Hybrid & Electric Vehicles: Newer Models & Their Older Counterparts
by Rich Barker
The days of the Toyota Prius dominance in the green car market are quickly changing. It was not that long ago that a Prius was pretty much the only quality green option for the environmentally-conscious car buyer. Now, the market is steadily seeing more green releases. What is more, those vehicles are improving over time, and increased competition will likely keep those improvements coming.
Here is a look at the improvements made by several green car models. It is interesting to see what manufacturers are doing to make these cars better, and improve the customer experience in the process.
Toyota Prius C
- 2013: The Prius C is a fairly new economy model of the ever-popular Toyota Prius. By cutting some corners in various areas of the original Prius, Toyota was able to create a truly economical vehicle with the same industry-leading fuel economy. According to Edmunds, the Prius C delivers on its promise for fuel economy, easily delivering 50 mpg in mixed driving. With a 99 hp engine, the Prius C costs $19,875.
- 2001: In comparison, Toyota’s first Prius was far less popular with the public. It still got great gas mileage, but the engine was much weaker and the styling was off-putting to many. The first Prius only had 70 horsepower. It did have a slightly larger gas tank than the Prius C, and it was priced similarly, at $19,875.
The most interesting thing about the 10-year transition between these two vehicles is how much more power Toyota was able to add with the same fuel economy. A decade ago, $19,000 was a lot more money, making the Prius C a much better value overall.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Mariordo
Acura ILX Hybrid
2013: According to Edmunds, this is the first hybrid vehicle produced by Acura. The company wanted to appeal to the more entry-level buyer with this vehicle, and succeeded overall. It gets a respectable 39 mpg with a 111 hp engine, and costs an estimated $28,900.
2014: Acura increased the price of the ILX by $1,000 for the newest model, but it comes with more bells and whistles. Noise-cancelation technology is included, which makes for a much quieter ride. Heated seats and a rearview camera are also new additions that come standard.
Acura is still putting out a quality hybrid for the entry-level luxury market. The powertrain is much the same, but the perks are better. OEM Acura parts are easy to find, making upkeep easy enough if one wants to maintain manufacturer quality.
- 2013: This is Ford’s effort at making a crossover hybrid SUV, and the company is successful in many ways. It gets a respectable fuel economy of 47 mpg. At an MSRP of $25,200, it is also competitively priced against other vehicles of its type. It does not have a lot of cargo room, but it does get excellent gas mileage and it can travel at up to 62 mph in full electric mode, according to Consumer Reports.
- 2014: Ford has pushed back the release of the 2014 C-Max, so it is uncertain exactly what changes will take place in the new release. The company has already successfully created a quality hybrid engine. Whether improvements will come in fuel economy remains to be seen.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user M 93
- 2011: The 2011 Leaf was the first full electric vehicle to go out to the American public, and it was reasonably successful in the market. It could travel around 100 miles between charges, according to FuelEconomy.gov and ran around $25,000. The vehicle put out around 107 horsepower.
- 2013: The base price for a 2013 Leaf is $28,800. It achieves around a 129-mile range in the city and 102 on the highway. Most notable for the new model is an onboard charger that can cut charging times in half.
Nissan extended the range of the Leaf, but more importantly, it cut charging time. Aside from range, charging times are some of the greatest limitations on electric vehicles, making Nissan’s improvement quite intriguing to those who may not have considered electric before.
Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Tom Raftery
Manufacturers are delivering better green vehicles each year. The general public may be a long way from adopting electric or hybrid technology completely, but for those who are interested, the news just keeps getting better.
About the Author:
Rich Barker is a computer engineer who made the switch to smart car engineer. Rich keeps up with hybrid and alternative fuel cars that are manufactured all over the world.