd107

    What, no Honda?

  • BernardP

    Mark my words: after the internet bubble, the real estate bubble and the financial bubble, the green bubble will be the next to burst. The green bubble is now just beginning to inflate. Give it about 5 to 8 years…

  • Takumi

    May I please use the mini e-v pic for my science fair project?
    Contact me asap at hapa_kid@yahoo.com

    Thank you,
    Takumi

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