Editor's note: My co-pilot and I were so excited about…
Automakers and auto journalists fled to the City of Angels last week for the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, which officially kick-started the 2011 auto show season. L.A.’s opening show has grown over the past few years into the center for “green” hype. Earlier in the week, the Green Car Journal announced its 2011 “Green Car of the Year” award. The magazine selected the Chevrolet Volt, an all-electric car that will be put into production (initially in limited markets) next year. This has to be incredibly good news for General Motors, whose existence only two years ago was hanging on by a thread.
In the beginning, all of this green buzz may have seemed like a fad, but it’s becoming clear that green technologies are in for the long haul. A true concept car defines the future of the automobile in new, innovative ways. And now, it’s official – the concept car has gone green. Car makers are defining the future of the electric automobile as evidenced by the cars displayed last week in Los Angeles.
Here are stats on a few electric concepts that will soon become tangible to the customer:
Engine: Battery electric (lithium-ion) with range of 70 miles in urban conditions.
On Sale: Everywhere in 2012Notes: The driver can extend the car’s range to 100 miles by using the Econ mode and driving very slowly according to The Telegraph.
Kia Optima HybridEngine: Electric motor + Lithium-polymer battery combined with 2.4 liter engine
On Sale: In showrooms early 2011Notes: This will be the first hybrid for the South Korean automaker in the U.S. Estimated 40 mpg on highway and 206 horsepower when in hybrid mode. Learn More >>
Toyota RAV4 EV
Engine: Lithium metal oxide battery
On Sale: To launch in 2012Notes: Toyota created this all-electric crossover with the help of $50 million and Tesla Motors. While the carmaker hasn’t released the full details of the vehicle, it expects performance to be similar to the non-hybrid RAV4 mounted with a V-6 engine. Learn More >>
Wheego Whip LIFE
Engine: 115V electric battery pack
On Sale: Production underway now, should be in showrooms by the end of November – hitting showrooms before Nissan’s Leaf.Notes: Competition is the American Way, and Wheego’s CEO, Mike McQuary, hopes to challenge big manufacturers Nissan and GM with his highway-ready, all-electric, and 75 percent U.S. content vehicles.Learn More >>
SAAB 9-3 ePower
Engine: 35.5kWh lithium ion battery paired with 184-hp electric motor and single speed transmission
On Sale: A test fleet of 70 vehicles is undergoing evaluation in Sweden now. Saab hopes to have a placehold in the EV market by 2015.Notes: Projected range is 200 km with capability to be fully recharged in only 6 hours. Learn More>>