Green Cars and Green Claims – Part 2

This is part two of a three-part series. For the first part go here, or follow this link for all Detroit Auto Show 2008 articles.

Toyota

Toyota plaque

Toyota is well known for their Prius, but this is a purpose built hybrid, not an exisiting model with a hybrid option. They hope to have all models with a hybrid option by 2020, however seem to be falling behind the competition in this respect, perhaps as a result of resting on the success of the Prius. They will have 400 demonstration plug-in hybrids by 2010 but not models for sale. It plans to offer diesel engines on the Tundra and Sequioa, though these are still pretty inefficient vehicles.

Their stand was made of eco-friendly materials and incorporated energy efficient elements such as using LEDs. They also unveiled the Toyota A-BAT concept runs on the same hybrid powertrain as the Prius (below left), and had an excellent cutaway of a fuel cell hybrid, demonstrating how it worked (below right).

Toyota A-BAT and Fuel Cell Hybrid

Lexus didn’t have much of a green angle (like most of the luxury manufacturers) with only their RX 400 SUV on show, to my eye at least.

Ferrari Bio-fuel at the Detroit Auto Show

Ferrari

Yes, even the great gas guzzler Ferrari had a F430 Spider bio fuel vehicle on display, even though it’s just a concept. It runs on E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline for those who don’t know), and has actually slightly more horsepower than the current version.

Honda

Honda have the Accord ES is a “near zero” emission vehicle yet I don’t know whether it was because I was tired or they hadn’t yet put all the vehicles out for the public show, but I couldn’t find one on display.

Volkswagen

Audi showed off their R8 “clean” diesel with Bryan Adams in tow (though the car doesn’t come with him as standard…). Touted as a “green supercar”, it’s not green, it just meets California’s admittedly strict emissions law.

VW essentially just had some Passats and some info on diesels that meet the regualtions I’ve just mentioned. Great.

Nissan Green Program

Nissan

The Nissan Mixim didn’t seem to be around, however they did have their Nissan Green Program 2010 on display. Nissan targets to reduce their CO2 emissions by 75% by 2050. Their first task is to increase the efficiency of their current internal combustion engine to a level that is comparable to a current hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) – that is 100km (62 miles) on 3 liters (0.8 gallons) of gasoline. They are also working on the “next-generation” of lithium-ion batteries which are the ones used in current electric vehicles. Finally they have developed a clean diesel (or HC-NOx-TRAP and emission control system), as far as a diesel can be clean of course.

Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz claim to continually improving the enerergy efficiency of their product line, with their vehicles also being recycled nearly 100% (I’ll have later article on the Vehicle Recycling Partnership). Their “Road to the Future” sustainability strategy includes the S 300 Bluetec hybrid and ML 450 hybrid that are powered by electric motors and a combustion engine

Mercedes BlueTec range

The third and final part of this overview includes Chrysler, BMW, Mini, Fisker and some lesser known manufacturers.

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