Hybrids don't have to be odd-looking and slow-moving gas-savers. Manufacturers are starting to produce fuel-efficient vehicles that are both eco-friendly and powerful. Fisker Automotive's Karma is a prime example: The Karma is a four-door plug-in sport sedan hybrid that can go from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) in less than 6 seconds and can still drive 50 miles (80 kilometers) on lithium-ion batteries before it needs to be recharged [source: Fisker Automotive]. At about $88,000, the car may not be in many consumers' price range, but it does offer sports car power in a hybrid vehicle.
Both Honda and Toyota, makers of the popular Insight and Prius, have sport hybrid vehicles on the horizon. Honda's CR-Z will be a sport hybrid with high torque output in a compact design [Source: Honda], while Toyota's FT-HS concept uses a 3.5-liter engine and an electric motor to produce 400 horsepower [Source: Toyota]. Toyota expects the hybrid sports car to go from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour) in about 4 seconds -- more than enough speed to get consumers to start looking at hybrids in a new light.
Infiniti is planning its own sports hybrid called the Essence. This concept car couples a twin-turbocharged 3.7-liter direct injection engine with a compact lithium-ion battery pack for a combined output of 592 horsepower [source: Infiniti]. Still in the concept stages, this hybrid sports car would definitely prove to consumers that a hybrid vehicle is capable of producing just as much power as a conventional vehicle.
So, hybrids have the potential to produce a lot of power -- more than traditional combustion engines in some cases -- but they still need the engineering improvements that the traditional engines already have in place to boost their power.
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