2009 BMW Concept ActiveEEnlarge Photo
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times but almost every major automaker at this week’s 2010 Detroit Auto Show had some kind of electrified vehicle on show, with everything from battery-powered supercars to hybrid urban runabouts taking center stage.
Until the recent past, pure electric vehicles and hybrids have mostly been the domain of the eco movement but thanks to the efforts of companies like Tesla, which have shown that electric powertrains can be applied quite successfully in sports car platforms, mainstream automakers and consumers alike are starting to catch on to the notion that electric vehicles can be both green and fun.
While most of the electrified vehicles were still concepts, they do offer a glimpse of what we could all be driving in the new future. Here’s a rundown of what was unveiled today:
Audi e-tron ConceptEnlarge Photo
With the unveiling of its latest all-electric show car, Audi now has three different concept vehicles grouped under the same “e-Tron” nomenclature. The good news is that one of them will be heading to production in 2012 so best start saving now. Unlike the previous e-tron concepts, the latest uses two electric motors instead of four, driving the rear axle and making this car essentially a rear-driver. Performance is strong at 5.9 seconds for the 0-62 mph sprint and 37-75 mph being covered in just 5.1 seconds, which means passing should be a breeze as well.
2010 Fiat 500 BEVEnlarge Photo
Easily one of the most likeable electric concept vehicles we’re ever likely to see, the deliciously retro Fiat 500 BEV shoes that eco-friendly motoring can be as stylish as it is clean. Packing similar technology and performance to the MINI E from BMW, the new Fiat 500 BEV is purely a concept and sadly, there are currently no plans for production. Chrysler explains that it was created in order to investigate packaging of an electric powertrain in a smaller vehicle.