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Next Year’s Models

By on April 25th, 2012

GreenBiz has a report from the 2012 New York International Auto Show, held earlier this month at the Javits Center, and the word on the street (or at least the show floor) is that clean and green are the new trends in auto design. In addition to a greater emphasis on plug-ins and other hybrid and electric vehicles, the industry is actively designing newer “clean diesel” engines and increased fuel efficiency from conventional engines.

BMW and Nissan led the charge (as it were) in electrics, with the former declaring that “plugs are here to stay” and the latter turning over a new Leaf with “a premium electric vehicle with a 100 mile range and standard wireless charging technology.” Tellingly, the show now features an award for “Green Car of the Year” and while, strictly speaking, a “green car” may be a bit of an oxymoron, the 2012 Green Car of the Year award was bestowed upon Mercedes-Benz for its S 250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY, which “features a turbo-charged, 4-cylinder diesel engine that achieves 41 mpg.” Meanwhile, Porsche also showcased its clean diesel SUV Cayenne Diesel, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Other automakers demonstrated that new technologies were helping reduce the environmental footprints of even conventional vehicles. Maybe this will help the automotive industry combat what it must see as a disturbing data set that made the rounds a few weeks ago: “today’s teens and twenty-somethings don’t seem all that interested in buying a set of wheels. They’re not even particularly keen on driving.” Finally: a youth trend I share!