Green, Clean Next-Generation Cars at 2009 New York Auto Show

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Green, Clean Next-Generation Cars at 2009 New York Auto Show

by Nicholas Kolakowski

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The third-generation Prius hybrid vehicle has more "oomph" under the hood than previous iterations, with an expanded 1.8-liter engine, 160 hp and roughly 50 miles per gallon for combined city/highway driving.

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The third-generation Prius will feature a full electronics suite, including voice-activated navigation system, backup camera, Bluetooth hands-free capability and integrated XM satellite radio.

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The Mini E is powered by a 150 kw (201 hp) electric motor fed by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The car has a range of 156 miles "under ideal conditions," and 104 miles "under normal conditions." The BMW Groups public field trial will use 500 cars; actual mass production, however, could be a long time away.

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The Mini E can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds, and achieve a top speed of 95 mph. The car will take approximately 3 hours to charge with a 240-volt, 48-amp outlet, and features an onboard computer to monitor energy levels.

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The Karmas sleek chassis moves from Point A to B utilizing a hybrid "Q Drive," featuring a gasoline engine that powers a generator that charges a lithium-ion battery that powers the electric motor that drives the rear wheels. The car uses its electric motor for the first 50 miles of driving; after that, it operates as a regular hybrid vehicle.

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The Karma can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in under 6 seconds, has a top speed of 125 mph, and uses regenerative brake technology to recapture braking energy. An optional full-length solar roof will help charge the vehicle, as well as cool the interior cabin while parked.

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You could describe the Scion iQ as a "micro-mini-compact," and the vehicle is designed with efficiency in mind. A mere 126.9 inches long and 78.7-inch wheelbase, the car nonetheless can fit three people plus their luggage. The company is currently evaluating whether to give the car, designed for super-narrow and congested streets, a U.S. release.

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The Scion iQ includes a number of electronics integrated into its interior, including a "multi-info" touch-screen entertainment display. An "eco lamp" illuminates whenever the driver is driving efficiently.

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Launched in 2008 with a test fleet roving the streets of New York City, Washington, D.C., and Southern Californica, Chevys Equinox Fuel Cell cars are powered by hydrogen, so the only emissions are water vapor.

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With the electric motor traction system providing torque and smooth acceleration, the fuel-cell system gives Chevys experimental car, which is not for sale, a top speed of 100 mph.

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The 2009 Chevy Malibu Hybrid is equipped with the companys Hybrid Propulsion Electric System, combined with an ECOTEC 2.4-liter 1-4VVT engine generating 164 hp and 159-lb.-ft. of torque. The Malibu Hybrid earns 26 miles per gallon during city driving, and 34 miles per gallon with highway driving.

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Cadillacs 2009 Escalade AWD Platinum Hybrid features a hybrid 6-liter Vortec v8, 16-valve, OHV, SEFI engine, offering 403 hp. It also has Bluetooth hands-free capability and Intellibeam headlights. Its miles-per-gallon stats were not made available at the Auto Show.

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If it ever reaches production (something not on the slate at the moment, according to the company), the Cadillac Converj concept car will be powered by an electric motor capable of 150 horsepower and a top speed of 100 mph. The model on display at the Auto Show featured a solar panel on its roof to help take some of the load off the cars battery.

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The Cadillac Converj includes several next-generation accessories, such as touch-screens to control music, and cameras in place of side- and rearview mirrors that feed into small screens above the speedometer.

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