Hybrid technology, zero emissions, luxury, high performance, and five-passenger seating – these are words consumers are likely to hear and see applied to more and more vehicles in the near future as automakers amp up their hybrid and all-electric product offerings.
For starters, Infiniti is set to show off its 2012 M35h luxury sports sedan at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show in November. Infiniti says the hybrid is based on the M sedan and promises the performance of a V-8 with the fuel economy of a four-cylinder from its estimated 302-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 and supported by 50-kW (estimated 67 horsepower) electric motor. The Infiniti M35h is expected to go on sale in spring 2011.
Infiniti also has plans for even more electrification. The brand's plans to develop a high-performance, five-passenger, luxury electric car–the 2013 Infiniti EV--is a case in point. The new EV will be shown sometime next year in concept form, but it's sure to share some pieces with the groundbreaking 2011 Nissan Leaf on sale later this year.
The 2011 Leaf is available for order in some states, and Nissan promises the five-passenger, five-door 2011 Leaf that will go 100 miles on a charge and get up to 90 miles per hour maximum speed. The Leaf has ABS, six airbags, stability and traction control and a host of standard and optional features. Nissan says the Leaf goes on sale in December in California, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, and Tennessee and will be available nationwide in 12 to 18 months. Demand for the Leaf has been so great that the automaker has stopped taking orders.
Other hybrids, electrics and more
Here’s what other automakers currently (or will soon) have available in the way of hybrid or electric vehicles. It's difficult to keep on top of all the latest developments in the ever-growing hybrid-EV field, but from major, mass-market brands, these cars are on tap:
The 2011 Chevrolet Volt, a four-passenger sedan and competitor to the Leaf, goes on sale in November in Californi first, and then in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Texas, and Washington, D.C. The Volt runs on battery power for the first 40 miles but has a small gasoline engine to generate electricity once the battery runs down. With a base sticker of $41,000, after a federal tax credit of $7,500, the net price for the 2011 Volt is $33,500. It can also be leased for $350 per month.CR-Z Sport Hybrid, billed as the “first six-speed production hybrid,” as well as the compact Civic Hybrid.
BMW -- the ActiveHybrid 7-Series is on sale, as is the ActiveHybrid X6
Cadillac – Escalade Hybrid large SUV
Ford – mid-size Fusion Hybrid, Escape Hybrid
Chevrolet – Tahoe Hybrid, Silverado Hybrid
GMC – Yukon Hybrid, Sierra Hybrid
Lexus -- HS 250h, RX 450h, GS 450h and LS 600h L
Lincoln – MKZ Hybrid
Mazda – Tribute Hybrid
Mercury – Milan Hybrid, Mariner Hybrid
Mercedes-Benz – S400 Hybrid sedan, ML450 Hybrid 4MATIC
Mitsubishi – 2012 iMiEV electric minicar, expected to go on sale in the U.S. in late 2011
SmartforTwo – 2012 SmartforTwo electric drive doesn’t go on sale in U.S. until 2012, but the company will offer four-year leases in October 2010
Toyota – Prius, Camry Hybrid, Highlander Hybrid
Is an electric or hybrid in your family’s future?
We already see hybrid and electric cars in commercials and on the streets. Looking ahead, there will be more EVs, fuel-cell-powered cars, and other yet-to-be-designed-and-engineered zero-emission vehicles on the grid.