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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

2007 Detroit Auto Show Roundup

Well, better late than never...

As many of you may remember, I wrote a fairly extenensive summary of all the 'green' car offerings at the 2006 North American International Auto Show, held in Detroit each year. This year, I was too caught up in other things to write up a proper review of this year's offerings (I did begin a post on the plug-in hybrid offerings from GM and Ford but haven't gotten around to finishing it yet...).

Luckily for me, the boys at Green Car Congress have (as usual) put together an excellent summary of the 2007 Detroit auto show, and although I'm now two weeks late to the game, I'll repost it here for anyone who missed out:

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit marks the beginning of the global auto show season, and often serves as a positioning venue where automakers introduce concepts as well as production models of new cars.

Crossover vehicles were a common thread throughout the show. However, hybrids were more in evidence, although not in the form of a new production car. Tier 2 Bin 5 compliant diesel announcements began to pile up, and several automakers introduced more gasoline direct injection versions. Herewith, a quick recap of the “greener” announcements from the major automakers.

General Motors set a high bar for the show with its opening announcement of the Volt plug-in series hybrid concept and the E-Flex architecture. The Volt offers an all-electric range of 40 miles before requiring a recharge. Drive less than that, and your fuel consumption is zero. At maximum range (640 miles), the fuel consumption of the genset is approximately 50 mpg.

GM also introduced the 2008 Malibu, and confirmed that the hybrid version of the Malibu will arrive later this year with the start of production. The automaker also highlighted the already introduced Saturn VUE (SUV) and Aura (sedan) Green Line hybrids. All three of those vehicles use the same GM Hybrid System, a Belt Alternator Starter system with a Cobasys NiMH battery pack. The Aura Green Line sedan will deliver at least a 25% fuel economy improvement over the non-hybrid Aura XE for a premium of less than $2,500, according to GM [from about 20 mpg city/30 highway to ~25 city/38 highway]. GM did not announce specs for the Malibu hybrid.

Also on display on the GM stand was the Saab BioPower Hybrid Concept, making its US debut. The vehicle combines fossil fuel-free bio-ethanol fuel (E100) capability with electric-only propulsion by utilizing the advanced 2-mode hybrid system that General Motors is co-developing with DaimlerChrysler and BMW Group. GM also had its other upcoming two-mode hybrid SUV models on display.

Ford also unveiled a plug-in series hybrid concept: the Ford Airstream. The Ford Airstream Concept is powered by a new hydrogen-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain Ford calls the HySeries Drive. The Ford Airstream Concept can travel 25 miles in battery mode—depleting the battery’s state of charge to about 40%—before the fuel cell begins operating to recharge the vehicle’s 336-volt lithium-ion battery pack.

Ford also introduced a Mustang-based E85 concept muscle car—the Ford Interceptor. The Ford Interceptor uses a Ford Racing 5.0-liter V-8 “Cammer” engine running on E85 (85% ethanol blend).

Mazda announced it will begin selling its hybrid version of the Tribute SUV in the second quarter of the year. The Tribute is based on the Ford Escape.

Toyota leaned toward power and performance at this show, introducing a crew-cab version of the Tundra full-size pickup with the promise of an E85 version of the Tundra to come, the Lexus IS-F high-performance luxury sedan and the Lexus LF-A high performance sports-car concept. On the hybrid side, Toyota showed its FT-HS hybrid sports car concept.

DaimlerChrysler. MercedesBenz emphasized its Vision GL 420 BLUETEC Tier 2 Bin 5 full-size diesel SUV targeted for introduction in the US in 2008. The V8 diesel engine delivers 216 kW (290 hp) and generates 700 Nm (515 lb-ft) of torque, with an expected fuel consumption of 9.8 liters per 100 km (24 mpg).

Detroit was also the venue for the US premiere of the new smart fortwo, also to be available in the US in 2008.

The Chrysler Group introduced a Jeep Trailhawk BLUETEC concept vehicle, and announced it is offering its new mid-size Avenger sedan with a flex-fuel engine option.

Honda also leaned into the high-performance sports car mode with its introduction of the V-10 Acura “Advanced Sports Car Concept. The company had on display its FCX Concept fuel cell vehicle, the basis for a production model still scheduled for introduction in 2008, and also unveiled the design of the next-generation Accord.

Nissan unveiled an advanced design study, the Nissan Bevel Concept. A Bevel would feature a small, efficient 2.5-liter V6 combined with a hybrid drive unit.

Volkswagen/Audi each had on display a Tier 2 Bin 5 BLUETEC diesel. Audi confirmed it will introduce its Q7 3.0-liter TDI SUV in the US in 2008 as well. The Q7 3.0 TDI will be Audi’s first model to showcase Tier 2 Bin 5 compliant BLUETEC technology. Volkswagen had on display its concept BLUETEC Tiguan introduced earlier at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Mitsubishi confirmed plans to develop a next-generation common rail turbo-diesel engine to be applied in a new Lancer in 2010. The Mitsubishi turbo-diesel announced at the NAIAS for the US will be based on the 2.0-liter, Euro-5 compliant engine that MMC is developing together with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries for the European market. The new engine will incorporate a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and NOx trap catalyst system and will meet Tier 2 Bin 5 emissions requirements, according to Mitsubishi.

Hyundai concentrated primarily on the introduction of its new Veracruz crossover, but also introduced the Helion—a three-door sport crossover powered by a 3.0-liter diesel engine.

1 comment:

Peter @ Enviroman said...

Hi Watthead,

Thanks for taking the trouble to comment on my post Expandable Post Summary for New Blogger (formerly Blogger Beta) and for expressing your appreciation.

Peter a.k.a. enviroman
Enviroman Says