So you own a Tesla or maybe more than one electric car, and you’re wondering which high speed home charger you should purchase – the ChargePoint Home Flex or the Tesla Wall Connector generation 3. Let’s compare the options, and then I’ll show you why I ended up buying the ChargePoint Home Flex.
Here’s the quick summary, if you don’t want to read all the details.
Both chargers are Level 2 240 volt high speed charging stations that can charge your Tesla at the fastest rate it can currently accept from a home charger, assuming you have it wired at maximum capacity (which is based on installation and your breaker box).
When test driving a Tesla a few weeks ago, I was able to try out several different driving settings during my test drive. One of the settings that I tested out was called Chill Mode.
What is Tesla’s chill mode, exactly? Well, if you’ve driven or ridden in a Tesla, you’re probably aware that the electric motors (often dual motor in many models) are incredibly powerful and provide instant torque and crazy fast acceleration. The zero to 60 times vary between models, but really all of the Tesla models including the S, X and Model 3 at every performance level are very fast cars.
Teslas can accelerate so quickly that it can be alarming for passengers in the car. The incredible acceleration potential also tends to fuel impatience in traffic if you have a tendency toward road rage and you’re stuck behind a slow driver.
Chill mode basically reduces the amount of acceleration that the car gives you when you hit the accelerator pedal. It makes the car drive much more like a regular fast sedan and not so much like a powerful supercar. This means you can drive your friends and family around without scaring them to death, and also keep your own acceleration to a reasonable level when you’re driving alone.
Chill acceleration in a Tesla definitely does not make the car slow. YouTube videos will show you that a Tesla Model 3 Performance can still hit zero to 60 mph in around 6.6 seconds in Chill Model, versus under 4 seconds with the regular settings.
In general, if you look at the zero to 60 time of your specific Tesla model, you should expect chill mode to approximately double that time. Which is still plenty fast, by the way!
To give you an example, I gunned it from a red light, turning right onto a busier street. Chill mode got me right up to speed in my lane with no problems, but I didn’t feel like I was wearing out the tires by gunning it from a stop into a turn.
Does Chill Mode increase range?
Chill mode isn’t designed as a setting to increase range. However, it’s possible that you can use it that way. When you use chill mode in combination with standard “hypermiling” to increase your driving efficiency, you’re certain to extend your range this way.
What else can you use Chill Model for with a Tesla?
Many Tesla drivers report that chill mode is very helpful if you are driving in slippery situations such as ice, snow and rain. The reduced acceleration helps prevent your wheels from slipping out when you hit the accelerator pedal.
If you’re reading this post in the United States, chances are pretty good that you own and drive a car.
It’s an unfortunate reality that it’s nearly impossible to reasonably get around without one if you are outside of a major metropolitan area with a good transit system, like New York, Chicago, Boston, etc.
So what’s a driver who cares about the environment to do to make driving and owning a car as green as possible? There are literally dozens of things you can do, but it starts to get overwhelming to list them all. And when people start to get overwhelmed they tend not to take any action at all. I know it happens to me all the time.
So I’ve decided to give you some low hanging fruit, with these 5 easy tips that require very little time, motivation or effort.
Did you know that every extra 100 pounds of stuff that you are hauling around in the trunk of your car or the back of your wagon or SUV is reducing your gas mileage by up to 2 percent?
What are you dragging around in the back of your car right now that you could unload?
3. Don’t leave your car running when you aren’t driving.
This one infuriates me. I see it all the time at my local Starbucks. People just leave their car running while they go inside for five minutes to order and prepare their drink. What’s the point? We have a serious air pollution problem here in Dallas, and cars idling for no reason are not helping.
An idling car is getting ZERO miles to the gallon by definition.
Gasoline vapors are harmful to you and the environment. Not only are they toxic to breathe, they contribute to ozone formation in the atmosphere. Since gasoline vapor production increases during the hot summer months, it is important to be careful when refueling your vehicle. Here are some simple measures you can take at the gas station:
A rough estimate of hydrocarbon emissions from gasoline spillage alone is approximately 28,000 tons per year nationwide.
These releases contribute, at least in part, to the United States Geologic Society (USGS) estimate that more than 40million people use groundwater that contains at least one volatile organic compound, many of which are components of gasoline.
As the U.S. government continues to promote cleaner vehicles and offer subsidies for both personal and public charging stations as well as for environmentally friendly cars themselves, we expect the number of EVs and their market availability to increase. New additions to dealerships include: Chevrolet Spark EV, Honda Accord plug-in hybrid, Honda FCX Clarity, Porsche Panamera, Smart Electric Drive, Tesla Model X, and Think Electric.
This list includes all vehicles that have a significant all-electric range, both pure EVs and plug-in hybrids. If you are interested in purchasing a non plug-in hybrid, look for our upcoming 2014 U.S. hybrid car lineup.
In the fall of 2013, Alvarez Electric Motors began selling short-range (30-40 miles) all-electric commuter cars, trucks, and vans in select California dealerships. See the story here: Alvarez electric vehicles. The vehicles range in price from $10,000 to $18,000 and have a max speed of 25 mph. The company expects to bring a motorcycle to its lineup shortly.
Audi Electric Cars
Audi released several e-Tron plug-in hybrid concept vehicles and consequently scrapped further plans, but these are now officially making their way to the marketplace:
A3 e-Tron – Audi’s A3 sportback plug-in hybrid will be named the A3 e-Tron. A TFSI combustion engine is combined with an electric motor that consumes 0.40 gallons of fuel every 62 miles and provides a range of 542 miles. Sales should begin in early 2014. See more information here: A3 e-Tron sales begin in early 2014.
A4 e-Tron – Originally unveiled as a concept at the Detroit 2010 auto show, this plug-in hybrid sedan may hit production lines in 2014 and be sold as a 2015 model. Expect the electric range to be about 37 miles.
R8 e-Tron – This spring, Audi announced that yes, it will produce an all-electric R8 e-Tron—ten of them precisely—but no, they will not be sold to customers. Here’s more on the R8 e-Tron for testing and development.
BMW Electric Cars
i3 – BMW released substantial concept information about the all-electric 170-hp i3. A DC-fast charger can be used to achieve an 80% recharge in about 30 minutes. If the car’s 80-100 mile range isn’t sufficient, the concept offers an optional REx small gasoline engine that will transform the car into a plug-in hybrid. No mention of production or sales for U.S. customers, but UK customers did get a recent i3 test drive.
i8 – BMW also released information about its i8 plug-in hybrid sports car concept. Its 200-hp 3-cylinder engine consumes 0.71 gallons of fuel every 62 miles and can travel 20 miles on electric power alone.
Build Your Dreams (BYD) Electric Cars
Chinese-based BYD electric vehicles are making their way to America, but you probably will not be able to drive one:
K9 – Starting in 2014, this electric bus will be produced in California, BYD’s first overseas factory.
Cadillac Electric Cars
ELR – Cadillac’s ELR is arriving to dealerships in early 2014. The ELR’s lithium-ion battery is nearly identical to the Chevrolet Volt, but has been tweaked to provide an extra 58 horsepower. The electric range is about 35 miles. See this ELR review for more information. Fuel efficiency is not yet rated and the estimated cost is about $70,000.
Chevrolet Electric Cars
Volt – The 2014 Volt model is currently in production and comes with a few slight changes: new color choices, new functionalities, and new convenience features. See more information on 2014 Volt product changes here. No pricing details yet on this plug-in hybrid. 2013 models started at $39,145, got an estimated 38 mpg, and traveled 380 miles on a full charge and full tank of gas. The 2013 Volt can go about 35 on electric power alone.
Spark EV – The Spark is now available at participating California and Oregon dealerships starting at $26,685. Total range when fully charged is 82 miles. A full charge on a 120V charger takes seven hours, while a DC fast-charge station will charge the battery to 80% in 20 minutes. Impressively, the Spark EV generates more torque than other in-class cars, including the Ferrari 458 Italia and Porsche Carrera S.
