2010 Paris Motor Show: Green Car Roundup of Production Models

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2012 Range Rover Evoque

2012 Range Rover Evoque

The fall's first big European auto show, the 2010 Paris Motor Show, officially kicks off on Thursday, which is when all the press conferences happen.

But the industry has been leaking out selected images, teasers, and occasionally full details on the concepts and production cars that will appear this week.

We've rounded up all the green cars, from future hybrids to electric cars and even electric scooters from two automotive brands. We'll update this list over the week as news continues to come out.

PRODUCTION VEHICLES

Fisker Karma at Laguna Seca

Fisker Karma at Laguna Seca

2011 Fisker Karma

We've mentioned many times that Fisker is cutting it close with its launch of its 2011 Kamara range-extended sports sedan. The first cars are expected to arrive at U.S. dealers in March or April, but as yet, the company hasn't shown any production cars or let any journalists drive pre-production models.

That's about to change. Fisker will show the first car off the Finnish production line at the Paris Motor Show. Photos we've seen show few if any differences from the prototypes, so we suspect the differences are all under the hood or in the control software for the electric powertrain.

The 2011 Fisker Karma uses two 150-kilowatt electric motors to drive the rear wheels, powered by a 22-kilowatt-hour battery pack that is said to offer 50 miles of electric range. Then a range-extending 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder GM Ecotec engine gives a further 250 miles by generating electricity to power the drive motors.

Fisker claims roughly 6 seconds for 0-to-60-mph acceleration, and a top speed of at least 125 miles per hour.

Mitsubishi MiEV

Mitsubishi MiEV

2011 Mitsubishi i-MiEV (European version)

Small and belaguered Japanese carmaker Mitsubishi has actually sold more highway-capable electric cars than any other manufacturer as of this moment.

Its i-MiEV minicar, an all-electric five-door hatchback, has done well in Japan and attracted global interest, leading the company to raise production targets twice, to 30,000 cars in 2012.

The company now has a licensing deal with French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen to sell the egg-shaped electric cars to be rebadged and sold through Citroen and Peugeot dealers in France.

Mitsubishi will also sell the i-MiEV itself in Europe, and it is expected to launch the Euro-spec version in Paris. That car will include side and curtain airbags, electronic stability control, and an improved and less basic interior.

Critically, the new version of the i-MiEV will also be offered in left-hand-drive form for Continental European markets. It's likely to be similar to the Japanese model, since Europe does buy minicars in noticeable numbers. 

It will retain the 49-kilowatt electric motor powered by a 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack, which gives a range of 80 to 100 miles on European test cycles. Top speed is roughly 80 mph.

A U.S. version of the i-MiEV, expected to go on sale as a 2012 model, will be unviled at November's Los Angeles Auto Show. That model is likely to have far more modifications, among them greater width, multiple airbags and far more crash protection, and other convenience features that U.S. buyers are said to require.

2012 Holden Cruze hatchback

2012 Holden Cruze hatchback

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Hatchback Concept

The Fisker Karma and the Mitsubishi i-MiEV are both electric cars destined to be sold in the U.S. as well as Europe.

The 2011 Chevy Cruze that shows up in Paris, however, is a gasoline-engined car (and in Europe, diesel too), and the concept car on display will be a model we won't get in the States: a five-door hatchback that supplements the standard four-door sedan.

While GM is labeling it a concept, the Cruze Hatchback will go into production with minimal changes. We think it's attractive, but the car companies continue to say U.S. buyers aren't interested in hatchback models, preferring four-door sedans.

That hasn't proven to be the case for the 2011 Ford Fiesta thus far, so perhaps there's a sliver of hope. After all, Ford will offer both sedan and hatchback versions of its 2012 Focus compact, which competes directly with the 2011 Cruze.

Will Chevy change its mind and bring in this handsome hatch wearing the bowtie? We suspect it'll depend on whether Focus hatchbacks sell in noticeable numbers. Stay tuned.

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