With an increased focus on cleaner emissions and greener technology, car manufacturers globally are working on more hybrid options. Unlike pure electric cars that are low on range and require constant charging, hybrids are very similar to the conventional cars and deliver a longer range. They also leave a much smaller carbon footprint by emitting up to 97 per cent less toxic emissions than the regular cars. In some cases, hybrids also make the the same amount of power as the conventional units but by using a smaller displacement motor, thereby increasing the fuel efficiency substantially.
Honda and Toyota were the only two car manufacturers to offer hybrids in India with the Civic and the Camry respectively. While the Honda Civic hybrid was discontinued in 2009, Toyota has been successfully selling the Camry Hybrid along with the Prius in India. But this will soon change as car manufacturers like Volvo, Honda, Nissan and Volkswagen are bringing in their cleaner hybrid cars to India. Let's take a look at all of them.
Volvo will be getting in the flagship XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid in the Excellence trim in India. Presently, the XC90 is only offered with a 2.0-litre diesel unit. The T8 twin-engine will be powered by a supercharged 2.0-litre petrol and will be paired with an electric motor. The petrol motor will power the front wheels, whereas the rear set will be taken care of by the 60kW electric motor. The combined power output of the petrol and electric motor is an impressive 400PS, while the torque generated by the system is a meaty 640Nm. Volvo claims that in electric mode, the XC90 T8 plug-in hybrid can travel a distance of 40km, under careful driving. The XC90 also uses regenerative braking to power the batteries which are placed along the new Scalable Product Architecture platform.
The new Toyota Prius will be entering India by the end of this year. The major change that the new model gets is a sharper design along with a revised cabin layout. Most importantly, the new Toyota Prius Hybrid boasts of a fuel efficiency of 40kmpl. Toyota states that the new Prius gets an improved hybrid system along with aerodynamic enhancements. The same can be seen with the new active shutters positioned on the radiator grille. It helps reduce the aerodynamic drag. Inside, the cabin features a modern design but the highlight will be the centrally placed instrument cluster. The Toyota Prius hybrid will come equipped with a 1.8-litre Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder petrol engine along with a 80PS electric motor. The combined power output is 134PS. This series-parallel hybrid system can be run on petrol engine alone, the electric motor alone, or a combination of both.
Nissan has already been teasing the X-Trail hybrid on its Indian website as the Japanese car manufacturer will be launching it in the couple of weeks. Nissan debuted in India with the X-Trail, but the SUV couldn't achieve much success for the brand in the country. The new X-Trail gets a completely new design which is reminiscent of the Nissan Qashqai and Juke. The updated radiator grille along with the new headlights and the revised lines make the X-Trail look far more appealing than the previous-gen model. Based on the CMF platform that also underpins the new Megane, the X-Trail hybrid is powered by Nissan's FF hybrid system, where FF stands for petrol hybrid drivetrain for front-engine, front-wheel drive cars. The X-Trail hybrid uses a 2.0-litre petrol motor that churns 144PS/200Nm and a RM31 electric motor that makes 41PS/160Nm. The combined power output is 185PS/360Nm. We have driven the Nissan X-Trail hybrid. Read our first drive review here.
Honda first showcased the Accord hybrid at the 2016 Auto Expo in India. The same was also shown in Thailand a few weeks ago. Powering the Accord hybrid is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder Earth Dreams petrol motor that puts 140PS of power. This unit will be supported by an electric motor, and the combined output of the system will be 215PS. Honda has paired this system with an e-CVT which the company claims will be faster and more efficient than the conventional CVT automatic. The Accord hybrid will also come equipped with Sport Hybrid Intelligent Multi Mode Drive (i-MMD) system that will offer multiple drive modes. Honda states that in pure electric mode (or EV mode), the Accord Hybrid can reach a max speed of 120kmph. The claimed fuel efficiency for the Accord hybrid is 23.8kmpl while putting out 99gm/km of carbon emissions.
The Volkswagen Passat GTE was shown at the 2016 Auto Expo. VW's premium sedan didn't do well in the country owing to its premium pricing. However, this time around Volkswagen is getting in the plug-in hybrid to the country. The Passat GTE plug-in hybrid is powered by a 115PS electric motor along with a 1.4-litre turbocharged 156PS motor mated to a 6-speed DSG gearbox. The system has a combined output of 218PS and generates a total torque output of 400Nm. VW claims that the Passat GTE hybrid also meets EU-VI emission norms. Read our Volkswagen Passat GTE hybrid first drive review here.