The 2013 Detroit Auto Show officially kicked off this week and it marked one the biggest years for the show in at least five years. Automakers pulled out all the stops with big debuts like the 2014 Chevy Corvette and Cadillac ELR. This year was also significant as we saw more luxury automakers unveil new electric and hybrid models than ever before. Here's our list of the top seven hybrid and electric cars that took the stage in Detroit.
Acura NSX Concept
Acura excited its fans last year with the debut of the Acura NSX concept, which previews the return of Acura’s supercar. Unlike the first model, which only used a V6 engine, the next NSX will be powered by a hybrid powertrain that combines a 3.5L V6 with three electric motors. One electric motor is integrated with the V-6 engine and two motors driving the front wheels.We’re still two years away from the debut of the NSX, but Acura continues to evolve the concept, which was shown at the show with updated styling and a possible design direction for the interior.
2014 Cadillac ELR
The 2014 Cadillac ELR was one of the biggest debuts at the Detroit Auto Show. The ELR borrows its electric powertrain from the Chevy Volt, but gets sexier coupe styling. The 2014 Cadillac ELR was also won the “Eyes On Design Best Production Vehicle Award” at the show. It arrives in early 2014 and will be able to travel up to 35 miles in full electric mode. A 1.4L range extender engine kicks in once the lithium-ion battery is depleted, giving the ELR a total driving range around 300 miles.
2014 Infiniti Q50 Hybrid
This year more luxury automakers unveiled new hybrid versions of their volume models and Infiniti followed suit with a hybrid version of its new 2014 Q50 sedan, which replaces the G37 in its lineup. The 2014 Q50 Hybrid will be powered by Infiniti’s Direct Response Hybrid System with Intelligent Dual Clutch Control that mates a 3.5L V6 to an electric motor. Buyers will also be able to choose between rear or all-wheel-drive. The Q50 Hybrid also gets new tech features like Direct Adaptive Steering technology and Active Lane Control.
2014 Lexus IS 300h
Lexus has unveiled its next-generation 2014 IS sedan, which will be available with three different powertrains, including its first hybrid system. The 2014 Lexus IS 300h will be powered by a Lexus Hybrid Drive powertrain, based on a newly developed 2.5L Atkinson-cycle engine with a total 217 horsepower. Unfortunately Lexus hasn’t announced any plans for the IS 300h in the US. Currently it only plans to offer the hybrid sedan in Europe, Japan, and select international markets, but hopefully that will change.
2013 Nissan Leaf
Nissan has given its Leaf electric car some updates for the 2013 model year. A new S model now makes the 2013 Leaf the cheapest five-passenger electric vehicle in the US and a new 6.6 kW onboard charger cuts charging times in half. Nissan has also added more features to the Leaf, like a Bose audio system and leather seats. The exterior of the 2013 Leaf has been tweaked to make it more efficient, but Nissan has yet to announce the official specs.
Nissan Resonance Concept
Nissan previewed its upcoming crossover lineup, primarily the Nissan Murano with the all-wheel-drive Nissan Resonance Hybrid Concept. In addition to showing the future style of Nissan’s crossovers, the Resonance features a hybrid powertrain, which uses Nissan’s proprietary “one-motor, two-clutch” system that combines a small displacement internal combustion gasoline engine with an electric motor/lithium-ion battery and advanced management system.
Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept
Volkswagen has ambitious sales goals in the United States and hopes to get even closer to them with the introduction of a larger three-row SUV that has been designed specifically for North America. The CrossBlue concept previews VW’s new SUV and features room for up to seven passengers. The concept is powered by a hybrid powertrain that mates a 190-hp TDI Clean Diesel Engine to two electric motors, a 54 horsepower electric motor sends its power to the front wheels, while a 114 horsepower electric motor powers the rear. A 9.8 kW lithium-ion battery powers the electric motors and gives the concept enough power to travel up to 20 miles in full electric mode.