From Green Right Now Reports
At this year’s New York International Auto Show, green vehicles were more noticeable than ever. Some popular cars and SUVs got a green makeover with the introduction of a hybrid model. But there also were examples of squeezing more life out of plain old internal-combustion engines, as well as pure exciting news about electrics.
Here are a few notable introductions from the show:
Here comes a Hyundai Hybrid
Among those marques sitting out hybrid mania, Hyundai has been the most noteworthy. But that’s all changing with the announcement in New York that the company would launch a version of its popular Sonata sedan. And while Hyundai may be coming late to the party, it appears to be bringing some fresh ideas.
On the battery front, Hyundai says its hybrid will use lithium polymer batteries that it contends will “leapfrog” existing nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion technology used by its competitors. The Sonata will be powered by the new Hybrid Blue Drive architecture — a full parallel hybrid drive system that can operate on an electric motor, gasoline internal combustion engine, and a combination of the two depending on driving conditions and driver demands.
Hyundai says its proprietary architecture differs from the power split technology used by most competitors, allowing “significant efficiency advantages at higher speeds.”
The Sonata Hybrid is projected to have highway fuel economy of 39 mpg and 37 mpg in the city. It will arrive this fall.
Volkswagen’s Touareg will offer a hybrid powertrain
Volkswagen of America, Inc. unveiled the second generation Touareg, showcasing the brand’s first-ever hybrid at the 2010 New York International Auto Show. With the hybrid model, a 3.0-liter supercharged, direct injection V6 gasoline engine is paired with a special electric motor that reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by about 40 percent.
An eight-speed automatic transmission – VW says it’s the first of its kind in an SUV – keeps power always available while helping the Touareg Hybrid achieve approximately 25 and 21 mpg during highway and city driving respectively. A special clutch can disengage the transmission from the engine when the engine is not powering the Touareg, allowing it to coast forward emission free to further aid in fuel savings. The electric motor can also recover kinetic energy during braking to help recharge the nickel metal-hydride battery pack. With the V6 engine and electric motor combined, a total of 375 horsepower and 428 lbs.-ft. of torque are available, allowing for full towing capacity of up to 7,700 pounds.
Volkswagen already offers a 3.0-liter, V6 TDI Clean Diesel engine, which offers improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, and greater power versus a similarly-sized gasoline engine. A seven-inch widescreen color display located between the main gauges in the dash provides the driver with the latest vehicle status information, including of the drive system in the hybrid model, turn-by-turn navigation directions, and more.
GM is ready to Cruze
GM showed-off its 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, powered by an Ecotec turbocharged engine that gets an estimated 40 miles per gallon. GM boasts that the Cruze Eco has hybrid-like efficiency without the price tag.
Cruze is the first in a family of all-new Chevrolet small and compact cars designed to offer better fuel economy. Cruze models for the United States and Canada will be produced at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly complex.
Featuring an Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine with variable valve timing, the Cruze Eco is designed to be the most fuel-efficient new model in the lineup. GM says the Eco achieves greater fuel economy using a number of features that enhance its aerodynamics, minimize weight and reduce rolling resistance. Details include a lower front grille air shutter that closes at higher speeds to improve aerodynamics and opens at lower speeds to optimize engine-cooling airflow,
an upper grille with more “closeouts” to improve aerodynamics, a lower front air dam extension, extensive use of underbody panels and a rear spoiler to enhance aerodynamics.
The car also has a lowered ride height to improves aerodynamics, and uses 17-inch lightweight aluminum wheels with
ultra-low rolling resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires.
The Cruze Eco will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010.
THINK to begin selling City electric car in New York
Electric car company THINK announced plans to begin selling the THINK City, one of the world’s first highway-capable electric vehicles (EVs), in New York and other select cities later this year. THINK and the U.S. Department of Energy’s local Clean Cities chapter are working together to bring the THINK City electric vehicle to customers in New York.
New York City officials and several New York fleet operators had a chance to test drive the zero-emissions electric car during the NY Auto Show. The lithium-ion battery system that gives the car its range and reliability is made in the U.S. by New York’s own Ener1, Inc., one of the city’s leading clean technology companies.
New York was tied with Chicago in the EV Ready-City Index released by THINK in January. THINK developed the index to measure which markets are most likely to begin and benefit from the transition to electric vehicles.
THINK says the City is “a purpose-built, all-electric car designed for urban environments.” It is capable of highway speeds and can travel more than 100 miles on a single charge with zero local emissions. The car currently is in production in Finland and sold in select European markets.
