Dec. 1 - Japan’s automakers keep their lead in green technology, unveiling a line-up of futuristic cars at the Tokyo Motor Show. Kei Okamura reports.
This could be the future of the electric car. Nissan's Pivo 3 is one of the clean energy stars of the Tokyo Motor Show. It's smart as well as green, equipped with an auto-parking function. It's maneuverability also allows the car to turn 180 degrees in some of the narrowest streets. Nissan's CEO Carlos Ghosn explains more about the concept. (SOUNDBITE) (English) NISSAN CEO, CARLOS GHOSN, SAYING: "It features technologies that are going to be important for the future particularly around urban cars. Zero emission, highly maneuverable, urban car." Not to be outdone -Honda has rolled out the Micro Commuter Concept. It's a tiny electric car designed for short journeys around town. (SOUNDBITE) (English) REUTERS TOKYO REPORTER, KEI OKAMURA, SAYING: "Clean tech is certainly the theme at this year's show. But it's not just about electric cars." Honda is hedging its bets by also introducing the AC-X -a plug-in hybrid that has -wait for it-adaptive aerodynamics. Honda's CEO Takanobu Ito. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) HONDA CEO, TAKANOBU ITO, SAYING: "This runs on hydrogen-fuel giving the car high-performance as well as making longer distances possible. And different types of consumer needs and expectations from various regions will open the doors for all kinds of electric cars." Mitsubishi Motors -the first automaker to mass produce electric vehicles-is going back to the future. The Mirage runs on good old fashioned gas. But it's certainly not a guzzler. It can travel 30 kilometers on just one liter of fuel. Mitsubishi Motors' President Osamu Masuko has high ambitions for the car. (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) MITSUBISHI MOTORS PRESIDENT, OSAMU MASUKO, SAYING: "We want to develop cars that are fuel efficient as well as environmentally friendly cars. And in that sense, we have high expectations for this Mirage which will be sold in both emerging and developed markets. We hope to sell lots of them." So whether it's electric, gas or a bit of both, Japan's carmakers are certainly keen to go green. Whether consumers will follow suit remains to be seen. . Kei Okamura, Reuters.