2016 Detroit Auto Show Preview: Green Car Concepts, Production Cars (UPDATED)


Detroit this coming week will be bitterly cold, and it’s not looking too green either.

Thus far, we know of just a handful of concept cars and new production models that could be described as green to be revealed or displayed at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show.

And at least two of them debuted last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Here are the green cars we expect to see in Detroit starting on Monday, January 11.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was originally published on December 22; we have updated it with further information about vehicles appearing at the Detroit show this week.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV spy shots2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The full production version of the 2017 Chevy Bolt is expected to be unveiled by General Motors CEO Mary Barra at CES the week before the Detroit show.

It was captured fully uncovered in spy shots last month, so we know essentially what it will look like–and it will surely show up in Detroit.

The Bolt EV is expected to go on sale late in 2016–perhaps even on December 5, which would be the 20th anniversary of the first delivery of GM’s groundbreaking EV1 electric car.

And the Bolt has clearly raised expectations for mass-priced electric cars since it was unveiled as a concept at the previous Detroit show last January.

The car will, Barra promised, have 200 miles of range and a price of $37,500 before incentives.

Other makers of compact and subcompact battery electric cars, most notably Nissan and BMW, are expected to have to match those specs within the next few years.

Volkswagen Bulli Microvan ConceptVolkswagen e-Microbus Concept

The other vehicle expected from CES is a concept version of a long-range electric Volkswagen Microbus, possibly an update to the VW Bulli concept shown in 2011.

(“Bulli” is the German nickname for what’s known in North America as the VW Bus or Microbus.)

With its TDI diesel-emission scandal having no immediate resolution in sight, VW Group has been far more public about electric-car plans from its Volkswagen and Audi brands.

And an all-electric VW Microbus with 200 miles or more of range would definitely get attention.

2016 Chrysler Town & Country2017 Chrysler plug-in hybrid minivan

We know very little so far about the all-new Chrysler minivan that will kick off Monday’s scheduled press events in Detroit’s Cobo Hall.

It’s a crucial product for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, though, which continues to dominate the segment it invented more than 30 years ago.

The current Chrysler Town & Country now dates back to 2007, so if anything, the new one is overdue.

While it seems likely to continue with a new version of Chrysler’s Pentastar V-6 engine, a plug-in hybrid version has been confirmed by the company.

What hybrid system it uses, what range it offers, and how it functions in practical use all remain to be determined.

We should know more within 24 hours.

2016 Ford Fusion Energi2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid and Energi

We also know the Ford Fusion mid-size sedan is getting updates, though we don’t yet know what they are.

They seem likely to include some mild styling tweaks, and perhaps a revised interior and/or infotainment upgrades.

But presumably they’ll be extended to the Hybrid and Energi plug-in hybrid versions as well.