Hybrid Car Show
The Big Three are proclaiming 2004 as the Year of the Car, with numerous new passenger car models (as opposed to SUVs and trucks) having their debut in Detroit. It is also increasingly the year of the Hybrid.
But even as the fuel-saving technology begins to show up in cars that the mass market might actually want to buy, here's a sign that at least one company really understands the potential of adding electric motors to the powertrain. Mercedes' hybrid S-class show car and its proposed Vision Grand Sport Tourer demonstrate that you can build a hybrid that not only saves gas and is easy on the environment, but that really revs up performance. Nothing beats an electric motor for torque off the line.
The car industry will have to sell a heck of a lot of hybrids to reverse the dip in fuel economy caused by the SUV boom. Putting hybrid powertrains in vehicles that excite their owners, instead of boring them to death, will be critical to building some serious momentum behind this trend.