TodayApril 16, 2022

2009 LA Auto Show debuts alternative fuels & cars on MSNBC

MSNBC at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show

These cars have been introduced before, but never in North America. They are all alternative fuels or alternative vehicles.

Audi e-Tron Concept

Audi first unveiled this electric vehicle at the Frankfurt Auto show.  If you love the R8 you’ll love this ultra-luxury sportscar. This will put Tesla and Fisker back on their heels and make them take notice. Audi has confirmed that the e-Tron is going to be put into production in a couple of years. The e-Tron uses a lithium-ion battery, which is housed behind the passenger seat. The e-Tron concept is powered by four electric motors, one on each axle, which makes it a four-wheel drive.  Audi says the car has a driving range of 150 miles before it needs to be recharged.  Audi says the horsepower, combined with the electric motors, is equivalent to 313 horsepower. The torque is 3,319 lb.-foot!

BMW ActiveHybrid 7

This is a mild hybrid, but still the first hybrid for BMW. It combines the twin-turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 found in the 750i with a boost from a small electric motor.  Combing the gasoline version and the electric motor gives the 750i an additional 40 horsepower and 30 lb-ft of torque. BMW says that gives the Active hybrid 7 an output of 440 horsepower at 5,500 rpm and 480 lb-ft at 2,000 rpm. BMW says that fuel economy will be increased 15 percent, and still drive like a BMW.

BMW ActiveHybrid X6 --

A true hybrid for BMW! The best part of the new 2010 BMW X6 active hybrid? The shut-off feature.

When the driver gets out of the car and shuts the door, the car shuts off. That’s right, completely off. The reason, says Tomas Greger, a member of the BMW X6 active team, is safety. People have gotten out of their hybrids without shutting them off. They do this because the hybrid electric motor is so quiet they forget. But when the battery runs down the combustion engine kicks on and your garage could fill up with carbon monoxide and kill you in your sleep.

The gasoline version of the BMW X6 gets 12.8 liters per 100 kilometers. In Imperial (as in “God save the Queen” U.K.) miles that would work out to 18.4 miles per gallon. In the United States that equals 15.3 miles per gallon.

The 2010 BMW X6 active hybrid gets 9.9 liters per 100 kilometers. In Imperial miles that would work out to 23.75 miles per gallon. In the United States that equals 19.7 miles per gallon, which is what we got driving around the slow-poke streets of Miami up the highway to the highway to Lighthouse Point, FL.

BMW Vision EfficientDynamics plug-in Concept

This concept was first shown at the Frankfurt Auto show. The Vision is a 1.5-cylinder diesel-based plug-in concept, in what is known as a range-extender concept, like the Chevy Volt. This is not a rear-wheel drive but could be an all-wheel drive, when in the electric mode because they put two electric motors on the axle.  The lithium-polymer battery pack runs down the center tunnel of the car and only takes 2.5 hours to recharge. BMW says the drag coefficient is .22, achieved by moving the engine to the back of the car, in front of the rear axle.  The LED lighting all around reduces energy consumption. Combine all this and BMW says you get the fuel consumption and emissions of a small car, and the performance of a BMW M model.

The powertrain provides a top speed limited electronically to 155 mph, with acceleration to 100 km/h in 4.8 seconds. Average fuel consumption in the EU test cycle is 3.76 liters/100 kilometers, equal to 62.6 mpg, and the CO2 emission rating is 99 grams per kilometer. CO2 emission management is even more outstanding when driving in the all-electric mode after charging the battery from a plug-in source: Taking all emissions in the generation of electricity into account, as prescribed by the EU formula, the car emission rating is just 50 grams per kilometer.  Overall system output is 356 horsepower, and peak torque is 590 lb-ft.

Lexus LF-Ch Premium Compact Hybrid Concept –

Lexus showed this concept for the first at the  Frankfurt Auto Show, and now it will be on display for the first time in North America at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show.  Look for the blue Lexus logo and you’ll know it’s a hybrid from Lexus!  The LF-Ch will use Lexus’ hybrid technology. It’s hard not to take a hybrid from Lexus for granted, they’ve been bringing them out for so many years. The interesting thing is they say they will be competing with Audi and BMW with this hatchback hybrid.  The question will be, does this look more like a Toyota than a Lexus?

Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell--

F-Cell is a fuel cell, aka hydrogen! An SUV zero-emission drive system that you can lease that consumes the equivalent of 3.3 liters of diesel per 100 kilometers in the NEDC (New European Driving Cycle). That would be around 70 miles per gallon, which works out to 81 mpg in the UK! around 200 vehicles will be delivered to customers in Europe and the USA at the beginning of next year.  Starting with the first rotation, you will get a maximum torque of 290 Nm, and the electric motor gives a peak performance of 100 kW/136 horsepower.

Mercedes-Benz E350 Bluetec –

If it’s Bluetec it’s diesel, and that means clean diesel. The E350 BlueTEC sedan is powered by a 3.0-liter V6 diesel with 210 hp (157 kW), 400 lb-ft (542 N·m) of torque. According to Mercedes, the E350 gets approximately 30% better fuel economy than it’s a comparable gasoline engine. Expect to see the E350 BlueTEC in all 50 states in the Spring of 2010, thanks to Mercedes adding their AdBlue SCR.

Mitsubishi PX-MiEV Concept –

Mitsubishi may be a bit player in the United States, but they are hot in sustainable technology. The odd nomenclature actually stands for PX  (plug-in hybrid crossover) MiEV (Mitsubishi innovative Electric Vehicle). The little car that can is powered by the new Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid System. It utilizes the MiEV OS (MiEV Operating System) which selects the optimum drive mode through integrated control of the Electric Vehicle components and sensors. Modes include EV, Series, Parallel, regenerative, charging, vehicle to home. And don’t forget that AC auxiliary supply in the back that allows you to cook!

Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept –

Subaru has garnered kudos for being profitable and having great sales while the rest of the world fell to pieces. Their parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., presented a gull-wing Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept at the Tokyo Motor Show and will unveil it at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto show.   The lithium-ion battery supports the two motors – one for the front wheels, the other for the rear.  Subaru’s hybrid drive uses a 10 kW motor/generator in the front, and a 20 kW motor in the rear.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept –  

When fully charged, the vehicle is targeted to achieve an electric-only range of approximately 12 miles and will be capable of achieving highway speeds in electric-only mode.  Beginning in late 2009, Toyota will begin global delivery of 500 Prius PHV vehicles, 150 coming to the United States.  The vehicle’s first-generation lithium-ion battery will be built on a dedicated PEVE (Panasonic EV Energy Company, LTD) assembly line. PEVE is a joint-venture in which Toyota owns 60 percent equity. This is the first generation battery that Toyota helped design. They are already working on their second generation.

Volkswagen L1 Concept –

This is the second generation of the 1-liter. I know because I rode around San Francisco in the first generation. You’ve come along way, baby! The goal for Volkswagen is to have a car that gets 1-liter/100km or 235 miles per gallon. They’ve got it up to 170 miles per gallon so far.

Volkswagen combined a two-cylinder 0.8L Turbodiesel (TDI), a 10 kW motor; and 7-speed DSG. Not sure when it will hit the streets, or how many Americans could fit into it.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.