Hybrid News 54
Car companies are recognizing both the potential and feasibility of the hybrid powertrain. Combining the functions of an internal combustion engine with an electric motor, these cars are fuel efficient, emit very low emissions, reliable, and have superior range. However, what car companies are realizing nowadays is that hybrid cars can be super-quick too. In fact, hybrid supercars just might break our own expectations on how a supercar should perform on the road.
Here are some of the fastest and most spectacular hybrid sports cars to come out over the last few years.
- McLaren P1- This is considered as the spiritual successor of the McLaren F1, which is arguably the greatest production supercar ever built. The P1 is built with the intention to make it the best supercar of its generation. It takes headlines for its hybrid powertrain, combining a 3.8 liter twin-turbo V8 with an electric motor to create a maximum output of over 900 horsepower. Utilizing technologies derived from Formula 1 campaigns, this car can accelerate from 0-to-100 km/h in less than 3 seconds and achieve a top speed of over 350 km/h. Best of all, the P1 does all that while producing less than 200g of carbon dioxide per kilometer. It’s a car that proves hybrid cars can be super-fast, too.
- Ferrari LaFerrari- Considered as the next addition in the Ferrari supercar line which includes legendary names such as the GTO, F40, and Enzo, the LaFerrari is built with all the special stuff. Built by using all their technical know-how derived from competing in Formula 1, this car has all kinds of go-fast technologies stuffed in it. It’s the hybrid motor that takes the headlines, however, as it’s the first hybrid powertrain in Ferrari’s history. Combining a 6.3 liter V12 engine with a KERS-type electric motor, this engine can produce 963 horsepower, which is enough to give the LaFerrari astounding acceleration numbers (0-to-300 km/h in less than 15 seconds!) and a top speed of over 350 kilometers per hour.
- Porsche 918 Spyder- This car is a plug-in hybrid that is expected to dictate the direction of the brand over the next few years. For a tag price of over half a million pounds, you can get one of the most exclusive hybrid cars around. With a 4.6 liter V8 engine combined with 2 electric motors connected on the front and rear axles, it has a total output of almost 900 horsepower, giving it a 0-to-100 km/h acceleration of less than 3 seconds and a top speed of over 200 miles per hour. Best of all, carbon dioxide emissions is rated at an ultra-low 70g per kilometer. Porsche said that technology used in the 918 will be used on future Porsche products.
- BMW i8- The claim to fame of this prototype is being shown in the popular movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. But this car has credentials that deserve a second look beyond that movie cameo. It is equipped with a compact 3-cylinder engine that’s combined with an electric motor. This plug-in hybrid boasts stellar fuel efficiency numbers. It is reported that it can go over 70 miles per gallon of fuel, which is seriously high even when matched up against hybrid cars. Best of all, it is a true sports car; with acceleration numbers firmly entrenched in sports car territory (0-to-100 comes in less than 5 seconds).
- Ferrari HY-KERS- This prototype is directly based on the popular grand tourer Ferrari 599 GTB. This car was mainly made to challenge the notion that a 12-cylinder engine (as seen in the production 599) cannot be fuel efficient. Utilizing the KERS system, they were able to significantly improve the fuel efficiency of the 599 without sacrificing performance. In fact, the system even enhanced the car itself, as the HY-KERS not only produces more horsepower, but also improves handling by lowering the car’s center of gravity. A lot of the technologies used in this prototype were carried over to the LaFerrari supercar.
- Fisker Karma- This car is a 4-seater sports car designed to take on fast sedans such as the BMW 3-series. The Karma is made at par with the best of them: recognizable styling, high-quality interiors, and robust performance. As one of the first-ever plug-in hybrid cars, it boasts a fuel efficiency rating of over 50 miles to the gallon. However, with a maximum output of 260 horsepower, it can go from 0-to-100 in 6 seconds, good enough to give traditional cars a run for their money. It may be a hybrid, but it’s definitely not a slouch on the performance department.
