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Hybrid Vehicle Comparison

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Money in gas capThere are three primary types of hybrid vehicles we are going to compare: the parallel hybrid, the mild hybrid and the plug-in hybrid. Then we provide an overview of the car models on the market as of summer 2012.

Hybrid vehicle type 1: Mild Hybrid

Our hybrid vehicle comparison begins with the mild hybrid. In the case of the mild hybrid, the electric motor is used more to assist the gas-powered engine as opposed to being used to actually drive the car during times when less power is required. In the mild hybrid, the electric motor usually serves to power the air conditioning and heating units, the power steering, and other systems easily powered by electricity. By using electric energy for these kinds of functions instead of petroleum, the vehicle reduces the amount of fuel consumption used by standard petroleum powered vehicles.

Hybrid vehicle type 2: Plug-in Hybrid

Next up in our hybrid vehicle comparison is the plug-in hybrid. The name plug-in helps describe how this type of hybrid vehicle works. The plug-in hybrid relies more on electric power than gas power. The electric power is utilized for most of the driving and the gasoline powered engine kicks in to assist the electric motor. This is opposite that of the mild hybrid. The plug-in hybrid has much larger batteries than the other hybrid versions, allowing for a larger capacity for energy storage. Reasonably, this type of hybrid uses the least amount of gasoline and produces the least amount of carbon dioxide emissions. However, this type also requires a heavier electric motor that can not be recharged by the combustion engine alone. Thus, the term “plug-in” implies that it must be recharged at a stationary electric supply source.

Currently the most popular type of hybrid on the market is the parallel hybrid.

Hybrid vehicle type 3: Parallel Hybrid

Electric car pannelTwo round out our hybrid vehicle comparison we discuss the parallel hybrid. Again, the name parallel indicates how the two energy sources work to power the vehicle: they work together, in parallel, during higher speeds and acceleration. These cars use the electric power for reverse drive and low speeds because the energy demand is significantly less for such movement. When more energy is required for uphill and higher speeds, the electric energy is supplemented with the energy produced by the gas-powered engine. It is supplemented not separately from the electric motor, but in tandem with it, employing both energy sources at the same time. By continuing the use of electric energy in parallel with the added gas power, the negative effects of gas are reduced.

Current Hybrid Car Models

As of July 2012

As we become more conscious of the impact that we are having on the environment the number of hybrid cars available has increased. Below we will take a look at some of the current hybrid vehicles available on the market.

Acura ILX Base Sedan

MSRP: $25,900

Base Engine: 2.0L L4 150HP

Fuel MPG: 24 city / 35 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 2.0L in-line four-cylinder OHC i-VTEC with variable valve timing
  • Premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 24 MPG city, 35 MPG highway, 28 MPG combined and 370 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 13.2gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 150 hp @ 6,500 rpm; 140 ft lb of torque @ 4,300 rpm

BMW ActiveHybrid 5 Base Sedan

MSRP: $60,950

Base Engine: 3.0L L6 335HP

Fuel MPG: 23 city / 30 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Turbocharged
  • Engine: 3.0L in-line 6 DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
  • Electric / premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 23 MPG city and 30 MPG highway
  • Gasoline direct fuel injection
  • 18.5gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 335 hp @ 5,800 rpm; 330 ft lb of torque
  • Secondary power: 300 hp @ 5,800 rpm; 300 lb ft @ 1,300 rpm

2012 BMW ActiveHybrid 7 750i Sedan

MSRP: $97,000

Base Engine: 4.4L V8 455HP

Fuel MPG: 17 city / 24 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Turbocharged
  • Engine: 4.4L V eight-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing
  • Electric / premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 17 MPG city, 24 MPG highway, 20 MPG combined and 434 mi. range
  • Gasoline direct fuel injection
  • 21.7gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 455 hp @ 5,500 rpm; 515 ft lb of torque @ 2,000 rpm
  • Secondary power: 440 hp @ 5,500 rpm; 480 lb ft @ 1,800 rpm

