Top 5 Hybrid/Electric Cars in India

India is heading on to take upon the electric and hybrid car segment. The catch is that the cars are not only pricey but their maintenance is expensive too. And when it comes to alternate fuels, we have relied more on LPG and CNG instead of electric energy. That has however not dampened the car manufacturers’ hopes in India as they have gone ahead and introduced clean and green vehicles. Not all the cars are expensive, some of them might befriend your price while some might seem shockingly expensive. Either ways, if you’re planning on buying a hybrid, you’d not be disappointed considering the focus some manufacturers are paying towards the price. Here is a list entailing 5 of the most popular hybrids/electric cars available in India:

5. Mahindra e2o:

Portrayed as a concept car back in the 2012 Delhi Auto Expo, the e20 from Mahindra found its way to the Indian market. Manufactured at its facility in Bengaluru, the Mahindra e20 rolls out as the first all-electric in India. The e20 from Mahindra comes powered by a 48V maintenance-free Lithium-ion battery that helps churn out around 25 bhp and 53Nm of torque. Speed is out of the question on this car but if you’re willing to go slow and safe, this ride tops a speed of 81 km/hr. Though a full charge takes 5 hours, Mahindra also has Quick Charge that helps charge the car in just about an hour. Once fully charged, it can cover a distance of 120Km, which is sufficient for city travel. The interiors on the e20 get s a large touch-screen interface as well as a monochrome digital speed information pod. The price expectancy of this vehicle ranges from 4.79 lakhs to 5.34 lakhs.

4. Toyota Prius

India was first introduced to hybrids when Toyota launched the Prius in 2012. It can run on both, petrol and electricity, so the customers get the best of both worlds.

Fun fact: The Prius is the world’s first mass production hybrid car.

Powering the Prius is a 1.8-litre 2ZR-FXE, 4-cylinder, inline, twin-cam petrol engine that puts out 97bhp and 142Nm of torque. It also gets a sealed Ni-MH (Nickel-Metal Hydride) battery, which increases the total power output to 134bhp. The Prius gets 3 modes, namely, EV (Electric Vehicle), Eco, and Power.

As green as the Prius may sound, it does come along with a hefty price tag. There are 2 variants on offer in India – the Z5 and Z6 – and even in city conditions; combined fuel economy stands at 23.91Km/l. The price of the Prius ranges from 38.10 lakhs to 39.80 lakhs.

 

3. Toyota Camry Hybrid

Toyota has another green car up its sleeve – the Camry hybrid. However, if you think you’ve driven the Prius, and this one will be something similar, you couldn’t be more wrong.

Just like the standard Camry, this one gets Toyota’s DOHC VVT-i 2.5-litre petrol unit, but it’s tweaked to accommodate the electric motor. The output tally of the hybrid system stands at 202bhp; 158bhp from the petrol motor, and 44bhp from the electric motor. The power-split device helps deliver seamless power to the wheels, and also to the generator that keeps on charging the battery. The battery is nickel metal hydride, unlike the usual lithium-ion, and is placed under a plastic cover inside the boot.

There are three driving modes to choose from – EV, Eco and Normal. The e-CVT (electronically continuously variable transmission) takes a bit of time to push itself off the starting line, but eventually offers utter smoothness and refinement.

Toyota has generously provided features that make it an ideal chauffeur-driven car. The 3-zone climate control for the driver, front passenger, and rear passengers, cooled front seats, cruise control, powered rear seats that recline, and a rear armrest that houses the controls for the recline functions, all find their way inside the car.

Toyota claims that the Camry Hybrid delivers 19.6Km/l (ARAI figure), which is truly impressive for a car of this size. The Camry hybrid carries a price tag of Rs. 31.19 lakhs.

 

2. Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Hybrid

Known commonly as the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz (Smart Hybrid Vehicle), the vehicle is priced in the range of Rs. 8.23 lakh – Rs. 10.17 lakh. Interestingly, the company the Ciaz’s old diesel range has been replaced by the SHVS-equipped variants.

