By Dennis J James
The 3008 Hybrid4 is Peugeot's offer of the first diesel fueled hybrid in the world. While other hybrid cars use a petrol engine, Peugeot's hybrid combines the turbo diesel unit designed to power the front wheels with the electric motor driving the rear axle. The car is more fuel efficient than other hybrids and it also offers a four-wheel drive mode.
The diesel engine is connected to a gearbox that is electronically controlled but also can function manually on a six-speed sequential system. The kinetic energy produced during deceleration is transformed into electrical energy that can recharge the Nickel Metal Hydride batteries. The hybrid offered by Peugeot can operate on both front-drive only, rear-drive only or all wheel drive modes.
European sales will start in the spring of 2011. In the U.S. however, sales for hybrids have dropped during the last few years. It seems that some hybrid buyers prefer full-electric cars.
The first hybrid car in the U.S. was Honda Insight sold in December 1999. A decade later one and a half million hybrids were sold in the United States. For the next decade, car manufacturers are offering a variety of electric or hybrid cars to satisfy consumers that are interested in using vehicles that are more environmentally friendly.
The 2011 Fisker Karma will be the first car to be produced this year. However, it is a rather expensive car that will be sold in small numbers. Chevy Volt Mania 2010 will start rolling off the line in November. Nissan's all-electric Leaf will also be launched late in 2010.
Toyota's hegemony on hybrids will be challenged by new automakers interested in catering for the hybrid market. Hyundai's first gas-electric car, Sonata Hybrid is also due towards the end of 2010. Fuel economy is expected to be improved by 20 to 25% on Sonata Hybrid.
Honda has focused on hybrids that are small and more affordable. The 2011 Honda CR-Z Hybrid and Honda Fit Hybrid are expected in the fall of 2010. The CR-Z Hybrid was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in 2008 and it would be the only hybrid with manual transmission.
Mercedes-Benz ML450 Hybrid was presented at the New York Auto Show in 2009 and it would be the first vehicle that offers gasoline, diesel and hybrid alternatives.
BMW's X6 Hybrid and Active 7 offer higher horsepower, luxury but also fuel efficiency. ActiveHybrid 7 will be the fastest accelerating hybrid sedan.
A hybrid version of the Dodge Ram pickup is scheduled to be launched in 2010 by Chrysler. GM's hybrid pickup, Chevy Silverado Hybrid is not selling very well in the U.S.
Before the end of 2010 Porsche will introduce the Cayenne S Hybrid which uses a direct-injected and supercharged Audi V6 engine together with an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Toyota Prius is the best sold hybrid and will continue to evolve as well. A plug-in version of Prius is expected to overcome the competitors' challenges.
Hybrids of all shapes and sizes, ranging from low cost to high horsepower or cars that will run only on electric power will probably flood the market in the next years.
Dennis runs Car Dealer Check a site that provides user generated Car Dealer Reviews and information on Maryland Car Dealers.
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