FRANKFURT’S HYBRIDS

Oktoberfest is only days away, but another fest is taking control at the continuing Frankfurt Auto Show. It’s HybridFest, and most automakers are getting in on the fun.

Mercedes debuted the ML450 Hybrid. The current M-class is a much better all-around vehicle than the first generation ever was. A few engine options, better onroad handling, more emphasis on interior quality and design…. that makes for a nice luxury SUV. Combined totals of 340 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque come from the gas/electric combo. M-B expects to see an average of 31mpg city/highway. That’d be impressive, if those stats were repeatable. Mercedes is also showing a hybrid variant of the C-class sedan. Then there’s the S300, Mercedes biggest sedan mated to a four-cylinder diesel/electric combo. Expect 44 miles per gallon of diesel.

General Motors German outpost, Opel, heralds new technology with its Flextreme. In the spirit of the Chevrolet Volt, the Flextreme can be plugged into your home and can then run 34 miles on pure electricity. The Volt/Flextreme difference? Opel uses a 1.3L diesel as a simple generator to ensure the lithium-ion batteries remain recharged. German GM also showed an Opel Corsa mild hybrid. Corsa is the name of Opel’s small hatchback.


Lotus is using a supercharged 1.5L gas/electric combo to display its ability to lower CO2 emissions. After plenty of rumour and speculation, BMW displayed its wonky ‘sport activity coupe’, the X6 and also showed the X6 ActiveHybrid. And there’s the Volvo C30 ReCharge concept that GoodCarBadCar discussed a couple days ago.

Consider this: Ford debuted its ECOnetic Focus. ECOnetic will eventually be synonymous with superefficiency, Ford hopes. The European Focus is already a much better car than the Focus which Ford serves up to its home market, but ECOnetic means Prius-challenging economy and cleanliness. C02 emissions are expected to be just 11 grams more per kilometer for this diesel than they would be for a Prius. Not to mention the car’s 107 horsepower and Duratorq traits. Expect the Focus to see 54mpg.