The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS gets an integrated starter generator, a larger capacity battery, and start-stop technology that help the vehicle return better mileage. While the old Maruti Ciaz diesel had an ARAI certified mileage of 26.21Km/l, the Ciaz SHVS returns an outstanding 28.09Km/l. This effectively makes the Ciaz SHVS hybrid India’s most fuel-efficient car.

Incorporated with an ISG (Integrated Starter Generator), Suzuki’s new mild hybrid system – SHVS – offers engine power assistance using the motor, and thus achieves efficient power generation. With the help of ISG, the system also provides assistance to the engine start-stop technology that automatically stops the engine during traffic light, and starts when the clutch is released.

 

1. BMW i8

This beauty is just too good to be true. From the time when it was launched in India till date, the i8 holds its ground as one of the most thrilling car to be designed in a futuristic manner.

Under the hood, the i8 comes with a 1.5-litre, inline 3 petrol unit and a 7.1kWh lithium-ion battery. Power from the gasoline engine stands at 228bhp, while the electric motor punches out 129bhp, thus taking the combined tally to a massive 357bhp. In all-electric mode, the BMW i8 boasts of a top-speed of 120Km/h. In Sport mode, the i8 delivers a mid-range acceleration from 80 – 120Km/h in 2.6 seconds. The electronically controlled top-speed stands at 250Km/h.

BMW started the car’s deliveries in August, 2014, and had already managed to sell 1,741 units by December, 2014. Furthermore, the first batch of BMW i8 to arrive in India has already been sold. The car carries a whooping price tag of 2.29 crores.

The Hybrid and Electric Automotive Scene in India

The Indian automotive industry has always been a little late to adapt to the changing times. While markets such as America and UK have embraced hybrids and electrics by offering vast tax benefits and infrastructure to promote the use of such vehicles, the Indian government has not yet made alternative fuel powered vehicles as accessible as some of budget hatchbacks currently in the market. However, Mahindra, BMW and a few other car makers are now investing in hybrid and electric vehicles for the Indian market. We take a look at some production models and concepts from manufacturers that showcase the progress in these niche segments.

BMW i8

The BMW i8 was the car that showed us how exciting moderately powered hybrids can be. First showcased at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo, the i8 made its big debut early last year. Despite being powered by the same 1.5 l three cylinder motor found on newer Minis, the i8 can propel itself from 0 to 100 kmph in a staggering 3.6 seconds. The immense speed coupled with the cyberpunk styling and swan doors, endows the i8 with hypercar levels of charisma. Sadly however, despite its breakthroughs, the i8 is far beyond the reach of the general public.

front view BMW i8
The BMW i8’s high price tag puts it far beyond the reach of common man

Toyota Prius

The Toyota Prius has been on sale here in India for quite a few years now. However, while markets abroad are treated with the all new Prius, Toyota Kirloskar is still selling the older model for the Indian market. Although the Prius is touted as an accessible, entry level hybrid, the staggering price of INR 38 lakhs keeps it out of reach for the majority populace.

The Toyota Prius' older generation is still on sale here in India
The Toyota Prius’ older generation is still on sale here in India

Mahindra e2o

Soon after Mahindra acquired the REVA electric company, the Indian car maker launched the new and improved e2o EV. Unlike the bare bones Reva electric, the e2o features numerous hardware and software features that put the vehicle well ahead of its time. Priced at a reasonable INR 5.96 lakhs, the two door, four seater electric hatchback features interesting features such as full LCD instrument cluster, touchscreen infotainment system and projector headlights. While the electric motor that drives the front wheels produces a meager 26 hp, the car’s lightweight and small size ensure the motor isn’t overworked.

The Mahindra e2o is a much better product than its predecessor
The Mahindra e2o is a much better product than its predecessor

Mahindra Halo

The Mahindra Halo was a concept sports car showcased at the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo. Although Mahindra has made no recent headlines for the future of its Halo concept, the electric sports car showcased the car maker’s plans for the future. Although exact details were not revealed, Mahindra did claim that the Halo concept can reach speeds of up to 200 km/h.  The interiors feature a combination of current and next gen elements such as the conventional glove box, large touchscreen infotainment system and the sporty flat bottomed steering wheel.

