It's a Green thing, you wouldn't understand.
We're prowling the floor at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, and yes, the magic words this year are "green," "green" and "outright pukey" (okay, we made that last one up). And while we'll admit this is not the most galvanizing auto show we've ever attended, we found a couple of cool things of note:
First off, the folks at Chrysler unveiled their new Patriot EV. Now, before we all start jumping for joy and head down to the local dealer, this is only a prototype and we likely won't see it on sale for a year at least. On the other hand, this two-mode hybrid would be easy to bring to market from an engineering standpoint since it utilizes existing technolgy and componentry, and if there's a vehicle in the Jeep model line that would fit the bill as a hybrid, this would be it. (They're also selling reasonably well, which doesn't hurt either.) And with the the ability to roll for up to 40 miles on electric power alone before the 2.4L four-banger kicks in, your mileage could be infinite, in theory anyway.
Over at the Ford booth, folks were having fun at the "Raptor Experience", a virtual wheeling simulation that takes you on an E-ticket Wild Ride through Baja. The hydraulically-actuated cockpit swivels up, down, side to side, and every which way depending on how lame of an off-road race driver you are (i.,e., simulated steering and throttle input). We didn't get a chance to try it yet, but we saw a lot of smiling faces around this exhibit, and we'll take a hack at it tomorrow.
Shameless Self Promotion Dept.: The Hummer booth was by far the coolest, most bad-ass place to hang out this year, not the least because our vaunted Pickup Truck of the Year trophy honoring the H3T was on display. We've barely scratched the surface in the Motor City this year. We'll have more tomorrow, but now we need to scrape the ice off our eyeballs so we can find our way back to the hotel. It's cold this year!!