One big trend that emerged at the Frankfurt Motor Show earlier this week is the popularity of hybrid technology. Everyone from Peugeot to Porsche was showing off at least one new model…
In fact, most of the gorgeously exotic sports cars at the show had hybrid technology – Porsche 918 is a plug-in as is BMW’s stunning i8. And the other star of the BMW hall – and the taxi stand running journalists around the show on press days – was the i3 supermini that’ll be offered in electric and range–extender hybrid form.
But it’s not only supercar and luxury car brands that are embracing this technology – VW slammed its cards on the table declaring an ambition to become the leader in hybrid and electric cars by 2018. To kick start this it had electric versions of the Golf hatchback and Up city car on its stand.
Sparks fly for electric cars
And Peugeot is following the lead of Renault with its 208 FE plug-in hybrid concept. I guess it should come as no surprise that Vauxhall has this week lopped £3,500 off the price of its Ampera range–extender hybrid. The starting price is still £28,750 (after government grant), but at least this brings it closer to the asking prices of conventional rivals.
And will this clever new technology be the panacea to motoring costs that it promises? If the hybrid daddy, the Toyota Prius, is anything to go by, the answer has to be yes. Although the plug-in version of this got nowhere near the official claimed 134.5mpg, the 78.5mpg it achieved in our tests, is one of the best figures we’ve ever recorded.
But such impressive fuel consumption figures will only be achieved by city drivers and those prepared to sit in the slow lane on the motorway (the Prius’s consumption rose to 48.7mpg on the motorway), so the plug-in isn’t the ideal choice for everyone. And plenty of small, eco-focussed diesel superminis are now achieving almost as good mpg. VW’s 1.2 TDi BlueMotion, for example, did 74.3mpg overall and 61.4mpg on the motorway.
So are you ready to jump on the hybrid bandwagon? Or are you going to stick with conventional car power?