The hits and misses: Eco cars I
Along with the new series models and concept cars, Paris also exhibited quite a few 'green' ideas for keeping us all mobile in the near future. Some were just paying lip service to the notion and others were genuine statements of intent. The rest were demoted to the status of bit part players on the hybrid-eco stage.
My personal favourites:
1. Honda Insight
The Insight has stolen a march on all other eco concept cars: it actually goes into series production in 2009. Just like its direct competitor, the Toyota Prius, Honda have opted for a hybrid powertrain. But according to Honda, the Insight going to be far more affordable. Honda are doing their bit to make environmental conservation fit for the masses. For their public spirit, they deserve to take the top podium spot.
2. Renault Z.E. Concept
A fully electric Kangoo BeBop dressed up as a concept car. You charge it up from the mains and also via the solar panels on its roof. The double skin of the bodywork also conserves energy. Unlike well-known wholly electric debutantes, the Z.E. Concept actually offers a decent amount of room in the interior and has an altogether more adult look about it.
3. Nissan Nuvu
As Renault and Nissan are so closely associated, you suspect the Z.E. Concept and the Nuvu may have a common technical basis. And you might be right. The Nissan is also charged up from the mains and sports solar panels on its roof. But this car is smaller and more playfully designed. Who knows, it could resurface as a small Micra. Some time around about the year 2010 perhaps?