I’ve waxed ecstatic about a lot of fun, fast and powerful cars lately. I perk up at the sound of a wailing V12 or the low gurgle of a V8. I could listen to the sound of an Aston Martin starting or a Maserati cruising all day long. These cars create a visceral reaction that releases floods of endorphins and just makes me smile.
Electric cars don’t have that effect.
It’s not that I don’t believe in the cause of the EV, I just don’t feel a passion for them. I get their purpose, and I respect it, but at the end of the day, there’s nothing there to grip me.
The Chevy Volt did nothing to change that. The Tesla Model S might, just because it’s so dang sexy. The Honda Accord Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle, due for the 2014 model year, has a chance to catch on… if it’s priced right. While it’s by no means passion-inducing, at least it seems to have everything the Volt does, plus a healthy dose of whatever it is Honda has that leads to customer obsession.
The car uses a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder linked to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and a 6.7-kWh air-cooled lithium-ion battery pack for a total of 194 hp and somewhere around 100 MPGe. But that’s not what’s so cool about this car. The Accord PHEV has an entire bevy of “modes” and “drives” that changes between battery-only power, hybrid power and gas-only power, along with the option of allowing the gas engine to actually recharge the battery pack or hold the pack at a pre-determined level of charge.
While the Accord PHEV has innovative technological goodies, it severely lacks in the design department. That nose is a jumbled mess of puckered-up silliness, and the wheels look like a ninja’s throwing stars. Then again, it seems buyers of EVs like to make a statement, so maybe this one is just the ticket.
We won’t know price or official MPGe numbers until next month, when the car gets its time in the spotlight at the L.A. Auto Show. Expect the 2014 Honda Accord PHEV to go on sale in January.
Assuming the price of the Accord PHEV is close to the Chevy Volt’s, which would you choose?