So far, this year’s Detroit Auto Show has been about one thing: power.
Trucks seem to have dominated the show so far, and with fuel prices dropping worldwide after years of quick-climbing prices, there seems to be little emphasis on fuel efficiency overall.
This, however, is not exactly what those of us interested in the hybrid and electric world were hoping for. Bigger gas guzzlers ready to soak up dropping gas prices isn’t eco-progression by any means.
Thankfully, there were a few vehicles that showed promise for those who favour fuel efficiency.
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Undoubtedly, the biggest hybrid revelation so far is the Acura NSX. Honda’s Acura division has brought back an old favorite of enthusiasts, and they haven’t let anyone down. The NSX was originally produced from 1990 and lasted 15 years. But after 10 years out of market, the NSX is set for a grand return in the US.
If you’re going to talk about this car, you have to start with the looks. It’s a piece of artwork. If it was smaller, you’d hang it over the mantelpiece. Acura’s Michelle Christensen, whose task it was to design the beauty we are met with here, has done a superb job of putting everything in proportion. Aerodynamics are the leading lady here, but a low, wide stance only complements the NSX further.
As for the stats, the NSX will boast a twin-turbocharged V6 engine and will produce over 500 horsepower that sits alongside a nine-speed dual-clutch transmission, plainly created to optimize efficiency at all costs. What really sets this car apart from the other hybrid supercars though, is the three-motor hybrid system which generates stability, control, and power distribution. The only other place you’ll find such components is in the hybrid supercars from the likes of Ferrari, McClaren and Porsche, but they’ll cost you more than $1,000,000.
Acura currently estimate that the NSX will retail at $150,000. So, right on top of the Tesla Roadster and the new Detroit Electric SP:01.
The NSX will also come with a launch-control function for “zero delay” acceleration and four drive modes: quiet (all-electric), sport, sport+, and track.
Acura will begin taking orders this summer, before production kicks off in Marysville, Ohio in the fall.
Chevrolet may have only just released the full details on the new 2016 Volt, but the automaker also just unveiled a concept design, called the “Bolt”.
[sam_ad id=”3″ codes=”true”]Essentially, it’s a BMW i3 but with a 200 mile electric range – 120 miles more than the i3.
And the Bolt will only be $30,000 instead of the i3’s $42,000. Though it’s worth noting that the Bolt is only a concept at the moment, whereas the BMW i3 is alive and actually cruising the streets right now.
GM CEO Mary Barra told the Detroit Auto Show that “this is no stripped down science experiment.” Barra emphasized GM’s intent to be the electric car industry leader and plans to bring the Bolt concept to production are in place, though no date was mentioned.
It’s thought that the Bolt is a direct attack on Tesla’s dubbed ‘Model 3’ which takes the Model S and sees a hefty price reduction towards the $30-40,000 range. This may be the electric war we’ve all been waiting for. GM and Tesla have been at each other’s throats for quite some time now, and it looks like they’re going to compete for the cheapest all-electric, affordable vehicle. Bring it on!
This competition will only force industry prices down while industry quality (theoretically and hopefully) continues to rise.
Mercedes-Benz C350 PHEV
Mercedes-Benz has also pitched-in with a new hybrid car, and some might be surprised. Mercedes-Benz has seemed rather reluctant on the hybrid plug-in front but the new C350 PHEV steers clear of the pure diesel approach that the legendary German automakers seem so fond of.
North America will only see the C350 as a sedan, while Europe will be able to choose from sedan or wagon. The hybrid charge doesn’t impress as much as the Volt, but it does fit practical use with 19 miles on a full charge – perfect for city dwellers.
Mercedes-Benz has released the stats, and they’re just as classy as you’d expect. A 208 hp turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, with a 60 kW/80-hp electric motor, which together will produce 205 kW (279 hp), and torque of 443 lb-ft.
With performance stats like 0-62 time of 5.9 seconds, the automaker’s reluctancy to edge closer to the “green” side is readily apparent. The eco warrior may still be a little upset with the C350, given that some of its power could have been transferred into the hybrid system, surely.
As of yet, there is no price. There is, however, CO2 emissions of 48 grams per kilometer, a step in the right direction from Mercedes-Benz.
Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE
Volkswagen, who has been rather quiet on the hybrid front in comparison to its competitors, has unveiled a hybrid crossover called the Cross Coupe GTE. The crossover features two electric motor, hits 0-60 in 6 seconds, and achieves all of this with the ability to produce zero tailpipe emissions… Wow.
The exterior is similar to what was shown in the 2013 Shanghai Motor Show, though what’s under the hood is only going to grab your attention further. A 3.6-liter VR6 attached to the two electric motors, alongside the gas engines 276 hp, producing 258 lb-ft of torque. The Cross Coupe GTE will also reach a top speed of 130 mph. Not bad, especially seeing as it’s fit to carry 5, with plans to increase that number to 7 at some point next year.
The Cross Coupe GTE captures the perfect next step in the green car revolution. With the capacity to get even the larger families safely to any destination, as well as a top speed to keep Dad happy and a look to keep Mom smug, the Cross Coupe GTE is surely a hybrid plug-in that we can get behind.
Sadly though, there is no price or release date as yet.
As a whole, the Detroit Motor Show doesn’t seem to be producing the mass of electric and hybrids that us enthusiasts were hoping for.
But there is still plenty of time – and with Tesla still to come, we can only hope for the next big announcement.
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