The Auto Show Goes Green

The North American International Auto Show is underway in Detroit, Michigan. Although it runs from January 11-25, it’s already provided us with some great green goodies! Green concept cars abound, and highly anticipated announcements (such as those rumors about a solar Prius) are finally coming to light. Attendees of the show even have the opportunity to take the latest hybrid vehicles for a test run.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the cars that have caught our fancy:

Cadillac Converj (pictured above) is the sweetest ride we’ve seen since the Mini made its way into our hearts. But don’t get your heart set on it…as with many concept cars, this one may never make its way to the production line. What we know: it operates similarly to the Chevy Volt utilizing lithium ion batteries for the first 40 miles before needing to be recharged by gas. Green factor: if you’re a short-distance commuter, it’s pretty green; long trips not so much, but it is convenient. (And the cool factor is off the charts!)

The 2010 Prius is a car you can actually bank on arrival. The car that has revolutionized the meaning of green for the automobile industry is coming out with its third generation, and the improvements are pretty impressive. The new Prius will be roomier, have greater mpg (50 mpg combined, up from 46) and more get-up-and-go. But the coolest factor, which we’ve all been hearing about, is the solar sun roof which limits wear on the battery and keeps the car cooler on hot days. You should start to notice people driving around with their “Yes!” signs in late spring (when you should also be able to pick up the 2009 model at a reduced price.)

The new Honda Insight hybrid is touting its lower price (although the exact price has yet to be announced, it’s expected to run several thousand dollars less than the Prius), making hybrid vehicles more accessible to the every-man (and the man who just became the every-man thanks to this economy!). With a price expected to be lower than $20K and only 100,000 vehicles having been produced, this puppy should sell out this year, making the Honda Insight the first real threat to the green dynasty that is Prius. Expect to see it at your local Honda dealership on Earth Day (April 22).

Tesla’s new all-electric Roadster was unveiled on Tuesday. With 244 miles per charge and an all-electric drive, Tesla is arguably the greenest car around (though try getting your hands, and wallets, on one!). While the cost of a new Roadster will set you back a cool $109,000, Tesla-enthusiasts can look forward to February when the company will unveil its new sedan, which should be more aligned with both the size most people seek, and the cost they can afford. With its new manufacturing facility in the heart of Silicon Valley, we’re hoping that Tesla can do for the electric car, what Apple did for the computer.