Global Race to Improve Fuel Efficiency Is On
Fuel economy was on display at the Detroit Auto Show. Even more exciting vehicles will be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show, also in Detroit this week. $100 per barrel oil and new CAFÉ standards have made improved fuel economy mandatory for auto makers.
Most popular with individuals and fleets is the four-door sedan. Over the next three years, there will be a number of affordable offerings with fuel economy from 40 miles per gallon, to infinite miles per gallon.
General Motors (GM) continues to draw considerable attention with its Chevy Volt, which will offer 40 mile range in electric mode before its small 1L engine is engaged. 40 miles accommodates the daily range requirements of 78% of all U.S. drivers. The Volt uses an electric drive system with a small ICE in series that is only used to generate added electricity, not give power to the wheels. GM hopes to take orders for the Volt at the end of 2010.
World hybrid leader, Toyota (TM), is likely to beat GM to market with a new plug-in hybrid also using lithium batteries. Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe discussed Toyota’s vision:
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