New hybrids for 2009

The recent auto show in Detroit promises continued development for hybrids and electric cars. Despite looming bankruptcy and funding problems, the auto makers promised that they will still launched these cars as previously projected.

Honda Motors said they will even start selling their next-generation low-cost hybrid cars Insight next month in Japan, followed by Europe and the US in succeeding months. Honda said it would price the Insight below 2 million yen ($22,140) in Japan, or about $5,000 cheaper than the Civic hybrid. It did not disclose the pricing for the North American market, where it wants to sell half of the new Insights and said the pricing will depend on currency exchange rate.

Ford said it will introduce in North America a new battery electric commercial van in 2010, a new battery electric small car in 2011 to be developed jointly with Magna International, and a next-generation hybrid vehicles, including a plug-in version in 2012.

“Next-generation hybrids, plug-in hybrids and pure battery powered vehicles are the logical next steps in our pursuit of greater fuel economy and sustainability,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford’s group vice president of Global Product Development. “A growing number of consumers want that kind of choice, and we want to be in a position to deliver it to them across multiple vehicle categories.”

At the show, Chrysler introduced three advanced electric-vehicle prototypes and said it will broaden its all-electric and Range-extended Electric Vehicle portfolio across its vehicle lineup. Chrysler will produce at least one of the vehicles for North American markets in 2010 (and European markets after 2010), with at least three more models to follow by 2013.

Between its ENVI electric-drive vehicles and GEM neighborhood electric vehicles, Chrysler expects to have 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2013.

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