Never has the auto industry's emphasis on fuel efficiency been on display more than at this year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Automakers unveiled a potpourri of new technologies aimed at boosting vehicle efficiency.
Ford rolled out two new hybrids and a pure electric car. Toyota added to its reputation for innovation with a low-cost version of the Prius and a concept car aimed at the future. Lexus, Tesla, and others maintained their emphasis on advanced powertrains with new EVs, hybrids, and concept cars. Meanwhile, a host of automakers showed components -- from new frame materials to power-stingy LED lights -- aimed at cutting fuel consumption.
We have collected some photos showing a few of the highlights of the world's premier auto show. From hybrids and electric cars to automotive frames and LED tail lights, we present some of this year's best.
Click the image below to start the slideshow.
Tesla Model S Electric Car
Tesla Motors said it will begin delivery of the much-awaited Model S electric car in mid-2012. The Model S will have three versions: one with a 40kWh battery and a 160-mile range, one with a 60kWh battery and a 230-mile range, and one with an 85kWh battery and a 300-mile range.
(Source: Design News)
For a deep look at GM's Chevy Volt, go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director Brian Fuller. In a trip sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is taking the fire-engine-red Volt to innovation hubs across America, interviewing engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students as he blogs his way across the country.
We only need to look to racecar builders to make cars lighter and stronger. The technology exists today but the will doesn't. Yes, everyone can not afford a $2M dollar racecar but most of the innovation in production cars "trickled down" from racing. Just ask Honda. There is no reason we can not adapt F1 technology to production cars and with economies of scale make affordable for the masses.
Beth: Your comment about the DODGE DART... It was a popular model in the 1960s. So that may be "grandpa's generation" to you. Actually, the DART was a "compact" vehicle, competing w/ the Chevrolet CHEVY II (Nova), Ford Falcon, Mercury Comet, Plymouth Valiant, Buick Special, Oldsmobile F85, & Pontiac Tempest (later GTO & LeMANS). When did all this happen? It started w/ the 1960 model year.
Rob: The current crop of designs harkens back to the 1970s when GM decided to make all their vehicles clones of each other. Remember the midsized Buicks, Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles & Pontiacs. You couldn't tell one from the other, except up close when you saw the brand logo affixed somewhere on the sheetmetal. Even the full-sized Chevrolet Impala shared a complete body design w/ the Pontiac Bonneville. It was the same for the Chevy Monza, the Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile (?) & Ponitac (?). Even the Cadillac brand marketd a model which wasn't much different than the Chevrolet Nova! It's been so long ago that I've forgotten the names of the Olds & Ponty cars in that series. My point: Detroit HAS been down the "clone" road before, and in a BIG TIME way.
Wait. Isn't design about efficiency? Isn't "styling" equal to Decoration? You can borrow my hotglue gun if that's the definition of design. Aerodynamic design is about efficiency. Nature does it by survival. It's the 21st century. On that note: Why do they still build in those HUMPS the length of the car?
That car shape timeline is funny, but it certainly sounds true. Although I remember that the winged look during the 50s was supposed to make people think of rocket ships at least as much as airplanes. This was, after all, the Sputnik era.
Sorry Mr. Jones! I wholeheartedly DISAGREE! The Cadillac CIMARRON was not a rebranded Cavalier. It was as I stated a gussied up CHEVY II NOVA. I know them well because I had an uncle who had one, and a cousin (on the other side of the family) who had a NOVA during that same timeframe. The cars were identical, except for the Caddy's gussied up interior seating, dashboard appointments & exterior chrome.
Yes, Curmudgeon, I remember the Pontiac 2000 was the exact same car as the Olds Cutless. Chrysler did the same thing with its Dodge line. But usually it was fairly easy to tall a GM car from a Ford or Chrysler.
Disagree all you like, but the Cimarron was based on the Chevy Cavalier. I know them very well, I was working at a Chevy dealership when it was introduced. The Nova wasn't even in production when the Cimarron came out. The Nova was an X-body car that ceased production in 1979. The Cavalier was a J-body car that was introduced in '82, as was the Cimarron.
The Nova was reintroduced in '85, I'm guessing your cousin's car was an '85 - '88 Nova. This Nova was built as a joint venture between GM and Toyota, and was actually a rebadged Toyota Sprinter. It did resemble the Cavalier/Cimarron, but under the sheetmetal it was a completely different car.
I believe the Dart plays a starring role (actually, it's its cousin, the Plymouth Valiant), in Steven Spielberg's directorial debut, Duel (1971). It stars Dennis Weaver, driving said Valiant, being chased by an evil trucker intent on running him off the road. True to its real-world performance, the Valiant/Dart takes a licking in the movie but keeps on ticking. Low performance but highly reliable, based on Chrysler's famous and rugged slant 6. That engine also appeared in the similar (technically) but more sportily styled Plymouth Duster. I remember driving a 1973 Duster in the early 1980s. Having enjoyed Mopar, I bought a new Chrysler product sometime in the 80s. That was a mistake not to be repeated, and I am among the tens of thousands that were lost permanently by American automakers as a result.
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