Saturday, September 20, 2008

7 Sexy Hybrids You Can't Buy Yet

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1. Aptera's Typ-1 to bring space-age looks to Earth

Mere Earthlings will likely do some serious rubbernecking when the Aptera Typ-1 three-wheeled vehicle hits the road, perhaps as early as this year. The vehicle, shown here, is officially classified as a motorcycle and looks more like something out of "The Jetsons" than Detroit. The California-built machine will come in all-electric and hybrid flavors, the latter getting more than 300 miles per gallon of gas. Top speed exceeds 85 mph, and the vehicle goes from 0 to 60 in under 10 seconds, the company says. About four hours plugged into a standard socket recharges a drained battery.

2. Yet unnamed Honda hybrid to duel the Toyota Prius

Next April, Honda will release a yet-to-be named gas-electric hybrid-only five-door hatchback priced at less than $20,000. The gambit aims to steer market share away from the popular Toyota Prius. An official name and full details of the car will be released later this year, though the company says the exterior will employ a design evocative of the FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle, shown here. Honda hopes to sell 200,000 of the cars worldwide next year, including 100,000 in the U.S.

3. Is a hybrid-only Lexus brand the future?

Lexus, the luxury arm of Toyota, already makes hybrid versions of its GS and LS sedans and RX utility, but will a hybrid-only model akin to the hot-selling Prius ever join those on the showroom floor, shown here? Katsuaki Watanabe, the company president, reportedly announced at the 2008 Detroit Auto Show that the answer is yes. Plans for the hybrid-only Lexus will be unveiled at next year's gathering of auto enthusiasts in Motown. Stay tuned.

4. Chevy Volt, the resurrected electric car

The production model Chevy Volt is slated to charge onto showroom floors sometime in 2010. A concept model, shown here, was unveiled to much fanfare at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. General Motors Corp. is banking the car will rev up the company's "green" cred, which suffered for putting the kibosh on its EV1, a tale told in the 2006 documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car?". The Volt will use a battery-powered electric motor that can run the car for about 40 miles on a single charge. After that, a gasoline-powered engine kicks on to keep the car rolling and re-charge the battery. Top speed is estimated between 100 and 120 mph. It recharges in about six hours with a standard 110 volt wall plug.

5. Tesla Model S to come with a hybrid option

Tesla Motors, maker of the all-electric Tesla Roadster shown here, announced in February that its next project will include a gas-electric hybrid option. While most details of the car are under wraps, executives have let slip that the four-door sedan will cost around $60,000 and get in the neighborhood of 225 miles per charge. This June, the company also announced it will manufacture the sedan in its home state of California, not New Mexico as earlier planned.

6. Porsche Panamera to have hybrid option

Porsche, the German car company more known for brawn than environmental sensitivities, is jumping on the hybrid bandwagon. Its Cayenne, an SUV, will come with a gas-electric hybrid option by 2010. And in January, the company announced its upcoming four-dour Gran Turismo, the Panamera, will also have a hybrid option that uses the same drive concept as the Cayenne's. A schematic, shown here, indicates the battery will be positioned below the luggage compartment and the hybrid module is sandwiched between the engine and transmission. Drivers will have the option to use one or both drive systems, depending on conditions. A release date for the hybrid Panamera is not yet known.

7. Will the Venturi Astrolab be commercialized?

At the 2006 Paris Motor Show, the Venturi Astrolab was introduced as the world's first solar-electric hybrid to be commercialized. But commercialization plans are now on hold, Clément Dorance, a spokesperson for the French company, noted in an e-mail. The concept vehicle, shown here, has 38.8 square feet of photovoltaic cells to charge the battery from the sun, even on the go. A plug allows battery charging from the electricity grid when or where the sun doesn't shine. Fully charged, the futuristic vehicle has a range of about 70 miles and can reach a top speed of 75 mph. If interest in the car is sufficient, the company might consider a limited production, Dorance noted.

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Sexy Hybrid Article Credits:

1. Aptera's Typ-1 - Business Wire
2. Honda Prius - Koji Sasahara/AP
3. Hybrid-only Lexus - Itsuo Inouye/AP file
4. Chevy Volt - General Motors via AP
5. Tesla Model S - Gus Ruelas/Reuters
6. Porsche Panamera - Porsche Cars North America, Inc.
7. Venturi Astrolab - Michel Zumbrunn
Link to source article:

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1 comment:

CelticSolar said...

The yet-to-be-named Honda, has been named. They are resurrecting the Insight name to show they had leadership in this market.

The Volt picture is of the concept. There are pictures of the less interesting looking production model that have been released now. This announcement was part of the GM 100 year celebration.

As for the hybrid Tesla Model S. That was Martin Eberhard idea. When he left so did the EREV. Musk has said recently that Tesla will stay pure EV.

That is a nice list; I would add the Fisker Karma to it.