2013 Chevy Volt Base Hatchback

MSRP: $39,145

Base Engine: 1.4L L4 149HP

Fuel MPG: 35 city / 40 hwy

Bodystyle: Hatchback

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 1.4L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
  • Electric / premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 95 MPG city, 93 MPG highway, 94 MPG combined and 350 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 9.3gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 149 hp and 273 ft lb of torque
  • Secondary fuel economy:
  • Secondary power: 83 hp @ 4,800 rpm; 93 lb ft

2012 Kia Optima Hybrid Base Sedan

MSRP: $25,700

Base Engine: 2.4L L4 206HP

Fuel MPG: 35 city / 40 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 2.4L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 35 MPG city, 40 MPG highway, 37 MPG combined and 636 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 17.2gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 206 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 195 ft lb of torque @ 4,250 rpm
  • Secondary power: 166 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 154 lb ft @ 4,250 rpm

2012 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid Base Sedan

MSRP: $25,795

Base Engine: 2.4L L4 206HP

Fuel MPG: 35 city / 40 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 2.4L Theta in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 35 MPG city, 40 MPG highway, 37 MPG combined and 636 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 17.2gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 206 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 193 ft lb of torque
  • Secondary power: 166 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 154 lb ft @ 4,500 rpm

2013 Infiniti M35h Base Sedan

MSRP: $53,700

Base Engine: 3.5L V6 360HP

Fuel MPG: 27 city / 32 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 3.5L V six-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing
  • Electric / premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 27 MPG city, 32 MPG highway, 29 MPG combined and 516 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 17.8gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 360 hp and 258 ft lb of torque
  • Secondary power: 302 hp @ 6,800 rpm; 258 lb ft @ 5,000 rpm

2012 Lexus CT 200h Base Hatchback

MSRP: $29,120

Base Engine: 1.8L L4 134HP

Fuel MPG: 43 city / 40 hwy

Bodystyle: Hatchback

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 1.8L in-line four-cylinder DOHC VVT-i with variable valve timing
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 43 MPG city, 40 MPG highway, 42 MPG combined and 500 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 11.9gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 134 hp
  • Secondary power: 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm; 105 lb ft @ 2,800 rpm

2013 Lexus GS450H Base Sedan

MSRP: $58,950

Base Engine: 3.5L V6 340HP

Fuel MPG: 22 city / 25 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 3.5L V six-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing
  • Electric / premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 29 MPG city, 34 MPG highway, 31 MPG combined and 539 mi. range
  • Gasoline direct fuel injection
  • 17.4gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 338 hp @ 6,000 rpm;
  • Secondary power: 286 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 254 lb ft @ 4,600 rpm

2012 Lexus HS250h Base Sedan

MSRP: $36,330

Base Engine: 2.4L L4 187HP

Fuel MPG: 35 city / 34 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 2.4L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 35 MPG city, 34 MPG highway, 35 MPG combined and 508 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 14.5gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 187 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 187 ft lb of torque @ 4,400 rpm
  • Secondary power: 147 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 138 lb ft @ 4,400 rpm

2012 Lexus LS600H L Sedan

MSRP: $112,250

Base Engine: 5.0L V8 438HP

Fuel MPG: 19 city / 23 hwy

Bodystyle: Sedan

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 5.0L V eight-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing
  • Electric / premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 19 MPG city, 23 MPG highway, 20 MPG combined and 444 mi. range
  • Gasoline direct fuel injection
  • 22.2gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 438 hp
  • Secondary power: 389 hp @ 6,400 rpm; 385 lb ft @ 4,000 rpm

2013 Lexus RX450h Base Sport Utility

MSRP: $44,735

Base Engine: 3.5L V6 295HP

Fuel MPG: 30 city / 28 hwy

Bodystyle: SUV

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 3.5L V six-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing
  • Electric / premium unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 30 MPG city, 28 MPG highway, 29 MPG combined and 499 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 17.2gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 295 hp
  • Secondary power: 245 hp @ 6,000 rpm; 234 lb ft @ 4,800 rpm

2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid Base Sport Utility

MSRP: $38,140

Base Engine: 3.5L V6 280HP

Fuel MPG: 28 city / 28 hwy

Bodystyle: SUV

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 3.5L V 6 DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 28 MPG city, 28 MPG highway, 28 MPG combined and 482 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 17.2gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 280 hp
  • Secondary power: 231 hp @ 5,800 rpm; 215 lb ft @ 4,800 rpm

