hybrid cars

hybrid cars

  A hybrid vehicle uses multiple propulsion systems to provide motive power. This most commonly refers to gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, which use gasoline (petrol) and electric batteries to power internal-combustion engines (ICEs) and electric motors.

Is the Fisker Karma the automotive equivalent of Gran Turismo 5?

Sure looks like it after the plug-in luxury sports car’s production date has been set back once again, this time until July. We’ve heard this sordid tale of run-around after run-around before and it can get pretty exhausting, especially when you consider that the Karma’s release date was supposed to happen over a year ago .

According to GreenCarReports, Roger Ormisher, director of global communications for Fisker Automotive, was quoted saying that the "first dealer [demonstration vehicles] and customer cars will arrive on these shores in July." So that pretty much rules out the earlier dates of May and June, as was previously announced by the company.

It’s disappointing, make no mistake about it. But considering that the company is still in its infancy, a little latitude should be exercised, if only to give these guys time to get their acts together. Then again, it probably isn’t a good business idea to keep delaying the product’s release date when you already raised it’s price before the car even hit the market.

This isn’t GT5, which you can just plop down 60 bucks to take home with you. $95,000 is a lot of money for people to part with and continuing to delay the release of the car could turn a lot of people off.

There’s no question in anybody’s mind that the future of the auto industry hinges on advancements done on alternative technology. Whether its hybrid, electric, or even fuel-cell power, alternative energy is where the future is at.

At the 11th Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Berlin, Germany, Audi presented a vehicle that could potentially reshape the landscape of the company’s direction in the future. In trying to examine the potential and probability of using fuel-cell power as an alternative drivetrain, Audi rolled out the concept Q5 Hybrid Fuel Cell (HFC). The SUV, which is actually in concept guise, was built as a technical study to determine the feasibility of a vehicle running on fuel cells.

In this particular configuration, the car comes with a polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell that produces 98 kW, which is about 133 horsepower and is connected to a lithium-ion battery that comes with an energy content of 1.3 kWh. Roll it up together and you have a drivetrain that’s powered by two electric motors that produces a combined peak output of around 127 horsepower and 310 lb/ft of torque with an electronically limited top speed of 103 mph.

Despite its designation as a concept vehicle, the Q5 HFC’s hybrid chassis lends itself to the scenario that sooner than later, a production version may be produced. It’s not so much a question of ’if’ more than it is of ’when’.

When that time comes though is still anyone’s guess. But you can be sure that this won’t be the last vehicle Audi is looking into when it comes to the development of alternative drivetrains.

Audi has turned the corner on their new "Audi balanced mobility" moto with the launch of a new project called the TCNG e-gas project. The e-gas project will go into production starting 2013 and is the world’s first automotive manufacturer to set up an entire portfolio of sustainable sources of energy.

The TCNG e-gas project will use wind-generated electricity to manufacture hydrogen by means of electrolysis. Hydrogen can be used in the future as a source of energy for fuel-cell vehicles or, in an additional step, can be used to manufacture methane. Such methane is known as Audi as e-gas. It is chemically identical to natural gas and can power combustion engines. More important, it is completely CO2-neutral.

"Ecology and economy in unison: that is the greatest challenge of the future. To attain this we must bring mobility completely into equilibrium – with people and their new values and with the environment. CO2-neutral mobility is our goal," says Audi Chairman Rupert Stadler. He continues: "On the way to achieving this we are systematically using clean power. We are producing climate-friendly fuels and forming a new mindset for which our entire company stands. That’s the objective of Audi balanced mobility."

Just when you thought the Lexus CT200h wasn’t going to get another race-inspired version , the people over at Gazoo Racing have unveiled their own racing version of the compact sports hybrid. Seems appropriate considering that Gazoo Racing isn’t a stranger to Lexus race cars, counting the LF-A supercar as one of the racers in its stable.

As for the CT200h, Gazoo Racing will be entering it into the SP4 Class of the Adenauer ADAC Rundstrecken-Trophy - a six-hour endurance race at the Nurburgring that will be attended by around 200 other cars. Piloting the Gazoo Racing CT during the endurance race will be the three-man team of Kumi Sato, Masahiko Kageyama, and Minoru Takaki.

To give the CT200h the proper race specs, Gazoo Racing went to work on the car’s performance attributes, opting against using the 1.8 liter VVT-I petrol engine that comes with the standard version of the CT200h and instead using a much larger 2.4-liter version with an electric motor, a generator, a high performance battery, a power control unit, and a power split device. During start-ups and braking, the CT200h will only use its electric motor, saving all the energy expended by the VVT-I engine for higher speeds. Even more impressive about the car is that it will require less fuel and will emit less carbon dioxide and NOx gases compared to all other race cars of its class.

Dressed in a burnt orange paint finish and looking shiny and smug, Fox Marketing’s take on the Lexus CT 200h is what we call a smoking hot hatch ready to rumble with the best of ‘em.

The car was introduced at the New York Auto Show where Fox Marketing showed off the reworked Japanese hot hybrid hatch with a new Eaton supercharger and a Climax Racing intake manifold. When added to the CT 200h’s 1.8-liter VVT-i petrol engine, these elements can turn the hot hatch into a 300-horsepower piece of hybrid awesomeness. Since it’s a hybrid, Fox also gave the car’s batteries a good upgrade, although details of that remain unknown - at least for now.

