July 29 2008 / by jvarden
Category: Transportation Year: 2013 Rating: 7 Hot
With fuel prices rising with no end in sight, both consumers and automobile companies have become more and more concerned with fuel-consumption. While drivers attempt to cut down their gasoline usage, automobile companies are researching and producing more fuel-efficient cars, some to come out as early as next year.
Solutions range from hybrids, fuel-efficient engines, pure electric, plug-ins, solar panels, and hydrogen-powered vehicles. Even with all these seemingly promising solutions, will we have fuel efficient cars available for consumers at an affordable price by 2013?
To help us imagine just what the market has in store for us over the next 5 years here’s a timeline based on the self-reported release dates of various major auto manufacturers (visual first, followed by extensive text):
- Released by General Motors late 2008, early 2009, is the Saturn Vue 2-Mode hybrid. Touted as the world’s most fuel-efficient V-6 SUV, the Vue 2-Mode hybrid has up to a 50% fuel economy increase for urban driving and an overall 30% increase through the use technology such as low-speed, electric only propulsion and regenerative breaking. It will be classified as a Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle.
- In February, Shelby SuperCars will be releasing the Ultimate Aero EV, which will be the world’s fastest electric car. SSC is known for the EV’s predecessor, the Ultimate Aero, the world’s fastest gas-powered car. The Ultimate Aero EV will have twin 500 hp electric motors powered by a battery. Other details regarding its production have not been disclosed.
- Sometime in the Spring, the next generation of Toyota Prius will be released, equipped with solar panels that will provide a portion of the energy to run the air-conditioning unit. Toyota is planning on bringing 450,000 of these solar-power capable vehicles to the market.
- Audi will be bringing out their 2009 A2, a compact, fuel-efficient car that manages to feature more cabin space than Minis. The A2 will have 1.2 to 1.8 liter engines, as well as diesels and will have a lowered amount of CO2 emissions, due to the European CAFE regulations.
- Chrysler is producing not just one but two Hybrids, the Chrysler Aspen and the Dodge Durango HEMI full-size SUVs. Both vehicles have an improved fuel economy of 25%, 40% for city travel. These Hybrids can tow 6,000 lbs and operate either on only electric power, only engine power, or any combination of the two.
- Also in 2009, BMW will release their 2009 7 Series saloon, equipped with a hybrid engine option that is part of the two-mode hybrid system BMW developed alongside GM and Daimler.
- Mindset AG is set to release their new solar-electric Six50 in 2009, covered with 13 feet of solar panels and fetching about 62 miles per charge. 10,000 of the Six50s will be sold at $78,000 each.
- In late 2009, perhaps early 2010, Zero Pollution Motos will come out with their revolutionary Compressed-Air Powered car, which will be able to run 800 miles on a single fill-up. Filling your car at a station would take only three minutes and if you plugged in at home, the onboard compressor would take four minutes at a two dollar electrical charge. Driving below 35 mph, this car is a zero emissions vehicle, but when drivers top 35 mph, the engine will burn fuel to create more compressed air, like a hybrid vehicle. ZPM is planning to release a six-seater with a 1000 mile range for $17,800.
- In 2010, General Motors will release the Electric Vehicle Volt, which will run on a lithium-ion battery and can be plugged into a 110-volt wall-socket to recharge. For commuters who drive less than 40 miles a day, the Volt will be emission free and use no gasoline.
- Also in 2010, Nissan will releasing an all-electric vehicle into the U.S.A., part of the company’s plans to create a broad sample of electric vehicles for consumers to choose from.
- Toyota will offer a new Plug-In Prius Hybrid powered by lithium-ion batteries for $21,100. The company does, however, seem to be unsure of which development path to go down: whether to make all Hybrids plug-in or to just offer the plug-in technology to the Prius.
- Named the 2011 GM Chevrolet Cruze, this small, fuel-efficient car will actually begin production in mid 2010. It will get 40 MPG and will have torsion beam rear suspension rather than independent rear suspension, due to the cost consideration, as GM is building the Cruze globally.
- In 2011, BMW will release its new vehicle the M5, will have direct-injection and a turbocharged unit in order to reduce emissions. To improve the M5’s fuel-economy through conservation, BMW includes EfficientDynamics programs, such as start-stop technology.
- The Ford Focus will also tout a direct-injection engine and use a six-speed transmission in order to increase fuel efficiency. While the Focus will be developed in Europe, the vehicles themselves will be made in the U.S.A.
-Even Ferrari is trying to join the green movement, by producing the smaller, lighter, and more fuel-efficient Millichili. Ferrari plans to cut fuel consumption by 40% and reduce their vehicles’ CO2 emissions by 25% despite they predict on selling only 6,000 cars a year.
- Looking like a car from the future, the Antro Solo will run on solar power, human power, and a standard fuel-hybrid engine. Able to go 130-150 MPG, the Antro Solo is built for long-distance driving with seats for three, the driver being in the middle with the controls. In front of the other two seats are pedals, which will be used to recharge the electric battery. The estimated mass-production cost is $18,000.
- Chrysler has created a special division concentrating on the development of a Hybrid Electric car in an attempt to increase car sales. While there are no details, hopefully Chrysler will bring out a fleet of electric cars by 2013.
- General Motors will be releasing hydrogen-powered fuel-cell vehicles with electric motors and whose only emission is water. As GM has already road-tested the Sequel, it seems only a matter of time until they bring out more hydrogen-powered vehicles for the populace to enjoy.
Conclusion:While it appears that the majority of new, fuel-efficient cars are coming out in the next two years, there still are plenty of vehicles worth waiting for that will make their dramatic appearance in three to five years. But it may not be wise to rush out and purchase these fuel-efficient vehicles, even for the most environmentally-conscious consumer, as soon as they appear in the store lots next year. Prices are sure to drop as automobile companies try to bring their products to the masses at an affordable rate and, as always, technology is always advancing at an astonishing rate, so rather than purchase a vehicle with an improved fuel economy, wait until an EV that catches your eye comes out, or even a hydrogen-powered vehicle.
The timeline is also available here .