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January 20, 2010

Honda and Toyota Unveil New Hybrids at the Detroit Auto Show

Photo of a sleek, compact auto.

The 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid-electric coupe, showcased at the Detroit Auto Show, is set to go on sale in the United States during late summer.
Credit: Photo courtesy of Honda

American Honda Motor Company and Toyota Motor Sales unveiled new dedicated hybrid vehicles on January 11 at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Michigan. The 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid coupe, set to go on sale in the United States in late summer, is powered by a 1.5-liter, four-cylinder i-VTEC engine paired with a 10-kilowatt motor to deliver up to 122 horsepower. The two-seat car introduces a three-mode drive system that allows the driver to select between sport, economy, and normal driving modes. The coupe comes with a six-speed manual transmission, but a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is also available. Honda expects the CVT-equipped CR-Z to achieve 36 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, while the fuel economy of the manual transmission model should drop to 31 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. See the Honda press release and the Honda NAIAS Web site.

Toyota unveiled the FT-CH, which is 22 inches shorter than the Prius. While the automaker didn't divulge the new model's fuel economy, it noted that the FT-CH would be lighter and even more fuel efficient than Prius, targeting a lower price point than Prius. It said the addition was part of its strategy to offer a wider variety of conventional hybrid choices. The company said it plans to begin introducing plug-in hybrids and battery electric vehicles in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in 2015 in global markets. See the Toyota press release.

This year's Detroit Auto Show features "Electric Avenue," where more than 20 electric vehicles are on display. Among the green vehicles on display in Detroit, China's BYD Auto exhibited its all-electric five-seat crossover, the e6, which uses the BYD ferrous battery to achieve a 205-mile range. The company expects to begin selling the car in the United States this year. BYD Auto also displayed the newest version of its F3DM plug-in electric sedan, which includes a 1.0-liter gasoline engine as well as a solar panel on its roof. BMW unveiled its Concept ActiveE electric vehicle, based on a 1 Series coupe, which achieves a range of 100 miles using a liquid-cooled, lithium-ion battery pack. General Motors Corporation (GM) revealed its Cadillac XTS Platinum Concept, which pairs a 3.6-liter V-6 direct-injection engine to a plug-in hybrid system to achieve 350 horsepower. Volvo Cars unveiled its next-generation all-electric Volvo C30k, slated for real-world trials in 2011, while Volkswagen took the wraps off its New Compact Coupe hybrid concept, which can achieve an estimated combined fuel economy of 45 mpg. Ford claimed the spotlight, too, when its 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid was named North American Car of the Year. The NAIAS runs through January 24. See the BYD Auto Web sites for the NAIAS, the e6, and the F3DM; the press releases from BMW, GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, and Ford; and the NAIAS Web site.

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