Coolin’ Effect: So Who Said ‘Going Green’ Isn’t Hot?

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    Forget it.

    Yep, go ahead and toss out all those ideas you’ve had about whether or not you’d ever drive a hybrid or an electric car.

    “Not me,” “no way,” “never,” “can’t do it,” “looks weird,” “nah, I’m cool,” “you couldn’t pay me to drive that. ” (Couldn’t pay you, huh? LOL…sure, but we get the point.) Either way, admit it. At some point in the past we’ve all probably made some comment about our unwillingness to conform to the idea of “going green.”

    I’m sure a lot of it stems from the fact that many of us had no idea what kind of automobiles were coming down the pike or that fuel costs and the environment would now be driving the further design of automobiles.

    Don’t feel bad. There are a few automakers that have been fighting the trend too. (No names).

    Well, welcome to the future. Hybrid and electric vehicles are now mainstream and a centerpiece of the 2010 North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public on Saturday, Jan. 16.

    And from the looks of a lot of the automobiles on display, the idea of “going green” is a whole lot cooler than those crazy visions of having to tool around in some odd-looking box hoping you’d make it to your destination.

    Take, for example, the new Cadillac Platinum Concept being displayed at the auto show featuring Cadillac’s emerging top-of-the-line Platinum series of models with a focus of emphasizing new expressions of technological features, including a plug-in hybrid propulsion system.

    The XTS Platinum Concept uses Cadillac’s 3.6L V-6 Direct Injection gas engine, paired with a plug-in hybrid system. The plug-in technology enables the battery to fully charge from a standard electrical outlet, enabling pure electric propulsion in many driving situations, especially urban commutes in which fuel efficiency may double that of a conventional hybrid.

     

    “The XTS Platinum Concept is the next expression of Cadillac’s Art and Science execution philosophy, reflecting our drive to deliver the latest innovations in the most artful manner,” said Bryan Nesbitt, Cadillac general manager. “We envisioned this concept as an automotive personal headquarters, using advanced technology to enable new levels of connectivity and luxury.”

    CADDY COMING?

    The Cadillac Converj, which features a lot of the same basic engineering elements as the Chevy Volt, more of Caddy’s luxury amenities and styling, has been getting rave reviews for its styling and technology features. And, rumor has it, could very well be going into production.

    If Cadillac does green light the Converj for production, it will likely feature a 16-kWh lithium-ion battery which powers an electric motor that produces 120 kW (161 hp) and 273 lb-ft (370 Nm) of torque, according to reports. Like the Volt, the Converj would be recharged by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine after the car travels past its 40 mile electric-only range.

    Considering that Cadillac could use a vehicle the size of the XTS concept in its line-up, don’t be surprised if a production model of this vehicle is down the road.

    A hybrid version of the Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid is also being showcased at the Detroit show as well as the Tesla S Model, an electric sedan with a 300 mile range and 0–60 time of 5.6 seconds.

    William “Willie G” Gock, editor-in-chief, Rides magazine, said vehicles like the Converj are definitely signs that “green” is now mainstream.

    “Manufacturers seemed to have realized that green is no longer quirky – it’s what is in,” said Gock. “Design has finally caught up with technology, allowing drivers to be eco-friendly without sacrificing style.”

    Hoping to build on the popularity of the MINI E, the BMW Group unveiled a BMW 1 Series Coupe with the automaker’s all-electric ActiveE technology as part of an emissions-free drive concept.

    The move highlights the continuation of BMW’s research and development activities in the field of electro-mobility in pushing closer toward the production of an all-electric vehicle with all the attributes that we’ve come to expect from BMW.

    The concept features the integration of the all-electric ActiveE technology with the drive components in the existing vehicle package of the BMW 1 Series Coupe with four full-size seats and a luggage compartment.

    The motor, specially developed for the model and located in the rear axle, delivers 170 horsepower and maximum torque of 184 lb.-ft. The vehicle clocks 0-60 mph in approximately 8.5 seconds.

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