Four Second-hand Hybrids to Avoid

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Sep 252012

And one to keep an eye on

The Toyota Prius is by far the most popular eco car, and one of the best on the market. When looking at second-hand green cars this is the one to keep your eye open for but, since the rise in popularity of eco cars, there have been plenty of others showing up throughout the country.

Toyota Prius - Plug In Hybrid Eco Car

Toyota Prius – Plug In Hybrid Eco Car

Just because a car is labelled as a hybrid, does not particularly mean it is a good car or is fuel-efficient. If this is important got you, here are four second-hand hybrids on the market to steer clear from, or at least think twice about before heading to the bank.

2010-2011 BMW ActiveHybrid X6

It has the BMW name and looks like a regular BMW X6, but this now-discontinued car used a tailored two-mode hybrid system that was designed for a large truck, together with a custom 4.4-litre twin turbo V8 engine that resulted in an output of 407hp. Although the efficiency was better than BMW’s conventional X6, it still used 19mpg of fuel.

BMW ActivE - Electric Car

BMW ActivE – Electric Car

The idea behind BMW’s green car was to design a vehicle that would mimic a seven-speed transmission using four gears and three electric assists. This way the car would feel like a regular BMW when behind the wheel. The problem with this green car was that the two-mode hybrid system ended up costing more than $10,000 per vehicle. Now that this car is discontinued, it is very pricey to fix as parts are unavailable, which is something to consider before purchasing.

2008-2009 Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid

GM launched this green car a few years ago using a mid-hybrid Belt-Alternator-Starter system. It was only offered for two years and was paired with a 164hp 2.4-litre Ecotec four-cylinder engine. The problem was that its EPA ratings were only marginally better than a regular six-speed automatic transmission Malibu, which cost $2,000 less than the Hybrid.

The Malibu Hybrid does not offer drivers a smooth ride due to the rotation of the electric motor switching over to regenerate the battery charging. When GM declared bankruptcy in 2009, the Malibu Hybrid disappeared.

2009 Dodge Durango Hybrid / 2009 Chrysler Aspen Hybrid

A Hybrid SUV sounded like a fantastic idea, but it only took Chrysler a few months to realise that this was not the case. After making less than 1,000 Dodge Durango Hybrids and Chrysler Aspen Hybrids, production of this eco car ceased.

Since then, these hybrids are the only green cars Chrysler has manufactured using the two-mode hybrid system that it developed with BMW. Like the BMW ActiveHybrid X6, that system is extremely expensive, not only to manufacture, but also to repair.

2005-2007 Honda Accord Hybrid

This was the only time Honda used its Integrated Motor Assist mild-hybrid system with a 3.0-litre V-6 engine, and it was quite confusing to consumers who saw eco cars as fuel-efficient. Due to its unpopularity, this green car was only made for three years, selling a total of only 28,500 units.

Honda Accord Hybrid Eco Car

Honda Accord Hybrid Eco Car

The Accord Hybrid was 20 per cent better on petrol than the conventional Accord, but it did not only drive by using electric.  Luckily Honda  made other hybrid cars that are high-mileage compacts, but the Accord Hybrid fell short.

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Ferrari Release First Hybrid Supercar

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Jun 142012

Worlds Best Performing Cars

Ferrari is known for making some of the world’s best high performance cars, the buyers of which have only two things on their mind, power and speed. It is now developing its most expensive model ever, and the auto industry will be surprised to find that it’s not a petrol-guzzling machine, but a hybrid eco-car. The Ferrari F70 will be released as the manufacturer’s first ever hybrid model while producing more horsepower than ever before.

Ferrari Hybrid Eco Car

Ferrari Hybrid Eco Car

F70 Hy-kers Hybrid Technology

The F70 uses the HY-KERS hybrid technology, which involves the use of two electric motors and a 12-cylinder engine and a two-clutch gearbox, providing 100 extra horsepower and an increased fuel economy of 40 per cent. Compared to other models of similar weight and specifications, the F70 provides an extra nine miles to the gallon.

