Green Update: More EVs and Hybrids Coming

BMW ActiveE

Audi’s E-tron is coming into production later this year as an R8 with four electric motors to give you 313 hp and 502 lb-ft of torque. You can probably get this thing on a limited lease, but if you’ve got the bread, you can buy this sled.

As long as we are still in cloud cuckoo land, consider the Porsche 918 Spyder, which we have reported on before. For $845,000, you will get a hybrid that

promises a top speed of 198 m.p.h., fuel economy exceeding 70 m.p.g. and lower carbon emissions than a Prius. Between its race-bred V-8 and electric motors, the plug-in Porsche will kick out roughly 730 horsepower and is said to be capable of 0-to-60 m.p.h. acceleration in just 3.2 seconds, yet travel up to 25 miles on electricity.

More German stuff at slightly lower cost: BMW’s ActiveE (photo above) has been made available to a lucky few (700) on the coasts for testing. One report praises the car for its “near-gymnastic dexterity” and its remarkable braking system that applies progressive and strong braking force as you take your foot off the accelerator. This is called “one-pedal drive,” and could be the future for EVs.

The best of the new stuff looks to be the Ford C-Max Energi, a plug-in coming in the fall. It’s a gas-and-electric combo, like the Volt, and claims a 500-mile range. But unlike the Volt, it will use gas and electric together for something like 93 mpge. Or gas only, or electric only. Seats 5. And the Energi configuration is coming to the 2013 Fusion.

The Volt and its uglier cousin, the Vauxhall/Opel Ampera, were named 2012 European Car of the Year and beat out some stiff competition. So it’s not all bad news for the Volt.

For the most fuel-efficient car in America, look to the 2012 Ford Focus Electric, which was rated at 113 mpge, beating the Leaf. You can go 76 miles on a full charge and recharge in four hours (at 240 volts).

Volkswagen Cross Coupe(Ford, by the way, is sending out software upgrades on a flash drive to all the disgruntled MyFord Touch owners, of which there are many. MyGod, they are responding to MyArticle! I am touched.)

Finally, Volkswagen will be showing its Cross Coupé (right), which isn’t a coupé but a 4-door crossover claiming 130 mpg (European standards) and 300 hp—all of which comes from a TDI diesel and two electric motors. Top speed is reported to be 136 mph.

Are any of these cars particularly interesting to you—either as future purchases or for their technical features?


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Toyota Prius
Used Chevrolet Volt
Used Ford Fusion
Used Ford Focus
Used Nissan Leaf


  1. @ Randy
    Prius c One, $19,710 (including $760 freight charge from Japan): Standard equipment as remote locking, automatic climate control, tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio, climate, multi-information display, Bluetooth hands free phone controls and 15-inch low-rolling resistance tires and steel wheels with wheel covers.

    Prius c Two, $20,660: Upgrades over Prius c One include a six-speaker audio system, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with adjustable headrests, cruise control, engine immobilizer, center console with armrest and storage compartment and a cargo area tonneau cover.

    Prius c Three, $22,395: Upgrades focus on desirable audio and connectivity features. Included is a Display Audio system with Navigation and Entune that adds a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Sirius XM Satellite Radio capability (includes 3 month trial subscription to XM Select Package), HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, USB port with iPod connectivity and control, vehicle information with customizable settings and advanced voice recognition. Toyota Entune includes Bing and Pandora; real-time info including traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports, and stocks. Free apps include iHeartRadio, and OpenTable. Access to Entune services is free for three years.

    Standard features on the Three include color-keyed outside door handles with touch-sensor lock/unlock feature, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio, climate, multi-information display control pad, Bluetooth hands free phone and voice command controls, a Touch Tracer Display and Smart Key locking and push-button ignition and remote illuminated entry. Options include 15-inch alloy wheels ($390) and a power tilt-slide moonroof with sunshade ($850).

    Prius c Four, $23,990: adds 15-inch, eight-spoke alloy wheels, Softex-trimmed heated front seats, color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, and integrated fog lamps. Options include 16-inch, eight-spoke alloy wheels ($300) with 195/50R16 tires and power moonroof with sunshade ($850).

  2. BTW, I’m waiting to see that Toyota chooses for pricing on their new Prius C. If they are smart, they will dock about five grand off the Prius Gen III and will have to pass out numbers for all the people wanting to buy one, especially if it can get near 60mpg.

  3. What in heaven’s name would anyone do with a hybrid that can clock 136 MPH top speed? These absurdly priced things are designed for rich people to assuage some of their guilt for the other car in their garage– (or maybe other 10 cars) like 8MPG Bentleys and 10mpg hummers.

    Why is it so hard to build a light, simple EV with a 50 mile range and a top speed of 65mph and a cost under $20K? I’d buy one. I will NOT buy a $40,000 volt or $36,000 leaf (which shouldn’t cost more than $20,000 in the first place. I’ve already driven such a car– It was called the EV1 and it could have been mass produced in that price range.

  4. As an avid EV Theist, I had hoped that EVs were the ultimate answer for our gasoline related problems. Alas, I am now of the belief that they just don’t make sense for us under current geopolitical and economic conditions. If the Great Recession we’re currently in doesn’t abate in a hurry, I can foresee an early demise for further R&D in production and manufacturing of these vehicles. Developments in the Middle East don’t help the situation either. I am also convinced that the American driving public just really doesn’t care for owning a car with an exorbitant price compared to a conventionally gasoline powered vehicle and have to be saddled with “range anxiety” as well.

    The last two days we’ve been bombarded by Detroit and the media about the use of natural gas in truck fleets as the next best thing to come around the block. Compared to batteries, gas is cheap, dirt cheap. And that will end up being a problem in the future. Here in my neck of the woods in the Upper Ohio Valley we are undergoing a natural gas drilling orgy with thousands of wells being drilled and fracked. We have so much natural gas now that the drillers are shutting down their wells and capping them because the price is too low to sell at a profit. So with everyone now pushing natural gas in cars and trucks, what do you think is going to happen down the road? When the price inevitably goes up, people will start to push EVs again and we’re back where we started. Aarghh.

    Another bothersome trend that I see is that these newer “energy efficient” gasoline powered smaller cars aren’t coming anywhere close to their EPA mileage numbers. The Big Auto Mags are reporting “real life” numbers 4-5 mpg off their EPA stickers. This is what can be expected when you “test” auto numbers in a lab with a machine in a perfect environment that includes no cold weather, no mountains or hills, and stop ‘n go traffic conditions. It is criminal to allow the EPA to publish numbers in this manner. Four years ago when people bitched about the numbers, the EPA “fixed” their number, not by testing in real world conditions, but simply decreasing their numbers by 20%. Hah, a mathematical fix to real world numbers. Reminds me of the way that climatologists measure carbon footprints…………..oops, sorry Senor.

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