January 14th, 2009
The 2009 Detroit Auto Show is this week, and there is plenty of exciting green automotive action going down! The auto companies exhibiting seem to be working to “out-green” each other…. which is fine by us.
Toyota unveiled its new 2010 Prius to great excitement. This new model will offer 50 MPG, up from 46 MPG for the current model. The new model also featured solar panels on the roof which power the car’s cooling system. The new Prius is also faster, accelerating from 0 to 60 MPH in 9.5 seconds. (Although how many Prius drivers are really into gunning it?) They have not yet announced the price (current models start at ~$22K), but the new Prius will be on sale in the US this Spring.
Another green car leader, Honda, unveiled its new Insight hybrid model for 2010. According to MSNBC, the Insight’s hybrid design is quite different from Toyota’s, functioning as a primarily gas-powered vehicle with an electric assist motor, a decision that produces better highway fuel economy than city mileage. The Insight will get 40 in the city and 43 on the highway, according to Honda. The Insight will also likely cost less than the Prius as it has a smaller battery and electric motor. Honda has not announced the price of its new Insight, but said that it will be below that of its Civic hybrid. Likely it will go for around $20,000.
The American companies were also trying to seem like they were on the green super-highway to the future. Chrysler showed off the 200C EV with an electric power train. This is still a concept car, based on the existing Chrysler 300C model. This new hybrid car will go 40 miles on electricity, with an engine generating more energy for additional range when needed. Let’s hope they stay in business long enough to bring this car to market!
One of the sexiest cars on the floor was the Karma from Fisker Automotive. The car is simply gorgeous. While the Karma debuted as a concept car at last year’s show, this year it was back as a production-ready vehicle. They also showed off a new concept– the Karma S, which is a two-door with a retractable roof. (The S stands for Sunset.) Fisker will start delivering the four-door Karma sedan this year and it already has over 1000 pre-orders. The Karma is a plug-in hybrid that, when fully-charged, burns no fuel for the first 50 miles. According to CNET, Fisker says the Karma will go to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds–which is fast, but not outstanding. Still, you’d look so cool in it, who would care? But not many of can afford this height of eco-cool: the starting price for the production Karma is $87,900.
Images: Prius from Jalopnik.com; Insight from Honda; Karma from Fisker Automotive.
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