Hybrid technology is nothing new to the American consumer. Car makers seized the day and became more fuel efficient to meet the demands of consumers and environmentalists, alike.
The future looks bright for hybrid technologies, and while we’ll probably not see some of these cars come to fruition in our day, it’s still fun to take a look at what some major manufacturers (particularly the brands that we sell at Thayer) are up to.
Nissan Hi-Cross Concept
The Nissan Hi-Cross is powered by a hybrid drivetrain, coupling a 2.0-liter gas engine with an electric motor. Together, they provide the power expected from a larger 2.5-liter engine, and the economy and reduced emissions of a much smaller unit. The fast-charging, compact lithium-ion battery that powers the electric motor makes use of the same battery technology developed for the award-winning Nissan LEAF®.
The concept’s hybrid drivetrain adopts Nissan’s new ‘one motor, two clutch’ technology. The first clutch allows the gas engine to be turned off when the Hi-Cross is in electric mode, and the second clutch helps smooth that transition. This advanced system boosts the electric motor’s efficiency, and allows braking energy to be recycled back into the power supply.
But besides all of that, the driver’s cockpit is really cool. Your friends will be super impressed when they hop into your almost-spaceship.
Ford Fusion Coca-Cola Energi
The Coca-Cola Company and Ford Motor Company are collaborating on a first-ever interior fabric made from the same renewable material used to produce Coca-Cola’s PlantBottle Technology™ packaging.
Recently, the two companies unveiled a Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid vehicle with Coca-Cola PlantBottle Technology interior fabric surfaces covering seat cushions, seat backs, head restraints, door panel inserts and headliners. The research vehicle marks the first time PlantBottle Technology is applied beyond packaging, and affirms a joint commitment by two global consumer icons to develop innovative new products produced from renewable materials.
“By using PlantBottle Technology in a plug-in hybrid, Ford and Coca-Cola are showing the broad potential to leverage renewable materials that help replace petroleum and other fossil fuels, reducing the overall environmental impact of future vehicles,” said John Viera, global director of sustainability and vehicle environmental matters at Ford.
Honda FCEV Concept
The sleek Honda FCEV Concept made its world debut at the Los Angeles International Auto Show (LAIAS) on November 20, 2013.
The Honda FCEV Concept features sweeping lines and an ultra-aerodynamic body. The Honda FCEV Concept also delivers ample passenger space and seating for five adults, thanks to new powertrain packaging efficiencies. The FCEV concept has a 300-mile driving range and Honda says it can be refueled in about three minutes.
The concept hints at Honda’s next generation of fuel-cell vehicles, which are expected to launch in the U.S. and Japan in 2015, followed by Europe.
Toyota FT-CH Concept
The FT-CH dedicated hybrid Toyota concept vehicle is the latest addition to Toyota’s comprehensive advanced technology vehicle line up. With Hybrid Synergy Drive® as its core technology, Toyota is exploring many solutions for the future of mobility – from battery electric vehicles, to plug-in hybrids, to fuel cell hybrids, to conventional hybrids like the FT-CH concept.
Designed by ED2 design studio in Nice, France, and revealed at the 2010 North American International Auto Show, this compact, nimble hybrid represents the expansion of hybrid options for the customer. The FT-CH is lighter in weight and more fuel-efficient than the Prius. The concept is designed to target a lower price point than the Prius, thus appealing to a younger buyer demographic.
At an overall length of 153 inches and width of 68.5 inches, the FT-CH is sized to be maneuverable and responsive. In spite of its compact size, the concept is designed for maximum passenger comfort and interior space.
Scion FR-S Hybrid Concept
The Scion FR-S is a true “Scion,” born into a legendary history of Toyota performance cars and motorsports.
Motor Authority is reporting that Toyota drivetrain manager, Koei Saga, revealed that development of a hybrid FR-S was at an “advanced” stage. However, he said that production hadn’t been approved yet.
Should production be approved, a hybrid system might provide exactly what the FR-S needs most: on-demand torque. If it can be done without adding substantial weight, thereby preserving the car’s excellent dynamics, and without driving the price into the realm of more natively powerful sports cars, it might just be the best of all worlds.
Are you looking for a new muscle car concept? Would you be shocked to know Chevy has an electric muscle car?
Unveiled in 2011 at the Seoul Auto Show, the Chevy MiRay (“miray” means “future”) flexed its muscles. Two 15-kilowatt (20-horsepower) motors power the MiRay through the front axle in urban and low-speed driving. For higher speeds or when the 1.6-kilowatt-hour battery is depleted, a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine kicks in to drive the rear wheels through a dual-clutch gearbox, making this a “through-the-road” hybrid.
Styling elements include a new interpretation of the Chevy dual-port grille, scissor doors, LED headlamps, and what the designers call Corvette front and rear fenders. Jet aircraft are also cited as inspirations. Aluminum wheels are 21 inches in diameter at the rear, 20 inches in front. The dual-cockpit interior includes a start button on the center console. When it’s pressed, an Interactive Projection Meter Cluster appears in front of the driver, with limited information–driving distance, navigation maps, and battery charge/fuel amounts–presented while the driver is operating the car.
We think the Ford and the Scion concepts will be here before we know it. We cross our fingers for Chevy’s muscle car (although, that would be a super unique buyer), and we are holing our breath for Nissan and Toyota’s concepts (both seem like very realistic and marketable options).
What do you think? Do you think we’ll be driving any of these concepts anytime soon?