hybrid cars

hybrid cars



Honda Goes Full Eco Warrior, Expands Clarity Line With PHEV And EV

The Japanese auto behemoth is hedging its bets on the shifting sands of green machines

Between low gas prices, national carbon reduction pledges, and fluctuating regulations, it’s not exactly certain where the market for environmentally friendly transportation will head next. But that’s not bothering Honda, which just announced it will expand its Clarity lineup to include new plug-in hybrid and all-electric variants, essentially providing all avenues of attack when it comes to green options for consumers.

You probably recognize the Clarity nameplate as Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, the four-door sedan offered up in December of last year as an answer to the Toyota Mirai. The move to include a hybrid and an EV, in addition to the hydrogen Clarity, coincides with Honda’s stated intentions of reducing carbon emissions over the long term.

“The Honda Clarity is aimed at accelerating the deployment of advanced electrified powertrain technology and bringing electrified vehicles further into the mainstream,” said senior vice president of American Honda Motor Co., Inc., Jeff Conrad.

Honda has previously indicated that it wants 2 out of every 3 vehicles sold to be electrified by the year 2030. That’s a mighty ambitious goal, but an expanded Clarity lineup is a big step towards making it a reality.

Read on for more details, as well as a few of the specs on the newly unveiled Clarity hybrid and EV.

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2017 Acura MDX Sport Hybrid

The MDX gets a battery pack and some extra output!

Acura first presented the third-generation MDX in production form at the 2013 New York Auto Show, and it went into production just a month later in Lincoln, Alabama. Offered with a 3.5-liter V-6 that makes use of variable cylinder management, and as a FWD vehicle in the U.S. for the first time, the MDX was ready to continue its battle in an overpopulated segment. But, to stay at the top of the food chain, the MDX has to remain as relevant and fresh as possible, which is why Acura gave it a fairly intensive facelift for the 2017 model year. As such, it’s more aggressive than ever and features Acura’s new Precision Grille on the outside while the interior took some minor changes to offer better refinement and space. Now, Acura is bringing an updated MDX Sport Hybrid to the market, and it offers a significant improvement in power over the range-topping, non-hybrid MDX.

To put it simply, the new MDX Hybrid uses the same three-motor setup that is found in the RLX Sport Hybrid and the Acura NSX and pushes the output for this new range-topper over the top with an extra 30 ponies and 40 percent better fuel economy in the city. That’s a pretty big deal for those of you who are concerned with fuel usage, and for those who want just a little extra oomph. The MDX Sport Hybrid is set to hit dealers starting in early April, so let’s take a closer look at it and see what it brings to the table before it gets there.

Continue reading to learn more about the Acura MDX Sport Hybrid.

2016 Electric Vehicle Sales in the U.S. [INFOGRAPHIC]

Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales by State in 2016

Electric cars have technically been around since 1837 when a chemist named Robert Davidson built an electric car that was powered by galvanic cells. But, the first highway-legal electric vehicle didn’t hit the market until 2008. Since then, interest in electric vehicles has increased slowly but steadily, and in 2017 there are at least 25 PEVs now available on the market. This includes models like the Tesla Model S and X, Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid, Mercedes C350E, and the Volvo XC90 90 T8 PHEV, among others.

So, what is a PEV, really? A PEV is a subset of electric vehicles that includes all-electric or battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), and electric vehicle conversions of hybrid electric vehicles and conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. But, are PEVs actually taking a hold in the automotive market or are they set to see a decline as they did in the early 1900s? Well, we’ve put together an infographic to detail the electric vehicle market statistics here in the United States for the year 2016, including market growth, most popular models, and the number of sales by state. So, let’s take a look at the infographic in detail and talk a little more about it.

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Kia Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Combines Cargo Space with Hybrid Engine

Sportswagon + Plug-in Hybrid guts = Kia’s newest European hit

Wagons are big sellers in Europe and around the globe, so it only makes sense for Kia to debut its Sportswagon version of the Optima Plug-in Hybrid. Announced at the 2017 Geneva International Motor Show, the Optima Sportswagon Plug-in Hybrid offers a 60-kilometer range on battery power before its 2.0-liter gasoline four-cylinder kicks in. And while neither the Sportswagon nor the plug-in hybrid powertrain are new to Kia, this marks the first time they have been combined. Sales will begin in the third quarter of 2017 across Europe.

