Drop dead gorgeous – it’s not the typical key selling point when it comes to hybrids and plug-in electric cars, but that may be about to change. Sleek and sexy green vehicles made a big splash at the Detroit auto show, which winds down this Sunday.
Most automakers showcased cars with green technology, but several rolled out unabashed sports cars that touted sassy looks and heart-stopping performance.
Mercedes-Benz unveiled the SLS AMG E-Cell prototype, a bad-boy supercar painted acid yellow with gullwing doors (the kind hinged at the top) and four electric motors. For the production model, Mercedes expects to install a lithium-ion battery around 60-kWh with a range of about 130 miles
“If you have so far associated electric cars with ridiculous humming boxes, hold on,” writes Jens Meiner of Car and Driver, which estimates a base price of $250,000 when the car becomes available in 2013.
Hello, 526 horsepower and top sped of 155mph. Acceleration? From 0 to 60 mph in four seconds.
Heads also turned for a look at the Porsche 918 RSR, a low-slung hybrid race car with two electric motors and a device called an electric flywheel that captures energy from breaking and re-releases it with the push of a button.
As hot as it is though, you’ll never see it on the road because it’s a “concept car,” essentially a chance for engineers and designers to flex their muscles and grab the limelight at the car show.
Still, historically, concept cars offer a glimpse at what the future holds so some of that styling could well trickle down to the everyday electric vehicle.
“We’re all working together to create a paradigm shift,” says Steve Goldberg, media relations director at Li-ion. “And that not easy to do.”
Li-ion, a relative newcomer, showed off the all-electric Inizio, a sexy roadster reminiscent of a Lamborghini that can reach up to 170 mph and handles 0 to 60mph in 3.4 seconds. The Inizio base model charges up its 40kWh battery in 6 hours for a range of 150 miles – and it’s yours for a cool $139,000.
Not exactly an economy car, but that’s not the point.
“The Inizio is geared toward the driving enthusiast,” Goldberg explains. “This is the car for people who want to be environmentally responsible and still have a lot of fun. Clean can be mean.”