Several automakers plan to unveil advanced vehicle technologies next week.
Hybrid and electric vehicles have stolen the spotlight at auto shows in recent years, and next week’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit won’t be an exception. Several automakers are showing off new production cars and concept vehicles designed to take advantage of battery power, whether to improve fuel economy, boost acceleration, or both. Here’s a glimpse at some of the most interesting examples.
Volvo will introduce a plug-in hybrid concept in Detroit, a vehicle in which an electric motor powers the rear wheels and a gas engine powers the front ones. Drivers can select three different driving modes. In the first mode, which Volvo labels “pure,” the car will operate with electric power only, provided there’s enough in the battery. Volvo says the car will go about 35 miles on a charge this way. In the standard “hybrid” setting, the car uses both battery and gas power, and is expected to get 50 miles per gallon, far better than the GM Volt’s 35 mile-per-gallon rating. In the “power” mode, the car pulls as much power as it can from both the electric motor and the gas engine. The multiple modes are similar to those in the Fisker Karma. One useful feature is the ability to save battery power for when driving in congested areas, or areas where you’d like to be quiet (rather than, say, on the highway, where road noise covers up the gas engine anyway). In the GM Volt, the car always uses up the battery power before switching on the gas engine.