This year, the Auto Show once again features an Eco Drive exhibit. Billed as "a broad spectrum of fuel-efficient and fuel-alternative vehicles for today and tomorrow," it is strangely set in an artificial forest with the recorded sounds of tweeting birds; nevertheless it is a good display of fuel-efficient technologies available in vehicles now or in the near future.
Here's what you'll see should you opt for a walk in the woods:
ADVANCED CONVENTIONAL TECHNOLOGY
Kia Rio LX + ECO: The new 1.6-litre engine has fuel-saving technology, including direct injection, an alternator decoupling pulley, electric power steering as well as a stop-start system.
Mazda3 SkyActiv: Nearly every manufacturer is adding a turbo to its gas engines to save fuel. Mazda SkyActiv skips the turbo but increases engine compression and reduces vehicle weight.
Mercedes-Benz B250: The all-new B Class features a new turbocharged 2.0-litre engine combined with a new seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission and a standard stop-start system.
Subaru XV Crosstrek: Subaru is known for its boxer engines (horizontally opposed cylinders). The Subaru XV Crosstrek features the latest 2.0-litre 148 horsepower four-cylinder boxer which can tow an impressive 680 kilograms.
BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLES
Ford Focus EV: The all-electric, zero emissions Focus EV has an instant-torque electric drive (143 hp) and a range of about 100 kilometres on a full charge.
Mitsubishi iMiEV: The least expensive all-electric car on the market today gets a full charge with a 220-volt home charger in seven hours. That will give you about 100 kilometres of smooth, silent emission-free driving.
Nissan Leaf: The comfortable all-electric Leaf can provide up to 160 kilometres on a full charge. That would be enough range for the majority of people who do daily commutes while saving, on average, $1,500 a year on fuel.
Smart fortwo electric drive: This is the best Smart ever. The Bosch-Daimler electric motor combined with the higher-capacity batteries make the Smart fortwo electric drive a great little emission-free city car.
EXTENDED RANGE HYBRIDS
Chevrolet Volt: All-electric drive takes you for 50 kilometres or so, then the efficient gas engine kicks in to keep the battery charged while you drive.
Ford C-MAX Energi: Ford's plug-in hybrid has an electric-only range of 32 kilometres before the gas engine is required. Charge time is three hours with a 220/240-volt plug.
Prius Plug-In Hybrid: This Prius travels about 20 kilometres on an electric charge alone. After that, you're in a normal Prius hybrid. The recharge takes two or three hours on a standard 110/120-volt household outlet.
Honda CR-Z: A sporty car equipped with a 1.5-litre, inline-four combined with an electric motor and CVT automatic gearbox.
Infiniti M35h Hybrid: A combination of a 302-horsepower 3.5-litre V-6 with a 67-horsepower electric motor in a refined package.
Volkswagen Jetta Turbocharged Hybrid: There's a 1.4-litre, 143-horsepower turbocharged gas engine plus 27-horsepower electric motor running through a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch tranny.
Porsche Cayenne Diesel: The first diesel Porsche over here has a turbocharged 3.0-litre V-6 240-horsepower oil burner that makes for a fast all-wheel-drive family hauler.
So if you visit the auto show, go for a walk in the woods, listen to the birds tweeting and be happy that part of your $22 admission fee will make its way to charity.
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