- Italdesign Guigaro Brivido- This prototype supercar was built by the legendary car design house Italdesign Guigaro. The Brivido, which name translates to “thrill”, is a 4-seater coupe that has menacing lines and equally menacing performance. While the concept car is not yet mechanically complete when rolled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the gasoline-electric hybrid engine installed here has a maximum output of 360 horsepower, enough for a 0-to-100 acceleration time of 6 seconds and a top speed of 170 miles per hour.
- Jaguar C-X75- This car was created to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Jaguar. Jaguar, together with Williams, created a hybrid car that’s designed to compete with the best supercars such as the Bugatti Veyron. Utilizing 2 high-output electric motors and probably the most advanced 4-cylinder gasoline engine in the world, this hybrid combination has a maximum output of over 900 horsepower. Combine it with a lightweight, aerodynamic body shell made of carbon fiber, and the C-X75 becomes capable of some insane performance numbers: a 5-second 0-to-100 acceleration time and a maximum speed of over 300 km/h. While plans for production of the C-X75 were cancelled, it is easily one of the most advanced hybrid cars ever. Even better, the tech used in this car is almost guaranteed to be carried over to future Jaguars.
Those are just some of the best hybrid supercars to come out in the last few years. It is expected that more of these cars will come out soon, as these hybrid cars, both prototypes and production models, have shown both remarkable performance and long-term feasibility. As car fans, we can hardly wait for this interesting development.
Recent car hybrid news shows that hybrids still have low penetration of the US auto market. Hybrid cars’ share of the US market as of December 2013 was nearly 3.2% of the 15.5 million unit market, up slightly from 3.01% in 2012. However, when examined in terms of volume, hybrid car sales for the period were at a high of nearly 496,000, a 14% increase from the 434,498 recorded in the previous year but a nearly 81% jump from the 274,763 sold in 2010. Hybrids are generally defined as dual powertrain vehicles that run on both gas and electricity, and which range from mild hybrids to the complete hybrid vehicles sold by Toyota.
What are some of the reasons why there is still resistance among buyers to hybrid vehicles? According to car hybrid sites, these include:
- Lack of awareness about their benefits. A recent survey conducted by Indiana University researchers and disseminated in car hybrid news websites showed that 34% of respondents thought “favorably” about hybrid vehicles while 33% were “very favorable” about them. The reason for the disconnect between these findings and the low buyer turnout for hybrid cars could be due to high prices as well as low awareness of benefits of hybrid ownership.
- High sticker prices of hybrids. It costs more to buy a hybrid car compared to conventional gasoline cars but the higher price is offset by savings in the medium- and long-term, as car hybrid news sites point out. However, most Americans would rather accept lower monthly payments and prices than weigh the lower costs of ownership that would make hybrids a better buy in the long-term. According to the Electric Vehicle Consumer Survey conducted by Navigant Research, most respondents would rather pay less than $25,000 for electric cars.
- Americans still prefer bigger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs over passenger cars. According to data from Wards, Americans bought 5.4 million domestic cars and 6.7 million trucks in 2013, and 2.2 million imported cars and 1.2 million trucks over the same period. This is in spite of the fact that in many states gas is selling for up to $4 a gallon.
- Improved technology of conventional cars. These improvements in fuel economy and performance, coupled with lower prices, have made gas-powered cars more attractive than hybrids, even if these cars still boast of superior fuel savings. Diesels are also eating into the sales of hybrid cars, say car hybrid news reports.
