This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 10, 2007

Detroit Auto Show Features Hybrid, Flex-Fuel, and Efficient Vehicles

Photo of the Toyota FT-HS on the road.

The Toyota FT-HS is a hybrid concept vehicle that promises performance, but Toyota is staying mum about its fuel efficiency.
Credit: Toyota Motor Corporation

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS), now underway in Detroit, Michigan, features a number of concept vehicles that include hybrid systems, flex-fuel capabilities, or efficient gasoline engines. Among the most appealing entries in terms of design is the Toyota FT-HS, a hybrid sports car concept that combines carbon fiber and titanium components in an aggressive, aerodynamic design. The concept vehicle features a V6 engine coupled with a hybrid system for a target power output of about 400 horsepower. Toyota estimates that the vehicle could accelerate to 60 miles per hour in about 4 seconds, but the company didn't attempt to estimate its fuel economy. Mazda is also shooting for high-end sports car design with its Ryuga concept vehicle, a sleek, grinning sports car that, according to the company, could potentially feature a flex-fuel engine capable of running on E85 (a mixture of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). See the press releases from Toyota and Ford Motor Company, Mazda's parent company.

Ford is displaying the Lincoln MKR concept, a four-door sedan that's meant to signal Lincoln's future design strategy, but the car's real innovation is under its hood. The MKR features Ford's new TwinForce engine, an all-aluminum turbocharged V-6 engine in which the gasoline is injected directly into the engine's cylinders at high pressures. Compared to standard fuel-injection systems, which inject the fuel into the cylinder head, the TwinForce design allows for a more efficient and controlled burning of the fuel. The result is the performance of a V-8 engine with a 15 percent improvement in fuel economy. The engine is also capable of running on E85, which allows it to deliver 415 horsepower. See the Ford press releases on the Lincoln MKR concept and its engine.

The NAIAS, also called the Detroit Auto Show, will open its doors to the public on Saturday, January 13th, and continues through January 21st. See the NAIAS Web site.