No Longer “Alternative,” Hybrid Tech Becoming Standard

Oct 03, 2011
A recent article in the Chicago Tribune poses an interesting question: how long will it be before hybrid technology becomes the standard for new car manufacturing? It seems that the underlying technology that makes hybrids so efficient is already creeping its way into automakers’ plans, with more to come in the near future:


"Customers think 'hybrid' means the Prius," a car mostly powered by gasoline but capable of driving on battery power alone for short distances at low speeds, said Jim Hall, managing director of 2953 Analytics. "That's very simplistic."

But the technology is proliferating at a stunning pace. "It could become tough to find a car without electric augmentation in seven or eight years," Hall said.

So where is this technology being used? Electrical assistance technology can already be found in vehicles like the battery-powered Nissan Leaf and the 414-horsepower twin-turbo BMW M3, which makes use of an automated stop-start system. Buick and Chevrolet are also releasing “hybrid”-based cars soon; the base 2012 Buick LaCrosse will promise 36 mpg on the highway and 25 in the city for less than $30,000, thanks to an electric system Buick calls eAssist. The 2012 Buick Regal midsize sedan will also use eAssist, as well as the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco.

Wider use of fuel-savings technology is ultimately a great step to managing fuel costs in a time when gas prices are so wildly in flux. But remember, even with greater fuel efficiency, it is still important to get the most out of every fill-up with good fuel management. Make sure you pay attention to your fuel spending even when you’re not spending as much!


Photo courtesy of AGeekMom and re-used under the Creative Commons license.