The familiar powertrain consists of Kia’s 2.0-liter GDI (gasoline, direct injection) four-cylinder from the Nu engine family. Alone, it generates 154 horsepower and 139 pound-feet of torque. The gasoline engine is supplemented by an 11.26-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which powers a 50-kW motor mated between the gas engine and automatic transmission. The result is a total system output of 202 horsepower and 276 pound-feet of torque. Kia says the Optima Sportswagon will hit 62 mph in 9.7 seconds. It’s no Tesla Model S, by any means.

Aside from its lackadaisical straight-line acceleration, the Optima Sportswagon is highly competitive. It boasts a cargo space of 1,574 liters with the rear seats folded flat. That’s 55.5 cubic feet for those on the Imperia Imperia l scale. With the rear seats raised, the cargo area still provides 440 liters (15.5 cubic feet) of room. That’s on par with many crossovers and other wagons on the market.

Of course, the Optima Sportswagon shares commonalities between its respective parents. The overall wagon shape remains true, while the added aero bits are straight from the Optima Plug-in Sedan. These features include aerodynamically tuned bumpers, side skirts, and wheels. Inside, the driver gets an updated instrument cluster that displays powertrain information on the eight-inch touchscreen. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present, too, as is TomTom’s Kia Connected Services with life traffic updates and such. Active safety systems include adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and automatic emergency braking.

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The 2018 Lexus LS 500h Is Further Proof That The Hybrids Are Taking Over

It’s quick, luxurious, and it looks good – and oh yeah, it’s a hybrid, too

Attention all you lovers of the naturally aspirated, un-electrified internal combustion engine: your days in the sun are numbered. Yep, the hybrids are coming, and in a big, big way, too. What started as a means to extend the range provided by the liquefied dinosaur juice known as gasoline has now turned into a full-fledged assault across all segments. First it was with commuters, like the Prius. Then we got outrageous hypercars like the LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 Spyder. Then it was SUVs and wagons, and now, Lexus has added hybridity to the premium sedan niche with the new LS 500h.

The big reveal just occurred at theGeneva International Motor Show, and was preceded by similar announcements from other makes also going hybrid. Porsche is one example of this, giving us the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, a top-shelf sports sedan laying down a whopping 680 horses thanks to its battery-boosted twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8. Check out our full review on the new range-topping Panamera by clicking here.

Now we get this, an electrified iteration of Lexus’ brand-new four-door flagship. We first got a look at the new LS in 500 guise earlier this year at the Detroit Auto Show, boasting 415 horses from a twin-turbo V-6. Meanwhile, the 500h gets all the good stuff as the more traditional LWB luxury sedan, but with addition of hybrid power under the hood.

Of course, anyone who’s familiar with the history of the LS nameplate shouldn’t be all that surprised. The model has traditionally been a bastion of new technology and innovation, but I feel like this model is indicative of a larger trend in the industry to, well, hybrid all the things. Continue reading to see what I’m on about.

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Mercedes-AMG GT Concept Is the Beefed-Up, 4-Door Sports Car You’ve Been Asking For

AMG’s competitor for the Panamera hybrid packs a whopping 800 horsepower

The relatively new Mercedes-AMG GT sports car has already spawned numerous iterations, including convertibles, the track-ready R, as well as a race-spec model, but the German brand still has big plans with the nameplate. In the rumor mill for a couple of years, the four-door version has just been confirmed by a new concept car that Mercedesconvertibles, just unveiled at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show.

While the Mercedes-AMG GT Concept name might not say much — or it may lead you to believe it’s another version of the coupe — it is in fact not just a four-door model, but also one that uses electricity to move about.

A quick glance is enough to understand why it bears the "AMG GT" badge. The sedan is obviously based on the coupe and share many styling features with the two-door. However, the design language has been upgraded to better suit a Mercedes sedan, which has to be elegant above anything else.

