The 2012 North American International Auto Show is currently rolling through the COBO Center in Detroit, Michigan, where automakers are revealing not only a diverse portfolio of cars built for sustainable mobility, but also showcasing new ways of thinking about product development and urban transportation through the lens of sustainability. Leaders in the field now face increasing competition from a host of fast followers as efficiency and lowered emissions become the norm for many automakers.
The Latest Concepts in Sustainable Mobility
General Motors focused on increased collaboration, transparency, and responsibility between automakers, cars, and their drivers. GM showcased two new concept vehicles, the TRU 140S and CODE 130R, aimed at younger buyers who want to be connected with both their automobile and their peers. To meet that need, GM plans to involve its target audience in the actual design process of the vehicles by crowdsourcing feedback on concepts and interior design.
Mercedes-Benz's smart brand showed off an urban mobility concept, the smart for-us (pictured above), which is a two-seat, electric, mini-pickup that comes with two electric bicycles to facilitate a fully electric commute. Owners can charge the e-bikes directly from the pickup's bed while the for-us charges at the same time. This concept propels the idea of sustainable mobility to a new level, providing a solution for intra-city movement when parking is at a premium.
A Tradition of Environmental Innovation Begins
Concept cars weren't the only environmentally-focused reveals at the show. Ford announced the new Fusion, with two EcoBoost drivetrains, a hybrid, and a plug-in hybrid engine. Fuel economy ranges from 37 mpg for the 1.6L EcoBoost engine, to more than 100 MPGe for the plug-in hybrid Fusion Energi.
Next page: Other highlights from the show from VW, Tesla, BMW and others