Greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, carbon monoxide emissions, toxic levels of air pollution are some of the repercussions of automobile usage over the years. But we are not oblivious to these issues and the leading OEM’s around the world are constantly researching & developing new technology to address these issues . The development of Hybrid Cars has been a result of that. In this article you’ll be presented with this new technology and the 5 Best Hybrid Cars in India that give extreme mileages.
What are Hybrid Cars?
Hybrid cars utilize power from both electricity and fuel (diesel, petrol, and hydrogen) to reduce emissions while improving fuel efficiency at the same time. On the electric side, the car is powered by energy stored in lithium ion batteries and sent to electric motor-generators. These motors power the wheels and also generate electricity when braking through regenerative braking. Hybrid cars do burn fuel but use small engines that emit low emissions. The engines are used either to generate power for the batteries or work in conjunction with the electric motors to provide drive.
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Hybrid Cars’ Variants
To put it in simpler terms, a hybrid vehicle is the one which has an ability to generate electric current, store it in battery form, and use it later to drive the car. This fact combined with all the above mentioned technological marvels make it an ideal choice in terms of maximum power and fuel economy with minimum emissions. As with regular cars, hybrid cars come in various types and layouts. Some of the most popular layouts are:
Parallel Hybrid Cars :
The electric motor and internal combustion engine work in tandem, combining power from both to produce higher power outputs while reducing the fuel required to produce similar outputs. The motor and engine take alternate roles as primary and secondary power sources for the Hybrid vehicle.
Series Hybrid Cars :
Unlike Parallel Hybrids, Series Hybrid Cars use electric motors as the primary source of power for the wheels. The engine plays an assists’ role by burning fuel to charge the batteries and, if required, assist the motors when pulling heavy loads to assist acceleration.
Two-mode Hybrid Cars:
Two-mode Hybrid Cars work exclusively on electric power at low speeds and use the power from the engine to complement the electric motors for high speed driving.
Plug-in Hybrid Cars :
The unique feature of this layout is the presence of a large battery which can be externally recharged enabling all electric drive for shorter distances, while preserving gasoline for longer journeys.
5 Best Hybrid Cars in India
India was first made privy to the technology of Hybrid Cars with the introduction of Toyota Prius, the first of all the hybrid cars in India. Over time, most Indian & global manufacturers have warmed up to the idea of a hybrid car and have introduced various models. Here’s our round-up of the 5 Best Hybrid Cars in India :
Update : The Delhi government has recently announced a fall in the VAT from 12.5% to 5% for Hybrid Cars in India. Read the coverage on Economic Times.
Toyota Prius :
One of the first plug-in hybrid cars in India is The Toyota Prius. Launched in the Indian car market in 2012, one of the world’s first mass production hybrid cars, the Prius sets the bar for future hybrid cars to emulate and beat.
The Toyota Prius comes in two variants the Z5 & the Z6, powered by a 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE Petrol Engine that churns out a combined power of 97.8 bhp.
Although with greener emissions and a good fuel economy of 23.91 kmpl, the Toyota Prius comes at a hefty price range of 38.1-39.8 lakhs.
Toyota Camry :
The next green offering from Toyota is the series hybrid car- The Toyota Camry. The Camry is entirely different from the Prius, with the Camry utilizing a nickel metal hydride battery while retaining its large engine. The standard Camry is elegant and brings sophistication in its interiors making it the ideal chauffeur-driven car. With the hybrid upgrade, the sophisticated ride also becomes fuel efficient with a mileage of 19.16 kmpl.
The Camary Hybrid gets it’s power from the 2.5 litre 2AR-FXE, 4 cylinders, Petrol Engine that churns out a combined power of 157.5 bhp.
The green hybrid car in India comes at a hefty price of 30.3-33.2 lakhs.
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The BMW i8 caused quite a stir when BMW announced it would be bringing the hybrid sports car to Indian shores. With a powerful 1.5 litre engine and an equally capable electric motor system, the i8 did not sacrifice its sporty credentials for the sake of being eco-friendly. It is a pricey hybrid car to consider, coming in at 2.9 crores.
But a staggering power of 357 Bhp and torque of 570 Nm along with a massive Fuel Efficiency of 47.45 Kmpl justifies the price to some extent. Also we cannot deny the fact that the hybrid BMW i8 has a futuristic appeal to it.
Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS:
As hybrid cars started getting popular among the masses, it was only a matter of time before India’s favorite brand, Maruti Suzuki, introduced a hybrid car. By using the series hybrid car model, Maruti boosted the already high mileage of their standard Ciaz even further, making it the most fuel efficient car in the Sedan segment in India. Maruti has termed their hybrid tech SHVS or Small Hybrid Vehicle. It’s quite affordable, fitting in the range of 8.5 – 10.5 lakhs.
The 1.3 litre engine of the Ciaz produces a not so overwhelming power of 89 bhp but provides a respectable mileage of 28.09 Kmpl. The Ciaz with it’s hybrid approach has overtaken the Segment arch rival Honda City in the number of sales recently.
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Honda Civic Hybrid:
When the prolific Honda Civic received a Series Hybrid Car system, it became one of the first hybrid cars in India along with the Prius. Combined with the durability and reliability of Honda with the benefits of fuel efficiency of hybrid cars’ system, the Civic makes for a great Hybrid Car to consider.
The Civic has now been discontinued by Honda, but a pre-owned Civic Hybrid can be bought from a Used Car Portal.
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While Hybrid Technology is promising, in its present state, it comes with a hefty price tag. The issue of adoption of Hybrid and Electric cars in India is being significantly boosted by the Indian government’s FAME India campaign. The Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric (FAME) vehicles’ scheme, introduced in 2015, offers incentives in terms of exemptions of road tax and VAT for Hybrid cars in India. Also recently the Delhi Government has reduced the VAT paid on Hybrid Cars in India from 12.5% to 5% igniting Consumers’ interest in the Hybrid Vehicles further.
The potential in the segment is huge, with much needed benefits over other types of cars which work favorably in the long term. And going by how technology is progressing, one can surely say that the future of automobiles lies in the hands of Hybrid Cars indicating a better and cleaner future.
What do you think of this still nascent technology of Hybrid Cars and the bright & clean prospects they bring to the Automobile world?