The Meanest, Greenest Wheels at the Detroit Auto Show

I haven't really written about cars before, green or otherwise. So this is my first post because two things have happened. 1) The Detroit Auto show had a major focus on green design this year and 2) My friend's car got bumpered in London and she got given the new Toyota Prius as her temporary rental car. The sad fact remains that not everybody can actually afford greener wheels so back to the auto show.

Car design is becoming supremely innovative with exciting new designs coming out all the time. Many main-stream manufactures are making their vehicles more eco-friendly, fuel-efficient and paying attention to the life cycle of the vehicle. Volvo is probably one of the pioneers of cradle-to-grave design where every part is carefully designed so that it can be reused or recycled at the end of its life.

The Detroit Auto Show featured a range of cars from practical to outrageous. Some of the highlights included the new Ford Focus eco-versions of the company’s C-MAX, a five-passenger wagon: the C-MAX Energi which is a plug-in hybrid and will use the existing hybrid-electric powertrain that powers the Ford Fusion.  According to Ford, the Energi promises to deliver a driving range of 500 miles and better charge-sustaining fuel economy than Ford’s Fusion Hybrid, which gets 41mpg. With 140,000 hybrids on the road, Ford is currently the largest domestic producer of electrified vehicles in America.

Chevy Volt was voted the 'North American Car of the Year' at the show. The Chevy Volt gets 340 miles on a single charge (with the backup gas tank). The Volt is not a hybrid but is powered only by the electric engine at all times.  It does have a backup gasoline engine but it only acts as a generator to provide electricity to keep the battery in a steady state of charge after 40 miles.

The newest by Porsche the 918 RSR and the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG E-Cell (pictured) with its bright yellow paint job will surely prove wrong those who think that eco and fast don't mix. The SLS features four electric motors and is capable of reaching zero to 62 mph in just four seconds flat. Porsche's 918 RSR features a flywheel booster system that stores energy when the vehicle brakes and then releases it in a 160hp burst of speed.

One of the greatly anticipated cars included Li-Ion Motors' Inizios electric supercar. It is one of the world's first all-electric racer cars and can hit a speed of 170 mph and has a range of 250 miles. Last but not least, Toyota unleashed it newest range of Prius with exciting new family-friendly features that targets the urban market.

Photo Credit: Mercedes-Benz press release. Mercedes Benz SLS AMG E-Cell.