Electric Models Debut at LA Auto Show
- Several new models were unveiled during press days, Nov. 17-18, at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Among the vehicles at the show were the Chevrolet Volt, as well as the all-new 2012 Ford Focus.
Earning accolades from a number of media outlets, the heart of the
Chevrolet Volt is its Voltec propulsion system, which combines pure electric drive and an efficient, range-extending engine, giving to the Volt up to 350 total miles of range.
The 2.0L engine coming early next year to Ford's new 2012 Focus will be one of the first on the market to combine the technology of gasoline direct injection (DI) with twin independent variable camshaft timing (Ti-VCT) and E85 flex fuel capability. The combination of these technologies helps make the dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) Focus four-cylinder one of the most powerful, fuel-efficient and refined engines in its class and one of the most advanced non-turbocharged four-cylinder engines Ford has ever offered. Horsepower is rated at 160 and torque at 146 lb.-ft., up from 140 and 136, respectively, in the 2011 Ford Focus.
Electric vehicle and concept debuts included the Honda Fit EV Concept, Toyota RAV4 EV, the Mitsubishi i, Volkswagen Golf blue-e-motion, and Saab 9-3 ePower.Honda Fit EV Concept
The Fit EV Concept hints strongly at the direction and styling for Honda's upcoming production Fit EV all-electric vehicle, which will be introduced to the U.S. and Japan in 2012. The Fit EV is designed to meet the daily driving needs of the average metropolitan commuter and utilizes the same 5-passenger layout found in the popular Fit hatchback. When the Fit EV production model is introduced, it will be powered by a lithium-ion battery and coaxial electric motor.
The Fit EV will have a top speed of 90 mph and achieve an estimated 100-mile driving range per charge using the US EPA LA4(1) city cycle (70 miles when applying EPA's adjustment factor). Driving range can be maximized by use of an innovative 3-mode electric drive system, adapted from the 2011 Honda CR-Z sport hybrid. The system allows the driver to select between Econ, Normal, and Sport to change the driving experience to maximize efficiency or improve acceleration. While in Econ mode, practical driving range can increase by as much as 17 percent, compared to driving in Normal mode, and up to 25 percent compared to driving in Sport mode.
Acceleration improves significantly when in Sport mode, generating performance similar to a vehicle equipped with a 2.0L gasoline engine.
In addition to the 3-mode E-Drive system, the Fit EV will include several interactive coaching systems to assist the driver in maximizing battery range. A special meter display advises the driver when to shut off air conditioning and other accessories to conserve battery power. Battery recharging can be accomplished in less than 12 hours when using a conventional 120V outlet, and less than six hours when using a 240V outlet, according to Honda.