Despite relatively low market acceptance for hybrids, many car makers still remain committed to this green technology and continue to bring out new models as well as exploring new alternative fuel technologies. The highest selling hybrid manufacturers, according to car hybrid news sites include:
- Toyota. One of the pioneers in hybrid technology, and the creator of the iconic Lexus, the Japanese car maker is still the top-selling hybrid vehicle manufacturer. In April 2013, Toyota sold more than five million of its Toyota and Lexus hybrids worldwide. In the US, Toyota sold 288,126 units of six Toyota-branded models in 2013 and 27,015 units of six Lexus models. Car hybrid news reports said Toyota recently unveiled its first prototype FCV fuel cell sedan at the 2014 CES in Las Vegas as well as the FCV concept vehicle. The prototype was reported to have a 300 mile driving range on full hydrogen tanks and accelerates from zero to sixty in ten seconds with zero emissions other than water vapor.
- Ford. The American carmaker was able to improve its market position with the Fusion and C-Max full hybrids, which had combined sales of 65,326 in 2013 from 25,035 for the previous year. However, despite being good cars, these hybrids’ reception was marred by unverified claims by Ford that both cars could reach 47 miles per gallon. Many consumers as well as review and car hybrid news sites could not achieve this reported mileage and Ford was eventually forced to admit that it did not test the C-Max but just rubber-stamped it based on the results they got from the Fusion. However, despite hurt sales, Ford was still able to land second-place despite having less products than other automakers.
- Kia/Hyundai. These sister brands from the Hyundai Motor Group of South Korea both had only one model each in 2013 but still managed to reach third place with joint sales of 35,680 from the 30,838 reported in 2012. Like Ford, the two companies also encountered problems from exaggerated mileage claims and had to offer buyers a reimbursement plan but otherwise their cars remain well-reviewed by car hybrid news and review sites. In addition, they had a unique selling point compared with offerings from other hybrid car makers in that their vehicles had six-speed automatic transmissions rather than the usual CVT-types offered by competitors. Like Toyota, Hyundai is also developing fuel-cell cars as it recently unveiled production models of its iX35, which can go up to 100 mph and has a 370 mile range on a single fill-up, with refilling of its liquid hydrogen-tanks taking no more than a few minutes. According to car hybrid news reports.
- General Motors. While the American car-maker has no well-reviewed hybrid car models, it still reached fourth place in overall sales on the back of having nine hybrid car models, including its eAssist mild hybrids. GM is set to continue relying on these ‘micro-hybrids’ in the future as it currently has no plans to produce full-hybrid cars that would compete with Ford and other car makers producing them, according to car hybrid news sites.
Honda. Like GM, Honda achieved its sales through mild hybrids, although it introduced a full hybrid, the Accord, in October, which sold well although supply-constraints as well as a high sticker price of just under $30,000 hampered sales. However, Honda may win market share with models that are more competitive in terms of achieving fuel economy. The Accord is already acknowledged as effective in achieving its superior mpg ratings, and Honda’s new Vezel (which is set to be renamed when it is introduced into the US market) is already said to have better fuel economy than Toyota’s Aqua, a version of its Prius C sold only in the Japanese market say car hybrid news sites.
Volkswagen seems eager to showcase its hybrid lineup since in the last few days, they revealed not only the plug-in hybrid variant of the seventh-generation Golf but also the e-Golf and the brilliant XL1. The hybrid variant model will probably go on sale next year along with the regular versions.
Volkswagen’s Golf plug-in hybrid uses the same powertrain as Audi’s recently unveiled A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid. As a reminder, the setup features a 150 HP – 110 kW 1.4-liter TFSI engine and an 102 HP – 75 kW electric motor, both connected to a dual-clutch e-S tronic 6-speed gearbox. Performance figures showcase a combined output of 204 HP – 150 kW and 350 Nm (258 lb-ft) which is pretty much enough to accelerate the ride from 0 to 100 Km/h (62 mph) in 7.6 seconds. More over, the vehicle averages around 188 mpg UK (156.5 mpg US or 1.5 liters / 100 km) with CO2 emissions of 35 g/km.
Notably, the German automaker says that the 2013 Volkswagen Golf plug-in hybrid can travel up to 50 km (31 miles) on electricity alone and is capable of reaching a maximum speed of 130 km/h (81 mph).
