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Green thinking rules show concepts

Five concepts that will be in attendance at the 2009 Canadian International Auto Show

While concept vehicles usually run high on emotional appeal and head-in-the-clouds thinking, this year there’s very little in the way of impossible technology in the five concepts that will be in attendance at the 2009 Canadian International Auto Show, running Feb. 13-22 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

In fact, of the five vehicles to be exhibited, four feature some sort of ‘green’ technology, reflecting the current consumer demand for more environmentally friendly options.

HONDA FC?SPORT?CONCEPT
Honda is bringing its FC Sport Design Study, which takes the hydrogen fuel cell technology found in the limited-production FCX Clarity sedan and stuffs it into something slimmer, sleeker and sexier.

The company promises supercar levels of performance thanks to low weight, an attention to aerodynamics and powerful electric motors, all with no tailpipe emissions.

Likelihood of production:
Poor, unless you’re in California.

BMW 7 Series Active Hybrid
The concept most likely to hit dealerships soon, and will be the first challenger to the Lexus LS 600h L in the flagship-hybrid sweepstakes. However, unlike the Lexus, the BMW is what’s called a ‘mild’ hybrid, meaning it only has small ‘helper’ battery to give a modest boost in power and economy. Still, the ActiveHybrid will reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 15 per cent compared to a regular engine.

Likelihood of production: Excellent.

MITSUBISHI MIEV
The Mitsubishi MiEV is another concept that relies on electricity to motivate itself, however this time it uses traditional lithium-ion batteries and an electric motor, and can be plugged in overnight to recharge. It’s based on the company’s “i” commuter car and should have a range of between 130 and 160 km before running out of juice.

Likelihood of production:
Excellent ... in Japan.

NISSAN FORUM CONCEPT
While Nissan is quietly putting its Quest minivan out to pasture, it will show the FORUM Concept, which is what the company calls “the next revolution in family transportation.”

The FORUM includes a raft of neat electronics from the audio experts at BOSE, while the most unique feature is a second-row seat that can rotate 180 degrees to face the three-seat rear bench.

Likelihood of production:
Maybe.

SUBARU G4E ELECTIC
Finally, the Subaru G4e electric concept vehicle’s wedge-shaped design is wrapped around a five-passenger cabin. Power comes from next-generation lithium-ion battery, which the company says allows the G4e to travel about 200 km.

The batteries can be fully recharged in about eight hours, or to 80 per cent capacity with a quick 15-minute charge.

Likelihood of production: Maybe.

 
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