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.
To find out more about eco-friendly driving and hybrid engine power output, click on the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Csere, Csaba. "Will Gasoline Direct Injection Finally Make it?" Car and Driver. June 2004. (Accessed May 10, 2009)http://www.caranddriver.com/features/columns/c_d_staff/csaba_csere_the_steering_column/will_gasoline_direct_injection_finally_make_it_column
- Fisker Automotive. "Karma." (Accessed May 9, 2009) http://karma.fiskerautomotive.com/pages/karma/features
- Garrett, Jerry. "Hybrid Superstar Shines Brighter." New York Times. March 26, 2009. (Accessed May 10, 2009)http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/29/automobiles/autoreviews/29AUTO.html?_r=1
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- Scuderi Group. "Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine Technology Gives Automakers New Internal Combustion Process." April 20, 2009. (May 11, 2009)http://www.scuderigroup.com/first-scuderi-engine-prototype-unveiled/
- Voelcker, John. "30 Days of the 2010 Toyota Prius: Day 12, Battery Pack." AllAboutPrius.com. April 6, 2009. (May 10, 2009)http://www.allaboutprius.com/blog/1019835_30-days-of-the-2010-toyota-prius-day-12-battery-pack