Automakers kicked off this year’s North American International Auto Show, commonly called the Detroit Auto Show, yesterday with less glitz and more conspicuous frugality than in years past. But new plans for hybrid and electric models were hardly in short supply. Things picked up again this morning — here’s a round-up of the big news so far:
Toyota Plans Global EV Rollout: Toyota announced plans to launch an all-electric city car in the U.S. earlier this month. But not until today did an executive reveal the company’s scheme to roll out the electric vehicle (based on the FT-EV concept) in Japan, Europe and the U.S. by 2012.
BYD to Hit U.S. in 2011: BYD Auto Co. said it plans to sell its electric e6 concept and F6DM plug-in hybrid sedan in the U.S. by 2011. The China-based auto and battery maker unveiled the e6 in Detroit today, pledging a 250-mile range on a single charge.
Tesla to Go Sportier, More Expensive Before it Goes Mass Market: Silicon Valley electric car startup Tesla Motors unveiled plans to build a sportier version of its Tesla Roadster called the Roadster Sport (which goes from 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds vs. 3.9 seconds, the company claims). While Tesla has long talked of launching a mass-market vehicle with a lower price tag than that of the $109,000 Roadster, it’s looking to sell the Sport for $128,500. According to Tesla, which has a history of delays, deliveries of the Sport, which will contain the same powertrain planned for the elusive Model S sedan, will begin in June.
Ford to Partner With Magna International: Magna International , parent of the powertrain company originally contracted to design a two-speed transmission for Tesla’s Roadster (which later sued Tesla), will provide battery and powertrain components for a small, all-electric, 100-mile-range vehicle from Ford.
Lexus Debuts High-End, More Efficient Hybrid: We noted earlier this month that Toyota Motor Corp. planned to debut a Lexus hybrid sedan — the 2010 HS250h — in Detroit. Now we have details: The car is slated to go for less than $40,000 and hit showrooms in late summer. Lexus said yesterday the HS250h will get 30 percent better fuel economy than the RX 400h hybrid’s combined 25 mpg.
Chrysler Gets Heavy on the Gizmos for Electric Concept Vehicle: Chrysler unveiled an extended-range electric concept car called the 200C EV. The company said its line of plugin, hybrid and extended-range electric prototypes “clearly demonstrates that we are well on our way to bringing electric vehicles to our consumers’ garages.” And the company has loaded up this new midsized sedan with its Uconnect system, which the company said will let users create a network of “buddy vehicles” and track them on a screen in the dash. As the New York Times reports, Chrysler envisions a slide-out computer for the passenger riding shotgun and a feature allowing parents to set driving limits for young drivers. Interesting ideas, but not the low-cost, advanced technology Chrysler pitched in its bailout plea.
Jeep Patriot to Join Chrysler’s EV Lineup: The smallest of Motor City’s Big Three revealed plans yesterday to add the Jeep Patriot, a compact SUV, to its lineup of electrified versions of existing models. Chrysler expects the extended-range electric Patriot to have a 40-mile all-electric range and up to 400 miles with support from a small gas engine.
Dodge Jumps on the Electric Sports Car Circuit: Filling out Chrysler’s new lineup of electric vehicles is a prototype of the Dodge Circuit, an all-electric sports car likely meant to keep Europe’s Lotus or startups like Fisker and Tesla from taking all the luxury performance EV glory. (As for why the company thought the startling “all-new ‘Tangogreen’ color” would help, we may never know.)
GM Unveils Electric Cadillac: General Motors debuted an extended-range electric concept coupe with front-wheel drive called the Cadillac Converj. The company said a battery pack with 220 lithium-ion cells will take three hours to charge and deliver a 40-mile, all-electric range.
Honda Insight Back in Business: After going out of production a few years ago, Honda launched generation two of its hybrid Insight with the debut of a 2010 model yesterday in Detroit, and plans to roll the cars out to Japan showrooms as early as next month. As we noted in our preview of the show, the car is set to carry a price tag lower than that of the Honda Civic. CNET test drove the new Insight last month and has a detailed review this morning.