PHOTO CAPTION: 2008 Ford Europe Kuga Crossover SUV based on C-platform that will also be used for 2011 electric car.

Cars in Detroit Were Electric If Mood Wasn't

From launch of new generation three Prius to GM's announcement it would start manufacturing its own batteries, electric car news dominated the 2009 Detroit auto show.

Published: 17-Jan-2009

If the atmosphere at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week wasn't exactly electric, a lot of the cars were. The show had more of an alternative-power zeitgeist than any such confab in recent memory, with Ford, Toyota, Honda, VW and others rolling out diesel, electric, hybrid gas/electric cars and SUVs.
Chrysler's ENVI (short for "environment") showed five electric concept vehicles under the Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep banners; Toyota Motor Sales used the show to reveal its 2010 Prius, a new hybrid for the Lexus marque and its alternative-powertrain plans; Honda unveiled the car that resurrects the Insight moniker that launched the hybrids segment; Ford talked up its long-range plans for long-range electric cars and trucks.

With plans to sell a million hybrids per year starting next year, Toyota showed a number of alternative vehicles, including the third-generation 2010 Prius, the new Lexus HS250H and a version of its new 2010 Camry powered by compressed natural gas.

The company also unveiled an "urban commuter" battery-powered concept called FT-EV, based on the Japan-market iQ 4-seater. A production version of the FT will go on sale in the U.S. in 2012, per the company. Toyota said the vehicle is intended solely for short jaunts of 50 miles or less to work and public transportation.


Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown offers another way to fuel the cars of the future that doesn't require a switch to natural gas.

Despite Toyota's disapproval of the $500 deposit on future plug-in Prius, one dealer plans to continue accepting them.

Chrysler circulating plug-in hybrid prototypes to dealers more advanced than earlier models. Pictured is the Chrysler EcoVoyager, in one of a trio of electric-drive concept vehicles it debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.


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