Detroit Motor Show goes green and touchscreen

Cars of the future unveiled at Detroit Motor Show
Cars of the future unveiled at Detroit Motor Show

TechRadar has brought you the low-down on the new Toyota Prius and the Fisker Karma, but that's the just the tip of a very large tech iceberg bearing down on the Detroit Motor Show this week.

Honda's new 2010 Insight hybrid was launched today also, reaching 43mpg and featuring an innovative graphical display to reward economical drivers with pretty pictures.

Cool as a Chrysler

Chrysler's 200C EV concept vehicle is a performance sedan capable of driving up to 40 miles on battery-only power, with a small petrol engine and integrated electric generator that produces electricity to extend the driving range to 400 miles.

The interior is free of switches and levers. All vehicle functions are managed via a panoramic multimedia touch screen, a passenger-dedicated "techno-leaf" and a stowable tablet PC.

The main touchscreen can be personalized to suit different drivers, allowing the driver to move images, select infotainment choices and customise images, backgrounds, mood, volume and lighting with a few pokes of their finger.

The 'techno-leaf' is a personal touchscreen tablet that deploys from the dashboard, allowing the passenger to surf the web, set their personal climate control and send messages. It charges wirelessly from a small pad.

The same hybrid 40/400-mile powertrain powers a new Jeep Patriot EV (ho hah!) and Chrysler Town & Country EV vehicles.

Diesel power!

Volkswagen unveiled its Concept BlueSport diesel sports car, a 140mph low-slung roadster that combines meaty accleration (6.2secs 0-60mph) with planet-hugging frugality (41mpg).

The Dodge Circuit EV all-electric sports cars is so new it even has a brand new colour - which goes by the awesomely ridiculous name of 'Tangoreen'. This 120mph vehicle can blast from 0-60mph in under five seconds, with a 150-200 mile range from its lithium ion batteries.

The Circuit EV has a 200 kW (268 horsepower) electric motor and can be charged directly from 110V or 220V mains supply.

Come along Ford, catch up

Ford doesn't want to get left out of course, and is promising a 100-mile range Ford battery electric vehicle (BEV) within four years, an electric commercial van by 2010 and plug-in hybrids by 2012. If it's still around, of course.

Lexus, meanwhile, no sooner launched its 2010 HS 250h luxury hybrid than it announces that the car, which has a bright new heads-up display, is 85 per cent recyclable.

More vroom vroom news tomorrow, we predict...

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.