Eco-Friendly Auto Show

Automakers turn on the green light

  • Grades: 3–5, 6–8

Ford Motor Co. won the award for best car for an eco friendly mid-size sedan at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, this year. With the Ford Fusion Hybrid, the company was tops in going green, but is hardly the only carmaker thinking energy efficiency is the future.

Detroit is home to the "big three" automakers: Chrysler, General Motors, and Ford. At the annual show each year, the new cars get a little more Earth-friendly. This year was the biggest ever for environmentally sensitive vehicles.

One section of the show, dubbed Electric Avenue, showcased new eco models by smaller companies. Of the big three, Ford and Chevrolet (GM) featured the top contenders for consumer bucks.

"We are trying to make life easier when it comes to living a stable financial life as well as a trouble-free life by promoting 'green' cars," one Ford Auto Show consultant told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps.

GM presented the Chevy Volt, a new electric vehicle designed to decrease U.S. reliance on gasoline.

"We are always working to help our customers," a Chevy Auto Show consultant said. "We are making life easier with just a touch of a button."

Drivers can charge the Volt by pressing a button on a computer, phone, or even iPod. When the car runs out of electric charge, it sends a notification via email, text message, or phone.

Competing with the Volt is Nissan's Leaf, which has a 100-mile range of travel without gas. It claims to get 367 miles per gallon. The Volt claims 230 miles per gallon. Both have small engine-generators that recharge the on-board batteries when they run down.

Fords' award-winning Fusion Hybrid gets 41 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway.

A small, efficient Ford truck also won top honors at the Auto Show this year: the Ford Transit Commercial. Already a hit in Europe, the car is just now on the market in the U.S.

The last time a company won both top honors was in 2007 when the Saturn Aura sedan and the Chevrolet Silverado pick-up won for GM. Of course, now Saturn is out of business. That's how fast the car business is changing. One thing seems to be certain for the future of the U.S. car industry: the big three have finally gotten the message from American consumers that green is good.

EARTH DAY @ 40

Celebrate 40 years of Earth Day and the fight to keep our planet clean on April 22. Scholastic Kid Reporters explore ways to make every day Earth Day in the Earth Day @ 40 Special Report.

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Scholastic Kids Press Corps

The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of 32 student reporters who report "news for kids, by kids." Sports, politics, and entertainment are among the topics they cover.