It’s been said that “The Tesla Roadster is the only sexy electric or hybrid car on the road.” We respectfully disagree.
Pop idol Justin Bieber was presented with one of these beauties for his 18th birthday on the Ellen DeGeneres show, following in the footsteps of Leonardo DiCaprio, who bought the first 2012 Fisker Karma. A solar panel roof, 250 mile range, 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds and a sleek exterior to drool over are all wrapped cleverly into this nice work of car art and punctuated with a $90,000 USD starting price sticker. The Fisker Karma can go 50 miles on all electric charge and then carry on an additional 300 miles on fossil fuel while still achieving an admirable 100 miles per gallon. Its trademarked EVer technology uses an electric generator and battery pack to power dual-electric motors without using gas to drive the wheels. The car has two modes: stealth mode, with a top speed of 95 mph and a 50 mile range, and sport mode, which cranks the top speed up to 125 mph and the range to 250 miles. Give me one of these and I'll sell my soul and/or become a Belieber too.
Two years ago, Ferrari gave its own gift to the Geneva Motor Show when it presented its green hybrid car, the Ferrari Hybrid 599 . Although Ferrari CEO, Amedeo Felisa, doesn't gush enthusiasm for any immediately marketable hybrid technology, the Hybrid 599 makes its own mark in the evolution of electric cars with a tri-phase, high-voltage electric motor coupled to the rear of the dual-clutch 7-speed F1 transmission. Now who can say no to F1 technology?
We're not judging, but if Leo had waited until the end of 2012, he could've gone from 0-62 mph in just 4.8 seconds with the Audi R8 e-Tron, which is rumored to have a release date around the end of this year. Still a concept car, the R8 is wowing crowds with a sporty body and a purely electric drive system with a 154 mile range.
Shameless self promotion #1: Charge your car in under 30 minutes. Terra 51 [pdf] is compatible with all electric vehicles using the CHAdeMO standard and is the ideal choice when only a single vehicle needs to be charged at any given time. Typical charging times are between 15 and 30 minutes, making the product highly suitable for business and commercial fleet owners, as well as light commercial vehicle fleet owners and utility infrastructure suppliers.
How much are you paying for gas? Whatever it is, we're betting that a x of $8 per 120 miles sounds pretty good. Depending on exactly where you live, that's about what you can expect to pay to drive the Prius PHEV. The much lauded Pruis Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle makes a much more realistic--and still far from plebian--birthday present for most of us. In fully electric mode the new Prius can travel 10-15 miles, just about right for the average commute, and a further 30-40 miles on "blended" hybrid power. Since the car is widely available on the market, an abundance of driver reviews and real-life mileage feedback is also available.
It's been called the fastest electric car on Earth. The Jaguar C-X75 eats over 200 miles of asphalt in 60 minutes and goes from a standstill to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. A plug-in hybrid concept car, the C-X75 has an innovative solution when the electric battery runs low: it simply squeezes more juice. Instead of a traditional combustion engine, it has two 70-kilowatt micro gas turbines that recharge the battery. The first 68 miles are powered fully by the car's electric engine, and after that it can purportedly boast an impressive range of around 500 miles.
The Chevy Volt's practical design offers a realistic solution to electric car ownership, and it has been receiving some notable nods of approval. It's been named Car of the Year and European Car of the Year, it has a consumer rating of 4.8 out of 5 and (lest you have buyer's regret) it was named the Kelly Blue Book Best Resail Value EV of 2012. It offers a 35 mile full electric range, and will travel another 344 miles after that, using petroleum.
February's cold spell was a blessing in disguise for EV fans, who got a Paparazzi-style sneak peak at the i8 concept car test driving in the snow. The BMW i8 bring 349 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque to bear on the road, sending the vehicle from 0-62 mph in under five seconds seconds and shooting forward at a max of 155 mph. The all-electric driving range is about 20 miles, and the ideal fuel efficiency is around 94 mpg.
Shameless self promotion #2: The ABB AC Charge Station recharges electric vehicles in a few hours – at night or when the driver is at work, or during every day activities, such as shopping or dining out. Adhering to latest standards and technologies, the product combines maximum user safety with high charging performance.
If you’re a bit of a tightwad or you simply can’t afford a Porsche 918 Spyder, this car might just be the right choice for you. With approximately $400,000 you can call yourself the owner of a Venturi Fétish (or, in other words, for the price of a Spyder you can get yourselves two Fétishes). First introduced in 2002, the Venturi Fétish was hailed as the world’s first two-seater electric sports car. Just perfect if you’d like your mom not to join you and your better half on a joy-ride – not so good if you need to store luggage (or two better halves).
Of the total weight of 1225 kilos, the lithium ion batteries use roughly a third (or 450 kilos). Thanks to those, a single charge can take you anywhere between 250 and 300 kilometers. Pretty impressive for an electric vehicle. The 250 horsepower engine accelerates the futuristic looking racer from 0 to 60mph in 4 seconds. The top speed is around 200 kmh. If you’re looking for an electric car with a good range, the Fétish should certainly be on the short-list. By the way, the name really does mean what you think it means.
At the 2010 Geneva Motor Show, Porsche premiered their version of a hybrid electric car, the Porsche 918 Spyder Hybrid. Although it’s not the fastest hybrid out there by a hair (accelerating from 0 to 60 in 3.2 seconds, it can reach a top speed of only 199 mph), it’s already won the award "world’s most expensive hybrid" with a selling price of around $850,000.
So what justifies spending a 6 digit sum? Well, first of all: just look at it (we think it’s beautiful). And if that can’t convince you, the motor might: The car’s V8 500 horsepower engine was taken from the Porsche RS Spyder, which means that it was used in the American Le Mans Series--a true champion. According to Porsche, “when driving economically you can cover over 25 kilometers” if you’re using the electric motor alone. In any case, that should be more than enough to get you to the next filling station. If this post has aroused your interest in hybrid cars (if not, the pictures hopefully have) and you’re keen on buying the Stuttgart-based car manufacturer will launch the Spyder in 2013 with a limited edition of 918 cars, living up to its name.
You didn't think we'd forget the Tesla Roadster, did you? While all the cars showcased in this blog post are machines to drool over, the Roadster benefits from a Steve Jobsesque halo for arriving to market early and in such painfully gorgeous style: 0-60 in 3.7 with a 245 mile range and a reputation as the supreme electric supercar. Unfortunately for the nostalgic, Tesla announced last year that it will be retiring the Roadster. So, we tip our hat to the end of an EV era and welcome in the new age of the Model S.
When Tesla released its much-anticipated price and options list at the end of last year, many were pleasantly surprised. Whereas a used Roadster can easily sell for 100 grand, the retail price for a new Model S will set you back about half that price, after tax rebate. The Tesla Model S electric sedan gets an impressive 300 miles per charge and will have your neighbors coming over to volunteer to wash it for you. Taking the place of its bigger brother, the Roadster, the Model S will now be Tesla's bread and butter. Tesla hopes to sell up to 20,000 Model S cars this year, according to CNN.
A version of this article was first published at DC Power.
[Note: After reading your comments about the original title of this article, "12 Best Electric Cars and Hybrids of 2012," we decided to bring it back towards the article's original intent: a look at the most exciting EVs and hybrids bursting onto the green car scene — and some of the high tech chargers that charge them. -Ed.]