Chrysler Electric Cars
FIAT 500e – As predicted last year, the FIAT 500e has arrived but is only available at select California FIAT Studios. There are two charging devices: one will recharge the battery to full within 4 hours while the other will give you 9-10 miles of range for every 3 hours of charging (a full charge in under 24 hours). Its range is about 87 miles. The FIAT 500e starts at $31,800 or can be leased for $199 for 36 months.
CODA Electric Cars
CODA Sedan – Despite CODA filing for bankruptcy, California drivers can apparently still get a CODA car for about $38,145 and drive up to 125 miles on a single charge. A two-hour charge will get you going for 50 miles, while 6 hours will fully recharge the battery, depending on charger type. If you must have one and live outside of California, you may be able to put your name on a reservation list at their website for $99.
Commuter Electric Cars
Tango T600 – Billed as ‘the world’s fastest urban car,’ this two-seater will get you someplace fast: 0-60 in under 4 seconds, to be exact. 2014 brings no changes to this car, which can be charged via a regular A/C outlet and will go 80 miles on a full charge for about $200,000. U.S. consumers receive the kit only—the car is not fully assembled.
Dodge Electric Cars
Dodge is testing out a Lotus-based EV, but no word on whether it will make it to an American market.
Electric Mobile Cars
This American company continues to offer a 7-passenger van, cargo can, and ¼ ton pickup for commercial fleets, but still no word on consumer vehicle offerings.
Fiskar Electric Vehicles
Karma – This luxury electric vehicle sold for $103,000 just years ago but now fails to garner eBay bids above $50,000. The Fiskar company went bankrupt, which halted the design and development of two other Fiskar models: the Surf station wagon and the Atlantic sedan.
Ford Electric Cars
Fusion Energi – This plug-in hybrid gets an estimated 44/41/43 fuel efficiency rating and can drive about 620 miles fully charged and fueled. A full charge can be obtained overnight using a standard outlet. The electric-only range is 21 miles. The Energi starts at $40,500.
Focus Electric – No change in this year’s Focus, which gets 76 gas-free miles with a top speed of 84mph. The Focus Electric starts at $35,000.
C-Max Energi – Ford’s newest-to-market plug-in hybrid gets a combined 108/92/100 MPGe, the best in class. Drivers will get about 620 miles on a full charge and full tank and the car can be fully charged in under 3 hours (with advanced charger) or overnight using a standard charger. Skip the gasoline and you can go 21 miles on electric power only. The C-Max Energi starts at $33,345.
F-550 – Still no word on Ford’s promised plug-in hybrid diesel option.
Honda Electric Cars
Accord Hybrid Plug-in – The newly released Accord Plug-in offers 10 gas-free miles and a fuel efficiency of 47/46. Using a 240-volt charger, the car can be fully recharged in under an hour. It starts at $39,780.
Honda FIT EV – Honda’s second new release is the FIT EV. It can be leased for only $259 for 36 months, which includes a 240-volt home charging system (excluding installation and materials), maintenance costs, and roadside assistance. The 240-volt charger will provide a full range of 82 miles in 3 hours.
FCX Clarity – Honda will offer about 200 fuel-cell electric FCXs in the next three years, primarily in Southern California – areas close to hydrogen refueling stations. Fuel costs about $5/kg and a full tank will take you about 270 miles. A three-year lease costs $600 per month, which includes maintenance costs and physical damage collision coverage.
Hyundai Electric Cars
Hyundai seems to be leaning more toward developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, claiming electric cars leak energy and are range-challenged. We’ll be interested to see what direction Hyundai takes, but it seems an Hyundai all-electric might be on the horizon soon.
Infiniti Electric Cars
Infiniti announced that it has halted production of its electric luxury Le sedan with the belief that more advanced and cheaper technology will soon be available.
Jaguar Electric Cars
C-X75 – Still just a concept, the plug-in sports car was once slated to start production in 2013. However, Jaguar’s CEO himself said he is not a fan of electric vehicles, denouncing governmental subsidies. This could mean the C-X75, which can run 30 miles on electric power alone, will not see the assembly line for some years. No news on Jaguar’s other concept car, the XJ_e.
Jeep Electric Cars
AMP Jeep Grand Cherokee – Previously, the only way to get an all-electric Jeep Grand Cherokee was through an AMP Electric Vehicle makeover. However, AMP will now only direct conversions to electric medium-sized commercial vehicles.
Kia Electric Vehicle Cars
Keep your eyes out for a potential 2014 Kia Soul all-electric with a range of 120 miles. It could reach speeds of 87 mph and may have a price point of about $35,000.
Land Rover Electric Cars
Range_e – Land Rover has confirmed it will produce a plug-in hybrid Range Rover. The 25-mile electric-range vehicle won’t be available until after 2015, but before 2020. No word on which markets will receive the Range_e.
Mazda Electric Cars
Only two months after ending production of its last rotary-engine powered car, Mazda has announced that it is reopening that plant to bring an extended-range electric vehicle to market in 2014. Instead of propelling the vehicle, the rotary engine will instead act as a generator to charge EV batteries.
Mercedes Electric Cars
B-series – Next year, U.S. dealerships will get Mercedes Tesla-powered EVs with a 115-mile range. If charged with a 240-volt device, the car can go an additional 60 miles in less than two hours. Expect prices in the mid $30,000s.
MINI Electric Cars
MINI E – A MINI field trial is still underway in the Los Angeles and NY/NJ metro area. The MINI E has a range of about 100 miles, a 95 mph top speed and can recharge in about 3 hours.
Mitsubishi Electric Cars
i-MiEV – The 2012 i-MiEV is still the most current model and features a 62-mile range. Three charging options will provide power in 30 minutes to 22.5 hours. The i-MiEV starts at $29,125.
Nissan Electric Cars
Leaf EV – The 2014 version will get minor changes on the heels of a revised 2013 model. Nissan added a few standard features to the 2014 including RearView Monitor and an updated EV-IT technology information system that includes voice destination entry and SMS readout. The 2013 Leaf offers a range of 75 miles for $28,800. The 2014 model will be available in October 2013.
Porsche Electric Cars
918 Spyder – Three years after the rumors began, a Porsche 918 plug-in hybrid will soon come to market, but don’t expect to snag one: only 918 of these $900,000 vehicles will be made, starting on 9/18. Its V8 engine goes from 0-60 in 2.8 seconds, or in 7 seconds using electric power only. Combine the engine power with electrical output and you’re looking at 887 horsepower and a max speed of 211 mph (93 mph on electricity alone).
Panamera – Porsche’s more affordable and accessible plug-in hybrid is arriving this summer, but will set you back $99,000. Its high-voltage battery is recharged in about 2.5 hours using a 240-volt charger. Its electric-only range is 22 miles and the 416-hp V6 engine hits a max speed of about 83mph. No word yet from Porsche regarding the Panamera’s fuel economy.
Scion Electric Cars
iQ EV – Ninety of Scion’s iQs have arrived in the U.S., but only for campus and car-sharing purposes. There are no talks to release EVs to consumers at this time.
Smart Electric Cars
Electric Drive – This two-seater commuter car is now available for pre-ordering. Pricing starts at $25,000 or $199 for 36 months. A fully charged battery will take you 68 miles and if using a 240-volt charger, your car will be ready to go in 6 hours.
Subaru Electric Cars
Subaru has announced plans to release its first Subaru plug-in hybrid that can travel up to 25 miles before relying on a gas engine. This could be a limited release compliance car.
Tesla Electric Cars
Model S – No changes on the 2014 Model S, which can go up to 265 miles on a single charge. The Model S starts at $579 per month.