Less than 100 SuperCars

This example should help to shake the stigma that hybrid cars have for lacking in performance, proving that a car can be eco-friendly and super powerful at the same time. There are currently less than 100 hybrid supercars out there, but as governments push auto-manufacturers to be more environmentally responsible, more are set to appear on the market. HIS Automotive predicts that the figure will shoot up to 2,100 in just three years’ time.

Porche Hybrid Super Car

Porche Hybrid Super Car

Porche Hybrid Super Car

Porsche has developed a few hybrid models and has announced plans to release a hybrid version of the highly successful Spyder in 2013. This model will feature two electric motors with a 500hp engine, giving a top speed of just under 200mph. Not bad for a hybrid!

BMW Plug-In Hybrid

BMW also plans to release a plug-in hybrid model in 2014, which is rumoured to achieve 100kms per hour in under five seconds. These cars are breaking the mould for hybrid models, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice performance for efficiency. Many more car manufacturers are looking to get onboard and release high performance hybrids of their own, and there are even rumours of a hybrid SUV coming from Bentley in the near future.

BMW Hybrid Super Car

BMW Hybrid Super Car

F70 Ferrari Purchase Price

The F70 is set to appear on the market at around £530,000, but the official price is yet to be confirmed. Only a limited number of these will be produced to begin with, and most of them are expected to be sold in the states. It is slated to be a successor of the Enzo model, which was released on a similar plan in 2002. For two years, only 400 Enzos were available, and now they are considered such a rarity that they sell for around USD$1 million.

High Performance and Efficiency

As a hybrid supercar, the F70 is expected to be a big seller, giving owners the luxury of having a powerful high-performance vehicle with impressive fuel-efficiency. It also shows that cars don’t actually need bigger engines to run faster, as the use of electric motors provides extra speed and power. This shows a turn in the market for the auto-industry, as even the luxury manufacturers are set to join in the switch to hybrids.

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BMW’s plans for Malaysian success

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May 152012

BMW ActiveE - Electric Car

BMW ActiveE - Electric Car

The managing director of BMW has said that the manufacturer’s introduction and development of eco-cars has been a big factor in the company’s success in Malaysia. Geoffrey Briscoe described how BMW’s pioneering of the eco-car market has been robust.  This is proven by sales figures as, according to Briscoe, those advanced diesel models now amount to 18 per cent and 20 per cent of the company’s total sales.

In a statement on 2 May, Briscoe said how BMW plans to produce more eco-friendly models, saying he will be building success with the BMW Active Hybrid and electric cars.

BMW is experiencing notable success in Malaysia and enjoyed consistently rising sales there during the first three months of 2012, with sales up by 16 per cent in the first quarter. By this time, the BMW group, which includes Mini and Motorrad, had delivered 1,516 vehicles in Malaysia alone.

Despite only breaking into Malaysia in 2003, BMW has already achieved status as the fastest-growing car manufacturer in the country, and sales have been rising consistently since the firm’s introduction there. BMW now has 15 dealerships operating in Malaysia, which have undoubtedly been imperative to the firm’s success.

Now that BMW has built a strong customer base in Malaysia, the manufacturer is looking to build on its success by using its BMW ConnectedDrive and BMW EfficcientDynamics strategies to introduce customers to new developments in green technology for economically-efficient cars.

The government is pushing green technology for vehicle manufacturers and has planned to reduce emissions by 40 per cent in the next eight years. However, both manufacturers and the government need to take further action to achieve this.

At present, incentives like reduced road tax are available for electric and hybrid cars, but not for diesel ones. If a similar scheme was introduced for diesel vehicles, consumers who are not ready to convert to a hybrid vehicle may be convinced to switch.

With rising success in Malaysia, BMW is confident that it can develop and grow, introducing more eco-cars into the market. Briscoe said that the firm’s ‘infrastructure, product and services portfolio’ demonstrates why it has become successful.

And BMW has every reason to be confident, as it has now established itself as the number one selling car manufacturer in the country.