This year’s 2009 North American International Auto Show was expected to be smaller and more low-key than normal, due in part to the United State’s economy and the wavering future of the automotive industry. Still, this year, they are featuring a total of 58 vehicle debuts, including a number of greener choices. Here are some of the environmentally-friendly highlights of the show:
– Honda announced that its gas-electric hybrid, the Insight, will be released on Earth Day (April 22). The car was shown as a concept at last year’s show and is expected to be a major competitor for Toyota’s Prius. It will be priced less than $20,000 and feature an Ecological Drive Assist System that allows the driver to monitor fuel usage.
– General Motors plans to release the Volt by 2010, with availability in the United States by 2011.
– Toyota is releasing the third generation Prius, which will get 50 mpg on average, as compare to their current model, which gets 46 mpg. They also plan to introduce an electric vehicle available in late 2009, a year ahead of the Volt.
– Ford, with no no vehicles this year, laid out their plans for the future, which include an electric van in 2010, an electric car in 2011 and new hybrids, including a plug-in version, by 2012.
– Michelin is introducing a new, more fuel-efficient tire, which will be available to consumers starting this summer.
– The Woodbridge Group gave a first look at GreenLite, a new automotive foam with “industry’s highest green content levels.”
You can read more from the show at US News & World Report and The New York Times. The large number of green announcements comes as no surprise, as recent consumers have shown that they’re increasingly likely to choose an environmentally-friendly vehicle, even at an added expense.