Model X – Tesla is now taking reservations for the Model X SUV, which will be delivered in 2014. Innovative features include falcon wings, which provides easy access to third-row seating. Like the Model S, options include a 60 or 85 kWh engine, which can hit 60 mph in under 5 seconds. The reservation fee is $5,000, but no pricing details have been released.
Further, Tesla has confirmed that a smaller electric vehicle will be released in the $30,000 range about 3-4 years after Model X.
Think Electric Cars
Reservations for a Think Electric vehicle are still being accepted in select states and pricing is based on geographic area. The car can reach 100 miles on a full charge.
Toyota Electric Cars
Prius Plug-in Hybrid – The Prius plug-in has received no changes for 2014. It offers 11 gas-free miles and a combined fuel efficiency of about 50. The 2013 model starts at $32,000.
RAV4 EV – California residents can now purchase the RAV4 EV SUV for $49,800. A full charge will cover 103 miles at a max speed of 100 mph. Charge times range from 5 hours to 52 hours, depending on charger type.
Volkswagen Electric Cars
Volkswagen doesn’t offer any EVs in the U.S., but overseas drivers will soon be able to purchase the E-UP! In 2014 expect the e-Golf to be released in the U.S. as the manufacturer aspires to become a leader in electric vehicle production.
Wheego Electric Vehicles
LiFe – No change to the 100-mile capacity car, which can charge from 50% to 100% using a 240-volt charger in five hours. It’s available for $32,995.
Volvo Electric Cars
No U.S. EVs just yet, but that doesn’t mean Volvo isn’t interested in the technology. They have worked with Siemens to develop a new fast-charge system that cuts charge time down to 90 minutes. In addition, they are exploring alternative EV strategies including electric roads to power battery-free EVs.
The U.S. hybrid vehicle market is expanding rapidly as lower prices make the initial investment a more attractive long-term investment for buyers. New to the market are the Audi Q5, Honda Accord, Infinity Q50, Infinity QX60, Mercedes-Benz E400, and Subaru XV Crosstrek, with several others to debut in 2014.
Our list includes cars, SUVs/CUVs, and pickups. If you are in the market for a plug-in hybrid, see our 2014 electric vehicle list.
ILX hybrid – No changes to Acura’s only hybrid sedan, launched in 2013. The ILX gets 39/38/38 mpg and retains its starting price of $29,000.
RLX – The RLZ’s hybrid engine is not yet offered but may arrive to dealerships this fall as a 2014 sedan option. No specs have been released yet.
Q5 hybrid – The Q5 hybrid CUV was released last fall. Pricing for the 2013 starts at $50,900 and the Q5 hybrid maintains an average of 24/30/26 mpg. It does not appear that any changes will be included in the 2014 model. However, similar to other Audi models, anticipate a price hike to $51,300 for 2014.
A6 hybrid – The Audi A6 hybrid sedan will enter the U.S. market a bit later than expected: sometime in 2014. Reports claim that the anticipated fuel economy rating should be about 44 combined mpg. No word yet on pricing.
ActiveHybrid 3 – No changes to this model, which was redesigned for 2013. The sedan hybrid gets 25/33/28 mpg and starts at $49,700.
ActiveHybrid 5 – New for 2013, this midsize sedan gets 30 highway mpg and starts at $61,400. A slight mid-cycle revision may appear in 2014 5-series models, but no word if that will transfer over to the ActiveHybrid 5.
ActiveHybrid 7 – Like the ActiveHybrid 3, this luxury sedan was revamped in 2013 and starts at $84,300. Also like the ActiveHybrid 5, it gets 30 highway mpg. The 7-series 2015 models will be redesigned, particularly where vehicle weight is concerned, but no word on whether this will affect the hybrid model.
LaCrosse with e-Assist – The new 2014 model, slated for fall sales, will come standard with Buick’s IntelliLink infotainment system and will offer subscription-based XM Travel Link. New interior and exterior touches are present, along with enhanced safety features. Details haven’t been released yet, but the 2013 model got 25/36 mpg and started at $31,660.
Regal with e-Assist – A redesigned Regal will hit markets this fall and comes standard with e-Assist. New interior and exterior safety and technology features are included, similar to the LaCrosse. The 2014 will also include a new 259-hp turbo engine and available AWD. No word yet on pricing or fuel efficiency, but the 2013 regal gets 19/31 mpg and starts at $29,015.
SRX – An SRX hybrid option may be available when the re-designed SRX enters the market in 2015. The same source also hints at a potential hybrid XTS for the 2015 model release.
Silverado hybrid – This year, the V8 Silverado pickup comes with an optional ECOTEC hybrid engine that packs 332-hp. 2WD models get 23 highway mpg while 4WD models get 22 highway mpg. The Silverado hybrid starts at $32,200.
Tahoe hybrid – The 2013 Tahoe SUV gets the same mpg and offers the same horsepower as the Silverado. Its base price is $53,620. A 2014 Tahoe hybrid model may include a lower curb weight, increasing the Tahoe hybri’s fuel efficiency even more.
Fusion hybrid – Redesigned in 2013, no major changes to the 2014 model, which gets 47/47 mpg and starts at $27,391.
C-Max hybrid – Released last year, there will be no changes in 2014. The C-Max hybrid also gets 47/47 and starts at $25,200, or can be leased for $239 for two years, which may be when we see the C-Max’s design refreshed.
Yukon hybrid – A 2014 Yukon hybrid model may have been spotted (or is that a Chevrolet Tahoe?) that sports a new platform and powertrain. The 2013 model starts at $54,154 while the Yukon Denali hybrid starts at $61,960. Both models get 20/23 mpg, but expect this rating to increase in the 2014 model if the powertrain is upgraded sufficiently and vehicle weight lowered.
Sierra 1500 hybrid – The Sierra has been redesigned for 2014, featuring a more comfortable and refined interior including high-quality seat foam, as well as added conveniences to the center console, a USB port, and improved rear-seat legroom on certain models. The 2014 Sierra hybrid gets 18/24 mpg and starts at $32,700.
Insight – Changes are expected to the 2014 Insight. Speculated are engine enhancements and a smaller frame–upping the fuel efficiency–and also a lower price. The 2013 model has a fuel economy rating of 41/44 mpg and starts at $18,600.
Civic hybrid sedan – The Civic hybrid’s recent changes mirror the 2013 updates to the entire Civic line, including premium design elements and cosmetic interior touches. The 2014 Civic hybrid remains unchanged and gets 32 mpg combined (automatic). The Civic hybrid starts at $24,360.
CR-Z sport hybrid – The 2014 model has received some updates including an upgraded battery pack, which increases the horsepower by 8 for a total of 138-hp. Exterior changes are minimal but the CR-Z now features a rear spoiler. No word on the fuel efficiency or pricing of the 2014 model. The 2013 gets 36/39 mpg and starts at $19,975.
Accord hybrid – The Accord hybrid will arrive to dealerships this October, offering a projected fuel efficiency of 47 mpg combined. No word yet on pricing.
Sonata hybrid – 2014 model redesigns are confirmed, but details have not yet been released. We expect changes that increase the car’s fuel efficiency, currently at 35/40. The 2013 Sonata hybrid starts at $25,650.
M hybrid – A redesign is planned for 2014 to incorporate a more sleek, refined exterior appearance. We don’t expect any changes to the 2014 model, however, which gets 32 highway mpg and starts at $48,700.
QX60 hybrid – The QX60 V6 hybrid CUV will hit dealerships this summer. Infinity has not released the fuel efficiency rating but already claims it will be “best-in-class.” Speculation suggests we’ll see a 26 mpg combined fuel rating and anticipated starting price around $45,000.
Several hybrid models are currently in testing, including the C-X16, C-X75, and XJ, but none have been slated for production.
Jeep is not offering any hybrid vehicles at this time.
Optima hybrid – The Optima was updated for 2013, so no changes for 2014. This hybrid gets 37-38 combined mpg depending on trim and starts at $25,900.
