The auto writers are crowing about Cadillac’s decision to produce the Converj, the Volt-derived plug-in concept car, though its appearance will be “a few years” down the road. It sounds like a smart move. Cadillac sales are way down (39.2 percent this year), and the sharp-edged Converj will possibly inject some life into the moribund brand. After CTS-V, what?
Luxury buyers will thus be asked to kick in to help GM defray the cost of the lithium-ion battery packs (which may run $10-12,000 for the Volt). My bet is that they will because the Converj—if it looks like the concept (as Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said it would)—will become the first dramatically styled car that GM has produced in a very long time. And the performance, one assumes, will be more than adequate.
Performance is the name of BMW’s game with the 2010 ActiveHybrid X6. According to John Voelcker of Green Car Reports, the world’s most powerful hybrid doesn’t drive at all like a hybrid. The technical details are kind of amazing, and the car performs, achieving 62 mph in 5.6 seconds (equivalent to the xDrive 50i). Freeway driving produces around 21 mpg, and the ride and handling, says John, are “smooth” and “tenaciously gripping.”
The downside of the vehicle is clearly its dog-eat-dog looks and the fact that it will set you back about $90 large or more. Oh well, that’s what it costs to buy nearly three tons of high-performance hybrid.
As tgriffith told you, SEMA produced a bunch of weird cars, as it always does. This 3-wheeler is called the eVaro, in development by Future Vehicle Technologies since 2006. Plug it in for up to 90 miles of travel, and do 0-60 in under 5 seconds (probably not both at the same time). The rated mpg is anywhere from 92 to 275. Your mileage may vary. They want to sell 10,000 of these things, which seems a mite ambitious, but it is truly an advanced concept.
Finally, it seems that hybrid sales really stepped out in October, beating the car market as a whole substantially. Details are on Edmunds’ Green Car Advisor:
Sales of Ford, General Motors, Honda, Nissan and Toyota hybrids were up 12.1 percent, while sales of conventionally powered cars and trucks were flat. The one-month picture was even rosier, as October hybrid sales jumped 22.5 percent from September’s, versus a 12.1 percent hike in sales of conventional models.
Autoblog Green carried an interesting piece covering “The Business of Plugging In” conference in Detroit. Despite persistent high battery cost and infrastructure problems, the future looks bright, especially for hybrids.
[J.D.] Power’s good-news predictions: the number of hybrid models available in the U.S. will increase from 22 today to more than 100 by 2015, and the number of “pure” (battery only) EV models will swell from one (the Tesla roadster) to at least 13 by 2012. Bad news for pure EV fans: Power says just 0.5 percent of sales (fewer than 100K units) will be pure EVs by 2015.
This doesn’t account, however, for any breakthrough in battery technology which, I’m betting, will happen within two years.
Anyone want to challenge that two-year prediction? Battery technology will improve markedly and relatively soon: Do you agree?