Hybrid technology has been around for decades in the automotive industry. Applications in today’s cars range from growing mil-hybrid technology that provides limited electric assistance to self-charging hybrids and plug-in hybrids that allow owners to drive their car or SUV only on electricity over limited distances. Here we consider only the latest two hybrids and look at which hybrid cars are currently on sale in the Indian market.
Honda City e:HEV Hybrid
The Honda City e:HEV at Rs 19.50 lakh (ex-showroom) is the most affordable petrol-electric hybrid sedan you can get in India. The sedan is Honda’s third hybrid car to come to India after the hybrid iterations of the Accord and Civic in past years. Honda’s system uses an on-board battery and two electric motors coupled to the gasoline engine to power the front wheels. The system is capable of operating in pure EV mode for short stints in traffic, with the engine being used as a range extender in hybrid mode to power the engine and charge the battery. The City e:HEV also has a third drive mode in which the engine powers the wheels directly.
Toyota Camry Hybrid
Think hybrids and the Camry is probably the first car that comes to mind. The Camry Hybrid has been on sale for several generations, with the current generation sedan only available as a hybrid. The Camry combines a naturally aspirated 2.5-litre gasoline engine with a permanent magnet electric motor to develop a combined output of 215 hp. The electric motor is paired with a 245V battery that allows owners to travel limited distances in pure EV mode, with the petrol engine kicking in as speed increases or the battery runs out. The Camry Hybrid is priced at Rs 43.45 lakh (ex-showroom).
Lexus ES hybrid
Toyota’s luxury arm, Lexus, is also very hybrid-focused, so much so that almost its entire model range in India comes with hybrid engines. The Camry’s sister model, the ES uses essentially the same hybrid setup as the Camry with the electric powertrain helping to reduce fuel consumption by allowing all electric vehicles to operate at low speeds and switching between gasoline and electricity at higher speeds to boost the economy.
Lexus NX hybrid
The NX is Lexus’ smallest SUV in the Indian market with prices starting at Rs 64.90 lakh. Like most of the Lexus lineup, it’s only available with a hybrid powertrain that combines a 2.5-litre petrol engine with two electric motors – one on the rear axle – to give it a configuration to all-wheel drive.
Toyota Vellfire Hybrid
At Rs 90.80 lakh (ex-showroom), the Vellfire is the most expensive Toyota hybrid on sale in the country. The high-end minivan aims to compete with models such as the Mercedes V-Class, with Toyota only offering it with its hybrid technology. Like the Camry, the Vellfire also uses a 2.5-liter gasoline engine, although the Camry only has one electric motor, the Vellfire uses two to give it a pseudo-all-wheel-drive layout. One engine works in conjunction with the engine with the second mounted on the rear axle.
Volvo XC90 PHEV Recharge
Volvo’s flagship SUV in India is available with petrol or petrol-hybrid powertrains. The T8 Twin-Engine configuration combines the company’s 2.0-liter gasoline engine with a rear-axle-mounted electric motor and an integrated starter generator. Unlike the self-charging hybrids mentioned above, the XC90 is a plug-in hybrid, meaning its battery can be charged from an external power source when it runs out. As with other hybrids, the XC90 Recharge also allows owners to drive in EV-only mode at city speeds with the engine kicking in as speed increases or the battery depletes its charge.
Lexus RX hybrid
Currently sold in its long wheelbase body style, the RX follows an SUV coupe design with the flexibility of a third row of seats. Although pricey for an Rs 1.11 crore (ex-showroom) SUV, the RX is loaded with technology and paired with a 3.0-litre V6 with twin electric motors to drive the wheels. The engine and front electric motor are the main drive units, with the rear axle-mounted unit activating as the situation calls for. Lexus recently unveiled an all-new generation of the RX in global markets.
BMW 7 Series 745Le
One of the most expensive hybrids you can buy right now, the current 7-Series is available with the option of a plug-in hybrid powertrain priced at Rs 1.75 crore (ex-showroom). The 745Le comes standard with xDrive all-wheel drive and combines BMW’s well-known 3.0-litre six-cylinder turbo petrol engine with an electric motor and 10.4 kWh battery. Total system output is rated at 389hp and 600Nm. BMW claims the 745Le has an all-electric range of up to 50km on a full charge and can reach speeds of 140km/h on electric power alone.
Lexus LS500h hybrid
Lexus’ flagship sedan is one of the priciest hybrids currently on the market with prices starting near the Rs 1.91 crore (ex-showroom) mark. The LS is also available with a hybrid-only configuration combining a V6 petrol engine mated to an electric motor to develop a combined output of 354 hp. The LS also promises a lot in terms of cabin comfort with a long list of features. The LS is a CBU import and is the BMW 745Le’s closest direct rival.
Lexus LC500h Hybrid
While many sports cars are only electrified now, Lexus has long offered the LC Coupe with a hybrid powertrain option in all markets. For Indi, the LC remains a hybrid combining only a V6 petrol engine with a 132 kW electric motor to develop a combined output of 354 hp.
Although it was the hybrids that were officially launched in the country, Land Rover has been opening reservations for the Defender plug-in hybrid in India since late last year, although the SUV has yet to be launched. The company has also listed the new Range Rover Plug-in Hybrid on its website and price list, although an official launch has yet to take place.
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