Land Rover Hybrids
Range Rover Diesel-hybrid – Not only will European drivers get to experience a 3.0-liter diesel-hybrid Range Rover, American drivers will, too. The Range Rover will arrive at overseas dealerships sometime after 2013, with American sales to follow.
ES 300h hybrid – The ES sedan, released last year, offers 200 total horsepower and still achieves a 40/39 mpg. The 300h starts at $39,250 and the 2014 model will see modest changes, including an updated front grille.
CT 200h hybrid – This sporty hatchback comes in two trims and both get 43/40 mpg. The CT200h starts at $32,050 while the CT F Sport starts at $33,050. The CT is only one of two Lexus models that has not yet been fully upgraded, so a 2014 refresh may be in the works.
RX 450h hybrid – This hybrid CUV packs a total of 295 horsepower and received a cosmetic update for its 2013 model. It achieves 32/28 and starts at $46,310. Anticipate a redesigned 2015 model (including potential engine efficiency upgrade) to arrive at dealerships in early 2014.
GS 450h hybrid – No word on changes to this sedan, which was redesigned last year. The 2013-2014 model gets 29/34 mpg and starts at $59,450.
LS 600h L hybrid – A V8 engine and electric motor provides 438 total horsepower to this luxury hybrid. With no 2014 model changes, the sedan gets 19/23 mpg and comes with a heftier price tag of $119,910.
NX 300h hybrid – Lexus officials have indicated that a Lexus compact hybrid SUV will be forthcoming, but have yet to announce whether the vehicle will be sold in the U.S.
MKZ hybrid – Lincoln’s only hybrid remains the MKZ, which was redesigned for 2013. The 2013 model now gets 45/45 mpg and remains at the same price point of $35,925. Lincoln expects the MKZ to be a successful competitor in the hybrid market and therefore has recently announced a 50% increase in production of the Lincoln hybrid 2014 model, which shares the same price as its non-hybrid twin.
While a Mazda3 hybrid has been announced, it will only be sold in the Japanese market. Mazda has no U.S. hybrid models for sale.
E400 hybrid – The latest Mercedes hybrid is now at dealerships. A V6, 3.5-L engine combined with electric motor achieves 329 total horsepower. Fuel efficiency is rated at 24/30 mpg and pricing starts at $56,700.
S400 hybrid – The Mercedes 2014 S-series sedan is receiving an update, including a redesigned exterior, technological upgrades, and enhanced safety features. No word on fuel efficiency or pricing, but the 2013 S400 hybrid started at $92,350 and got 19/25 mpg.
Cayenne S hybrid – The Cayenne SUV is due for a mid-cycle facelift in 2014, which includes technical updates, styling changes, and a plug-in hybrid trim. Expect the redesigned vehicle to debut as a 2015 model. The 2013-2014 model gets 22 highway mpg and sells for $66,800.
Panamera – The Panamera S hybrid has been discontinued for 2014 and replaced by a Panamera plug-in hybrid model.
Scion officials indicated that a hybrid powertrain is a possibility for the FR-S mid-cycle update.
XV Crosstrek – Subaru is bringing its first hybrid to U.S. dealerships this fall: the 2014 XV Crosstrek. The hybrid SUV is rumored to get 10% better fuel economy than its gasoline-only model. No indication on pricing just yet.
Avalon hybrid – The Avalon hydrid line will be fully redesigned to incorporate a trendier, more sleek body. Technological upgrades are also incorporated. No indication if the powertrain will be upgraded, but the three 2013 hybrid trims get 40/39/40 and start at $35,555.
Camry hybrid – The 2014 Camry may be up for some mid-cycle updates such as color choices or minor performance/equipment changes as Toyota prepares for a 2015 model upgrade. The 2013 model gets 25/35 mpg and starts at $22,235.
Highlander hybrid – The Highlander SUV has been fully updated for 2014 although no prices or fuel efficiency ratings are available yet. In line with the Avalon, the Highlander’s exterior has lost some of its boxiness in favor of a sleeker look. Interior changes include alternative fabrics and increased interior legroom for the third row. No indication of pricing or fuel efficiency. The 2013 Highlander achieved 20/25 mpg and started at $29,020.
Prius – Details of the 2014—or possibly 2015—Prius model are sketchy, and conflicting at best, with some sources indicating little external change and others indicating a massive exterior redesign. More importantly, expect a 2015 hybrid powertrain upgrade that may reach up to 60 mpg combined. The 2013 model gets 51/48 and starts at $24,200.
Prius c – There is no definitive evidence that the city-oriented Prius c hatchback, which gets a slightly better 53/46 fuel efficiency rating than the Prius, will receive a facelift for 2014. The 2013 model starts at $19,080.
Prius v – Like the Prius, the largest Prius model could follow suit and get a 2015 facelift. The v models hatchback gets 44/40 mpg and starts at $26,650.
Jetta hybrid – The Jetta hybrid was released last year and therefore may get minor changes, if any. The 2013 sedan gets 42/48 mpg and starts at $24,995.
Toureg hybrid –The redesigned 2014 model is now available, but contains no anticipated powertrain changes. The 2014 model gets 24/28 mpg and packs 380 horsepower. It starts at $64,170.
Although Volvo offers a plug-in hybrid model, no future hybrids are planned.
While the demand for U.S. diesel vehicles cannot match that of the overseas market, development and sales of diesel cars, CUVs, and SUVs are taking off in the States as a fuel efficient alternative to hybrid and electric vehicles, although lagging them when it comes to air quality.
The three biggest reasons why diesel automobile sales lag in the US seem to be related to the memory of terrible diesels of the 1970s, the higher cost of diesel fuel (and the engine itself) compared to gasoline, and the clean diesel requirements that make for a much lower number of diesel engines that can pass our strict air quality rules here.
We’ve looked at current and potential diesel models from all the major car manufacturers to track where this promising industry is headed.
New additions to the 2014 lineup include the Audi A8L, Audi Q5, Audi A6, Audi A7, BMW 328d, BMW 535d, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mercedes E250 BlueTEC, Mercedes ML250 BlueTEC, and Volkswagen Beetle TDI convertible.
You can read our previous coverage of diesel cars and trucks available in the US in 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009. (Wow, we’ve been writing about this for a long time!)
Thinking about buying a new 2013 diesel car and looking at the options? We’re here to help.
Diesel offerings continue to gain ground. New for 2013 are the BMW 33d Sports Wagon, Chevy Cruze Diesel sedan, Mercedes GL250 BlueTEC SUV, Porsche Cayenne Diesel SUV, and the Volkswagen Beetle TDI. With tougher diesel emissions standards being implemented in Europe in 2014, we may see even more diesel engines crossing over the Atlantic to U.S. shores in the near future.
Wondering what’s in store for 2013 hybrid vehicles? There are plenty in the works for 2013 and beyond. New vehicles being introduced include the Acura ILX Hybrid, Audi Q5 Hybrid, BMW ActiveHybrid 3, Chevy Malibu Eco, Ford C-MAX Hybrid, Lexus ES 300h, Mercedes E400 Hybrid, Toyota Prius C and Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. Note that we only cover traditional hybrids in this article. If you’re looking for plug-in hybrids, check out our 2013 Electric Cars in the USA article.
Acura Hybrid Cars
ILX Hybrid – (39 city /38 highway MPG) The 2013 ILX is Acura’s first hybrid car. The sedan shares the same engine as the Honda Civic Hybrid, but it doesn’t achieve the same gas mileage. Pricing starts at $29,000 and it is already in showrooms.
Q5 Hybrid – Audi introduces its first hybrid to the U.S. this fall with the Q5 crossover SUV. EPA fuel economy ratings are not yet available but it should be somewhere around 34 MPG combined. Pricing is expected to be around $50,000.
A6 Hybrid – The hybrid version of the A6 sedan is also supposed to arrive this fall. It is expected to return about 35 MPG combined and have a price north of $55,000.
