Jan 162012

Detroit Motor Show

Open to the general public for two weeks from 9 January, the Detroit Motor Show offers consumers a glimpse of what the green future of motoring may look like with a spate of new fuel-efficient, hybrid and electric cars.

The biggest motor show in the world is always a good place to get an idea of what the year holds in terms of new vehicles, and this year has been no exception. Unsurprisingly, it’s the main Japanese and German automakers that are offering the most exciting green cars.

Toyota Prius * Plug in Hybrid Eco Car

Toyota Prius * Plug in Hybrid Eco Car

New Toyota Green Cars

The world’s biggest carmaker, Toyota, has already had major success with the Prius, a revolutionary hybrid model that became the first of its kind to go mainstream. New models displayed at Detroit included the city-friendly Prius C along with the larger family car, the Prius V. However, most of the excitement surrounding Toyota was generated by the brand new concept car, the NS4, which the Japanese automaker has described as an ‘advanced plug-in concept’.

New Nissan Green Cars

Nissan has taken the technology it developed as part of its innovative Leaf, an electric vehicle that has proven extremely popular, and applied it to a wider range of vehicles. In Detroit, Nissan unveiled a near-production version of the NV200 van which will use a lithium battery and AC motor that is similar to that in the Leaf. It will offer the same cargo space as the non-electric version of the van, at a range similar to that of the Leaf, which is about 90 miles per charge.

New Honda Green Cars

Honda, meanwhile, showcased its new Acura ILX concept car, including a gas-electric version, the first time the carmaker has used a hybrid system in its luxury brand. Lexus has gone for a hybrid drivetrain for its LF-LC, a sporty coupe with high fuel efficiency that also maintains the brand’s high level of driving performance.

New BMW Green Cars

This is a similar approach taken by another luxury car brand, BMW, with its ActiveHybrid 5, a vehicle due to be launched this spring. This will rank as BMW’s most fuel-efficient vehicle to date, with low levels of CO2 and the possibility of an electric drive for 2.5 miles. The German carmaker is set to introduce this system into its hugely popular 3 Series in the autumn, plus it has showcased the i8 plug-in hybrid, a sedan, and the i3 electric supermini.

New Mercedes Green Cars

Not to be outdone, Mercedes revealed two hybrids based on the top-selling E-Class – a diesel hybrid for Europe and a petrol hybrid for the US – in both estate and saloon versions. Volkswagen showcased its intriguing E-Bugster, an electric take on the iconic beetle, but it remains unlikely this lithium-battery powered vehicle will ever make it into production.

Ford Fiesta * Regular Car * up to 88MPG

Ford Fiesta * Regular Car * up to 88MPG

New Ford Green Cars

Elsewhere, Ford showed off its first electric vehicle, the Focus Electric, for which orders have already started in the US. Plus it has two hybrids close to coming off the production line, the plug-in C-Max Energi and the C-Max hybrid. The Mondeo is also set for a hybrid and electric overhaul called the Fusion Energi.

New Volvo Green Cars

And then there is Volvo’s XC60 plug-in hybrid, a petrol-electric vehicle for the US market alongside the diesel-electric V60, which is due to be launched in Europe in the summer.

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