Green Cars and Green Claims – Part 3

Written by Joel

This is the final part of a three-part series. For the first part go here, or follow this link for all Detroit Auto Show 2008 articles.

Global Electric Motors e2

Chrysler

Chrysler had a nice big sign up for their Aspen two mode hybrid but very little information on it. Their Global Electric Motorcars company had several vehicles on display, including the e2 pictured here. It’s under $7,000 and while a rear window and right side mirror are optional extras it does have a smog rating of 0.00.

BMW

BMW presented the BMW Hydrogen 7, the world’s first hydrogen-powered luxury saloon virtually free of emissions in everyday use. Currently 100 vehicles are on test drive, where the engine can be switched between hydrogen mode (200km/125miles range) or gasoline (another 500km/310 miles) to increase range. The advantage of hydrogen engines of course are they emit only water vapour. however, how green they are depends on how the hydrogen is manufactured.

BMW Hydrogen 7

Mini focused on lower fuel consumption as a unique selling point. With Brake Energy Regeneration they convert engine power into drive power for the wheels and electric power being generated only when moving or braking. With the Auto Start Stop function means that for all manual gearbox versions the engine no longer idles when stopped. When the gearshift is in neutral and the clutch isn’t pressed the engine switches off. Once the clutch pedal is pressed again the engine restarts. Finally they have a simple device called “the gearshift point indicator” that literally points to which gear you should be in for maximum engine (and therefore fuel) efficiency. Interesting!

Fisker Automotive

Fisker launched their $80,000 “eco-chic” car, which looks pretty nice as you can see from the photo below (or after the ‘Read more’ link if you’re reading this on our homepage). And yes, they are solar panels on the roof. Clearly aimed at the eco-conscious rich and celebrities, the vehicle is a plug-in hybrid that gets 50 miles from an overnight charge, and then a combustion engine takes over. 0-60 in 5.8 seconds is not bad at all, so if you can afford it (though you could get two Chevy Volts for the price) you can pre-order one for $5,000 now… The company was one of the few who printed their press kit on recycled paper with soy-based vegetable inks so get the thumbs up there.

Fisker Karma

This is their launch video, courtesy of EcoGeek.org:

Other Manufacturers

Chinese auto makers were out in force. Build Your Dreams (or Build your Death as Matt from The Auto Writer calls them) offered a hybrid, and Geely made promises of another. No sign of the Hyundai iBlue (fuel cell) though. A company called AFS Trinity offers an “Extreme Hybrid” plugin drive train that claims to get you 150 miles to the gallon, and potentially 250 mpg in three years time. The cost is a $8,700 premium, but would repay in 3.5 years based on current gas prices due to the electric battery and generators that provide better mileage.

Finally, manufacturer Tang Hua had a few vehicles on show, with the proud honour of selling the six-seater version to President Bush for use on his ranch. Not environmentally friendly particularly, but interesting!

Tang Hua

Next year I hope to have too much green car news to write about!


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