Volkswagen has finally decided to release more info about their amazing XL1 concept. The vehicle is scheduled to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show next month where it will presented in production form.
The Volkswagen XL1 is fitted with a two-cylinder 800cc TDI engine that generates 47 HP – 35 kW and an electric motor that develops 27 HP – 20 kW to form a total of 74 HP. The energy required by the electric motor is provided by a 5.5 kWh battery pack while the diesel engine averages around 0.9 liters / 100 km (261 mpg US or 313 mpg UK) with CO2 emissions of just 21 g/km.
Furthermore, the vehicle has a drag coefficient of 0.189 and thanks to its carbon fiber body, it weighs only 795 kg (1752 lbs). Notably, Volkswagen has declared that the 3.888mm long and 1665mm wide XL1 plug-in hybrid will need around 12.7 seconds to reach the 100 Km/h mark (62 mph) and it will be able to reach a top speed of 160 km/h (99.4 mph). It can also travel 50 km (31 miles) on electricity alone but the range can be expanded to 499 km (310 miles) once the small 10-liter fuel tank is full. Other specifications include a double wishbone suspension and a semi-trailing link setup for the back, ceramic brake discs and carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) anti-roll bars.
Volkswagen plans to build 50 XL1’s before putting it on a build-on-demand program. There’s no news about the price as of yet.
Audi has big plans for the Geneva Motor Show this year and from the looks of it, they’re even willing to bring their A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid along.
The vehicle is powered by a modified 1.4-liter TFSI engine that outputs 150 HP – 110 kW which is connected to an electric motor that provides an extra 102 HP – 75 kW. All that power goes to the wheels through a new dual clutch e-S tronic six-speed transmission.
The performance figures behind the name show that the 2013 Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid can sprint the 0 to 100 Km/h run in 7.9 seconds and is able to reach a top speed of 222 km/h (138 mph). Notably, the car has a fuel consumption of only 1.5 liters / 100 km (156.8 mpg US or 188.3 mpg UK) with CO2 emissions of 35 g/km, which is brilliant.
Furthermore, the car can be driven in three modes: hybrid, electric or just with the combustion engine. Audi mentioned that their precious A3 e-tron has a maximum range of 50 km (31 miles) in electric mode alone, and it can even reach a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph).
More and more automakers worldwide are adding hybrid models to their lineup and with today’s growing demand for such vehicles, you’d think that the one’s that have not or aren’t about to, are well on their way to peril. Subaru, on the other hand, is currently experiencing all-time sales records in the US, and as far as we know, none of its models feature hybrid technology.
That’s all about to change as the Japanese automaker is reportedly preparing its first hybrid model for the New York Auto Show. There aren’t too many details about the upcoming vehicle, nor about the technology under its bonnet, so it isn’t clear whether it’ll be an all-new model or a hybrid system simply placed into an existing car.
As a reminder, Subaru has previously previewed a hybrid system back in 2009 at the Tokyo Motor Show. Known as the Hybrid Tourer Concept, the vehicle wa made up of a direct-injected 2.0-liter boxer engine connected to a CVT and paired up with an electric motor thus generating around 13 horsepower of assist. Energy was stored in a lithium-ion battery pack that was recharged thanks to brake regeneration and coasting.
More news are expected to surface in March as the New York Auto Show closes up. Watch this space.
In a recent article by CAR Magazine, Audi is currently developing the A3 e-tron model which is expected to arrive in the UK somewhere in 2015. Also, the next-gen A4 and Q7 e-tron versions will follow shortly after the A3’s debut.
Sources inside Audi mention that the upcoming hybrid will feature a 48 km (30-mile) range in electric mode and CO2 emissions of less than 76 g/km. It will also pack a gasoline engine as a backup and its batteries will be charged from a socket, unlike the full hybrid A6 and A8 models which are already on sale.