2012 Toyota Prius II Hatchback

MSRP: $23,520

Base Engine: 1.8L L4 134HP

Fuel MPG: 51 city / 48 hwy

Bodystyle: Hatchback

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 1.8L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 51 MPG city, 48 MPG highway, 50 MPG combined and 595 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 11.9gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 134 hp
  • Secondary power: 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm; 105 lb ft @ 4,000 rpm

2012 Toyota Prius C One Hatchback

MSRP: $18,950

Base Engine: 1.5L L4 99HP

Fuel MPG: 53 city / 46 hwy

Bodystyle: Hatchback

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 1.5L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 53 MPG city, 46 MPG highway, 50 MPG combined and 475 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 9.5gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 99 hp
  • Secondary power: 73 hp @ 4,800 rpm; 82 lb ft @ 4,000 rpm

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Base Hatchback

MSRP: $32,000

Base Engine: L HP

Fuel MPG: N/ A

Bodystyle: Hatchback

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 1.8L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 49 MPG combined and 595 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 10.6gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 134 hp
  • Secondary power: 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm; 105 lb ft @ 4,000 rpm

2012 Toyota Prius V Two Wagon

MSRP: $26,550

Base Engine: 1.8L L4 134HP

Fuel MPG: 44 city / 40 hwy

Bodystyle: Wagon

Performance Specs

  • Engine: 1.8L in-line four-cylinder DOHC with variable valve timing and four valves per cylinder
  • Electric / unleaded fuel
  • Fuel economy: EPA (08):, 44 MPG city, 40 MPG highway, 42 MPG combined and 500 mi. range
  • Multi-point fuel injection
  • 11.9gallon fuel tank
  • Power (SAE): 134 hp
  • Secondary power: 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm; 105 lb ft @ 4,000 rpm

Michelle is passionate about living a healthy life. She shops farmers markets, cooks organic, and eats vegetarian. Juicing and smoothies are a part of everyday life in her home. So are recycling, composting, and gardening. I guess you could say Michelle has a green thumb. Even when a plant doesn't make it under her care, she is still dedicated to making the earth a greener place for future generations.

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15 Comments on "Hybrid Vehicle Comparison"

