Suzuki's new EcoCharge Hybrid “concept” made a quiet debut at last week's New York International Auto Show (NYIAS), slotting itself in as an (arguably) more stylish rival to Ford's hot-selling Fusion hybrid.
Suzuki's hybrid is powered by a 2.0 L gasoline engine, which is “boosted” by a 15 kw belt-driven electric motor to deliver a combined 144 hp and 127 lb-ft of torque. The new hybrid drivetrain is further aided in its quest for improved fuel efficiency by a six-speed automatic transmission, low rolling resistance tires, regenerative braking, and stop-start technology, which add up to a significant mpg improvement compared to the current, “conventional” Suzuki. Steve Younan, director of automotive marketing and product planning for American Suzuki Motor Corporation, says that the company is making plans to move forward with a similar product, and that “the proof of (Suzuki's) concept is that the Kizashi EcoCharge has the capability to deliver a 25 % fuel economy gain in real-world driving through an electric charge to the powertrain system while still retaining the production Kizashi’s dynamic handling and braking advantages that make it a standout category performer.”
The “efficiency” theme continues inside the EcoCharge with advanced, partially-recycled seating materials which require 84 % less energy to produce, and create 80 % fewer emissions than “virgin” material production – which could make a big impact over the life of a given model's 6-figure unit production. Hopefully, Suzuki will make good on it's concept car's promises and have enough sense to implement some of these ideas …
… and while they're at, it, maybe they should consider “stealing the show” next year with a CNG-powered Suzuki hybrid. What do you think? Let us know in the comments – and if you're in New York this weekend, go check it out!
Suzuki's official press release, below.
NEW YORK (April 19, 2011) – American Suzuki Motor Corporation (ASMC) unveiled a gas-electric concept variant of its Kizashi sedan at the company’s 2011 New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) press conference this evening. With the moniker Kizashi EcoCharge Concept, this innovative and eye-catching four-door further illustrates Suzuki’s global eco-mobility story, and accentuates the company’s effort in socially-conscious motoring.
“We are continuing to study the virtues of the gas-electric technology found in the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept,” said Steve Younan, director of automotive marketing and product planning for American Suzuki Motor Corporation. “Our basic concept was to attain substantial gains in fuel economy without the traditional sacrifices in drivability required with today’s mid-size hybrid sedans. The proof of our concept is that the Kizashi EcoCharge has the capability to deliver a 25 percent fuel economy gain in real-world driving through an electric charge to the powertrain system while still retaining the production Kizashi’s dynamic handling and braking advantages that make it a standout category performer.”
Kizashi Powertrain Electrification
The Kizashi EcoCharge Concept derives power from a 2.0-liter inline-four gasoline engine, working in tandem with an advanced electric propulsion system, which consists of a liquid-cooled 15-kW motor/generator unit tied to a 115-volt air-cooled lithium-ion battery. The combination optimizes fuel economy and delivers an electric power boost during acceleration for a more spirited driving experience. The Kizashi EcoCharge Concept delivers a 25 percent lift to highway fuel economy over today’s Kizashi.
To help maximize efficiency, the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept also utilizes numerous fuel-conserving technologies, including regenerative braking, automatic engine shut-off when the car comes to a stop, fuel cut-off during deceleration events and low-rolling resistance tires.
Power management is provided via an advanced six-speed automatic transmission designed for smooth operation and a seamless flow of power when called upon by the driver.
Simple, But Striking Exterior Styling
The exterior of the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept is highlighted by a unique luminescent white satin paint design with a subtle blue undercoat. To further set the concept apart from its production Kizashi sibling, it has been given a specialized headlight treatment, as well as LED foglight illumination integrated into the front fascia. The lightweight aluminum wheels communicate a futuristic feel, and are wrapped in low-rolling resistance tires.”
Within, the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept utilizes advanced seat materials. These materials require 84 percent less energy to produce, and create 80 percent fewer emissions than virgin material production.