Blog: Kelli B. Kavanaugh

Kelli B. Kavanaugh is Model D's development news editor and writes a weekly column, Green Space, for metromode. In light of the North American International Auto Show, her blog will focus on the the automotive industry. But she is liable to write about any environmental issue that comes to mind.

Post No. 5

The last two trends I saw in green technologies at the Auto Show...

Guilt-Free Luxury: For those consumers who can afford to have their environmental cake and eat it too, manufacturers are rolling out the red carpet. This high-end market is promising: Tesla has already pre-sold all of its $98,000 2008 Roadsters.

Two manufacturers you might not have heard of, Fisker and Visionary, both rolled out high-end hybrids. Fisker's uses a lithium-ion battery that can run for 50 miles before it has to use its small four-cylinder gasoline engine. It can also accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 5.8 seconds. It will set its buyer back a mere $80,000 and will go into production in late 2009.

Visionary Vehicles is a relative bargain -- its sedan (comparable to a Mercedes S-class) will cost $35,000 and can travel 40 to 50 miles on its plug-in hybrid battery. BMW is also jumping into the hybrid market with its X6 coupe.

As for biofuels, the Ferrari F430 Spider concept and GM's Hummer HX both burn E85 ethanol.

Clean Diesel:
I've already written about clean diesel at some length (check it out here for info about emissions and such), so I'll skip the science lesson, but it is safe to say that it has become an option in the arsenal of cleaner fuels. Mercedes Benz and Volkswagon have kind of been out in front on this, at least stateside, but Jeep (Cherokee and Renegade concept) and BMW (X5 xDrive35d and 335d) are entering the race.

Toyota announced that it will offer a diesel option for its Tundra and Sequoia and Daimler showed its GLK compact sport utility vehicle with a diesel option that can get up to 35 MPG. Finally, Land Rover unveiled a diesel-electric hybrid concept that gets 50 MPG.

Thanks for reading me this week.