The number of electric car offerings continue to grow at a rapid pace. The options are getting more diverse and the price is coming down a bit. Just 7 EVs were available in 2011, but there will be 16 by the end of 2012 and an additional 19 models are scheduled for 2013 and beyond. New models launching this summer and fall include the Audi R8 E-Tron, Fiat 500 EV, Ford C-MAX Energi, Honda Fit EV, Smart ED, Tesla Model S, Toyota Prius Plug-in, and the Toyota RAV4 EV.
A few notes on the cars and stats listed here:
* This list includes all vehicles that have a significant all-electric range, both pure EVs and plug-in hybrids. If you’re looking for non-plug-in hybrids, look for our upcoming 2013 Hybrid Cars in the USA article.
* The electric range is an extremely variable number, and often the manufacturer quotes the range under “ideal” conditions (low speed, flat roads, moderate temperatures, no heat or A/C on). Be aware that the range can change significantly in not-so-ideal conditions. The Nissan Leaf website has a good explanation on range (click the colored squares for different conditions). The Leaf’s range goes from 138 to 62 depending on conditions!
* The battery charging times are also extremely variable, depending on how high the voltage is, and whether they are quoting time from 0-100% charge, or 20-80% charge, or something in between. Wherever possible, the times we quote are from 0-100% from a dedicated 240-volt outlet.
This fledgling California company has announced they will be offering three inexpensive, Chinese-built EVs. All have a short range and top speed of only 25 MPH. But the price is nice: $10,000 for a 2-seater, $17,000 for a van and $18,000 for a truck. Their first dealership is opening in Irvine, CA, in August.
Audi Electric Vehicles
A3 E-Tron – Audi brought 17 test models of its plug-in electric car to U.S. cities this summer, but it looks like it won’t be hitting showrooms until 2014. It is expected to have 134 horsepower, a top speed of 89 MPH and a 92-mile range.
R8 E-Tron – The plug-in version of Audi’s R8 high-end sports car is expected to go on sale this fall. It has set electric car speed records and is reported to go from 0-60 in 4.6 seconds, with a 124 MPH top speed and a 134-mile range.
There’s a lot of hype about the green reasons to drive electric cars, as well as the debate between upfront cost and eventual savings. While social responsibility and reducing your carbon footprint is clear reasoning for some, practical logic makes better sense to others. If you are considering joining the electric vehicle conversation, here are a few smart starter tips from an EV driver.
Forget Oil Strikes and Prices
Unlike gasoline-powered vehicles, your daily commute isn’t effected by oil strikes or high gas prices if you are driving an electric automobile. You won’t spend another dime at the fuel pump, and forget about funding oil corporations in countries overseas. The fluctuating costs other people deal with aren’t any of your concern, and gas stations and convenience stores are just a faint memory.
Drive Despite a Natural Disaster
When Hurricane Sandy struck, havoc began for New York and New Jersey drivers. The gasoline supply ran low, power failures disabled gas pumps and trucks had trouble bringing any fuel in for a long time. Electric car drivers, though, were left “unfazed,” reports The New York Times. Instead of charging up at home, electric vehicle owners juiced up at public charging stations in unaffected areas close to home.
Low to No Maintenance
Forget about air filters, oil changes, spark plug replacements and broken fan belts because electric cars don’t have them. Even the brakes last longer than conventional vehicles on electric cars, according to Discovery.com, because of the regenerative braking technique that they use. Instead of applying mechanical friction, the car reverses the electric motor to slow down, meaning less wear and tear. Though lithium-ion batteries do lose capacity over time, Phoenix Nissan and Chevy dealers have enough confidence in their battery technology to offer extensive warranties for the LEAF and Volt batteries.
They’re Within Your Range
Critics are quick to point out the limited driving range of an electric car compared to conventional gas-powered vehicles, causing “range anxiety.” But consider this: the average American travels about 20 to 40 miles a day, according to bts.gov. Most new generation electric cars boast 100 miles per charge. With all of the perks, benefits and incentives that come with driving a fully electric car, range confidence is high on the list. And let’s face it, most families are two car households anyway. If one of the vehicles is electric and the other is not, then the driving range issue is practically non-existent.
Boost the Local Economy
Dependence on foreign oil puts the U.S. in a difficult situation. Using electricity, on the other hand, can boost the local economy. Home grown, so to speak, electricity in America comes from burning coal and natural gas, and is also being generated through renewable sources such as wind. Power plants have sophisticated emissions systems in place, so the power that comes from a power plant will generally be drastically cleaner than creating the power with an individual internal combustion engine when it comes to affecting local air quality.
Fill Up at Home
In less time than it takes for you to get your beauty sleep, your EV can obtain a full charge in the comfort of your own garage. Using a professionally installed home charging dock, electric cars receive juice from a 240v current wired straight from your electrical panel. Nothing beats waking up each morning to a full “tank.”
Incentives and Perks
Federal and local governments are backing electric cars, offering tax rebates and other incentives to electric car drivers. If driving electric didn’t already look attractive, it does now. Expect to not only get a rebate at time of purchase, but also perks like free parking, reduced registration fees and HOV-lane privileges.
In the market for a vehicle and thinking about buying a new hybrid car? 2012 is shaping to be an important year in the story of hybrid vehicles, as almost every major manufacturer will be offering, releasing, or announcing a hybrid product.
While the Tohuku earthquake in Japan has affected 2011 plans, the Japanese are muscling ahead with 2012 hybrid launches. The Germans have finally entered the hybrid market in a serious way, with BMW, Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche all offering a hybrid product – especially on their SUVs. Of the domestic manufacturers, GM is still evolving their hybrid full-size SUVs, but is readying some car hybrids for 2012 that should give Ford’s dominance in domestic hybrid sales a strong challenge. Chrysler’s recent reorganization with Fiat means hybrid drivetrains won’t be expected from them until 2013 however.
So here is the lineup of 2012’s hybrid cars, SUVs, minivans and pickups. Please note that we define hybrid vehicles as ones that have a drivetrain that can be powered by its gasoline engine. See our 2012 Electric Car Lineup for vehicles with drivetrains powered only by their electric motor.
Audi, as part of the massive VW universe (along with Porsche, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Skoda and Seat) has committed resources for hybrid models after witnessing their success here. While European markets are still more interested in diesel engines, Americans have been clamoring – and will now get – hybridized Audis, albeit slowly. Audi continues to maintain, though, that diesels are the superior engine of choice for efficiency.
Q5 Hybrid Quattro car – The first Audi hybrid car to reach our shores for sale, the Q5 mates a compact crossover body with an efficient all-wheel drivetrain. Utilizing a 208hp 4-cylinder engine as its base, Audi mates a 44hp electric motor to give its first hybrid the scoot of the V6 (0-60 in 7 flat) with economy better than the base 4 (an estimated 33 MPG combined). Audi claims the Q5 is able to run for almost 2 miles on electricity alone at speeds under 62 MPH, but few reviewers have been able to achieve that. Expect a 15% price premium, at an estimated MSRP of $48,000 when it goes on sale.
In the market for a vehicle and thinking about buying a new electric car in 2012? Electric vehicles (EVs) are coming into their own, and 2012 is a great year to be considering one.
While Nissan and Chevrolet are the mainstream muscle making up the meat of 2011’s electric car sales, newcomers like Tesla are still surging forward, with sales of over 1500 of its revolutionary Roadster model. Strong sales of conventional luxury cars and increased consumer interest in alternative energy have given confidence to the major luxury brands to develop electric vehicles. Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Infiniti and even Rolls Royce have shown a commitment to releasing electric automobiles in 2012 and beyond.
For the rest of the population, Ford is on track for 2012 launch dates of two EVs, Mitsubishi is launching the diminutive i MiEV, Toyota pushes ahead with its EV development and the Chinese are tipped to break into the American car market with an all-electric product. Other smaller players have announced 2012 on-sale dates as well.
