Automaker Innovations

What's New on Wheels  

Today, consumers can choose from more than 100 vehicle models with EPA-estimated highway ratings of 30 mpg or more.

And consumer choices continue to grow. Seventy models of hybrids, clean diesel and ethanol-powered autos are on sale now — more than five times the number available in 2000. More than 12 million alternative fuel vehicles are on U.S. roads today. Here are some examples:


BMW: Will have two 50-state diesel models this fall: the 335d and X5 xDrive 35d. Coming midyear 2009: the X6 Active Hybrid, a two-mode from a consortium with GM and Mercedes. BMW also has 25 Hydrogen 7 demos, with hydrogen internal combustion engines, in the United States.

 BMW X3 concept
Chrysler: Has 10 flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) that can run on 85 percent ethanol. Jeep Grand Cherokee is available as a diesel in 45 states; a 50-state Dodge Ram 1500 will be offered with diesel in 2010. Chrysler’s first hybrids—Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango Hemi—are out this summer, with Ram 1500 in 2010.  2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid
Ford: Will produce within five years more than 500,000 EcoBoost vehicles, with direct injection turbocharge and lightweight transmission. Ford now has five light-duty flex-fuel models, plus two hybrids, adding the Ford Fusion and Mer-cury Milan models later this year. The F-150 gets a 50-state diesel engine in 2009. Ford also has a test fleet of 30 hydrogen-powered Focus fuel cell vehicles.  Ford F-150
GM: Currently has 11 light-duty FFVs; they will be 50 percent of production by 2012. GM’s hybrid strategy: focus on large vehicles, such as the Tahoe and Yukon, for large fuel savings, with eight hybrid models out by year-end. Electric strategy: Chevy Volt plug-in is set for late 2010. Long term: GM likes hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and has a test fleet of 100 fuel cell Equinoxes, but needs to slash costs.   Chevy Suburban
Honda/Acura: Honda now has a hybrid Civic, will debut a dedicated hybrid five-door hatchback in early 2009. Later it will intro a small hybrid sports car based on the CR-Z concept. Acura will offer a 50-state diesel within a year, then Honda will. Honda plans to lease 200 FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicles by 2011. Honda FCX Clarity
Toyota/Lexus: Each automaker has three hybrids, and each will intro another one next year. Toyota’s goals: sell one million hybrids annually, and offer a demo fleet of plug-in hybrids by the early 2010s, and have a hybrid option for all models by the 2020s. Tundra and Sequoia will have flex-fuel and clean diesel versions. Toyota also has several fuel cell vehicle prototypes at two college campuses. Toyota Camry Hybrid
Volkswagen: Will have a clean-diesel Jetta by September—from the BlueTec partnership with Audi and Mercedes—and a clean-diesel Touareg next spring. VW Jetta
Mercedes-Benz: First 50-state BlueTec diesels—ML 320, GL 320, and R 320—out in October, and the E320 in 2010. Late in 2009, Mercedes will offer two gas/electric hybrids: S 400 single mode and ML 450 dual mode. Mercedes-Benz E320 BlueTec
Nissan: Plans to produce mass-market electric vehicles by 2012. Also coming: a clean-diesel Maxima in 2010 and a fuel cell vehicle in the early 2010s.  Nissan Altima Hybrid

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