Hot and sexy hybrids & EVs at Geneva
Automakers are building eco-friendly vehicles that are sexier, sportier and more luxurious than ever.
Automakers are having a tough time figuring out this whole hybrid and electric game. Just about every automaker has a hybrid, but few sell well. Likewise, most brands have an electric vehicle or an extended-range electric vehicle (EREV) in the works, but initial sales are limited at best, and there is no assurance that Americans will buy a car they have to plug in every night. The one true success has been the Toyota Prius, but even its sales are down. At the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, several automakers showed hybrids and EREVS that aim for a more affluent clientele, one that can afford to help pay for this burgeoning and much-needed technology. They are sportier, more luxurious and sexier than ever before.
2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3
BMW has dabbled with hybrids in the past, but they've typically been unimpressive, mild hybrid systems. But the 2013 BMW ActiveHybrid 3 promises to be different. This newly developed hybrid system, which will also appear in the ActiveHybrid 5, features a 54-horsepower electric motor paired with a 3.0-liter inline 6-cylinder engine. Total output: 340 horsepower. The system can run on electric power alone up to 37 mph, and BMW estimates a fuel savings of 12 percent over the standard 3-Series. A lithium-ion battery is packaged under the trunk floor so it doesn't intrude on cargo space. Pricing will be available when the BMW ActiveHybrid 3 goes on sale this fall.
Hyundai i-oniq concept
The Hyundai i-oniq extended-range electric vehicle concept could be a glimpse into the brand's future in more ways than one. Hyundai says it features the next expression of its Fluidic Sculpture design language, but more importantly it is powered by a high-tech powertrain along the lines of the Chevrolet Volt. A 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine extends the 109-horsepower electric motor's range; it acts like a generator, just like the Volt's engine. Hyundai says this sporty hatchback can travel 74 miles on electricity and 435 miles total when the gas engine kicks in. The i-oniq is about as big as a Ford Focus, and its rear seat is designed as a "cozy lounge area." Expect a toned-down version of this design to appear on future Hyundais, with some form of this powertrain as well.
Infiniti Emerg-E Concept
This is one of the hottest cars at the show, period. Infiniti is looking at building a halo car and might team with Lotus to make it an extended-range electric vehicle that can rocket from zero to 60 mph in a tidy four seconds. The Emerg-E Concept is powered by two 150-kilowatt electric motors, one at each rear wheel, that can deliver bursts of 402 horsepower for up to 30 seconds. This slick 2-seater is capable of 30 miles of electric driving, and the range-extending 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine allows for 300 miles of total range. For weight savings and balance, the powertrain is mounted midship, the chassis is aluminum, and the body panels are carbon-fiber. The Emerg-E may never be produced, but an Infiniti halo car is likely and an EREV is, too.
2013 Lexus RX 450h
Lexus is giving its RX lineup a facelift for 2013, including the hybrid RX 450h. This luxury hybrid gets a little more aggressive and sportier thanks to the adoption of the prominent Lexus spindle grille and the addition of a Sport mode for the hybrid system. Sport mode sharpens throttle and steering response and allows more play in the traction- and stability-control systems. Inside, this crossover gets a more comfortable steering wheel, a new Hybrid System Indicator gauge and the next generation of Lexus' Remote Touch, which we think is harder to use than the first gen. Pricing should stay in the $45,000 range when the RX450h goes on sale later this year.
Volkswagen Cross Coupe
Volkswagen showed this sporty crossover in Tokyo last year with a gasoline plug-in hybrid powertrain. Now it features a more efficient and more powerful diesel engine. Like the gas version, the diesel Cross Coupe has an electric motor up front that makes 133 lb-ft of torque and another in the rear with 199 lb-ft of twist. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine puts out 295 lb-ft of torque for a total of 516 lb-ft. That translates into a sprightly zero-to-60-mph romp of 6.5 seconds. The vehicle can run on electric power alone, at up to 75 mph, for 28 miles. VW isn't quoting total range, but it should be more than 500 miles. We expect the Cross Coupe to be built, but when and how much it will cost is still a mystery.
Kirk Bell has served as the associate publisher for Consumer Guide Automotive and editor of Scale Auto Enthusiast magazine. A Midwest native, Bell brings 18 years of automotive journalism experience to MSN, and currently contributes to JDPower.com and Kelley Blue Book's kbb.com.
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Compressed natural gas is the real motor fuel of the future. Not electricity.
Rio, you still aren't getting 52mpg in your pickup like the Prius does, unless you are only driving down a step hill!
There ws a joker below who said hybrids are a joke. Really? It isn't just about "breaking even", though that depends on how many miles you drive, and if you want to drive only a cheap car. It is also about not buying imported oil. Likewise, say what you will about the Volt, but it does not HAVE to use gas. We have used about 12 gallons so far over 2800 miles, which is better than 200mpg. And we love the car. Smooth, quick and quiet, and we don't have buy gas bet every other month or so. Lovin it!
One thing is buying a Hybrid to help in saving fuel and another feel you being taken to the cleaners. What is the point in paying thousands of dollars more to save fuel and you never ever getting back your initial investment in save fuel? Another point is that most every hybrid or electric are ugly. Nissan Leaf look like a fish. Prius look cheap, like a large box with the front slope down. Chevy Volt is ok but it won't win any beauty contest. For hybrid or electric takes off manufacturer needs to address the following issue.
- Lower the price. At least in two year you can recover your investment, not 10 years.
- Don't make it radical. Make it good looking like the rest of your cars. If the Volt look more like the Malibu, inside and out it would worth buying one. Same with the Prius, make it look like a Corolla. Leaf like a Sentra.
- Work into reducing the charging time.
- Work with city and business to have more charging places at work places, shopping mall and goverment building.
The Tesla Model S is currently going for $50,000 with the same specs as the first model.
Just because power comes from gas in a hybrid, doesn't mean we are saving nothing. It takes a lot less fossil fuel to power any electric vehicle, hybrid or not. The result is a huge net gain in the amount of fuel saved when burning to power EVs.
Also, your assumption that we will be trading slavery to the Middle East for slavery to China doesn't make sense. We puchasing fuel from the Middle East every day because we need a continuous supply. Not everyone needs to buy a car every day. It's not the same kind of supply and demand.
Also, Tesla is developing an affordable full EV that can be m****duced. So they aren't just selling $100,000+ cars.
For what it's worth...
i like the car ans some people think it is a lot it is middle for me. the cars i like a a lot for me and
you would think so.