Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hybrids make a splash in Frankfurt

While hybrid cars may not scream style and luxury to some, some of the world’s most prominent car brands are doing their best to change that perception by revealing their new hybrid and electric models at the Frankfurt Auto Show this week.
Lexus had plenty of people talking about their new compact crossover, to be known as NX in both regular and hybrid versions when it hits the market, which previewed in Germany Tuesday. Showing off a sleek exterior to compliment its environmentally conscious interior, the LF-NX is smaller than the popular Lexus RX crossover, but has a pronounced griddle feature on its front, a Lexus brand trademark. It has a brushed metal look and resembles a kind of updated, SUV-version of the Batmobile.
The drama of the car’s exterior continues inside, where the rear seats are able to be bisected by the center console and then it can fold itself over top of the dashboard, giving the driver ample room for storage.
Certainly the overall design of the car will have people talking, but the earth-conscious elements of the vehicle should remain a focal point as well. Using a 2.5-liter Atkinson four-cylinder engine and the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system, plus a pair of motor generators, it’s an impressively efficient model.
Other green vehicles making a splash in Frankfurt are the BMW’s i3, the brand’s first ever fully electric car with a driving range of 130-300 kilometers. It is scheduled to hit show rooms in Europe this November.BMW will also reveal their other hot commodity, the plug-in hybrid i8, this Thursday at the auto show. The car is already garnering attention because of its sleek sports car style, using carbon fiber parts to achieve quick acceleration (think 0-100 KPH in 4.5 seconds). Brands often battle the stigma that hybrid and electric vehicles can’t be “cool” and this vehicle could change a few minds. 
Volkswagen is also throwing its hat in the electric car ring, introducing their first line of fully electric models in the e-Golf and the e-Up! The e-Golf boasts a driving range of approximately 190 kilometers and will hit roads early next year, while the e-Up (with a 160 kilometer range) will be unleashed in Germany next month.
The Frankfurt Auto Show will continue to reveal vehicles throughout the week, and opens to the public on Thursday.