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

January 11, 2006

Hybrids, Flex-Fuels, and Subcompacts Debut at Auto Shows

Toyota Motor Sales and General Motors Corporation (GM) are displaying the latest in hybrid-electric vehicles slated for production at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. On January 9th, Toyota unveiled its 2007 Camry Hybrid, which combines a 45-horsepower motor and a 147-horsepower, 4-cylinder, Atkinson-cycle engine. Equipped with a continuously variable transmission, the Camry Hybrid achieves an estimated 43 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 37 mpg on the highway. On January 8th, GM debuted two upcoming hybrid sport utility vehicles: the 2007 Saturn VUE Green Line and the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Two-mode Hybrid. The Saturn VUE Green Line is expected to achieve 27 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway, a 20 percent improvement over the Saturn VUE. When it goes on sale this summer, the Saturn VUE Green Line will sell for less than $23,000, including a markup of less than $2,000 for the hybrid system. The Tahoe Hybrid is optimized to perform efficiently in two modes: in city driving and on the highway. The vehicle will operate on electric power only when it can, which will help it to achieve an estimated 25 percent gain in fuel economy over the base Tahoe. The Tahoe Two-mode Hybrid will go on sale next year along with the GMC Yukon Two-mode Hybrid, and a Cadillac Escalade hybrid is planned for the future. See the Toyota press releases and the GM press release and Webcast.

As always, this year's NAIAS also features many intriguing concept vehicles. Ford Motor Company is displaying the Reflex Hybrid Coupe, a sporty car that achieves 65 mpg with a hybrid-electric diesel engine. Solar cells in the headlights and taillights help recharge the lithium-ion battery, while a roof-mounted solar panel powers fans to keep the interior cool. Ford also brought the F-250 Super Chief concept, a flex-fuel pickup that runs on gasoline, ethanol, or hydrogen. Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is displaying the Concept-CT MIEV hybrid, a sport hatchback that combines a lithium-ion battery with in-wheel motors, while Toyota's F3R concept is a hybrid minivan with modern styling. The NAIAS opens to the public on January 14th. See the Ford press releases on the Reflex Hybrid Coupe and Super Chief; the press releases from Mitsubishi and Toyota; and the NAIAS Web site.

Fuel-efficient subcompacts are also coming on strong, as Honda unveiled the 2007 Honda Fit at the NAIAS. The five-door subcompact achieves 33 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with its four-cylinder engine. Toyota is also introducing its Yaris subcompact to the U.S. market for the 2007 model year. Already popular in Europe, the Yaris sedan and hatchback models achieve 34 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The Yaris debuted in early January at the Los Angeles Auto Show, which also features an innovative three-wheel concept vehicle from Volkswagen. The company says its GX3, a two-seat crossover between a motorcycle and a sports car, can achieve 46 mpg in the city. Honda also introduced its 2006 Civic GX, which runs on compressed natural gas, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The show is open to the public through January 15th. See the Los Angeles Auto Show Web site and the press releases about the Honda Fit, Toyota Yaris, Volkswagen GX3 (PDF 93 KB), and Honda Civic GX. A photo of the Volkswagen GX3 is also available. Download Adobe Reader.