Diesel is and will remain the solution for auto emissions in Europe. That’s the implied message based on the long and growing list of diesel debuts at next month’s Frankfurt Auto Show. A number of models will feature stop-start technology, the mildest of hybrid systems. But more robust gas-electric or purely electric cars are announced mostly as distant future models or merely as concepts. With rare exception, none of the models are intended for the United States. Here’s our quick rundown of announcements so far.
Peugeot will reveal its first two vehicles to use the company’s Hybrid4 drivetrain.
The 3008 Hybrid4 crossover and RCZ Hybrid4 concept sports car feature a parallel hybrid system consisting of an electric motor for powering the rear wheels and an internal combustion engine to spin the front wheels. The system provides 4-wheel drive on demand, and can operate in internal combustion, all-electric or blended modes. The 3008 Hybrid4, which will go on sale in Europe in 2011, could be the long-awaited first diesel hybrid to hit the road. No plans yet to market the RCZ Hybrid4.
German manufacturer Herpa plans to show an all-electric prototype version of the Trabant—the much-maligned classic vehicle of Communist East Germany. Three million units of the original model were built between 1957 and 1991. The long shot idea is to revitalize the square boxy model by putting in an electric drive with the capability of 150 miles of driving range. With such gimmicks as a rooftop solar panel, the new owners of the nameplate hope to attract investors and re-launch a modern eco-friendly version by 2012.
Volvo All-Electric C-30
According to UK’s Autocar, Volvo will debut an all-electric C30 hatchback in Frankfurt. The electric Volvo is merely a concept, but Volvo has confirmed an upcoming plug-in hybrid version of the V70 wagon, scheduled to launch in 2012.
BMW will use Frankfurt to roll out its 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel 320d sedan, promising more than 57 miles to the gallon. The 320d is expected to deliver 162 horsepower, while keeping CO2 to 109 grams per kilometer in the EU test cycle. Top speed is 140 mph. The BMW 320d comes with regenerative braking and stop-start functionality switching off the engine even during a short stop in traffic, avoiding any unnecessary consumption of fuel while idling. BMW will also show its ActiveHybrid X6 and ActiveHybrid7 models, which will go on sale in the US later this year.
Mazda will show off the CX-7 2.2-liter turbo diesel, the first Japanese brand diesel to use Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) to reduce diesel emissions. Like the urea-based systems found in Mercedes and BMW clean diesels, the AdBlue solution is stored in a tank under the rear cargo area and injected into the exhaust stream ahead of the catalytic converter.
Citroën is showing the first production versions of its new DS3 mini car—which is not one, but a portfolio of vehicles. It will ship with a choice of five engines: three gas-powered and two diesels. The diesels put out 90 and 110 hp and have CO2 ratings of 99 and 115 g/km, respectively. The DS3 is small, about 10 inches longer than the Mini Cooper. Like the Mini, drivers can customize components including the roof, body, rearview mirror housings and wheels. Inside, customers get a choice of dashboard strip, gear stick knob and a host of other interior equipment with themes such as Maori, Zebra, Wave, and Daisy.
In Frankfurt, Suzuki will show the diminutive 1.3-liter diesel-powered Splash and Swift models, as well as the gas-powered Alto. It will also display the 2010 Suzuki SX4 five-door hatchback, including the Minor Change model available in Europe with all-wheel-drive and an all-new 2.0-liter diesel engine offering 18 per cent lower emissions. This model will be introduced later in 2010.
Kia will make the world debut of its new small car, the Kia Venga. Just longer than 13 feet, the Venga has a long wheelbase and is packaged for as much interior space as possible. Every engine in the Venga line-up will be available with a stop-start system, and will comply with Euro 5 emission standards. Consumers will be offered a choice of two 1.4-liter and 1.6-liter gas and diesel engines.