Cars with electric powering options are becoming more and more present, but they are still far from being as present as their internal combustion powered counterparts. In theory, as well as in most of the practice, they provide amazing fuel efficiency, allow you to enjoy instant torque delivery and keep the world cleaner. They seem far better than petrol cars. So, why aren’t they in the lead?
Well, the technology is still in its baby years. The batteries are heavy, they take up loads of space and they still don’t provide the electric cars with the range that would satisfy buyers. There are cars which are emerging as breakthrough models, such as the Tesla S, but they are vastly expensive. It is not that they are not worth the price, but vast majority of buyers can’t afford to buy a car whose price is well into six figures, so we can’t really expect them to be a common sight just yet. In order for the electrics to take the lead, certain conditions need to be fulfilled.
Still, there is a solution why we are waiting. Hybrids! They employ standard internal combustion engines, so they allow us to fill them up with fuel and drive normally, but they also make use of the new technologies, combining it with an electric motor, thus improving fuel efficiency, range and performance. Speaking of the performance, even ultimate supercars such as the McLaren P1 and the LaFerrari are employing hybrid powerplants.
So, which are the best ones for 2015?
Well, they need to be relatively reasonably priced, so the P1 and the LaFerrari are out of the list for the same reason the Tesla S is. These are the cars that you can buy and use as everyday means of transportation.
For the people who are familiar with the industry, including the i3 in this list is no surprise. The famous German manufacturer is well known for their prowess, and they are bound to release respectable cars. The i3 is a whole new concept for BMW. It is a four-door car with compact dimensions, but loads of interior space. Plus, the design is very futuristic.
The i3 is powered by an electric motor, but you can also opt for the range extender version which makes use of a small 2-cylinder engine serving as a generator of energy for the battery. The range goes from about 130 km to about as double as much for the range extender option. The top speed is limited to 150 km/h, which is more than enough for a city car and the acceleration to 100 km/h takes about 8 seconds. The i3 already has its markets, with the UK and Norway buyers being particularly interested in it, so it has been tested on the road. And it works just fine.
Mercedes C-Class Hybrid
If you are worried that a whole new approach to the i3 is a bit too much, an even more revered manufacturer has provided you with more conventional, but still very modern hybrid cars. Although you can opt for the top of the range and ultimately plush S-Class Hybrid, we have chosen to present you with a more reasonable buying option in the form of the C-Class, since the S-Class is a fairly expensive car.
The C-Class C 300 BlueTEC Hybrid, as it is called, is a regular, tested and venerated C-Class car with a modern hybrid powering options. It packs a 2.1 l diesel with 201 hp and a 27 hp electric motor which give it the acceleration to 100 km/h in just 6.4 seconds. Additionally, you can get the fuel efficiency of about 3.6 l/100 km, which is amazing for a car of this class and performance. However, bear in mind that the C-Class Hybrid is still mostly powered by the diesel engine and that the electric motor is only there to help. It reduces the consumption and increases low-rev torque, providing better driving response, but the C-Class is still a conventional car with improved efficiency. On the plus side, it is not an all new car like the i3, so buyers might feel more confident buying a proven piece of equipment.
Another perk with the C-Class is the possibility of numerous additional equipment options, including the air suspension. There is no way Mercedes would gamble their reputation by making a gimmick out of a several-decades-present C-Class. It is a good car.
Volkswagen Golf GTE
A car which offers less than the Merc, but also costs significantly less. Comparing these two hybrids is like comparing the standard Golf and C-Class. The C-Class is better, but the Golf is still amazing and probably a better value for money.
Its fuel efficiency is rated at about 1.5 l/100 km and it has an option of electric-only driving for about 45 km, which is more than most drivers will ever need in a city. When all of the horses are unleashed, it gives the top speed of 222 km/h with the acceleration to 100 km/h of just 7.6 seconds. Almost as good as the infamous GTI.
As with any Golf and most German cars, you get amazing build quality and reliability, and the balanced Golf chassis inspires confidence and provides loads of driving fun.
If the previous cars on the list were new for you, you can educate yourself by finding loads of high-quality content online, but the Prius is almost a household name. It might be called the first common hybrid car in the world and it can already boast with several generations, which is amazing knowing that most other hybrid or electric cars are still concepts.
The current model has improved range, lowered emissions and better fuel efficiency reaching the equivalent of 2.6 l/100 km. The electric-only range is also increased to about 20 km and the top speed in no fuel burning mode is at 100 km/h. It is more expensive than the Golf (but significantly cheaper than the Mercedes) and it includes loads of comfort perks as standard.