If you’re in the market for an electric vehicle, don’t forget to check its “MPGe.” In November of 2010 the EPA announced the MPGe — a new equivalent mileage rating based on EPA’s formula, in which 33.7 kilowatt hours of electricity is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline. Look for the new rating in reviews and on window stickers in showrooms. Please note that we define electric vehicles as ones that have a drivetrain that is only powered by its electric motor. See our 2012 Hybrid Car Lineup for vehicles with drivetrains that can be powered by a gasoline engine.
Aptera Electric Cars
The unusual airplane-like Aptera 2e has been in gestation longer than the Volt, but currently does not have a firm on-sale date. Reservations are being accepted, but company spokespersons declined to offer any further information on availability. We suspect you’ll never see this car for sale, as we’ve been reading about delays for years.
In the market for a vehicle and thinking about buying a new diesel car in 2012? It’s an idea worth considering.
From images of long-haul trucking, to nightmares of sitting in the back of a grandparent’s noxious Olds vista cruiser diesel, Americans haven’t shown too much interest in diesel cars in the past. Yet with the economy still in the doldrums, and gas prices rising faster than an express elevator, diesel cars are suddenly getting a lot more attention.
The good news is that many of the world’s manufacturers make great diesel products. The bad news is that lack of domestic demand and tightening budgets mean that few have been certified for sale in the U.S. The EPA has more stringent requirements than Europe does for controlling NOx – Nitric Oxide, the key compound that produces smog. The technology to meet these standards exists, but it’s expensive (to develop, manufacture and certify), which is why many of the diesels you see on the market in the U.S. are at the high end of the price range.
This issue is also the reason why there are so many diesel cars available in other countries that are not available in the United States. Simply put, it’s so expensive to develop a diesel engine that meets US emissions standards that most manufacturers don’t bother. Particularly since diesels have never been a popular engine choice in the US market.
Electric cars are getting a lot of attention lately. With a growing concern about the impacts that driving has on our environment, consumers and automakers are moving towards more sustainable models. Electric cars are just like regular cars, but they have electric motors that run on electricity from a battery, instead of (or sometimes in addition to) an internal combustion energy that burns gasoline. This means reduced or no greenhouse-gas emissions. While some electric vehicle models feature a small gas engine to compliment the electric drivetrain, some models run on battery power alone.
In America, diesel powered cars have always been likeâ€¦eating a boiled egg & plain toast for breakfast. You get everything that you need, but thereâ€™s no exciting bacon, or soul-warming sausage gravy.
Now, you can have a Mercedes E350 BlueTEC with a big serving of German-luxury strudel. Or you could get a plate of VW Jetta Sportwagen TDI, with a side-order of practicality.
The choices really are amazing. But, what are the best dishes on the menu? What do the critics really order, when theyâ€™re paying for the meal?
Letâ€™s find outâ€¦
Best Luxury Diesel Car of 2011
So todayâ€™s most expensive diesel luxury vehicle is the Mercedes GL350 BlueTEC, but does that mean it’s also the best? It does have a trick 4WD system, and all of the leather, wood and toys that you would expect in a Mercedes Benz. (And what ever happened to the promised Mercedes S350 4MATIC BlueTEC diesel car, anyway?) Â Think of it as a Dennyâ€™s skillet special: heaps of potato, sausage, mushrooms, onions, Canadian bacon, and cheese. Lots of cheese.
While that would be a great way to start the day, youâ€™re going to need a nap by 10:30.
No, to find the best oil-burning luxury car of 2011, youâ€™re going to have to look at the back of the menu: down at the bottom, next to the a-la-cart list, youâ€™ll find the Audi A3 TDI:
This hip little wagon features a perfect blend of luxury and sport. Its torquey little TDI provides just enough oomph for those occasionally spirited drives. And the interior is typical Audi â€“ which is to say; itâ€™s niiiice.
Plus, itâ€™s a wagon, so you can carry stuff. And with a starting price of $30,250, itâ€™s a luxury bargain.
MPG: 30 city / 42 highway.
The 2011 Audi A3 TDI breakfast comparison: a Monte Cristo
Best Fuel Efficient Diesel Car of 2011
This year, the economy trophy goes to the Volkswagen Group and their 2.0 liter Turbo Diesel powerplant, the TDI, which can achieve 30 MPG in the city, and 42 on the highwayâ€¦no matter what car itâ€™s propelling. And by the way, that’s the crappy EPA estimate of their gas mileage. Check out the eye-poppingÂ real life mileage people are getting.
Youâ€™ll find this thrifty little gem under the hood of four cars, ranging from compact to wagon:
Sorry, I canâ€™t think of a breakfast comparison for this one.
The Golf is like a Rootie Tootie Fresh & Fruity combo; the Jetta is like a sausage, egg & cheese croissant; the Jetta Wagon is like maple and brown sugar oatmeal, with some warm Vermont maple syrup on top. And of course, the A3 TDI is our Monte Cristo.
VWâ€™s aggressive new front end blends well with the Jettaâ€™s clean body lines, making it look (slightly) aggressive, yet civilized. Itâ€™s the kind of car that mom can drive everyday, but when she parks behind dad, he might actually want to take her car.
Like our choices? Disagree? Are you driving one of these? Leave a comment!
Looking for a list of the most fuel efficient diesel pickup and SUV models in the US market that get the best gas mileage? You’ve come to the right place.
Americans love their SUVs.
Theyâ€™re tall, so mom has a commanding view of the road, and theyâ€™re big enough to haul a team of soccer players, complete with their gear. (If youâ€™re single, theyâ€™re big enough for your dogs/mountain bikes/entire Star Wars collection). Plus, some of them can even go off road (handy if the soccer field gets wet).
Pickup trucks are equally popular with Americans, but usually for more practical reasons. They can go from the jobsite to the football field and still look good. You can go through all sorts of terrain, while carrying massive amounts ofâ€¦whatever. In fact, those Super-Duper Duty ones can even tow trains and jumbo jets.
More and more consumers are demanding an alternative to expensive, gas burning engines, which is one reason that hybrids have become so popular. However, some schools of thought suggest that mining for the raw materials used in a hybrid battery can cause even more environmental damage than the emissions from a diesel.
With an eye on US environmental regulations, many European car makers are designing diesel engines that will comply with our strict emission rules.
American automakers are getting on the diesel bandwagon too, by offering more powerful and efficient diesel engines in their most popular trucks.
But sadly, there isnâ€™t much of a selection yet.
For diesel powered SUVs, thereâ€™s the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI, the 2011 BMW X5 xDrive35d, the 2011 Audi Q7 TDI and the Mercedes ML350 BlueTEC.
Although these are expensive, they are luxury SUVs. Donâ€™t forget, “what you see on todayâ€™s luxury car, will be standard on tomorrowâ€™s base model”. So, think of these as a sign of things to come.
Highlights: The Mercedes doesnâ€™t offer much in the way of standard equipment. So, if you want one that has leather and navigation, youâ€™re going to have to order the Leather Package for $1,780, & the Premium 1 package for $4,000. Otherwise, youâ€™re going to get vinyl seats and a steering wheelâ€¦for Fifty-Grand.
Highlights: Standard navigation, leather, rear-seat TV system, satellite radio, head-up display, parking sensors.
Diesel powered pickups are limited to the Ford SuperDuty, the Chevrolet HD, and the Dodge 2500/3500. However, these are Â¾ ton – 1 ton trucks.
None of the popular Â½ ton models are available with a diesel engine. And, none of the Â¾ ton (and up) trucks are required to have their fuel mileage certified by the EPA.
This is because theyâ€™re considered to be commercial vehicles. Plus, thereâ€™s a mind-boggling array of mechanical options (like axle ratios, transmissions, etc.) which can effect the fuel mileage.
