Honda, Toyota Unveil New Hybrid Cars at Detroit Auto Show

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Like the Honda Insight, the 2011 Honda CR-Z offers an Eco Guide and Eco scoring feature to help drivers track the efficiency of their driving style.

Honda and Toyota unveiled new dedicated hybrid vehicles Jan. 11 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

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 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.

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 the Prius, targeting a lower price point than the 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.

This year’s Detroit Auto Show featured “Electric Avenue,” where more than 20 electric vehicles were 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 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 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, with its 2010 Ford Fusion hybrid being named North American Car of the Year.

Reprinted from EERE Network News, a free newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy.