North American International Auto Show from a Green Perspective

Fuel-efficient technologies are the star of the show
Major automotive suppliers are displaying fuel economy technology to assist automakers make the steep climb into federal fuel economy standards and to reach consumers with growing interest in fuel efficient vehicles. Suppliers such as Southfield, Mich.-based Denso International America Inc., Plymouth, Mich.-based ZF North America Inc., Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls Inc., and Fort Mill, S.C.-based Schaeffler Group USA Inc. are displaying several fuel-saving technology systems at the Cobo Center. Schaeffler Group has been working closely with Ford Motor Co., and is displaying a Ford Escape loaded with nine technologies to save gasoline. These include a stop-start system, an all-wheel drive disconnect system, and friction-reduction technologies.

    Nissan is dropping the price of its Leaf battery-electric vehicle

    The price will drop by 18%, or about $6,000, now starting at $28,800 for the S trim level. With the federal tax credit at $7,500 and with various state incentives, some consumers will be able to purchase the Leaf for as little as $18,000.

      Cadillac launching extended range luxury car next year

      In early 2014, an extended range luxury vehicle will be launched by General Motors. The Cadillac ELR will reach dealers in the first part of 2014. It’s based on the Converj concept car that was first demonstrated in 2009, and it will be powered on the electric side by a 16.5 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which is also used in the Chevrolet Volt.

        Honda introduces Urban SUV concept

        Two years after ending production of the boxy Element, Honda showed the Urban SUV Concept, a small crossover that’s in the same category with its CR-V. It will be built on the same platform as the Honda Fit, and assembled at the same assembly plant in Mexico along with the Fit.

          Bob Lutz and Via Motors showing three new extended range vehicles

          Via Motors, which has been sup­ported by GM’s ex-chair and Chevro­let Volt advo­cate Bob Lutz, unveiled three new full-size elec­tric vehi­cles. Beyond its plug-in hybrid pickup, other extended range vehi­cles offerings will include a high per­for­mance, four-wheel drive truck with up to 800 horse­power, a lux­ury 4WD SUV, and an extended range 12-passenger van. (Also, Bob Lutz will help create a conventional version of the Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid with another company, VL Automotive. The car will be called Destino.)

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