Our Earth is at the crossroads with all the environmental issues and automobiles are considered second to none contributor of pollution. This is the main reason why almost every manufacturer and some independent companies are working hard to develop technologies that can help reduce this pollution-related issues in automobiles.
Hybrid cars or Electric cars are one such area where most of the manufacturers are putting a lot of emphasis on. And they are correct in doing so, considering that the conventional sources of energies like petrol and diesel are quickly depleting, and the time is not far when they will not be available to power any of our cars.
On the other hand, advanced renewable energy related technologies are far from developed and Fuel Cells and Solar cars are still a distant dream. Although manufacturers like Toyota has achieved a breakthrough in providing a sustainable source of hydrogen to power its car - Mirai - the cost of ownership is still very high.
And this leads to development in the field of hybrid engines like petrol-electric hybrid or pure electric drivetrain. The cost of ownership of these cars has come down drastically over the years and they are widely accepted among conventionally powered cars. Manufacturers like Tesla, Toyota and Honda are leading this front.
Speaking of which, India is yet to inculcate many of these cars in the main automobile scene. Only a handful of cars like the Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry hybrid and Mahinrda e2O are sold in our country, which in the coming years will be one of the largest user of the cars. Hence we brought you a list of 5 such hybrid and electric cars that could help push sales of such cars in India.
Here's our list of top 5 electric, hybrid cars India needs in immediate future!
Nissan Leaf stands for Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family car. Nissan Leaf is an electric car manufactured by Japanese autogiant Nissan and was launched in 2010 end. The 5-door compact hatchback has been the best selling all-electric car ever with over 160000 units sold till date. Initially launched in Japan and the U.S, Nissan Leaf now sells in almost 35 countries.
Nissan leaf has an official range of more than 200 kms in a single charge, making it one of the most viable option to buy in India if one is looking for an electric car. The car has zero tailpipe emission and hence has a minimal carbon footprint. Among the many awards that Leaf won, Green Car Vision Award 2010, European Car of the Year 2011, and World Car of the Year 2011 are major.
A company like BMW is known to manufacture lifestyle luxury vehicles that are status symbols. But when they decided to enter the hybrid industry, everyone was skeptical about their outcome. Needless to say, BMW being BMW, they rolled out the BMW i3 and BMW i8 sportscar in no time, both of these cars won many green awards across the globe.
The BMW i3 was previously known as the Mega City Vehicle (MCV) and is a five-door urban electric car. The i3 is the first mass produced vehicle from the BMW under the i-series that emits zero emissions. Made of the carbon fibre reinforced plastics, the BMW i3's official range is about 200 km in the most efficient driving mode with an efficiency of around 1.90L/100 km. BMW also offers a range extender that is powered by 647cc two-cylinder petrol engine that recharges the battery when the level drops, extending the range to 300 km.
Among all the all-electric cars sold worldwide in 2014, the BMW i3 was ranked third and sixth among the top 10 global best selling plug-in electric cars. The BMW i3 has also won the prestigious World Car of the Year award for two times, World Green Car of the Year award in 2014 and also the 2014 World Car Design of the Year. Why does it hold importance to India is the fact that BMW has already launched the i8 sportscar in our country and bringing i3 will only enhance the 'i' image in India.
Chevrolet Volt may probably be the poster boy of electric-hybrids in the U.S.A. Coming from the house of the biggest manufacturer, it ought to be special. Volkswagen Volt sedan was first launched in December 2010 and has sold close to 1 lakh units till now. The sales of the Volt have been restricted to the U.S and some European countries for now.
The Volt runs on a pure battery until its capacity to run on the electric power drops. After that, an internal combustion engine recharges the battery through an electric generator and extends the vehicle's range as needed. Also, the regenerative braking helps in the electricity generation every time the driver brakes the car, same as the KERS in the F1 cars.
The Chevrolet Volt is said to have an efficiency of 3.8L/100km while the all-electric range is 61 km. Chevrolet also unveiled the second generation Volt recently with an improved all-electric range of 80 km, though the model has not gone on sale for now. In the coming years, Chevrolet promises that the next generation Volt will be a revelation for the industry.
Among the many awards that the Chevrolet Volt has won, the 2009 Green Car Vision Award was the most prominent one. Apart from it, the Volt has also won the 2011 Green Car of the Year, 2011 World Green Car and 2012 European Car of the Year. Chevy Volt also won the North American Car of the year award in 2009.
Tesla Model S
As much as the founder of the Tesla Motors is flamboyant, so is the cars rolling out of his manufacturing facility. One such car is the plug-in electric five-door luxury Tesla Model S. Tesla Model S is nothing short of a wonder in today's world, considering that the official mileage of the car is whopping 426 km and a fuel consumption figure equivalent to 2.6L/100km.
Launched in mid-2012, and sold on in limited countries, Tesla has already sold 70000 units of the Model S. Not only this, but the Model S became the first electric vehicle ever to lead the monthly car sales number in any country - twice in Norway to be particular. Tesla Model S also scored a perfect 5.0 NHTSA automobile safety rating, making it one of the safest EV in the world.
The Tesla Model S won awards such as the 2013 World Green Car of the Year, 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, Automobile Magazine's 2013 Car of the Year, Time Magazine Best 25 Inventions of the Year 2012 award and Consumer Reports' top-scoring car ever.
Chevrolet Spark EV
Chevrolet Spark is a big project from a big company. The American powerhouse, known already to manufacture the successful Volt wasn't being able to tap the entry level electric-vehicle market. Which they decided to go forward with the third generation Spark. Chevrolet Spark is a compact hatchback, which is sold as Beat in India. The modern and funky looking hatchback couldn't find much customers here in India, but the car is successful outside, and the electric motor could be the saving grace for the company.
What makes the Spark a useful product in India is the fact that small cars are successful in our country. And this is the reason that manufacturers like Maruti Suzuki dominate the market selling hatchbacks only. Most of the research that has been going in the world has been done on the sedans. The Spark is among very few hatchback that are not lifestyle oriented and will keep that price tag low which we essentially need here.
The Spark EV comes powered by a nanophosphate lithium-ion battery pack that was supplied by A123 Systems. The electric motor produces healthy 114 hp and can be fast-charged to 80% in just 20 minutes using an optional connector. The average charging time using a dedicated 240-volt charging station is 7 hours. LG Chem is supplying the batteries now and the size has been reduced for the battery pack.