Mahindra's Halo concept is an electric sports car capable of 200 kmph
Mahindra’s Halo concept is an electric sports car capable of 200 kmph

Toyota Camry Hybrid

At INR 31.9 lakhs, the Camry Hybrid sedan, is far cheaper and better equipped than the Prius. However, the lackluster styling and overdose of chrome is rather jarring in a segment populated by cars such as the Audi A3 and Mercedes Benz CLA Class. The car produces a total of 158 bhp @ 5700 RPM and a peak torque figure of 213 Nm @ 4500 RPM. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six speed automatic gearbox.

The Camry Hybrid is a fuel saving luxury executive saloon
The Camry Hybrid is a fuel saving luxury executive saloon

Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS

Maruti Suzuki, one of the biggest manufacturers of the Indian car industry has its grasp in almost every segment. However, similar to other car makers, up until now Maruti Suzuki lacked the initiative to launch hybrid or electric vehicles due to their high cost of research and low return. With the 2015 Ciaz SHVS, Maruti Suzuki has taken the first small step into the still niche mainstream hybrid car segment. Unlike traditional hybrids such as the Prius and Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, the Ciaz SHVS implements a host of small fuel saving techniques to earn the moniker of a hybrid. Some of the fuel saving features the Ciaz SHVS makes use of are the automatic start-stop system, Deceleration Energy Regenerating function and the Engine Power Assist function. With added bonus of a fairly reasonable price tag (INR 8.23 lakhs) and the exemption from Delhi’s odd-even rule, the Ciaz was one of the most interesting launches of last year.

The Mahindra XUV500 Diesel Hybrid is yet to hit production
The Mahindra XUV500 Diesel Hybrid is yet to hit production

Mahindra XUV5OO Diesel Hybrid

The Mahindra XUV500 is one of the most popular SUVs currently on sale. Its impressive exterior, feature laden cabin and attractive price tag was more than enough to catapult the indigenous SUV to the top. At the 2014 Delhi Auto Expo, Mahindra also showcased the XUV5oo hybrid, which was touted to be India’s first diesel hybrid. However, the XUV500 is yet to reach production stages and hopefully we might see the full fledged hybrid later this year.

Top 7 Hybrid and Electric Cars

The fossil fuel era is slowly coming to an end. Although we might not see mainstream full electric or hybrid vehicles crowding the streets of Bangalore and Delhi for a few more decades, mass production manufacturers as well as boutique car makers are now exploring the possibilities offered by hybrid and electric mechanics. While most high end electric and hybrid vehicles are still well beyond the reach of the majority population, the following cars will serve as a preview to what’s in store for the rest of the world in a few decades:

Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive:

One of the very first high performance fully electric sports cars from a major name in the auto industry, the Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive employs a four motor system that produces a combined total output of a whopping 740 hp and 738 lb-ft of torque. Despite its electric roots, the gargantuan power figures puts the SLS AMG Electric Drive right at the top as the German car maker’s most powerful two door coupe ever made. Sadly however, the total claimed range of German electric sportscar is a mere 155 miles (250 km) and most cars do not offer the exact same range as stated.

Mercedes Benz SLS Amg ED
The Mercedes Benz SLS Amg Electric Drive

BMW i8:

The BMW i8 was heralded as a technological milestone and has gained international critical acclaim since its debut. Initially premiering as a concept in the form of the BMW Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics, the i8 hybrid retains the majority of its prototypes’ pantomime exterior while working in legal requirements such as rear view mirrors, appropriate ride height and mass production spec wheels.

front view BMW i8
The BMW i8

Powering the hybrid Bimmer is a tiny 1.5 l turbocharged three cylinder petrol engine that works in tandem with a pair of electric motors that produce a combined total of 357 hp with a peak torque figure of 420 lb-ft. The i8 makes use of two transmission systems. While on only electric mode, a two speed transmission is available and on hybrid mode, the six speed automatic with manual shifting comes into play.

Tesla Model S (P85D):

The Tesla Model S is another milestone in the automotive community. One of the first electric sedans to combine the practicality of a full size sedan with the performance of a AAA sports car, the Model S is easily the best all rounder on this list. The American car’s large multi-function touschreen infotainment system eliminates the clutter on the dashboard commonly associated with high end cars. As a result, the four plus one seater sedan gives rise to a cabin that is both airy, spacious and high tech.

The Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S

Porsche 918 Spyder:

The Porsche 918 Spyder was part of the holy hybrid trinity that was launched last year. Although the 918 may be low on power when compared to its McLaren and Ferrari counterpart, the Porsche is the most well equipped of the lot. The 918 is also the only model in the hypercar trio that is a cabriolet as well. The 918 Spyder also features four wheel drive and four wheel steering providing better control for the less experienced.

The Porsche 918 Spyder
The Porsche 918 Spyder

McLaren P1:

The McLaren P1 is the long awaited successor to the legendary F1 supercar. Thus he P1 does for this decade what the F1 did for the 1990’s: redefine speed. Powering the hybrid supercar is a tiny 3.8 l twin turbocharged petrol engine that produces a not so tiny 727 hp and 531 lb-ft of torque and is paired with a 176 hp electric motor for a combined total of 903 hp. Similar to the Porsche 918, the McLaren P1 can also operate solely on electric power alone.

The McLaren P1 in Bahrain
The McLaren P1 in Bahrain

LaFerrari:

Revered by the automotive community as the pinnacle of mechanical and electrical engineering, the LaFerrari is the most powerful mass production supercar from Maranello ever made. The LaFerrari is to the Enzo what the McLaren P1 is to the F1, the official successor as the brand’s flagship product. With a name that literally translates to “The Ferrari”, the Italian car maker has endowed its most powerful machine with a moniker that conjures up an image of the last spartan, the Omega. With the launch of the 488 GTB, a turbocharged successor of the 458 Italia, Ferrari is now slowly but definitely moving with the times and the LaFerrari may well be the final naturally aspirated V12 from the manufacturer’s stable.

"Stylish and powerful"
LaFerrari, Ferrari’s magnum opus

Koenigsegg Regera:

Koenigsegg is a little known manufacturer outside the automotive community. Despite being in the industry for several years now, the bouteique hypercar maker is yet to garner mainstream fame partly due to the reserved nature of its founder and the rather confusing Swedish name.

Koenigsegg_Regera_fronttwist

The automaker’s cars however are far from reserved and its latest creation, the Regera is a hybrid plug in that completely obliterated the holy trinity in terms of sheer power alone by producing a tantalizing 1500 hp with an all new special one speed transmission system.

BMW i8 – An expert Overview

BMW i8 is a known super car to everyone as it was first debuted and shown to people in a super hit Hollywood flick Mission Impossible 4. In this movie this car is shown in the climax scene driven on the roads of Mumbai. Audience in theater were quite amazed when they saw this future car in the movie and I myself didn’t wink my eyes when I saw this car in the movie.

So from then to now i tried to read all updates about this car and now I am writing this post after long hours spent on experimentation. This is my review on one of the most anticipated car in the automobile history.

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Image Source: www.facecarsx.com

History & Advent:

2009-2010:

The BMW i8, first introduced as the BMW Concept Vision Efficient Dynamics, is a plug-in hybrid sports car developed by the German Automobile Legend BMW. This was first started in the year 2009 under the vision of fine automobile designers Mario Majdandzič and Jochen Paesen (Exterior Design and Interior Design). At first it came with a combination of a three cylinder turbo diesel engine and two electric motors with 139 horsepower. It was first unveiled at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto show and then followed by Auto china in the year 2010

800px-BMW_Concept_Vision_Efficient_Dynamics_Front

Image Source: en.wikipedia.com

2011:

With some Major and as well as Minor changes, the 2009 model was redesigned and then unveiled at 2011 Frankfurt Auto show. During this year BMW named this experimental car as BMW i8 Concept. It was also shown at Tokyo Motor Show 2011 and Geneva Motor Show 2012.  It was featured in the film Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

bmw-i8-concept-live-photos-2011-frankfurt-auto-show_100362961_m

Image Source: www.thecarconnection.com

2012:

The BMW i8 concept is redesigned and gives it a Spyder model look during this year under the vision of Richard Kim and was unveiled in Auto China 2012 in Beijing and won an award of the best concept car. Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic was first introduced in this car in the same year.

bmw-i8-spyder-13-1080p-hd

Image Source: www.blackdreamer.com

2013-2014:

Was considered as the present running BMW i8 model officially. The design of the BMW i8 coupe prototype was based on the BMW i8 Concept. This model has major changes right from its looks and as well as performance. The enhancements include Carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic for less weight, aerodynamically optimized body with BMW eDrive technology and carbon emission was reduced to 59 g/km.

