A concept version of the 2010 Honda Insight hybrid.
With all the hype surrounding the Chevy Volt, planned for a 2010 debut, GM competitors are preparing for their own hybrid and electric car releases within the next couple of years.
According to Honda’s Insight website, the automaker is manufacturing a less expensive version of the electric hybrid that will obtain approximately 40 mpg. The website claims that “this new car will be priced significantly lower than hybrids available today.” Honda will reveal a concept version of the vehicle in October 2008 at the Paris Auto Show and is preparing for a spring 2009 release in the United States. According to www.popularmechanics.com, the sticker price for the 2010 Insight will likely run under $20K. The Volt’s sticker price is speculated to be within the mid- to high-30K range.
Ford is also working on an affordable plug-in vehicle for the masses. According to a Ford press release, a plug-in prototype of the Escape Hybrid was delivered in December 2007 to Southern California Edison to begin road testing as part of a partnership between the automaker and the utility company. The press release stated, “The two companies are exploring new business models related to the electrification of vehicles that could help lower the cost of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) to make them more affordable to consumers.” Ford claims that the research vehicle can achieve up to 120 mpg when driven on surface streets.
According to www.popularmechanics.com, Nissan released a prototype of its first in-house designed hybrid, which will debut as a 2010 Infiniti product. The prototype follows the two-mode approach of the Volt, but will possess a longer EV-only range and a maximum speed of 75 mph on pure electric power.
Popular Mechanics also states that Toyota will deliver a plug-in hybrid Prius in spring 2009. The new Prius will operate on a lithium-ion battery pack, causing speculation that this vehicle will offer fuel efficiency similar to the Volt. According to www.autobloggreen.com, the updated Prius will get 62 mph in all-electric mode.
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