With the onset of high gas prices, the interest in fuel efficient hybrids should increase. All of the listed cars are not so fuel efficient but the 2007 Honda Fit and the 2008 Toyota Prius are definetly worth your attention. The Hybrid Car Newsletter, May 6, has a lot of news about hybrids that are going to be introduced In the next 18 months.
Both Honda and Hyundi will be introducing subcompact models in 2007.
Honda will release a hybrid version of the Honda Fit subcompact. Honda introduced the conventional Fit subcompact hatchback to the U.S. market in April 2006. According to a HybridCar.com article an industry insider has confirmed that Honda will release a hybrid version of the Honda Fit subcompact. More excitement was stirred when Edmunds's Inside Line suggested that the Honda Fit Hybrid could mean an 80-mpg car selling for under $12,000. The Nihon Keizai Shumbum report said that Honda is targeting fuel economy for the Fit hybrid in the 60-mpg range. As a subcompact, the Fit is cute and small—but has over 90 cubic feet of passenger volume (only slightly less than the midsize Accord) and 21.3 cubic feet of cargo capacity, nearly as much room behind the rear seats as a Honda Element. The 60/40-split folding rear seats even allow the Fit to do some minor hauling.
The hybrid version. according to the HybridCars.com interview, will utilize a 1.0-liter engine.HybridCars.com quoted this from an anonymous source:
"If you take the measurement from the wheel hub to the wheel hub of the Fit and the Insight, they are the same to the millimeter. The Fit is going to get the Insight engine. It's already a proven powertrain. It will probably get fuel economy in the low to mid-50s."
In a referenced article, Hyundi is going to be a serious contender in this market by introducing a 1.4 liter Accent with a 1.4 liter, 90 hp continuously variable valve-timing engine and a 16 hp electric motor; increasing the milage 40% from the current 32 mpg. A similar Kia Rio model will also be introduced. They are developing their own design (control system) for their hybrids. "Hybrids are the next-generation growth engine. We plan to shift our R&D focus from fuel cells to hybrids," said Hyundai Chairman Chung Mong-koo.
The Hyundai Accent is likely to face off against a Honda Fit hybrid subcompact. Both cars will sell in the $15,000 range, but the Honda Fit—based on the current buzz—will approach 60 mpg, while the Accent is slated for about 45 mpg.
Last month, Nissan released preliminary details about the 2007 Altima Hybrid, based on the redesigned 2007 Altima due to go on sale in the U.S. early in 2007.
According to this report, General Motors apparently put a gag on a breakthrough announcement scheduled for last month's Stockholm Auto Show: that the Saab Biofuel Hybrid Concept vehicle has plug-in capacity.
As reported earlier in The Energy Blog an unidentified Toyota engineer told the U.K.-based site AutoExpress that the company is aiming to have the next generation Prius on the road in 2008—and that it will could deliver as much as 113 miles to the gallon.