It also included with a hybrid synchronous electric motor as a secondary power source which was developed and designed exclusively for this car by BMW motors. It is designed to work individually as well as also to assist the gasoline engine during acceleration. The recorded top speed in electric mode is 121Kmph and reaching a maximum distance of 35kms. It takes about 3hours for a full recharge. This monstrous prototype was tested in Miramas test track in France.

After this initial testing, with slight changes to this prototype the final production model was designed and shown in 2013 Frankfurt Auto Show and then followed by Les Voiles de Saint-Tropez under the vision of Benoit Jacob. After this the product was started in April 2014.

2014-BMW-i8-front

Image Source: www.yournextcars.com

Performance :

While reviewing this car we have to consider the three modes in this car : SPORT, COMFORT and ECOPRO MODE. I will review those three modes hierarchically so that we can understand the aspects very easily.

Starting with Comfort Mode, the car in the comfort mode will use both the power trains. This mode offers a constant balance between a sporty performance and as well as efficient fuel consumption. This mode offers an unrestricted access to all the resources of the car and the user really feels quite comfortable in this mode. The maximum range of driving experience in this mode is about 500kms, if the fuel in the tank is full and battery pack is fully charged.

Then the Eco-Pro Mode. In this mode the car runs solely on electricity. This mode can also use fuel only under circumstances of battery charge drops below a given level; this mode is also designed in such a way that in circumstance such as battery down, Throttle failure occurs – the internal combustion engine gets automatically activated. It is more like a common eco-safety car in this Eco-pro mode. The performance of the car is increased to 20% when compared to the comfort mode as there are some restrictions which are applied on using certain features of the car such as air-conditioning, seat heating etc. This is the best of the three modes

Then comes to the most anticipated Sport Mode. It offers features such as manual gear selection, suspension settings. In this mode the driver can get the maximum acceleration and the top speed. And while getting at this, lots of energy is produced and wasted, and to save on this – BMW founded a technique to keep the battery topped up, while running in SPORT mode the car also activates “maximum energy recuperation during overrun and braking”  through this the electric motor’s generator function’s and it recharges the battery using kinetic energy.

Safety Review:

This awesome car is a two faced one. One is a monster which can run quite high and the other is an eco-specialist. The car offers maximum safety although it has the power to sprint like a leopard. This car comes with safety measures like side and curtain airbags and the battery is also well protected by a crash proof mesh. It provides maximum safety in Eco-pro mode. It also has an intelligent safety system to ensure extra safety

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Image Source: www.bmw.com

Looks:

When it comes to looks, the BMW i8 is unbeatable – as it is considered as a design that will stand as a remarkable resemblance for the future sports cars. Narrow headlights, laser technology, Carbon reinforced body, dihedral gullwing doors – all of them are jaw dropping. Complimenting these looks, one of the top clothing brands Louis Vuitton produced a series of carbon-black luggage for BMW i8 !

BMW-i8-3

Image Source: www.overdrive.in

Rivalry & Running Cost:

BMW i8 faces rivalry from some of the finest cars in the world – right from Audi’s prestigious R8 to Ferrari Berlinetta, Porsche 911 turbo to the C7 corvette Stingray. And yes, It costs a whopping $135,925 🙂

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Image Source: www.racingflix.com

Bottom Line:

Pros

  • Design
  • Potential mileage
  • Performance
  • Looks
  • Eco Features

Cons

  • iDrive doesn’t meet the expectations
  • Very Narrow Base(not suitable on Indian roads)
  • Price tag

Although it has some demerits, the car looks fantastic and remarkable. But we have to consider that BMW should pay some more attention to make this car as a role model to the future cars. If anyone is ready to spend a whopping $135,925, this will not be a wrong choice as the car has some amazingly distinctive features when compared to other cars in the market.

Visit BMW Website: www.bmw.com