The company recently announced plans to begin manufacturing the THINK City in Elkhart, Ind. beginning in early 2011.
Scion unveils new 2011 iQ microcar
Scion announced the all-new 2011 iQ premium micro-subcompact at the New York International Auto Show.
Aimed at meeting the needs of a new generation of urban drivers, Scion executives say the micro iQ offers the functionality and comfort that drivers expect from a car twice its size. The iQ’s has a 78.7-inch wheelbase and a unique suspension design – consisting of MacPherson struts up front, and a torsion beam rear suspension – to help it deftly maneuver through city traffic. It features a compact air-conditioning unit, inverted front-mounted differential, and electronic power-steering system with a compact steering column to decrease the front-end length. In addition, the iQ is equipped with a flat gas tank housed beneath the floor that reduces rear overhang.
Scion says the iQ will come standard with 10 SRS airbags, including the world’s first rear-window curtain airbag. Other airbags include driver- and front-passenger airbags; driver- and front-passenger seat-mounted side airbags; side curtain airbags; driver- and front-passenger knee airbags; and a Scion-first driver seat-cushion airbag.
The iQ will be rated as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV-II), and it is expected to achieve a combined fuel economy in the high 30s. It will go on sale in early 2011.
Mazda will bring new fuel-efficient gas and diesel powertrains to the U.S.
Mazda North American Operations announced plans in New York to launch its all-new SKY Concept powertrains into the U.S. market, beginning as early as 2011. The first of the two engines to be initially introduced in the U.S. in 2011 – the Mazda SKY-G – is Mazda’s next-generation gasoline engine and will be the core powertrain in future Mazda vehicles. SKY-G is expected to boost fuel efficiency by approximately 15 percent while also increasing engine power.
“By launching our SKY technologies into the global market place, beginning in 2011, we will take a huge step toward accomplishing our stated goal of achieving a 30-percent improvement in global fuel economy by 2015,” Takashi Yamanouchi, representative director, president and CEO of Mazda Motor Corporation, said in a statement.
Yamanouchi also announced that Mazda intends to carry out the global launch of the SKY-G engine mated to the SKY-Drive transmission in the U.S. market in 2011. Following the U.S. launch, Mazda then intends to roll out this all-new powertrain to global markets. The new automatic SKY-Drive transmission is expected to improve fuel economy by an additional five percent, while achieving a direct-performance feel like that of a dual-clutch transmission.
As a follow-up to SKY-G and SKY-Drive, Yamanouchi added, “We plan to launch the SKY-D engine mated to Sky-Drive in the U.S. in 2012.” Mazda plans to incorporate the extremely fuel-efficient SKY-D engine into its next-generation mid-sized diesel car, allowing highway fuel economy of up to 43 miles per gallon – which is better than today’s mid-sized hybrids – and a 20-percent improvement in fuel efficiency over Mazda’s current 2.2-liter diesel. When launched in the U.S., SKY-D will meet Tier 2 BIN 5 regulations, one of the toughest emissions standards in the world. Because of Mazda’s proprietary catalyst technology, SKY-D does not require urea after-treatment to meet the strict North American emissions standards.
The company also said it all-new 2011 MAZDA2 will begin to arrive in U.S. showrooms in July 2010, with a starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of $13,980. The 2011 MAZDA2 is powered by a 100 horsepower, 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine and is available with either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission (priced from $14,780).
Lincoln introduces MKZ as its first hybrid
Lincoln said its first hybrid – the new 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid – will be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan in America. The company said the MKZ is expected to deliver at least 41 miles per gallon in the city when it goes on sale this fall.
The new premium midsize sedan hybrid joins Ford Motor Company’s growing lineup of hybrids, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid – 2010 North American Car of the Year and America’s most fuel-efficient sedan – plus the Ford Escape Hybrid and Mercury Milan and Mariner Hybrids.
The 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid uses Ford’s second-generation hybrid technology – the 2.5-liter Atkinson-cycle I-4 hybrid engine, named one of Ward’s 2010 “10 Best Engines.” The car also comes with a SmartGauge with EcoGuide, which provides real-time information to help drivers maximize fuel efficiency, and coaches drivers on how to optimize hybrid performance.
The Lincoln MKZ Hybrid also includes standard Bridge of Weir leather seats, which the company says uses a chromium-free tanning process, which makes it easier to recycle.