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2012 Detroit Auto Show: Green Car Preview--Concept Cars

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2011 Lexus LF-LC Concept leaked

2011 Lexus LF-LC Concept leaked

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While the bulk of our green car coverage from the 2012 Detroit Auto Show will concentrate on production models, concept cars can be just as exciting.

With wild styling, untested powertrains and flashy colors they might not seem too relevant, but many of the cars we cover today began as concepts and they're a great way to preview a carmaker's future styling direction.

There are almost as many green concepts at Detroit as there are green production vehicles, so below is our look at all the major releases, and links to find out more.

For a look at the greenest production vehicles appearing at detroit, head over to our production car preview.

 

ELECTRIC CARS

Volkswagen Pure electric concept - As well as a production hybrid version of the popular Volkswagen Jetta, the German carmaker is also showing an electric concept, known as the Pure. There are few details on the car at the moment, though it's hinted to have little details from the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. What we do know is that it's not based on a current or planned electric car.

Tata Emo electric concept - There are some names that just don't work very well when taken out of their country of origin, and Tata's Emo is a good example. Evoking images of sullen, introspective teenagers probably isn't what Tata has in mind for its bright, bubbly, Nano-sized electric car. Range is quoted at 100 miles.

Smart For-Us pickup concept - Much less depressing than the Emo is Smart's For-Us. What do you do when your tiny city car isn't doing well in North America? Turn it into a pickup to better appeal to the market. With funky styling reflecting on Smart's other recent concepts, it uses the same drivetrain as the upcoming third-generation Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.

 

PLUG-IN HYBRIDS

Toyota NS4 plug-in hybrid concept  - Toyota is being quite secretive of its NS4 concept, with only a headlight shot and mysterious video giving hints as to its form so far. It's likely to show styling inspired by other recent Toyotas, such as the Toyota/Scion GT 86 sports car and the Lexus LF-LC hybrid concept, also at Detroit. It's also expected to share plug-in componentry with the 2012 Toyota Prius plug-in.

 

HYBRID-ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Lexus LF-LC Hybrid concept - First BMW gives us the i8 plug-in hybrid concept, and now Lexus is here with the LF-LC. Mark our words: Hybrids are getting exciting. The LF-LC even out-does the LF-A for wow factor, but using hybrid technology should far exceed its economy figures. It could well be one of the stars of Detroit.

2013 Honda Accord Coupe concept - The words "Accord" and "hybrid" may not get your blood rushing like images of the Lexus LF-LC, but whatever appears on Honda's stand at Detroit will give a clear pointer towards the look of the 9th-generation Accord, set to go on sale this fall. Honda's new two-motor hybrid system will also appear at Detroit, possibly in the aforementioned coupe.

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