As a reminder, the A3 e-tron concept was unveiled two years ago at Auto Shanghai. The vehicle was based on the A3 concept and featured a 4-cylinder, 1.4-liter TFSI engine that generated 207 HP – 155 kW as well as an electric motor that provided 27 HP – 20 kW. It offered a total output of 234 HP – 175 kW which, thanks to a 7-speed S tronic transmission, pushed the concept from 0 to 100 Km/h (62 mph) in 6.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 231 Km/h (144 mph).
Notably, the A3 came with 12 kWh lithium-ion batteries installed behind the rear seats which allowed the vehicle to travel up to 54 km (34 miles) on electric power alone.
Note: 2011 Audi A3 e-tron concept pictured
Volkswagen released some info about their upcoming plans to launch more plug-in hybrid models. The idea is that the German automaker wants to get closer to Toyota so the future line-up might surface starting from 2013.
Volkswagen believes that customer demand for these vehicles will grow over the next years. More over, electric car chief Rudolf Krebs recently told Reuters that VW will target wealthy buyers with the plug-in hybrid variant of the Porsche Panamera S and 918 Spyder that should hit the market somewhere next year.
The Golf VII will also get a plug-in hybrid version in 2014, followed by the Passat, Q7, Q3, Cayenne, A6 and A8. Furthermore, Mr. Krebs added that “this is a long-term trend that can no longer be reversed” and it “will become a core element of our future strategy.”
As Autonews mentioned, this could be a good strategy for VW as reports suggest that by 2018 plug-in hybrid car sales will soar more than eight times.
Here’s an interesting concept! This Electric BMW 3-Series E30 from 1984 has more to it than just a green funky paint work. Under the bonnet lies a powerful electric motor dubbed the bi-moto EV, that might make your jaw drop. The history of this car actually started with a blown engine on the racing track. The 19 year old, at the time, CEO of Rimac Automobili, decided to turn it into an Electric Vehicle. In time, Mate Rimac came up with five versions of this classic BMW.
The car pictured above, outputs a whopping 600 HP – 447 kW and 900 Nm of torque, which is pretty much enough to go from 0 to 100 km/h in 3.3 seconds and reach a top speed of 280 km/h. With this car, he managed to take down five world records on April 17th, 2011 on a two-mile long military runway near Zagreb.
And this is what The Mercedes SLS Electric Drive should seriously think about:
– 1/8 mile: 7,549 seconds
– 1/4 mile: 11,808 seconds
– 1/2 km: 13,714* seconds
– 1 km: 23,260* seconds
– 1 mile: 35,347* seconds
*Still pending for FIA approval
Source: Rimac Automobili via WCF
Finally, the gates of the Paris Motor Show are open… Release the concepts! First off, BMW presented an interesting five-door hatchback dubbed the BMW Concept Active Tourer. The vehicle is a four-wheel drive hybrid, with a transversely-mounted engine that drive the front wheels and an electic motor for the rear ones. It has been built on BMW’s new UKL1 platform that has been specially developed for the upcoming 2013 entry-level lineup and the next generation Mini.
Under the bonnet, this Concept Active Tourer, has a 1.5-liter TwinTurbo 3-cylinder engine that works together with an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery. The combined power sums up to 188 HP – 140 kW and 200 Nm of torque which is pretty much enough to launch the vehicle from a stanstill to 100km/h in “less than eight seconds”, BMW officials stated. The new petrol engine will be available in a future small BMW, across the new MINI lineup and also in the i8. The C.A.T. can reach a top speed of “around 120mph” (around 200km/h) and it can also be driven on electricity alone for about 30km. We should also mention that BMW officials added that the vehicle will return “more than 113 mpg UK” with CO2 emissions of “under 60g/km”.
The BMW Concept Active Tourer is an interesting step forward for BMW, one that will certainly make the recently introduced B-Class “sweat” a little bit.