16 Surprising New Green Cars

  • Going Green

    Interest in greener cars is increasing as more people look for ways to save money on gas while helping the environment. In the past, cars based around alternative energies have been derided for their limited range and Spartan interior. The game is changing, though. Demand is growing, and car companies are working to meet that demand. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Concept Cars
  • Concept Cars

    Greener cars are in development, ranging from tiny little two-seaters that seem laughable, to luxury cars loaded with all the options, to sports cars with the kind of horsepower you expect from a such a vehicle. As technology improves, so do the cars. Here are 16 concept cars that may soon prove that you need not give up anything for a green car. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Toyota FT-CH Concept
  • Toyota FT-CH Concept

    This car was unveiled at the 2010 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. This car is designed to help Toyota continue its strategy of providing a variety of hybrid options. The FT-CH would be a hybrid that is less expensive than the Prius, showing what more affordable green cars might look like. Photo Credit: David Villareal Fernandez
    Chevy Volt
  • Chevy Volt

    One of the most anticipated cars that isn’t on sale yet is the Chevy Volt. This plug-in hybrid might be the first such car on the market in the U.S. The Volt will come with a remote control feature, smartphone application and the ability to pre-schedule charging to off-peak hours when electricity use is less expensive. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Honda CR-Z
  • Honda CR-Z

    The sporty styling of the Honda CR-Z is only part of why this hybrid is cool. Sales should be starting this summer, unless Honda sees setbacks from backlash related to recalls (Toyota is already feeling the recall pain) on some cars with brake issues. The fuel efficiency of the CR-Z will be boosted by a continuously variable transmission. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    BYD e6
  • BYD e6

    This Chinese car runs entirely on battery power — using the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries seen in laptops. The novelty of a Chinese car on the American market is cool, and BYD says that cars should hit the market in late 2010. However, the e6 is expected to be a bit slow for highway use. But the 205-mile range claimed by BYD means that it should make an awesome car for driving around town. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    GM Sequel
  • GM Sequel

    This is still kicking around a bit as a concept car, since the Sequel is supposed to run on fuel cells. Due to the slow advancements in the area of fuel cell technology, it is little surprise that the Sequel has remained in the test lab. However, recent progress has allowed GM to extend the range of the Sequel to 300 miles. Now, it just has to make it out of the lab now. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Audi e-tron
  • Audi e-tron

    If you are looking for a sexy sports car, the Audi e-tron is just the thing — and it runs exclusively on batter power. There are two electric motors to propel the e-tron to 62 mph in under six seconds. A hot two-seater for those who still want a sports car, but without the guilt that comes with used resources. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Fiat 500 BEV
  • Fiat 500 BEV

    The retro styling of this battery-powered car is fun. There are no plans right now to mass-produce this cute little car, but the interest at the NAIAS in early 2010 means that perhaps a greener Fiat 500 could be on the way by 2013. In any case, an American version of the gas-powered Fiat 500 is on its way since Fiat acquired Chrysler. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    VW New Compact Coupe Concept
  • VW New Compact Coupe Concept

    This concept car features direct injection, seven-speed automatic transmission, turbocharging and an electric motor for a zippy little ride. This hybrid car features more precise burning and lower emissions when the gas engine is being used. VW insists that it is still just a concept, but there appears to be a chance that it will go into production. Photo Credit: Elmo Alves
    Hyundai Blue Will
  • Hyundai Blue Will

    Yet another concept car, the Blue Will from Hyundai is meant to show everyone where the company is headed, providing plug-in hybrid options that can be charged with ordinary household current and cool styling. The Blue Will also features add-ons like solar panels to boost its green cachet. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Volvo 3CC
  • Volvo 3CC

    This three-seater has been in development for years, and is designed to accommodate different options, including ethanol, hybrid and all-electric. The 3CC is powered by 3,000 lithium ion batteries. It looks like a sleek two-seater sports car, but the folks at Volvo snuck a third seat into the back. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Nissan Leaf
  • Nissan Leaf

    Since 1992, Nissan has been developing alt-energy vehicles and battery-only and hybrid technologies. And, finally, Nissan is ready to market these advancements in North America. The Leaf is expected in the U.S. sometime in 2010, and is a sedan hatchback designed as an everyday car with a range of 100 miles. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Mercedes-Benz BlueZero E-Cell
  • Mercedes-Benz BlueZero E-Cell

    The E-Cell plug-in electric car is designed with Mercedes luxury in mind. You can boost the range of 60 miles to 375 miles if you upgrade to the plug-in hybrid version E-Cell Plus. And if hydrogen is more your thing, consider the BlueZero F-Cell (pictured). But it remains to be seen whether any of these concepts will make it to market. Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker
    Lotus Eco Elise
  • Lotus Eco Elise

    This car is meant to use hemp and other renewable crops (ethically farmed, of course) to create the seats, body panels and carpets. Paints should be water-based instead of oil-based. The hard-top version will include flexible solar panels. As you might expect, this car might be a long time in coming. But it would provide new meaning to the idea of sustainable cars. Photo Credit: SocialIsBetter
    Dodge Circuit
  • Dodge Circuit

    Another cool sports car, the Dodge Circuit is a plug-in that promises between 150 and 200 miles per charge. You can use your standard 110-volt outlet to charge this car and there is plenty of horsepower, bringing the car to 60 mph in less than five seconds. As far as Chrysler cars are concerned, this might have the best chance for a late 2010 or 2011 release. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Cadillac Provoq
  • Cadillac Provoq

    Looking for a hybrid SUV? The Cadillac Provoq looks to be trying to fill that niche — with all the luxury you expect from Cadillac, of course. There are hydrogen fuel cells in addition to the lithium ion battery pack. You can get 280 miles from the hydrogen, and 20 additional miles from the battery pack. Lights and accessories can be run with the top-mounted solar panels. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    MDI AirPod
  • MDI AirPod

    Can you use air to power a car? You can — sort of. The MDI AirPod uses electricity to compress air into slow tanks that gradually release to drive the pistons. The current concept iteration includes a third seat that faces backward. This car is operated with a joystick, and offers six horsepower. As you might guess, there are few who take this car seriously. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    The Catch
  • The Catch

    It's important to recognize that there are still green issues with some of these vehicles. Cars that require electricity are still drawing on fossil fuels in some cases, with much of the electric grid’s power being supplied by oil. Some argue that until there is more widespread use of wind, solar and other alternative energy on the grid, electric cars and hybrids are only a small step in a green direction. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
    Improving Your Fuel Economy
  • Improving Your Fuel Economy

    You can still improve your fuel economy, though, even if you don’t get a green car. Some of the things you can do to improve your fuel economy include keeping your car properly maintained, driving defensively instead of aggressively, using the highest gear possible, avoiding idling your car and planning your trip efficiently so that you drive less overall. Photo Credit: WikiMedia
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