Detroit Auto Show 2012: Things electric

January 10, 2012 § Leave a comment

Went away for a couple of months to a sunnier and more optimistic place (more on this to follow) and am just back in time to pick up on some of the news from Detroit. Sounds as if the North American car-makers are putting a brave face on things despite worrying as much about their future in Europe as in their domestic market; still, there’s a few interesting concept cars with a greenish tinge.

First up, the EVs: most eye-catching of the bunch is the Volkswagen E-Bugster, a two-seater Beetle coupe with lowered roof. It’s got a Leaf-rivalling range of 110 miles, will do 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds, and can be fully fast-charged in 35 minutes. Just a show car, but its powertrain is as per that of the upcoming Golf Blue e-motion, so it’s feasible.

The Smart For-Us mini pick-up (below) is quite fun (for a specific niche: it’s not exactly the all-American dream) and previews the electric ForTwo city car; GM also has an urban commuter proposal in its autonomous Mk2 EN-V pod-car (full story on this here).¬† Of considerably more use to the US – and the world at large – is the Nissan e-NV200 van, an electrified version of the vehicle which will form the basis of the next-gen New York taxicab.

Alternatively, there’s the option of converting an already-popular model. Ohio’s AMP is offering e-versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Mercedes-Benz ML-Class (press release posted here), and the Bob Lutz-backed VIA Motors is charging up the Chevy Silverado (more here).



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