Hybrid cars are arguably the most innovative automotive vehicles of our time. Ever since the first Honda Insight (1999) and Toyota Prius (2000) reached U.S. auto dealers, the impact of these environmentally friendly vehicles has continued to grow. Today, there are several more hybrid-electric cars on the market, including the Honda Civic and Insight, Ford Fusion, Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry, Chevy Malibu, Lexus GS450h, HS 250h and Lincoln MKZ . And this list doesn’t even include hybrid suv models or all electric cars.
For those who are just starting to research hybrids, a hybrid car is (simply stated) a vehicle that includes a gas engine and an electric engine. The electric motor is powered by batteries that recharge during braking, and it also is designed to assist the traditional gasoline motor as needed. And, while more of us might be driving plug-in hybrid cars in the very near future, current models do not (contrary to popular belief) need to be plugged in. Current hybrid vehicles look and drive so much like other cars that without hybrid badges, you might not notice them.
There is no question that the most popular hybrid vehicle is the Toyota Prius. Month after month, and year after year, the Prius continues to outsell all other green makes and models. Its tremendous popularity is based on its size, affordable price, futuristic design, incredible gas mileage, and many other factors. Even so, Toyota isn’t resting on the past success of the Prius. The 2010 “next generation” model is currently the top selling hybrid car, with little competition in terms of units sold.
Other manufacturers are also jumping into hybrid cars, with the Nissan Infiniti M35, Hyundai Sonata, Buick Regal and others expected to go green in the next year or so. And, as hybrid technologies continue to improve and become less expensive, we expect the best hybrid cars are yet to come.
It’s also getting easier to find more used hybrid cars for sale, which benefits everyone – especially as gas prices head back into record territory. Some day, 60 mpg vehicles might seem really inefficient. For now we are still focusing on 2010 and 2011 hybrids, but the top new hybrid cars are getting better every year. Enjoy the cleaner ride.