Since there are no official MPG numbers for these trucks, the fuel mileages listed below are based on owner accounts, and can vary based on the model, and chosen equipment.
The base prices listed are for a Â¾ ton, regular cab, 2WD with an automatic transmission, diesel engine, and standard equipment. Once you start adding on the options, these diesel pickups can eclipse $40,000 real quick.
Highlights: Fordâ€™s Power Stroke diesel uses an injector to spray urea into the exhaust. The heat from the exhaust turns the urea to ammonia, which then turns the NOx gasses into nitrogen gas, and water inside of a specially designed catalytic convertor. Drivers are already reporting first-hand on higher MPG here and here.
Highlights: Chevroletâ€™s Duramax diesel uses a similar urea injection system as Fordâ€™s Power Stroke diesel.
But regardless of how you look at the high initial cost, you still wind up with a vehicle that gets good fuel mileage for its class, and that’s a real boon with predicted gas hikes what they are. Plus, the long-term reliability of diesel engines is better established and proven than the more complicated hybrid.
Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor toÂ http://www.bestcardealsnewyork.com.
The reason that you don’t see more diesels on US roads has to do with economics. Money makes the world go ’round, and as you’d expect, it’s the main reason for our “diesel deficiency”. In the United States, the federal government taxes every gallon of fuel sold. And historically, there’s always been a higher demand for gasoline here. So, our tax system is biased toward gasoline, making it cheaper to buy than diesel.
It’s the exact opposite in Europe. Diesel is cheaper to buy than “petrol”. However, cheaper means $6-7 per gallon, vs. $7-8 for a gallon of gas, so you can see why there’s more diesels over there.
European automakers simply responded to market demands, and came up with a wide range of diesel vehicles, allowing them to produce diesel engines at a lower cost. (For those who want to see what they’re missing right now, or plan a rental for their next European vacation, there are plenty of detailed reviews of current European models.)
In this country, gas is still (relatively) cheap. So a popular choice for an efficient vehicle is the hybrid. You may have noticed just how many hybrid models are available today. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the sporty Honda CR-Z to the massive Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid.
Diesel vehicles, however, still don’t make good business sense, like the hybrid. You’re asking the customer to pay an additional $5-7k for a diesel vehicle, then you’re asking them to fuel it with the most expensive fuel.
German automakers seem dead-set on exporting their “clean diesels” to the United States. However, to sell a diesel engine in this country, it must be equipped with an exhaust after-treatment system, and a special fuel injection system in order to meet our strict air quality rules.
European emissions rules allow a diesel to emit up to 0.29 grams of nitrous oxide (NOx) per mile — which is about what the typical diesel school bus or trash truck emitted 5 years ago.
US regulations on the other hand, only allow a diesel to emit 0.07 grams of NOx per mile, making compliance a costly effort.
The Germans however, seem willing to take this risk. And if history is any indication, they’re the ones that can garner mass public acceptance for a new technology.
Airbags, ABS — the Mercedes S-Class was the first car in this country to have them as standard equipment. As the old saying goes “if you want to see what tomorrows car will look like, just look at what Mercedes is doing today”.
The Germans were also involved in bringing us those annoying in-car command/infotainment systems. So, let’s hope they can work their magic again, and convince Americans to buy more diesels — with a big marketing campaign to sell the car to a potentially unreceptive public.
Want to make yourself feel sad and see what you’re missing? Check out this site with the 2011 European Subaru diesel models that we can’t buy here in the USA: http://www.boxerdiesel.com/
What’s your prediction? When will the first Japanese clean diesel make it over to the US market?
Teddy Field got his start in the auto industry at the age of 17. He is a recognized car dealer sales & management consultant, an automotive journalist, and a regular contributor to bestcardealsnewyork.com.
When the first hybrid cars started to roll out several years ago, it pretty much took the world by surprise, but these days, you can drive down the highway or even side street without seeing some sort of energy efficient car. Manufacturers across the board are becoming more conscious to the needs and wants of their consumers for fuel efficient and environmentally friendly cars, trucks and SUVs.
In 2011, we’ll see more hybrid cars on the market than ever. You may recognize come industry regulars, but keep an eye out for some new models from manufacturers who are just getting started on the hybrid front.
Here we go with the 2011 hybrid cars, trucks and SUVs.
Acura – Acura does not offer a hybrid model.
Audi – According to Edmunds.com, this is finally the year for Audi to launch its long-awaited Q5 Hybrid model for 2011. Because the rumors have been circulating about their debut hybrid model 2008, we’re not holding our breath.
BMW – In last year’s 2010 hybrid lineup BMW had two completely different hybrid models. Now it seems BMW is adding to their family of hybrid cars and SUVs. The newest model in their fleet is the 4-wheel drive, ActiveHybrid X5 projected to launch in fall of this year. They’ve kept the Active Hybrid X6 model and made the ActiveHybrid 7 into two similar models: the ActiveHybrid 750Li and the ActiveHybrid 750i.
Except for about a $4,000 MSRP difference for a few, minor creature comforts in the Li model (i.e., self-leveling air suspension, rear vanity mirrors, etc.), the two seem almost identical in features. Both have a 4.4 liter V-8 engine with TwinPower Turbo technology, and both use a 120-volt, lithiom-ion battery with Brake Energy Regeneration. With a 440 horsepower engine, these BMWs boast to be “The Fastest Hybrid[s] in the World.”
Buick – No Buick Hybrids for 2011.
Cadillac – No Cadillac Hybrids found for 2011.
Cheverolet – Well, it’s finally (almost) here. The Chevy Volt promises to be a game changer in the hybrid world.
Using the power of “more than 200 lithiom-ion battery cells,” the Volt is able to travel up to 40 miles on a single charge without using the gas-generator to create electricity to take it extra distances. Chevy claims its first-ever plug-in gas/electric hybrid car will arrive by the end of 2010.
Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep – While hybrid cars are still more popular than hybrid trucks and SUVs, that’s not stopping Dodge from trying the hybrid market (again) in 2011 with the Dodge Ram Pickup 1500 Hybrid scheduled to launch at the end of summer 2010.
Ford – With its fifth year in production, Ford is set to roll out the 2011 Ford Escape Hybrid soon.
This two-seater hybrid gets about the same EPA-Estimated mpg as a Smart Car but offers more storage (and more leg room?), the Honda reputation and a competitive price range.
Hyundai – Hyundai has a new Sontata Hybrid rumored to be released this year. With the non-hybrid model already launched, it may be likely that the Sonata Hybrid won’t make the list this year.
Infiniti – Whether it’s a 2011 or a 2012 model, Inifiniti is set to launch it’s first hybrid model soon along with the 2011 M class luxury line. As confusing as the release date is, it is clear that this is the auto manufacturer’s first hybrid model, and will be a welcomed change in the luxury car world.
Kia – According to a Kia press release, along with a new body style, the Kia Optima will also be available as “…the brand’s first-ever hybrid in the U.S. (available in 2011) – which deliver[s] class-leading power and fuel economy while the latest technology features and luxury amenities are available at the touch of a button or a simple voice command.”
The body style of the new Optima is also wider, longer and lower to the ground than the previous style. With all new features and a new hybrid option, looks like Kia is getting a major upgrade.
Lexus – Apparently, some hybrids are not just about getting the best fuel efficiency possible and saving the planet. Enter the 2011 Lexus CT 200h that, while it is a hybrid, can turn on a sport mode to transform this eco-friendly wagon into a speed racer with all the normal handling Lexus is famous for.
With four different driving modes (EV, ECO, Normal and Sport), this is clearly not your average family sedan. Lexus doesn’t list the MPG on their list of Specs, but their press release does mention that it will come with a Nickel-Metal Hydride battery. Who needs to worry about MPG when you’ve at least got the hybrid battery?
