It may be hard to get your hands on a plug-in hybrid right now, but the wait will soon be over. In fact, several manufacturers are promising plug-in releases over the next few years. What does that mean for you? Well, dealer showrooms are soon to be filled with plug-ins that will include models like small sedans, wagons and even sports cars.
And while the prices, styles and electric-ranges of each vehicle will vary, it's clear that car manufacturers are serious about building and selling plug-ins for the general public.
Here's a quick list of what you can expect over the next several years:
- Fisker Karma: This rear-wheel drive sports plug-in hybrid comes from designer Henrik Fisker. With its 50-mile (80.5-kilometer) electric range it beats the current and other future electric ranges of plug-in hybrids. The Fisker will be available in late 2011 but won't be accessible to most of us with its $96,000 price tag [source: Hybrid Cars].
- Ford C-Max Energi: Ford's first plug-in hybrid will boast a driving range of more than 500 miles (804.7 kilometers), using electric and gasoline modes. The car will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries that are much lighter than conventional hybrid batteries that use nickel-metal-hydride. Expect to see the C-Max Energi in showrooms in 2012 [source: Ford].
- Volvo V70: The V70 will be offered as a wagon in 2012, at least in Europe. The V70 will have a diesel engine with lithium-ion batteries. A front-wheel drive system will be powered by the diesel engine, while a rear-wheel drive system will be powered by the electric motor, using lithium-ion batters [source: Berman].
- Toyota Prius: This car is probably one of the most anticipated plug-ins because of the sheer popularity of the current Prius hybrid. Toyota is already taking orders for the sedan with deliveries starting in the spring of 2012, available in the entire US by 2013. The 13-mile (20.9-kilometer) electric-only range won't break any records, but the plug-in will ditch the old nickel-metal-hydride for new lithium-ion batteries [source: Toyota].
- BMW Vision: The Vision may very well redefine the plug-in hybrid name. The 2+2 seater has two electric motors and a 3-cylinder turbocharged diesel that puts out 356 horsepower. The car will be available in 2013 if you've been saving your pennies. You'll need about $100,000 to get your hands on this one [source: Plug-in Cars].
- BYD F3DM: This Chinese plug-in hybrid will get about 30 miles (48.3 kilometers) of electric-only driving and will most likely sell for less than $30,000. The F3DM will be available in the spring of 2012 and will be the first Chinese-made car in American showrooms [source: Berman].
For more information on plug-in hybrid cars, follow the links below.
- Hybrid Cars. "Chevy Volt." (July 6, 2011) http://www.hybridcars.com/vehicle/chevy-volt.html
- Hybrid Cars. "Fisker Karma." (July 6, 2011) http://www.hybridcars.com/vehicle/fisker-karma.html
- Ford. "C-Max Energi." (July 7, 2011) http://www.thefordstory.com/our-articles/cuvs/c-max/latest-ford-c-max-news-from-the-2011-north-american-international-auto-show/
- Berman, Brad. "Volvo V70 Plug-in Hybrid." March 9, 2010. (July 7, 2011) http://www.plugincars.com/volvo-v70-plugin-hybrid/review
- Toyota. "Toyota Prius Plug-in." (July 7, 2011) http://www.toyota.com/upcoming-vehicles/prius-plug-in/
- Berman, Brad. "BMW Vision." March 9, 2010. (July 7, 2011) http://www.plugincars.com/bmw-vision/review
- Berman, Brad. "BMW is the First Ripple in a Potential Chinese Wave." Feb. 18, 2011. (July 7, 2007) http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/20/automobiles/autoreviews/byd-f3-dm-review.html