Today’s Hybrid Cars: All Grown Up and Ready to Ride
The ever-rising coast of gasoline might be getting you thinking about trading in your SUV for a hybrid car. If it’s style you’re looking for, as well as fuel economy, your options have been limited since the unveiling of the original hybrids. Green Car Design recently featured some of the most glamorous and stunning energy-efficient “green” cars at the Beijing 2012 Auto Show. Sleek, sophisticated and smooth, these environmentally-friendly cars are low on waste, high on looks and luxury. Many major car manufacturers have entered the hybrid and electric car market hoping to break into the consumers’ increasing need for an affordable and high-performance “green” car. Some of the highlights of the show included:
Honda Concept S
Experts at automotive shows say that consumers are “tired of boring Hondas”. Resembling a miniature minivan with its full, boxy body and wall of windows, the Honda Concept S aims to please. The car wowed the crowd with its beautiful lines and glossy look: the “S” apparently stands for Smart, Stylish, and Surprising. This four-door passenger vehicle has a commodious cabin for a hybrid, and sports four large wheels. The Honda Concept S and it’s sister “C” models are slated for production in 2013. So far, specs are not forthcoming but we know this little beauty will feature a hybrid powertrain. Anything but the average Honda is the way to for this brand- whether its the stylish “S” model, or an Integra decked out with fancy Acura parts.
Toyota Dear Qin and Yundong Shuangqing Concept Sedans
Toyota’s cars are some of the best-selling vehicles on the market. Toyota’s hybrid market, especially the Prius, has lagged somewhat despite maintaining a better than average rate of appearance on top ten lists. Toyota hopes to gain more green ground with their global-strategic concepts, the Toyota Dear Qin and Yundong Shuangqing. Devoid of the typical language and information barriers, these cars feature holographic-type controls, activated with a wave of the hand. Production is scheduled for 2015 and specs are forthcoming.
Citroën DS Numero 9
Not exactly numero uno, Citroën’s sleek new model feeds the need for the SUV and minivan models. The silky, understated design boasts a 1.6-liter turbo-charged, gas-combustible engine with an electrically-powered motor on the rear axle. Citroën promises better maneuverability and a quick pace with 295bhp and a 5.4 second, 0 to 62 miles per hour jump. Production launches this year and sales are expected to be robust.
Looking more like a bug or unidentified flying object than a car, the tiny, all-electric Chery @ANT is set to appeal to Asian drivers. The scissor-like doors lift open like a beetle’s wing, and one nearly expects the car to putter away like George Jetson’s favorite jalopy. Despite its rather unconventional appearance, the Chery @ANT boasts some interesting features. Two cars can “hook up” to create a little train, a very helpful feature for drivers traveling with a companion or shopping for bulk items at the grocery store. They weren’t kidding when they named it @ANT, either. A cluster of @ANT cars can network together in a “cloud,” sharing information and combining to form a chain of ten vehicles linked together. It’s yet to be seen whether this innovative strategy will be a marketing success as well.
Lamborghini Urus SUV
This vehicle was by far the monster of the show with a hefty 600 horsepower hybrid engine, an elevated 24-inch wheelbase, four-wheel drive and aggressive styling. Named for a Spanish bull, the Lamborghini oozes power and confidence. Its secret lays in its carbon composite body and aerodynamics, and, according to The Washington Post Business, “the lowest CO2 emissions of all comparable super-SUVs.” A 2015 release is scheduled, with sales heavily favoring American drivers.
It’s nice to know that car manufacturers are finally addressing quality issues and not mere economical factors in hybrids. Consumers are definitely tired of languishing under fickle gas prices and are certainly hankering for more efficient cars; but in the end, quality means everything. Whether you strive to ride a bull or a bug, one things for sure– getting greener on the road is looking better and better.
Author: Lennie Prochnow