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

October 31, 2007

Hybrid and Electric Vehicles Dominate the Tokyo Motor Show

Concepts for new hybrids, plug-in hybrids, electric vehicles, and fuel cell vehicles from Japan's leading automakers are on display to the public at the Tokyo Motor Show, which runs through November 11th. As one example, Toyota Motor Corporation introduced its 1/X (pronounced "one-Xth") concept vehicle, a Prius-like sedan that tips the scales at a third of the weight of the Prius and obtains double the Prius' fuel economy. The vehicle cuts its weight by using carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic in its frame and boosts its fuel economy with a small plug-in hybrid powertrain that can be fueled with either gasoline or E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Toyota's other plug-in hybrid concept, the Hi-CT, is a small, boxy, two-door vehicle aimed at young car buyers. In addition, Toyota's luxury brand, Lexus, introduced its next-generation hybrid sport utility vehicle, the LF-Xh, an all-wheel-drive vehicle powered by a V6 engine teamed up with a high-output electric motor. See the Toyota and Lexus press releases and Toyota's Tokyo Motor Show Web site.

Photo of the Honda CR-Z, a muscular two-door sports car with a large front grill, a steeply raked windshield, and roof pillars that curve back to the car's rear end. The car sits on a Honda display stand.

The CR-Z is Honda's vision of a next-generation sports car.
Credit: Honda

Among the other automakers, Honda Motor Company, Ltd., unveiled the CR-Z, a "next-generation lightweight sports car" that features Honda's hybrid electric drivetrain, and the PUYO, another small, boxy vehicle, powered by a fuel cell. Mazda displayed the Premacy Hydrogen RE, a hybrid with a rotary engine that can run on gasoline or hydrogen, with a 125-mile range on hydrogen alone. Mazda plans to lease the vehicle in Japan next year. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation introduced a Beetle-like electric vehicle with in-wheel electric motors, called the i MiEV Sport, which even has a solar panel on its roof. And Nissan unveiled the Pivo 2, a small electric vehicle with a lithium-ion battery pack and in-wheel motors. See the Honda press release and auto show Web site; the Mazda and Mitsubishi press releases; and the Nissan press release and auto show Web site.

But Japanese automakers weren't the only ones unveiling clean car concepts in Tokyo. Audi arrived with its "metroproject quattro," a plug-in hybrid with a direct-injection, turbocharged, 150-horsepower gasoline engine mounted up front and a 30-kilowatt motor on its rear axle. The concept vehicle employs a lithium-ion battery pack that allows it to run on electric power only. See the metroproject quattro Web site.