Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hybrids Galore! Who Knew?

"There's a Volt in my future!" shouted my friend John S. Martinson from his facebook wall.  Not once but repeatedly he staccato'd my wall with this message, reminding me of nothing so much as Paul Revere (without horse, of course) scooting excitedly through the narrow lanes of Boston and on to Lexington with his important message.

With that much clamor, what's a girl to do but prepare for arrival?  I googled "Volt" to find out what preparations might be needed.  It turns out, he's referring to the new Chevy Volt, due to come out at the end of 2010, an electric car with a novel feature.  The Volt "uses gas to create its own electricity. Plug it in, let it charge overnight, and it's ready to run on a pure electric charge for up to 40 miles — gas and emissions free.  After that, Volt keeps going, even if you can't plug it in. Volt uses a range-extending gas generator that produces enough energy to power it for hundreds of miles on a single tank of gas," to quote their website.

Personally, I've been holding out for the new green Acura TSX Hybrid that's also supposed to come to market for 2011.  But I just cruised on over to the Acura site, and could find absolutely no mention of a hybrid.  Even their "Future Vehicles" tab made no mention.  So I googled it.  Last article I saw was last March.  Guess an Acura TSX Hybrid is not in my immediate future.

Obviously there's the Ford Fusion (just above), which Car & Driver called the best green car on the road (but see below for a different opinion).  I admit to hesitancy about Ford, period, because a mechanic once told me that a Ford after 60 - thousand miles, that is - is how he makes his living.  That was a long time ago, but you don't just throw off that kind of advice.  I kinda like the Nissan Altima (white above right), but it's not for sale in all 50 states. I'd have to fly into California and drive one home.  I did find the Nissan Leaf (red model at right).  It really doesn't look like something I should be seen in, at my age, but why do I say such things?   Then I headed on over to Honda, where believe it or not three cars in their line-up are green, the Insight (rear-facing blue sedan), the Civic Hybrid (front-facing blue sedan), and a Civic GX   (silver side shot) - maybe G stands for green - the only dedicated natural gas passenger car.  Here's something I didn't know:

"For the seventh straight year, Civic GX NGV was named 'Greenest Vehicle' by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE). Not only did the Civic GX beat out the Toyota Prius for the top spot, but three other Honda vehicles also made the list, making 2010 the ninth consecutive year Honda has had more than three cars named to ACEEE's 'Greenest Vehicles.'"   Click here to see the ACEEE's ratings.  What's interesting is that the Civic GX gets the greenest mark, but by no means the highest miles per gallon (24 city), an honor that goes to the Toyota Prius (51 city).

So, speaking of Toyota, I found three more vehicles there, the Prius (red above), the Camry Hybrid (gold), and the Hylander (pearl blue), a high profile vehicle.  Ok friends, I'm pretty shopped out.  There are more cars.  There are bigger cars, and makers like Lincoln I haven't even googled yet, but I know there's something on the market.  There are some juicy luxury hybrids (Lexus has four lush beauties), but my purse would gag and ask to be rushed to the ladies' room if I even look at those.  To be honest, I was stuck on the idea of another Acura TSX, and I'm going to have to rethink all this, and look carefully at all the available vehicles.  And I hear Volvo has a hybrid coming 2012.   Good thing I love my TSX, because it could take me a year or two to sort through all these cars.

One of the most amazing things I learned today prepping this blogpost (all because John S. Martinson wants to be Paul Revere) is that hybrid has definitely gone mainstream!   Before I sign off, let me share the ACEEE chart in its full glory, in case you didn't look.  It's worth a glance. You can click on this link if you want to head over to the website to see how they ranked these vehicles.

Just for fun, if you're interested in seeing more hybrids of the future, both the marketable and the whimsical, check out Future Cars, just for fun! Here's a couple of samples of the fare there, including the human-powered XR3 (left), the Ford Start (red), and the three-wheeler TWIKE (right).


  1. My post on why everyone should buy a hybrid car is here:

    It's not just about fuel economy. It's just way more fun to drive a car with two motors!

  2. Thanks, Joe. The ACEEE site also has a really good explanation of the assorted benefits. I still have a lot of homework to do. Like the girl that I am, I am fighting my urge to pick the one I find to be most aesthetically pleasing.