January 13, 2009

Hybrids Today and Tomorrow

Hybrids Today and Tomorrow

Hybrid vehicles have gone through many changes over the years. Ever since the Toyota Prius came out, bigger and more equipped hybrids were released. The Ford Escape hybrid came out in 2004, which jumpstarted the production of luxury hybrid cars. Apart from Toyota, Honda and Ford other automobile companies such as Mazda, Nissan and recently Lexus and Chevrolet have manufactured their own hybrid creations.

Early hybrid vehicles were limited to manual transmissions and air-conditioning. The best thing that they could do at the time of Toyota Prius was add a multiple CD changer. Nowadays customers have more options with Sports Utility Vehicles and luxury car hybrids. Apart from comfort settings and additional accessories, more formidable propulsion management systems are used.

Hybridization in the present and what lies ahead.

Last year luxury sedans and Sport Utility Vehicles were released. These environment friendly cars were also fitted with all the trappings and perks of a luxury vehicle. Apart from having the latest technology from their manufacturers, such as the Hybrid Synergy System from Toyota, they are also decked out with touch navigational systems, surround sound with DVD and VCD supporting stereo systems, ventilation seats, and multiple CD changers on the dashboard.

Hybrid vehicles released last year have V6 engines such as the Lexus GS 450 and V8 such as the Chevrolet Tahoe. Gear-ratio steering, continuous variable transmission, variable suspension, and regenerative breaking are standard among luxury car hybrids.

Hybrids that will be released in 2008 feature the Cadillac Escalade. It is a two mode hybrid with 6 liter V8 engine with two motors. The Saturn Green Line Vue will also be in the line up that promises to 45% improvement in fuel efficiency. Ford will launch its first hybrid sedan with Mercury Milan Hybrid. Mercedes will also release the hybrid version of their S-class sedan. Porsche also plans to launch its four door coupe called the Panamera, using the same technology as the Cayenne SUV.

If your head is getting dizzy with all the prices of the luxury cars Hyundai will release a hybrid available at around $10,000. This will be the first full hybrid under $20,000. Honda will release a smaller and more affordable hybrid to compete with Toyota who dominates the market.

No matter which hybrid vehicle you will choose, expect more hybrids to come. In time as gas prices soar and the demand for higher emissions regulations are implemented, hybrids will eventually dominate the market.

January 07, 2009

Top Hybrid Vehicle Myths

Hybrid Vehicle Myths

Hybrid vehicles have created a lot of hype. As a result, misinformation is all over the place. It is time to separate facts from fiction and clarify some of the myths created by the stir.

1. You can save money when you buy a hybrid car.

While you can definitely save money on gas, the amount of the hybrid car itself can set you back. Hybrid cars are not very expensive though. But if you are thinking that you can make back your investment, you got the wrong concept of buying a hybrid car. You buy a hybrid car because you want to reduce the demand for fuel, to help save the environment, and want to earn the bragging rights of one of the first to drive a hybrid.

2. Hybrid batteries need to be replaced.

The high cost of hybrid battery replacement is one of the main reasons why some may avoid buying a hybrid car. The fact is Toyota has claimed that there is not a single battery replacement reported due to wearing out or malfunction. Moreover, manufacturers issue a standard 80,000 and 100,000 miles warranty for hybrid batteries depending on the location of the dealer- though that does not mean that you have to replace your batteries after 100,000 miles.

3. Hybrid vehicles are very expensive to maintain.

Maintaining a hybrid car costs almost the same as maintaining a conventional gasoline-engine car. According to Honda website, the 5-year maintenance and repair costs for the Honda Civic Hybrid and Toyota Prius are $2,056 and $1,969 respectively; while the Honda Civic Si Sedan 6-Spd MT has a 5-year maintenance and repair cost of $2,137.

4. Hybrid cars are the only solution to environmental problems.

The number of hybrid vehicles on US roads may hit the 1 million mark sometime in 2008 but that doesn't mean that is has solved the problems of the environment. There are approx. 200 million cars in the US that consumes roughly a total of 400 million gallons of fuel each day. Clearly, we have a long way to go.

5. Hybrid vehicles are small and underpowered.

If you limit your thinking to the Civic Hybrid's 1.3 L engine and disregard the 20-hp electric motor, then you may think that hybrid vehicles are small and underpowered. Think of the Toyota Camry with its 2.4 L engine or the Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid with its 6.0 L Vortec V8 engine. Hybrid cars are not only powerful, they are big.

January 01, 2009

What You Need to Know about Hybrid

What You Need to Know about Hybrid

Many of us don't really think much about our surroundings. In fact most of us would buy a luxury Sport Utility vehicle in a heartbeat if we could. Although there have been incessant campaigns in global warming many of us don't really pay attention to pollution emitting out of our car's exhaust pipe's. That was until gas prices started to soar and people were desperate for alternatives. Hybrid technology was new and misunderstood in the past. Visions of weird boxes on wheels came to mind. That was until the Toyota Prius came out in 1997.

The first hybrid car did not look out of this world or too space age for the common person's taste. It was just a conventional looking car that saved on gas. The hybrid technology spread slowly. Sales from the Prius and Insight were moderate. Nonetheless, the public supported the technology which led to further improvements. The Ford Escape hybrid filled the gap between looking good and doing well. It had style and practicality which became the cue for luxury hybrid cars to add to the market.

Although hybrid cars are a good choice for today, is it really worth spending a lot of money to save the environment? And how do you know which to buy amid the slew of eye candy hybrids?

Why and what hybrid to buy

Hybrids run on electric power though their motors. These motors also serve as generators that recharge batteries on board to power them for mileage. This enables the vehicle to use less fuel which leads to lower costs and reduced emissions. The internal combustion engine serves as a back up for more power at high speeds. A computer determines which and how much power will be used from the motor and the engine.

Hybrids recharge through regenerative breaking. They are perfect for driving in the city where stop and go driving is common. In the city drivers don't really need a lot of horsepower.

Other motor companies have made hybrids to add to their credentials. If you really want to be practical a compact four door sedan will do well for you instead of a hybrid SUV that cost twice as much. Luxury hybrids may do well in the long run by saving gas but spending more than $60,000 on a practical car defeats its purpose.

If you want to go green, go simple. In reality you don't need to drive a 200 horsepower vehicle.