The 2013 model year for hybrid vehicles is certainly showing much more innovation and growth within this budding and sometimes questioned market. The following article is going to first define what a hybrid vehicle is and then segue into some past highlights of the evolution of hybrid vehicles. It will then focus on some 2013 hybrid vehicle models, note some highlights and touch on some speculation for what the future holds for hybrid vehicles.
To learn about the 2013 models, it is essential to learn what exactly a hybrid vehicle is. A hybrid-electric vehicle features the best attributes of a gasoline engine and an electric motor to give the owner the best possible utilization of fuel. The engine gives the hybrid vehicle the vast majority of its power, while the electric motor provides a complimentary source of power when needed. Complimentary power is used for things such as for passing cars and accelerating the car. This hybrid design enables a normal size car to have a more fuel-efficient utilization. The electric power is generated through regenerative braking and from the power generated from the gasoline engine; this enables a hybrid car to benefit from the added electricity, but saves the user from having to plug it in at home or at a charging station.
If you think hybrid vehicles are a new innovation, you would be surprised that hybrid vehicles have had their start over 300 years, starting in 1665. However, you have only heard of hybrid vehicles in the last 15 to 20 years because they have become economically viable and profitable in this time-frame. Toyota and Honda were the trailblazers of the modern hybrid car movement with the Insight and Prius respectively. These two models established hybrids in the modern age and still are popular, relatively speaking, in the hybrid market. Today, more than 20 years later, Toyota and Honda are still leaders in innovation in the hybrid market, including their respective models for the 2013 model year. Almost a decade later, in 2005, Ford introduced and still produces the Ford Escape Hybrid as the industry’s first large-scale hybrid sport utility vehicle. Industry insiders credit Ford and Toyota swapping patents for their hybrid technology and diesel engine technology respectively. Therefore, Toyota, through the innovations at Ford, has continually impacted the hybrid market.
Before highlighting some of 2013’s hybrid models, it is essential to give a primer on the general background of, the different aspects and the attributes to think about before deciding which hybrid vehicle to purchase. When looking for a hybrid vehicle, you will have your option of a tiny two-seater all the way up to a massive nine-passenger SUV. Depending on which model you look at, it might be a spin-off of an existing conventional model or it might be a totally organic design unique to the entire auto market.
Similar to conventional cars, prices for hybrid cars vary quite extensively. On average, a hybrid vehicle might cost you more than 20 percent more than a conventional gas engine car. However, there are various federal and/or state tax credits, so there might not be as much sticker shock if you are aware of this. Depending on the make, model, features and general automotive attributes, a hybrid cost can run you anywhere from the low $20,000s to well above $100,000.
When it comes to hybrids’ engines and their respective fuel economy, there are two competing types of engines. With pure hybrids, there is an increased level of gas mileage of approximately 40 to 50 miles per gallon. The other type of hybrid is a mild hybrid. A mild hybrid delivers less fuel efficiency because it has less efficient hybrid technology.
Comparing safety of hybrid cars to conventional gas engine cars, there is virtually no difference when it comes to safety issues. Hybrids do have a slightly increased risk of chemical spills and electric shocks after a car is involved in an accident. Yet, since consumers have been driving hybrids for many years now, there have been no real world experience with either potential hybrid-related risk. Normally, a hybrid loses between three to five cubic feet of trunk space because the battery bank is normally placed in that area. Additionally, storage space beneath the cargo floor will be lost because of the battery pack too.
Now that we have covered the basics and some specific information related to different attributes and segments of 2013 hybrid models, we can now segue into discussing some 2013 models. Since the Toyota Prius started the hybrid craze, it is only right to pay homage to the 2013 Toyota Prius. The top pick by industry insiders and car enthusiasts alike is the 2013 Toyota Prius. The 2013 model still gets the best fuel economy rating of 51 and 48 miles per gallon in the city and on the highway respectively. Its hatchback design gives the driver ample room for both passengers and storage space – you also get rear-seat legroom! Drawbacks include ultra-responsive steering and soft-handling attributes. The price, along with the federal and/or state tax credits, makes the Prius an overall good value.
A domestic competitor to the Prius is the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid. Drivers of this car get a spacious and cost effective vehicle that still gets a reasonable, but less than the Prius’ fuel economy rating. The Fusion hybrid only gets 41 miles per gallon in the city and 36 on the highway. Additional features include its Sync voice-directed system, climate control and rear park-assist system. While there is enough room to fit a piece of luggage or two in the back, the batter pack in the trunk hinders maximum trunk capacity.
As one can see, hybrids are the next generation of cars, especially when it comes to fuel efficiency. Only time will tell if hybrids will be a car of the future or simply a stepping stone to a complete electric car. While we don’t know what the future holds, hybrid cards certainly offer the consumer a more fuel efficient option for only a bit more than a conventional car.