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Anonymous
Anonymous
The environmental advantages of the both electric and hybrid cars should be quite obvious to everybody. They result in increased health for both people and nature. It is long since proved that the use of oil products releases more pollution into the air than nature can take care of, increasing risks of both cancer and lung diseases. The pollution produced by cars might also get carried into the atmosphere where it transforms into acidic rain, one of the worst problems for nature and even planted crops. So by using hybrid and electric cars humanity not only does nature a favor,… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
I had, of course, heard about hybrid cars before, and I see that they are gaining popularity, but I never understood what they were all about until now. How completely cool! I know a lot of people are skeptical about hybrid cars, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that they do not know very much about how they work and there is no reason to hate. Probably a lot of it comes from a misunderstanding that a hybrid car is the same as one that is completely electric, a mistake I am guilty of, too.… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
Considering the successful reception that hybrid vehicles have received since their indoctrination into the automobile marketplace, it is surprising more effort has not been made to manufacture more electric-focused vehicles to continue the economic trend. Parallel hybrids are easily the most popular on the market these days and it stands to reason that part of their acceptance has come from the fact that very little has been sacrificed in the driving experience in the name of gaining higher fuel economy. I think drivers have been concerned that there would not be sufficient power to move these cars at speeds they… Read more »
Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
The moment I saw the Chevy Volt, I knew that it would more than likely be the next car I purchase. I love the idea of being able to just plug in your car to charge and spending a lot less on gas. Of course, you do have to wonder how much it would cost to charge the car? After all, electricity isn’t free and the rising cost of electricity does make me question the purchase. However, why not use solar panels to keep the car charged? It might be a big investment up front, but it could really pay… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
I’m really interested in getting a hybrid. I’m especially fascinated by the plug in hybrid, but I wonder if it’s just the novel idea of plugging in a car? I think, in the end, I’m going for the hybrid car that gives me the most driving time on the least amount of gas. Hey, what can I say? I’m human and I hate buying gas. I also hate that our fuel emissions are damaging the environment. I wish there was an all-electric car and forgive me if there really is one, but I only have an hour or two per… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
Very cool to see that the auto industry is keeping up with the times and creating more types of hybrid vehicles, and better ones at that. It is also a great sign that consumers are finally demanding more of these energy-efficient automobiles rather than the traditional gas-guzzlers that Americans are famous for driving. I understand there is a time and place for a gigantic flatbed truck, but for many people, a hybrid sedan is completely sufficient and will save hundreds to thousands of dollars in gas compared to a regular sedan. Cities are getting hip to the trend as well,… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
I have the most hands-on experience with the parallel hybrid vehicle that simultaneously charges the electric motor while using the gasoline engine for power. This is the case in the Toyota Prius hybrid that seems to be the most popular brand out there these days. Seeing how this works, and from what I know of simple electricity, it seems to me that someday there could be an electrical motor that potentially powers itself with little or no assistance from gasoline or an external source that must be plugged in to. Electricity can be generated by placing a magnet on a… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
As I read this article, it makes me think that we are maybe 1 to 3 decades away from a completely electric vehicle being a reality, or even a vehicle that runs on something like corn oil, soy oil, or water or something. It just seems like we are just on the verge. We still need a little gas, and every electric component is still somewhat bulky and possibly slightly laborious to charge and maintain, however, that’s the path every innovation takes. This article makes me think of the cell phone. Remember those cell phones in the 80s? Lol, I… Read more »
Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
I remember when the first Prius hit the market. Wow, that was so long ago and it makes me feel old. However, I wasn’t impressed with the car. Sure, it got great gas mileage, but gas mileage isn’t enough to excite a teenager. And, let’s face it. It was ugly. Times have changed and the options available in hybrids has too. You no longer have to settle for a clown car that does 0 to 10 in 60 seconds. The ability to own fast cars and large SUVs, while being more eco-friendly is awesome. Because, let’s face it. We all… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
The author of this article gives a very clear picture of the three different types of hybrid vehicles that are currently available. Anyone who is or has been considering such a type of car would do well to familiarize themselves with these facts. The first type is the mild hybrid. This is interesting to me, since it seems the electric motor here is used mainly to power systems like the air conditioning, power steering and other electrical systems. It is essentially there to just take a little bit of pressure off and improve the use of fuel. Another type is… Read more »
Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
I think if you are going to go for a hybrid, you may as well go all the way and get one that is a plug in hybrid rather than one that still uses gas for even half of the function of the car. Or at least that is what I hope to do when I buy my hybrid car. There are already things you can do to modify your car so it uses less gas, but unless you do a complete overhaul, it’s pretty hard to make it so that gas is the thing you use the least of.… Read more »
Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
This is the first time I ever heard the term “parallel hybrid”. To me, if it uses two sources of energy, it is a hybrid and that is the end of that, or rather it was. I am currently in the market for a hybrid vehicle or an electric vehicle, which is why I am here, trying to do some research so I can make a educated choice when I go to by my hybrid car or electric car. I am very interested in learning more and I am finding the information about hybrid cars on this site to be… Read more »
Scott
Scott

Hybrid Trucks have been around for years. 2007 Chevy Silverado , 2007 GMC Sierra…

Anonymous
Anonymous

Cars today are greatly running in full petrol! However the Japanese have made a step forward to make greener cars that helps the environment free from any carbon emissions from combustion engines. Parts like the oxygen sensor is capable of delivering the proper air intake inside the engine.

Kathy Faust
Admin
Kathy Faust
I remember when there were just a few hybrid vehicles to choose from and trucks were certainly not in the lineup. Now you can find almost any style of vehicle in a hybrid model. What I also love is that hybrid vehicles have made advancements that have allowed them to be more powerful. I’m happy that most American brands offer a hybrid version. However, as much as I love American-made vehicles, I would be more apt to choose a Honda hybrid because the company has been making green decisions for decades. If I were going to buy an American-made hybrid,… Read more »
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