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

March 05, 2008

Europeans Add Their Unique Style to Green Cars at Geneva

Photo of the Quaranta, a wedge-shaped sports car with a nose that blends into the windshield, then the roof, and then the tail in one continuous arc.

The Quaranta adds Italian supercar styling to Toyota's hybrid system. Enlarge this image.
Credit: Italdesign Giugiaro

The Geneva Motor Show opens to the public on March 6, and this year visitors will be treated to a variety of "green" concept vehicles from some of Europe's most innovative designers. Italy's Italdesign Giugiaro, for instance, is unveiling the Quaranta, a mostly carbon fiber and aluminum sports car built around Toyota's hybrid system and featuring 250 watts of solar cells integrated into its roof. The vehicle appears to be fully driveable and features a mid-engine design with an extra motor mounted on the front axle. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom's Morgan Motor Company applies its distinctive swooping fenders to a fuel cell vehicle, the Morgan LifeCar. (Note that the Morgan Web site shows the car sporting front fender skirts, but recent media photos show it without them, making it considerably easier to drive!) See the Italdesign Giugiara press release (PDF 653 KB) and photo gallery and the Morgan LifeCar Web page. Download Adobe Reader.

Lotus is a more familiar name to U.S. drivers, and Lotus Engineering is displaying a version of the Lotus Exige that can run on any blend of gasoline, ethanol, and methanol. The Lotus Exige 270E Tri-fuel is also the most powerful version of the Exige yet, reaching 60 miles per hour in only 3.88 seconds. Lotus is using the car to talk up a technology that can convert carbon dioxide into alcohol for use as fuel, a seemingly world-changing technology that has one major drawback: it requires hydrogen, and producing that hydrogen would require a significant amount of energy. The Geneva Motor Show continues through March 16. See the Lotus press release (PDF 4.9 MB) and the Geneva Motor Show Web site.