Electric cars were in short supply in the Motor City this year, but even the gas guzzlers had green features, and there was plenty of action around the edges.
Automakers love to show off self-driving cars, but few think they'll be on the road in the next 10 years. Instead, the cars--bristling with sensors, cameras and lasers--are rolling test beds for advanced (and lifesaving) safety systems.
Jay Rogers' Local Motors has produced 60 off-road rally cars. The really interesting part is how they were built--with a crowdsourced design and many suggestions from the Internet, which changed everything from the engine (goodbye BMW, hello Corvette) to the door fit.
Rob and Garrett's 6.5-kilowatt portable solar array--built for a zero emission trip across the U.S.--was in the right place at the right time to turn on the lights and help the relief effort in hard-hit Far Rockaway, Queens.
It's not just phones that have gotten smart. Also showing signs of intelligence are the once humble radar detector and the lojack system that will help you find the laptop you left in your car.
Propane, the same stuff in our gas grills, also powers our cars? Southern cops are saying yes. Propane is an interesting fuel--liquid at near-room temperature, with relatively cheap refueling. The alternative--CNG and LNG--also have a case to make.
The Danforth Plant Science Center in Missouri is a cutting-edge lab for developing tomorrow's biofuels.
Michigan's Quadski is the latest attempt to get people to buy water-going cars. Many companies have failed when marketing plans went out to sea, but the Quadski is aimed at off-roaders and it might actually make a splash for a certain type of buyer.
Through the OnStar system, Texas-based Volt owners are doing some really smart smart-grid experiments. Texas, by the way, is quietly taking the lead in electric car ownership and charging.