Tokyo Top Ten
Here’s the top ten green cars from the Tokyo Motor Show. The event has a very Japanese line-up, is underway now and runs until the 4th November.
1 Nissan Leaf
Nissan is hardly seen as a leader in the area of green cars at the moment, however the company is planning to miss out the current phase of tinkering with conventional cars to make them greener, and head straight for being a market leader in electric vehicles. The Leaf is due to be the world’s first electric vehicle designed for large-scale volume production, and is scheduled for global launch in late 2010. It’s a five-seat, five-door hatchback with a range of more than 100 miles on one full charge.
2 Nissan Land Glider
The Land Glider electric vehicle concept car is an ultra-narrow zero-emission city car that tilts when cornering. So it’s a bit like a motorbike crossed with a car. It’s got a steering wheel, it can seat two people, and has two electric motors that power the rear wheels. This gives a range of 75 miles and a top speed of just over 60mph. The car is also designed to use a non-contact charging system, which means it can be charged when it’s parked or driven over special charging areas, ie. without plugging it in.
3 Honda CR-Z Concept
The CR-Z Concept 2009 is the most recent prototype of Honda’s hybrid sports coupe. The production version goes on sale in the UK next summer 2010, when it will be the world’s first hybrid sports car, and the first ever petrol-electric vehicle to employ a 6-speed manual transmission.
4 Honda EV-N
The EV-N is a small, four-seater battery electric vehicle, inspired by the N360, Honda’s 360cc micro car launched in the 1960s. It features solar panels in the roof, which could be used to charge the on-board battery. The EV-N is purely a design study and there are no plans for production.
5 Toyota FT-EV II electric vehicle concept
The FT-EV II electric city car has a top speed of over 60mph and a range of more than 50 miles. The similarity in concept with the iQ is obvious. However Toyota says that while it can seat four people, it’s even more compact than the iQ. Drive-by-wire technology allows all the vehicle functions to be controlled using a joystick, including the accelerator, brakes and steering. Removing the throttle and brake pedals frees up legroom for the four-seat design.
6 Mitsubishi PX-MiEV
The Mitsubishi Concept-PX MiEV is a plug-in hybrid crossover. The front and rear wheels are powered by two electric motors. It’s also fitted with a 1.6-litre petrol engine which can power the front wheels as well as work as a generator. It uses a system that controls front and rear motor output to deliver the optimum front/rear drive torque split.
7 Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept
The Subaru Hybrid Tourer Concept is the world’s first ‘boxer’ hybrid. The horizontally-opposed powerplant is mated to Subaru’s Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system, and is clothed in a stylish body featuring gullwing-style doors. The hybrid system uses Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and a 2.0-litre horizontally-opposed, direct-injection, turbocharged petrol ‘Boxer’ engine, allied to two electric motors – Subaru remains the only company to mate this engine layout to a hybrid drivetrain.
8 Mazda Kiyora Concept
The Mazda Kiyora features Mazda’s SKY concept powertrain technologies and weight reduction, which are designed to improve the average fuel economy of Mazda vehicles sold globally by 30 percent before 2015 compared to 2008 levels. It has the next-generation direct-injection Mazda SKY-G 1.3 engine and a new compact and lightweight six-speed Mazda SKY-Drive automatic transmission, along with Mazda’s i-stop idling stop system, regenerative braking, advanced aerodynamics, and a body that is 100 kg lighter than Mazda’s current mass production model in the same segment.
9 Suzuki Swift Plug-in Hybrid
The Suzuki Swift Plug-in Hybrid has just a 660cc engine, together with a generator to charge the lithium-ion battery if the capacity level drops. It can also be recharged when parked using a domestic plug socket. Suzuki says the Swift Plug-in Hybrid is designed to be driven primarily on electric power and so is ideal for drivers who travel low mileages of around 20km every day.
10 Suzuki SX4 FCV
The Suzuki SX4 FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) combines a General Motors produced high performance fuel cell with a Suzuki developed high pressure hydrogen tank and a capacitor. The capacitor recovers energy during braking and uses it to reduce the loading on the fuel cell under acceleration. The FCV is currently under test on public roads in Japan. However it’s still likely to be a while before hydrogen fuel cell cars and the necessary infrastructure will be available in the UK.