With the added ponies under the hood, Fox also gave the CT 200h a new and customized suspension system with 13” Baer brakes to go with a set of 20” wheels wrapped in 225/30-series tires. And just to give it more aesthetic spunk, Fox also dressed up the car with some new duds. On top of the metallic burnt orange paint, the aftermarket company gave the CT 200h a wide body kit with three-inch fender flares, a set of Yonaka racing seats, and LED Lexus logos on the door panels.

Save for a few, we don’t have a whole big fascination for hatchbacks, but if this is what a reworked Lexus CT 200h is going to look like, then sign us up!

Next to the 2013 Malibu , Chevrolet also brought at the New York Auto Show the Eco version, a model that comes equipped with new fuel-saving eAssist technology. The new Eco version will be sold next to the Malibu LS, LT and LTZ version starting the summer of 2012.

"The Malibu ECO is a smart choice for customers who want excellent fuel economy without the price premium of popular hybrid sedans," said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. "The Malibu ECO’s 38-mpg highway estimate is comparable with those hybrids. Malibu ECO exemplifies Chevrolet’s drive to use technology that delivers high-value, gas-friendly performance. In fact, the Malibu ECO delivers the fuel economy of a compact car in a midsize sedan."

The eAssist system uses a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery and an electric motor-generator to enable regenerative braking electric assist and start-stop functionality. With this system the new Malibu Eco will deliver an impressive 26 mpg on city driving and 38 mpg on the highway.

Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Chevrolet Malibu Eco.

Suzuki has big plans for its flagship model, the Kizashi . That much we already know. What we didn’t expect though was that the model would be branching out with different variants.

At the New York Auto Show, the Japanese automaker further cemented their intention of giving its customers new options for the sedan by unveiling a couple of concept cars tied up to its name.

One of these concepts is the Kizashi EcoCharge Concept, a hybrid vehicle Suzuki is preparing to compete against the likes of the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight , among other hybrid cars out on the market these days.

While Suzuki hasn’t had any discussions on the production plans for the car, we’d be very surprised if this model doesn’t get greenlighted for production soon, especially when you consider that the market is ripe for other brands to enter and give its established rivals a run for their money.

Either way, its looking more and more likely that the hybrid wars will have to make room for another vehicle.

Details on the Suzuki Kizashi EcoCharge Concept after the jump.

General Motors has unveiled the Envision at the 2011 Shanghai Auto Show. While the concept itself won’t be put into production, the company says it "represents a convergence of future ideas and technology for Buick in the market."

The Envision Concept was developed by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), and according to GM, integrates global design with local aesthetics for the China market, adhering to Buick’s "dynamic, fluid, quiet and comfortable" design essence.

The Envision has inherited Buick design DNA and taken the Buick global design language to a new height. It makes a significant statement for Buick styling and technology, and will influence upcoming models from the brand," said Ed Welburn, GM Vice President of Global Design.

And, in trend with all the latest concept cars, the Envision incorporates GM’s world-leading PHEV plug-in hybrid system.

Updated 04/18/2011: This review has been updated with the official images and details on the new Buick Envision Concept. Hit the jump to read the full details.

BMW may have been joking when they came out with their M3 Royal Edition , but this next car, sadly, is no joke at all. Among the many cars used during the royal ceremony taking place between Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey, Prince Albert II of Monaco and his future wife, Miss Charlene Wittstock, will be riding along in a Lexus LS600h . This event will probably top any and all of Lexus’ marketing efforts for the hybrid sedan, so top execs over there are probably giggling like school girls with excitement.

This specially prepared LS600h will feature integrated flashing lights, a royal insignia, and an "MC 01" license plate. Under the hood there will be the standard 5.0-liter V8 petrol engine combined with an electric motor for a total output of 439 HP.

"His Serene Highness takes a keen interest in encouraging innovative solutions for environmental protection and sustainable development around the world, founding the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in 2006. His Foundation supports more than 150 projects monitoring environmental evolution and protecting species endangered by climate change. It also provides assistance in water management in developing regions. With its pioneering state-of-the-art full hybrid technology delivering class-leading CO2 efficiency and environmental performances, Lexus is pleased to contribute to the objectives defined by His Serene Highness and to help the Principality of Monaco to become an international reference in terms of sustainable mobility."

Now all Lexus has to do is sit back and watch sales numbers peak.

BMW Brilliance Automotive will reveal at the Shanghai Auto Show a premium-segment plug-in hybrid sedan concept based on a long wheelbase version of the BMW 5 Series Sedan, developed exclusively for the Chinese automobile market and produced at the Shenyang site. Production version will begin in China in 2013.

The prototype is powered by a parallel hybrid drive set-up that combines a 214 HP combustion engine featuring BMW TwinPower Turbo technology with an electrical motor that adds another 93 HP. The electrical motor takes its power from a special battery technology which includes the possibility of charging from a mains power supply.

When running purely on electrical power, it is possible to travel emission-free for up to 46 miles at a constant speed of 37 mph. Use of the combustion engine provides a minimum additional range of 248 miles, which is in line with the driving profile of Chinese customers in the premium segment.

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