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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Audi Hybrid takes Le Mans Victory

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Jun 292012
 

Audi Hybrid Vehicle

Audi Hybrid Vehicle

Hybrid Vehicle in a Race

Audi has made history by being the first competitor to win the Le Mans race with a hybrid vehicle. The 24-hour race, held annually at Circuit de la Sarthe in the north of France, enjoyed its 80th anniversary on March 21st this year, so it was a particularly spectacular win.

4×4 hybrid the R18 e-tron Quattro

This victory for the all-wheel drive 4×4 hybrid the R18 e-tron Quattro is the 11th for Audi. All of Audi’s previous victories have been achieved with gasoline and diesel-powered models, but this year, the automotive giant chose to use a hybrid model to showcase its leading innovative and eco-friendly technology. Audi also entered two diesel vehicles, which took third and fifth places.

Speed and Low Noise

The R18 e-tron Quattro uses a V6 TDI diesel engine, along with an electric motor, which work together to provide power to the front wheels. This gave it an extra boost of torque and traction when taking corners at high-speeds, enabling it to shoot past all other competitors with a surprisingly low level of noise.

Audi AWD Hybrid (R18 E-Tron Quattro)

Audi AWD Hybrid (R18 E-Tron Quattro)

Toyota Hybrid TSO30

Audi wasn’t the only competitor to enter a hybrid vehicle into the event. Toyota entered two of its TS030 models, which were set to be the main competitors. However, problems occurred with both vehicles, and driver Anthony Davidson had to be taken to hospital after his car collided with a lapped vehicle, causing it to flip before hurtling into the crash barriers. Davidson suffered from two cracked vertebrae, but luckily was able to walk away from the accident.

Toyota Collides

Toyota’s other vehicle left on a less dramatic note after a collision with the Deltawing vehicle, which was an experimental product of collaboration between Nissan and Highcroft Racing. As a result, Nissan was also taken out of the event.

Toyota TS030 Hybrid Car

Toyota TS030 Hybrid Car

The Deltawing was powered by a 1.6 litre engine, much smaller than those used in most other models. The aim of this was to make the vehicle as lightweight as possible, therefore increasing speed and energy-efficiency. This could have made it a real competitor for Audi.

Audi e-tron System for all Cars

Consumers are familiar with Audi’s Quattro and TDI technology, as these are already available with their current road cars. According to Audi, plans are already in place to implement the e-tron system into future models for the public. There’s been talk of replacing drive shafts with electric cables and transferring the ultra-low weight technology to road cars. This will pass on huge benefits to consumers by considerably lowering fuel consumption and cutting running costs by extending tyre-life, as less wear and tear will occur.

Ninth Win for Audi

It wasn’t an easy victory for Audi, as each of its entries had some sort of accident or technical difficulty. However, it has secured its place as the dominant team with a third consecutive win. In fact, this is the ninth time that Audi has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans since 2000.

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Skyrocketing Sales of Market Leading Prius

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Jun 162012
 

Prius is Third BEST Selling Car

The Toyota Prius is the world’s most popular hybrid vehicle, with sales seeing consistent growth since its debut over 10 years ago. Now the Prius has been named the third best-selling car in the United States, with over four million vehicles purchased worldwide to date. In the first quarter of 2012, Prius sales rocketed to 247,230, which is more than double the figure for the previous quarter.

Most Popular Selling Eco Car the Toyota Prius

Most Popular Selling Eco Car the Toyota Prius

Prius Tax Breaks and Rebates

Toyota’s sales success is down to two reasons. Firstly, Prius now represents not just one model, but a collection. Secondly, this change was conveniently timed in conjunction with Japan’s tax breaks and rebates, which means that buyers are now able to save more than $2,500 when buying a Prius. Those who buy eco-cars like the Toyota Prius are entitled to rebates of up to 100,000 yen, which is the equivalent of $1,258. Tax reductions for these vehicles also apply, and will run for at least the next three years.

President of car consultancy company Car Lab, Eric Noble, said that these figures are proof that the Prius has a future, which means that there is a bright future for the hybrid car market in general.

Aqua Subcompact Plug-In

Another up and coming eco-car is the Aqua Subcompact plug-in vehicle, part of the Prius family, which is becoming increasingly popular in Japan. This has contributed to the huge rise in sales for the Prius line, with numbers tripling from 52,507 to 175,080 in the first quarter. Prius sales have risen above those of the Hyundia Elantra, Volkswagen Golf, Ford Fiesta, and the Honda Civic. The only models it has yet to beat are the Toyota Corolla and the Ford Focus.

Difficult Times Now Over

Toyota has seen some difficult times in recent years, with huge recalls made in the US in 2010 due to manufacture errors. After that, Japan’s natural disasters in 2011 brought automotive manufacture nationwide to a halt. Until this point, Toyota’s sales figures made it the largest car manufacturer in the world.

Toyota is Recovering

Toyota’s Chief Executive Officer Akio Toyoda announced that the company is turning a corner and clearly recovering from the 2011 earthquakes. Equity analyst for Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ in New York, Efraim Levy, agrees, saying that the company is clearly making a comeback. He pointed out that it is a great achievement for a niche product to see such huge success.

Prius was the First and Most Successful Hybrid Car

Prius was the first and most successful hybrid car, and has set the standard for eco-cars thereafter. Many manufacturers have released competing models, such as the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. However, according to John Wolkonowicz, Automotive History Specialist and Analyst, none of these models are likely to be major competitors for Prius at the moment. Prius is number one on the market, so why would consumers want anything less?

With Petrol Prices Coming Down will we go Hybrid?

Wolkonwicz said that petrol prices pose a threat to hybrid vehicle sales, and that hybrid sales can’t progress enough until petrol prices stay at an increased price. Petrol prices dropped by 6.6 per cent between May 22 and April 5, and if this decline continues, consumers won’t be convinced to go hybrid.

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