CES may have stolen some thunder from this week's North American International Auto Show, but automakers still had big surprises in store for green vehicle fans. We reported live from the show to bring you a first look at the ultra-efficient cars of the future - including next-gen hydrogen vehicles, off-roading EVs, and the world's first electric minivan. Hit the jump for the hottest green cars of the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.
Audi’s bright yellow H-Tron Quattro shines like a ray of hope for a hydrogen future. The H-Tron pairs a 110 kW fuel cell with a 100 kW lithium-ion battery, it has a range of 373 miles, and it fills up in 4 minutes flat. The vehicle also has an energy-conserving heat pump and a solar roof that can provide 620 miles of emission-free driving per year.
There’s no shortage of electric sedans and city cars on the market, but what happens when the going gets tough and the roads get rough? VW just unveiled a plug-in hybrid burly enough to tackle off-road routes and extreme conditions. The four-wheel-drive Tiguan GTE Active concept offers 221 horsepower and a robust shielded exterior, yet it can travel 20 miles in all-electric mode and it has a combined range of 580 miles.
Up until now, car buyers looking for an electric vehicle large enough to haul the entire family were out of luck. Fortunately, Chrysler just unveiled the world’s first electric minivan at the Detroit Auto Show. The Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid seats 7-8 passengers and it can drive for 30 miles on battery power alone. That’s impressive for a vehicle of this size, and the overall mileage is an astounding 80 MPGe when you factor in the Pacifica’s 248 horsepower V6 engine.
Hydrogen cars are a pipe dream until the infrastructure gets built, but that hasn’t stopped automakers from developing next-gen fuel cell vehicles. The LF-FC is Lexus’ first fuel cell car, and it’s a silver-clad stunner. The flagship sedan makes good on its futuristic looks by packing in autonomous driving tech and a holographic interface that lets you control the car with a wave of your hand.
Ford’s combined plug-in vehicle sales top the charts in the US – and for 2017 they debuted a fresh new look for the Fusion sedan. The new Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid features a sharper, sportier front end, improved performance, and more efficient electric motors. It’s also packed with state of the art technology – including pedestrian detection, hands-free parking, and Ford’s new SYNC 3 infotainment system.
Chevrolet officially debuted the groundbreaking Bolt EV last week at CES, but they waited until the Detroit Auto Show to announce several critical specs. Chevy’s 200-mile electric vehicle will pack a 60 kWh lithium-ion battery, and its electric motor will deliver 200 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque. That’s enough to take the 960 pound Bolt EV from 0-60 in under seven seconds.
BMW is working on electrifying its entire vehicle lineup, and the 330e Plug-in Hybrid is an enticing option for luxury car buyers. The vehicle offers 22 miles of electric-only range and 252 horsepower thanks to an 88 hp electric motor paired with a 184 hp four-cylinder engine.
Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat