Sunday, March 13, 2011

8 Greener Cars at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show

The 2011 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) was held in Detroit, the former auto-making capital of the world. Detroit is trying to recapture some of its lost glory by showcasing a number of greener vehicles. The 2011 Detroit auto show ran from January 10 through January 23. In addition to hundreds of thousands of attendees, there were over 5,500 media representatives at the show. Here are some of the green highlights.

Toyota Prius: Toyota has long been a leader in hybrid cars and the company is increasing its offering of greener cars. Toyota has expanded its line of dependable, reasonably priced Prius hybrids including a plug-in version, a larger wagon and a sleek little sports car known as the Prius C concept. The Prius gets approximately 50 MPG.

Lexus CT 200h Hybrid: This car has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with a powerful electric motor and a nickel-metal hydride battery pack. According to Lexus, this sporty hybrid offers a dynamic driving experience and combined fuel efficiency of 42 MPG+. The car can operate on battery-only power for short periods and speeds up to 28mph.

Chevrolet Volt: The Volt was the 2010 car of the year, it can travel up to 50 miles on a single charge. It also has an efficient internal combustion engine that eliminates range anxiety.

Chevrolet Sonic subcompact: The Sonic will be available as a 2012 model in two different body configurations: a 4-door sedan and a 5-door hatch. It comes with the efficient Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine rated at an estimated 138 horsepower (103 kW). The Sonic is expected to get around 40 MPG on the highway and in the low to mid 30s in the city.

Ford Focus Electric: The all-electric version of the popular Ford Focus has a 100 mile range. The plug-in electric vehicle has higher speed charging, highly customizable displays, and liquid cooled/heated batteries. This five door hatchback will be launched in 19 markets in late 2011.

VW Golf blue-e-motion: The Volkeswagen Golf blue-e-motion promises a range of 93 miles; the car can get from 0 to 62 mph in 11.8 seconds. The car will be available to the public in 2013.

Mercedes A-Class E-CELL: The five-seater with battery-powered electric drive meets all the requirements for a family car. Mercedes claims it is "an outstandingly assured and dynamic performer on the road, taking just 5.5 seconds to accelerate from zero to 60 km/h." This car has an impressive 125 mile range from one charge and is available now in limited numbers.

Mercedes SLS AMG E-CELL: This new supercar features four electric motors, and offers an extraordinary 526 hp and 649 lb-ft of torque. It is capable of reaching zero to 62 mph in just four seconds flat. This car employs four regenerative braking options and will be available in 2013.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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