Slideshow: London Motor Show Highlights

Clean, green machines steal the show in London

Photo: onEdition

LONDON MOTOR SHOW 2008

Held at the modern ExCeL exhibition center in London’s Docklands area, the 2008 British International Motor Show was a cheerful mix of green cars and supercars. But this year, the balance fell firmly on the green side, as small cars with low emissions (and electric vehicles with none at all) took center stage.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

Photo: onEdition

VAUXHALL/OPEL INSIGNIA

General Motors product czar Bob Lutz presents the show’s important global launch, the Vauxhall/Opel Insignia. Among other advanced features, this midsize sedan and hatchback will offer a camera mounted behind the windshield that reads not only lane markings but road signs too.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

Photo: onEdition

LIGHTNING GT

The show’s big shock (ahem) was an all-electric British sports coupe that claimed to do 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds and was driven by four bright blue 120-kilowatt wheel motors powered by 36 kilowatt-hours of Altairnano lithium-ion batteries. Lightning Car Co. showed the car running on a test track, but technical details and company finances remain up in the air.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

PHOTO: John Voelcker

LOTUS EVORA

Developed from scratch in just 21 months, the Evora is the world’s only 2+2 with a transverse, midmounted V6. It puts this Lotus up against such hallowed cars as the Porsche 911, rarefied territory for a small British carmaker known for tiny, lightweight two-seaters. The company managed to keep the name Evora secret until the actual unveiling.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

Photo: onEdition

2009 FORD FIESTA ECONETIC

The ultragreen Fiesta ECOnetic returns an astounding 3.85 liters per 100 kilometers (61 miles per gallon) on the European combined cycle. With CO 2 emissions below 100 grams per kilometer, in fact, it is entirely exempt from the annual British road tax (registration fee) as well as the first-year ”showroom tax.”

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

PHOTO: John Voelcker

SEAT IBIZA SC

This photo perfectly underlines the importance European makers now place on cutting carbon emissions. Before Spain’s Seat even unveiled its crisp, expressive Ibiza Sport Coupe, it felt compelled to highlight the car’s carbon credentials. The Ecomotive label denotes the greenest car in every model range. Here, that version of the SC gets below the crucial 100 g/km benchmark.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

Photo: onEdition

HONDA OPEN STUDY MODEL

At the show’s calmest press event—short speeches, no video screens, one small brochure on apparently recycled paper—Honda revealed its Open Study Model concept for a hybrid roadster. It joined the CR-Z hybrid sports coupe, launching next year, and the FCX Clarity fuel-cell car in advancing Honda’s claim that low-emissions cars can be stylish and exciting to drive.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

Photo: onEdition

NICE MICRO-VETT ELECTRIC 500

This electric conversion of Fiat’s lauded new 500 takes NICE (no internal combustion engine) into ”real cars” from its current range of low-speed fiberglass electric vehicles. The 22-kWh lithium-polymer battery pack offers 95 km/h (60 mph) and a 115-km (70-mile) range. Better yet, the original car meets all European safety standards; crash-test videos demonstrate that the smaller cars, horrifyingly, don’t

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

PHOTO: John Voelcker

SMART ED

Up front at the much-touted ”EV Village,” the Smart ED (for electric drive) has a range of 80 to 115 km (50 to 70 miles) from a 26.4-kWh sodium-nickel-chloride battery driving a 30-kW motor. Acceleration from 0 to 30 mph (yes, 30) is quoted at 6.5 seconds, with a 60-mph top speed. Smart will offer the car to retail customers soon.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

PHOTO: John Voelcker

QUIET CAR 2

Most of the rest of the cars in the EV Village were less impressive. Even with a lithium-ion battery pack (of unspecified capacity) giving it a claimed range of 100 km at up to 80 km/h (60 miles at up to 50 mph), the statement that the Quiet Car 2 seats five seems dubious. Not to mention the company’s bizarrely rudimentary Web site.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

Photo: onEdition

2009 TOYOTA iQ

Back to real cars, the iQ coupe’s small size belies enough room for three adults plus a child, and it received the top European crash-test rating of five stars. The iQ takes Toyota into Mini territory—at just 300 centimeters long (118 inches)—and it has been well received around the world. It goes on sale late this year.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

PHOTO: John Voelcker

MORGAN LIFECAR

Even eccentric Morgan nodded to green concerns by touting the low CO 2 emissions (139.5 g/km) of its traditional wood-framed open car with a 1.6-L, 86-kW model. But the marque’s LIFECar concept truly staggered show visitors. Within its all-alloy construction is a small hydrogen fuel cell paired with a bank of ultracapacitors to power four wheel motor-generators.

For more on The London Motor Show, see Green Vies With Fast at British International Motor Show.

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