Up front, both the grille and the bumper are closely related to the coupe, but the headlamps are slimmer and stretch toward the wheelarches instead of having the sweptback design seen on the regular AMG GT. The car’s profile is obviously longer due to the extra two door, but the roof line is pretty sleek and resembles that of a coupe. I’d say it’s somewhere between the CLS and the CLS Shooting Brake, as it doesn’t leave much room for a decklid, but it’s not a wagon either. Around back, both the taillights and the trunk lid are heavily based on the AMG GT, but the bumper seems more massive. Underneath, there’s a carbon-fiber diffuser with a massive exhaust pipe in the middle.

All told, while it comes in a four-door sedan configuration, the concept is by no means mundane and it’s comparable to the coupe in terms of aggressiveness. But unlike other concepts, it’s menacing looks are backed by an impressive drivetrain and mind-blowing performance.

Bearing the new "EQ Power+" designation that Mercedes introduced with the latest Formula One car, the AMG GT Concept pairs the existing twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8 engine with a powerful electric motor. There’s no specific information about either of them, but Mercedes says that the combo generates up to 600 kW, which converts to a whopping 804 horsepower. That’s 348 horses more than the base AMG GT coupe and 227 horsepower more than the range-topping GT R. The concept is also around 130 horses more powerful than the newly launched Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which speaks volumes of what Mercedes wants to achieve in this niche. More impressively, AMG expects the sedan to hit 60 mph from a standing start in less than three seconds. That’s supercar-like acceleration right there!

Of course, there’s more to talk about beyond the powerful drivetrain, but we’ll take a closer look at the concept car in our upcoming review.

Continue reading for the full story.

2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid

Think of it as a more comfortable, more attainable four-door 918 Spyder…

Porsche first unveiled the Panamera in 2009, dropping the cover on its four-door’d 911 lookalike at the 13th Auto Shanghai International Automobile Show in China. Drawing its name from the Carrera Panamericana open-road rally from the ‘50s, the Panamera was a clear break from the brand’s sports coupe history. However, like the Cayenne SUV that came before it, the Panamera quickly established itself as one of Porsche’s staple model lines, selling well across several markets, especially in the U.S. To help broaden the sedan’s appeal even further, Porsche introduced the Panamera plug-in hybrid in 2013, followed by a second-gen release in 2016. Now, Stuttgart has introduced another electrified variant called the Turbo S E-Hybrid, and rather than just providing green sensibilities, the hybrid bits make it faster. In fact, with a twin-turbo V-8 and electric motor under the hood, the Turbo S E-Hybrid is the most powerful model to wear a Porsche badge at the moment, save for the 918 Spyder. Pair all that go with four-door comfort, oodles of cabin luxury, and even a long-wheelbase variant, and this thing looks to create a whole new niche all for itself.

And why not? We’re long past the era when hybrid tech was reserved solely for Prius wannabes, and electrified powertrains are now commonplace in both sports cars and in racing. For example, Audi, another VW product, was the first to take top honors at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a hybrid with its R18 E-Tron diesel in 2012. Now Porsche has adopted similar technology for the Panamera, even pulling influences from the uber-fast 918 for inspiration.

Porsche says “the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is another compelling demonstration of the performance advantages of hybrid technology, “ and that it seeks to combine “performance, comfort and efficiency [in] a perfect three-way combination.”

Basically, Porsche is making its surprisingly fast Panamera even faster by adding a fat dose of electrification. And we like that, even if it still looks… well, like a Panamera.

The new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid will premiere in the metal at the Geneva International Motor Show early this March, and will also be offered in a long-wheelbase Executive edition. The specs between the Euro-bound model and U.S.-bound model are identical, which leads us to ask – is this thing basically a four-door 918 Spyder?

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.

2018 BMW i8 Spyder

A legitimate i8 Spyder prototype was finally caught testing in the wild!!!

