Since Toyota launched the gasoline-electric hybrid Prius in 1997 (because let’s face it, Toyota was the one that made hybrids a household name), more and more automakers are following in the Japanese automaker’s footsteps. Oddly enough , Suzuki isn’t one them, at least not until now as the carmaker has expressed its intention to launch a hybrid version of the Kizashi sedan in the very near future.
At this week’s 2011 New York Auto Show, we’ll get a first taste of Suzuki’s plans with the Kizashi EcoCharge concept model. The prototype sedan is motivated by a 144HP 2.0-liter inline-four gasoline engine, working in tandem with an electric propulsion system comprising of a liquid-cooled 15-kW motor/generator unit tied to a 115-volt air-cooled lithium-ion battery.
To further improve efficiency, the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept makes use of numerous fuel-saving technologies such as regenerative braking, a start/stop system, fuel cut-off during deceleration events and low-rolling resistance tires. While Suzuki did not release specific figures, the comapny said that the EcoCharge Concept delivers a 25 percent improvement in highway fuel economy over the standard Kizashi.
To justify its conceptual nature, Suzuki made some styling changes to the Kizashi EcoCharge that include a unique luminescent white satin paint design with a subtle blue undercoat, along with the addition of modified headlamps, LED fog lights and bespoke alloy wheels.