8 High-Powered Hybrids That Will Make You Take Another Look at Green Cars
When I say, “hybrid” you may have the image of a Toyota Prius, Honda Insight, or various other forms of date repellant. Sure, the roads are now littered with hybrids that are all but devoid of any soul and passion. But there are alt-fuel green cars out there that will actually make you want to go out and drive. Here are eight great performance-rich hybrids, for your guilt-free driving pleasure. 2014 BMW i8
When the first sketches of this car emerged, onlookers though it might be the next M1. The car was designed by Gioretto Guigiaro, who did, in fact, pen the original M1. The i8 has spectacular butterfly doors, and is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged 3-cylinder engine, in tandem with electric motors. It can get from zero to sixty in just 4.5 seconds and achieve 94 mpg.
2015 Audi A8 Hybrid
PHOTOS: See more images of the 2015 Audi A8 Hybrid
The A8 is one of the most lavish driver’s cars available. The well-sorted and tuned suspension will make any driving enthusiast happy, but it is so much more. The 2.0-liter turbo I4 is paired to a hybrid drivetrain that can achieve the equivalent of 37.34 mpg in mixed driving.
2014 Porsche 918 Hybrid
One of the most impressive supercars unveiled last year was a hybrid. The 918 features a 4.6-liter V8 connected to a unique flywheel hybrid drivetrain. It has 887 horsepower, a 2.8-second 0-60 time, and– because it is also a plug-in vehicle– an estimated 87 mpg!
1993 Chrysler Patriot
PHOTOS: See more images of the 1993 Chrysler Patriot
Porsche was not the first automaker to conceive the flywheel design. In 1993 Chrysler rolled out a race car with the intent of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It featured an electric traction engine, and a water-cooled, three-phase alternator, which was built in to a two-stage liquid turbine. (follow all that?) It was fueled by natural gas and could make something in the range of 500 horsepower.
2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
15 years later, Chevrolet and Chrysler would roll out a far simpler and more practical hybrid system. The 2-mode hybrid drivetrain was a joint venture between the two companies. In the case of the Tahoe, it was able to get 20 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. That may not seem like much now, but compared to what trucks were getting at the time, it was an impressive jump in efficiency.
2005 Audi Q7 Hybrid Concept
PHOTOS: See more images of the 2005 Audi Q7 Hybrid Concept
Even before the Tahoe Hybrid, Audi was hard at work on an SUV that could deliver the best of both worlds. It was powerful, but not as efficient, making 350 hp while delivering the equivalent of 19.6 mpg. Once again, not a terrific figure, but it marked a 13 percent improvement over the production model at the time.
2013 Lotus Evora 414E Hybrid
The Lotus brand has always built very lightweight sports cars, so conventionally powered fuel economy was respectable– especially considering the competition. The 414E features two electric motors driving each of the rear wheels, with a turbocharged 1.2-liter 3-cylinder engine as a range extender. The whole unit makes an impressive 409 horsepower.
2014 Toyota TS040
PHOTOS: See more images of the 2014 Toyota TS040
The leading edge of hybrid development is happening on the race track. The 24 Hours of Le Mans is a grueling test of endurance, and a perfect way to test new, experimental powertrains. Rules for the race also govern fuel consumption, so a vehicle like Toyota’s powerful TS040 hybrid are ideal. It combines a 3.7-liter V6 with electric motors at the front to deliver an all-wheel drive system with an insane 1,000hp. Every lap that take at Le Mans brings this kind of technology closer to your daily commuter car.