Lincoln – Ok, I was starting to get skeptical when I read the first few lines on the Lincoln website about their hybrid, stating the new MKZ Hybrid is “projected to be the most fuel-efficient luxury car in America.” It seems nearly all the hybrid cars are toting similar tag lines and simply swapping out the words that allows them to legally make these claims. Anyway, I had to keep reading to get more info, and I’m glad I did.
Not only does the MKZ Hybrid boast a 41 city mpg (36 hwy), but Lincoln also took extra steps to make this luxury car more eco-friendly. “Hand-crafted eco-conscious Bridge of Weir leather [and] olive ash wood trim from sustainably sourced forests” help this car push the standards on eco-conscious design and not to mention the fact that it’s all packaged in Lincoln luxury.
Mercedez-Benz – No Mercedez-Benz Hybrids found for 2011.
Mercury – According to Edmunds.com, there will be two new Mercury Hybrid models for the 2011 year, but it looks like Mercury is saying otherwise with the end of the Mercury brand scheduled for the end of this year.
Mitsubishi – No Mitsubishi Hybrids found for 2011.
Nissan – There are currently, no Nissan Hybrids for 2011, but theÂ Nissan Leaf should be a huge hit.
Pontiac – No Pontiac Hybrids found for 2011.
Porsche – While Porsche is widely associated with the early history of cars, it is also associated Â with the early history of hybrid cars, so it should be no surprise that finally Porsche is launching a hybrid option. It will be a hybrid model of their Cayenne S.
While Porsche hasn’t officially (as of this post) released this 300 horsepower hybrid crossover’s estimated fuel consumption, it will run with a V6 engine and maintain the all-wheel drive of the previous non-hybrid Cayenne models.
Saab – No Saab Hybrids found for 2011.
Saturn – No Saturn Hybrids found for 2011.
Subaru – No Subaru Hybrids found for 2011.
Toyota – Starting at a cool $19,595 (MSRP), the 2011 Camry Hybrid may be the most affordable mid-sized sedan Hybrid.
Not much seems to have changed from the previous model, but hey, if “nothing’s broke, don’t fix it,” right?
Volkswagen – A noticeably lower-to-the-ground version of the previous Touaregs, the first hybrid from VW looks good.
Image for the European model Touareg Hybrid from VW.
VW is boasting more cargo space, lighter body, the largest panoramic sunroof of all SUVs and obviously, reduced fuel consumption. Add the hybrid to their expanding list of clean diesel cars, and it’s easy to see where VW is heading for the future.
Recently, there have been great strides in not only diesel and hybrid cars, but also in electric cars. A few electric cars that we’ve seen manufactured have really put a heavy emphasis on performance, which is a nice change of pace from older cars we’ve seen that were known as “low speed.” You know, the ones you aren’t even allowed to drive on roads with a speed limit higher than 35 mph!
Here’s a list of the most promising electric cars that we should see available in the USA in 2011.
Nissan Leaf – The Nissan Leaf electric car is a 100 percent electric vehicle that requires no gasoline. It can seat up to 5 passengers, has 5 doors, and a range of 100 miles per charge. It runs on a 24 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery, and has a variety of different features, ranging from push button ignition, to navigation, and so on.
With a 100 mile per charge range, a car as such is going to be great for suburban commutes or short back and forth trips daily. It’s made in America, and will go for just under $26,000 (after all applicable tax credits are applied). More information can be found on the Nissan Leaf Website.
This one looks like it could be a Prius killer for urban drivers. I’ve heard that Lance Armstrong has one reserved already.
Chevrolet Volt – Now, technically the Chevy Volt is actually a hybrid, as it features a gas engine that recharges the battery. However, the powertrain is only powered by an electric motor, so we decided to include it to our list. The Chevy Volt will charge overnight, and when you’re ready to go will run on a charge for 40 miles, free of gas and emissions.
After that, the Volt uses a range-extending gas generator that produces energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a tank of gas. There’s more information to be found about the Chevrolet Volt electric car on their official website.
Coda – The Coda electric car can seat up to 4 passengers, and is powered by a 728 cell lithium-iron phosphate battery. This car has a range of 90-120 miles, with a top speed of 80 mph. As far as warranty is concerned, the Coda features a 3-year/36,000 mile limited vehicle warranty. In addition, the battery covered for 8 years/100,000 miles.
Fisker Karma – Much like the Chevrolet Volt, the Fisker Karma electric car is also somewhat of a hybrid that features a gas engine to recharge the battery, yet only uses an electric motor for the powertrain.
Designed by Henrik Fisker (who is known for his work on the BMW Z8, the Aston Martin DB9 and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage), the Karma boasts a 300 mile range and can go from 0-60 in less than 6 seconds, featuring a top speed 125 mph (200 km/h).
The car also features two Driving Modes: stealth drive (a quiet economy mode) and sport drive (which accesses the full power of the vehicle).
Here’s how the car works: it uses what is known as “Q-DRIVE plug-in hybrid technology.” A fully-charged Karma burns no fuel for the first 50 miles. After 50 miles, the gasoline engine turns a generator to charge the lithium ion battery. From there, the car operates as a normal hybrid vehicle.
A balance of gas and electricity as such can help the driver achieve an average fuel economy of 100 mpg (2.4L/100km) per year.
Ford Focus eV – You may have recently seen the Ford Focus electric automobiles on Jay Leno’s ‘Green Car Challenge’ where he and guests on the show go head to head in an obstacle course with one of the Focus eV Electric Cars.
Hopefully in 2011 this battery-powered version Focus should be available in a limited fashion (with at best – a possible 5,000 manufactured for the first couple of years). The drivetrain of the Focus has been engineered by Magna International, a Canadian company. The Focus will have a 100-mile range and will rely on lithium-ion batteries.
Tesla Roadster – The Tesla Roadster is a pretty hot sports car. You may have seen some of our posts here on The Practical Environmentalist that look into an ongoing back and forth exchange between Tesla and Fisker. The Roadster is a high performance machine – going from 0-60 mph in just 3.9 seconds! In addition, it can go up to 245 miles on a single charge!
So what we’ve essentially got here is high power performance in an eco-friendly fashion. The Tesla Roadster literally redefines everything that you may have thought to be true of an electric car.
Now, the price tag is pretty hefty – as the Tesla electric car rivals any high powered sports car price tag (leasing one, for example will cost you just under $1700 per month). However, for the car enthusiast and the eco-friendly connoisseur, this is the ultimate in electric powered vehicles.
Want to learn more about the Tesla? Surely your interest must be piqued! Check out the Official Tesla Motors Website for more great information on the Roadster. Tesla is evidently also working on a four door electric car that will cost in the $60K range, after tax breaks. Not sure when that one will hit the market.
Think City – The Think City electric car is slated to be available in the US for 2011. This electric car has a range of around 75-100 miles per single charge. It runs on the Zebra sodium battery and Lithium-Ion battery from EnerDel, and can be charged through a conventional socket.
The features on this car are just like you would want on any other automobile – airbags, mp3 player, bluetooth enabled, ABS – and is a two door, multiple passenger car that should perform well for city traffic, and for the daily commute. Not to mention – you’re also helping the environment.
More information about the Think City can be found on the Think Website.
Update: Toyota contracts with Tesla to bring electric RAV4 back in 2012
Toyota has set a goal to release a car in the US by 2012, so it won’t be in the US in 2011. But hopefullly by 2012 we’ll see an electric car by Toyota back on the market. The electric Rav4 was made from 1997 to 2003 and had a range of 100 miles.
What about other electric cars?
There are a handful of other electric cars that have been proposed, but many of these are still “in production” phases, or are “low speed” vehicles, that are great for suburban and neighborhood travel, but aren’t ideal or ready yet for highway travel. Then there are others that look much like golf carts, which you certainly can’t take to work with you day in and day out.
Still, these are some great options, and some promising new developments in the world of electric vehicles!
Did we miss anything on the list? Let us know in the comments!