When BMW first showed off the i-brand concepts, we had no idea we would see production models so fast. In what seemed like just a few seconds in the grand scheme of things, we were looking at production models of the BMW i3 and BMW i8. With the i8 Spyder Concept debuting in 2012, and the production version of the i8 hitting dealers for the 2015 model year, Bimmer fans everywhere have been itching for a production version of the i8 Spyder. So much, in fact, that the rumor mill has been working overtime and there have even been a few false sightings of the unicorn. But, either hell has frozen over or pigs have sprouted wings (or, maybe it’s both) because someone finally caught an official i8 Spyder prototype cruising in the middle of nowhere. They aren’t the best photos we’ve ever received, but the top is clearly down, and it appears to be every bit legitimate thanks to that “hybrid test vehicle” sticker prominently displayed on the rear fascia.

And, while we’ve all been waiting somewhat impatiently for the i8 Spyder, the fact that we’re finally seeing a prototype isn’t all that surprising. Just a few months ago, BMW CEO Harald Krueger not only confirmed the car was in the works, but that it had a production target of 2018! That means that we should see it in production form sometime toward the end of 2017. It’s doubtful that this is the i8 Spyder’s first venture onto public roads, so props to BMW for managing to keep it out of the public eye for so long. But, with that said, let’s talk a little more about what we can see from these few spy shots in my speculative review below.

Updated 02/28/2017: Our spy photographers caught the upcoming i8 Spyder during winter testing in Sweden.

Click past the jump to read in detail about the 2018 BMW i8 Spyder

The start of production of the Tesla Model 3 is all set to begin this July in a “limited” capacity, although according to InsideEVs, the first wave of models that roll off the production line are earmarked for Tesla’s employees and investors. While that allocation part isn’t entirely that big of a deal, the timetable for the car’s production is, especially if Tesla is serious about achieving its goals of producing 5,000 units per week by the fourth quarter of this year and 10,000 units per week sometime in 2018.

To its credit, Tesla has already started production trials for the car in anticipation of the massive volume it has to deal with once full-scale production commences. Tesla, after all, has more than 370,000 deposits to deal with, right?

For everyone’s sake then, let’s hope that the company’s production plans for the Model 3 are all ironed out. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is saying all the right things at the moment, even telling reporters recently that the ramp-up in the production of the Model 3 will happen slowly to give Tesla some form of breathing room to address potential bugs and issues.

That’s good to hear because history hasn’t been kind on Tesla’s production promises. Remember, both the Model S and Model X experienced massive production delays during their launch. The Model X, in particular, was delayed numerous times for a myriad of reasons, including issues with suppliers that ended with ugly lawsuits on both sides. Those delays pushed the launch of the Model X from its original launch timetable in the early part of 2014 all the way to the end of 2015. That’s almost two years, if you’re keeping score.

For the sake of the Model 3, which Tesla is promoting as the model that would signal the company’s entry into mainstream markets, delays of any sort would be devastating to the company. It’s not a premium model like the Model X that can be explained through automotive and legal jargons. This is a car that has almost 400,000 pre-orders attached to it, and you can be sure that a lot of those deposits will be canceled if Tesla suffers any delays in the production of the Model 3.

Let’s all hope that it doesn’t come to that then.

Continue reading for the full story.

Source: Inside EVs

2019 Land Rover Range Rover Plug-In Hybrid

Minor updates accompany new hybrid powertrain

Land Rover is tested a new version of its venerable and well-loved Range Rover. Spotted in the wintery hillsides of Europe, the standard wheelbase Range Rover wore swirly camouflage to mask its changes. However, our spy photographer seems certain this is the new Range Rover Plug-in Hybrid.

Land Rover has been rather hushed about its Plug-in hybrid powertrain, so we’ve got nothing but speculation to share in that department. We suspect the same 3.0-liter turbodiesel and hybrid powertrain will carry other, though likely with some improvements in efficiency. The Range Rover’s camouflaged bodywork, however, does show a few telltale details that differ from the standard 2017 model.

The Range Rover last underwent changes for the 2016 model year, getting a slightly refreshed nose. Before that, the Range Rover first saw light in the 2013 model year. Marked by the move into its fourth generation, the current Range Rover rides on a unibody platform constructed mostly from aluminum. The Range Rover’s Terrain Response system controls its full-time 4WD system, along with its locking differentials, air suspension, and traction management software. To say the Range Rover is capable off the beaten path is a vast understatement.

So without further ado, let’s have a close look at Range Rover’s plug-in hybrid test mule.

Continue reading for more information.

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