Tuesday, January 22, 2008

7 Green Cars of the Future

With rising fossil fuel costs and global warming getting more attention in the media, environmentally friendly cars were all the rage at the Detroit Auto Show last week. At these auto shows, car manufactures usually present out-of-this world concept cars. This year, nearly every company showed off new environmentally-friendly cars.

The biggest trend at the show was new range-extended electric vehicle (REEV) concepts that run on an electric motor that powers the car 100% of the time. The vehicles plug into power outlets that charge the batteries for a 20 – 60 mile driving range. After they pass that range, a generator kicks in which recharges the batteries using any popular fuel. This includes gasoline, ethanol, or even hydrogen.

However, there were dozens of other energy efficient concept cars introduced besides REEVs. Enjoy the following list of 7 green cars of the future.

New Toyota Prius

At the Detroit auto show, Toyota's President, Katsuaki Watanabe announced that he would unveil two new hybrid models at next year’s show. One is suspected to be a Lexus hybrid, while the other is known to be the replacement for the Toyota Prius. Not much is known about what the new Prius will feature, but it is predicted to be more energy efficient with a lower price tag. Some speculate the new version could feature new plug in hybrid technology.

Volvo ReCharge

Volvo’s ReCharge concept car truly takes the phrase "green car" to the next level. Why? Because the vehicle even features green wheels. The car is a plug-in series hybrid with a battery with sufficient capacity for 62 miles of electric driving. After that, the car’s battery begins to recharge the battery. It is expected to average 124 mpg.

Chrysler ecoVoyager

Chrysler’s ecoVoyager takes the idea of plug-in hybrids to the next level. It relies on a fuel cell rather then gasoline or diesel. The vehicle features the modern "skateboard" design, which allows for a roomy cabin and low center of gravity. It weighs less than 3,000 pounds and Chrysler claims it gets a 12.9-second quarter mile. The car looks futuristic with its smooth design and vertical skylights.

Do not expect to see them on the road any time soon. Chrysler has not yet confirmed they are working on electric hybrid technology, but it certainly did not stop them from putting together an attractive concept car.

ASF Trinity Vehicles

ASF Trinity Vehicles
AFS Trinity vehicles are actually not a new brand of car, but rather a working plug-in hybrid system. The company modified a regular Saturn Vue Hybrid by adding a powerful battery capable of running 40 miles on only electric power. Trinity is one of the first companies to successfully produce a REEV and is years ahead of the major automakers.

However, the technology is still going to need improvement before it will be ready to hit the market. The system likely requires large areas of storage space for the huge batteries required to run the car. Trinity has not yet released specific pricing information.

Chevy Volt

The Volt is Chevrolet’s concept of their future REEVs. General Motors has made great strides in environmentally friendly vehicles over the past few years and plans to have the first street-ready editions on sale by late 2010. The car is expected to be able to go 40 miles on 120-kW electric motor. GM hopes to have upwards of 60,000 of the vehicles ready for its first year on the market and plans for a base price of between $30,000 and $40,000.

Opel Flextreme

Volvo Car PicturesThe Opel Flextreme is essentially a European version of the Chevy Volt. It features many of the same features as the Volt with a slightly different looking exterior. However, one major difference is that the Flextreme comes with a rear storage space specifically designed to fit a pair of Segways that can charge off the car’s batteries. Unfortunately, this extra storage space means less room for fuel, which reduces the car’s range from 640 to 444 miles.

Fisker Karma

Karma pictureThe Fisker Karma represents the future of luxury sports cars. The vehicle has a sporty and attractive design but maintains maximum fuel efficiency. It features a lithium ion battery pack that can power the car for 50 miles before needing fuel. According to Fisker it can go from zero to sixty in 5.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 125 mph.

Images curtosy of AutoBlogGreen.com

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