Electric vehicles are gaining much-needed attention, but yet the process is slow. Electric vehicles are environmentally friendly(passively speaking), are silent pacers, and also the future of the automotive(perhaps yes, it inevitable). But while EVs are closing over internal combustion engines, range anxiety slows the same process. Lack of infrastructure will get you trapped in your advanced electric vehicles, while fossil fuels are still available at many junctions.
But there’s a midway through the threat of empty tank(or should we say discharge?) and the exemplary acceleration of the electric vehicles. Hybrid vehicles, the ones that fit electric batteries and electric motors, along with the traditional internal combustion blocks.
But before we discuss hybrid, it’s important to learn about its categories based on the system and how it affects the performance and the fuel efficiency of a vehicle.
There are two main types of hybrid vehicles; parallel and series. But then these also include mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and range-extender hybrid. Let’s learn about each of them.
The series hybrid is now a rare breed. In this, the electric motors power the wheels, while the engine/motor charges the battery. Thus the engine isn’t directly powering the wheel.
This type of hybrid vehicle combines the best of both worlds. The parallel hybrid system lets the vehicle be powered by either the electric motors or the internal combustion engine, or also both simultaneously. When the electric motors propel the vehicle, the vehicle moves in silence, similar to an electric vehicle. While the engine powers the vehicle just like a traditional vehicle. But when both; electric motors and internal combustion, combine they put out the maximum power and instantaneous torque, enhancing the performance.
The mild-hybrid vehicles equip smaller electric motors and batteries. This system comes into action when there’s a sudden surge of power, for an idle start-stop gimmick and sometimes in brake regeneration to charge the batteries.
The plug-in hybrid vehicles are just an enhancement to parallel hybrid systems, wherein the batteries can be charged from an exterior power source.
The range extender hybrid vehicles are similar to the series hybrids. In this case, the electric motor aids in increase the range of the vehicle, working in harmony with the IC engine, or even alone.
In an auto-market like India, where there’s already a shortage of exciting electric vehicles, hybrid vehicles might not be a cherishing concept. We’ll let you decide while scrolling through a compiled list of hybrid nameplates available in India. Let’s move from the cheapest to the most expensive. And if you thought that hybrids were practical vehicles in compact SUVs or sedan body styles, there’s a surprise waiting for you towards the end of the list.
The Maruti Suzuki Baleno has been the top-seller vehicle in India several times and that too for long durations. This premium hatchback is loved by the Indian crowd for its affordability yet being packed with technology bits. The Glanza is the rebadged Baleno sold by the Toyota automakers. Baleno and Glanza are among the cheapest hybrid vehicles in India.
Both can be configured with the Smart Hybrid Technology which consists of an integrated generator with a lithium-ion and a lead-acid battery that gives an enhanced driving experience. With Torque assist function reduces the load on the engine thus improving fuel efficiency.
The Maruti Suzuki Ciaz SHVS is a premium sedan option. Similar to the Maruti Suzuki Baleno hybrid and the Toyota rebadged Glanza hybrid, the Maruti Suzuki Ciaz comes with mild-hybrid technology.
The SHVS or Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki equips the Ciaz with Torque Assist(same as the Baleno hybrid), Brake energy regeneration, and idle engine start-stop which enhance the overall fuel efficiency. Ciaz is the only sedan offering and is among the cheapest in the hybrid vehicles in India segment for sedans.
The third time’s a charm, and Maruti Suzuki is again part of the list with the Vitara Brezza SHVS. Similar to Baleno and Ciaz, the Vitara Brezza SHVS improves fuel efficiency and enhances performance.
The non-hybrid variant of the Vitara Brezza delivers 17.03 kmpl, while with the hybrid system optioned the Brezza delivers 18.76 kmpl. This is a significant upraise to the non-hybrid car. Brezza is the only compact SUV Hybrid vehicles in India.
To haul more and in a comfier cabin, you’ll need a bigger SUV such as the MG Hector Hybrid. Under the bonnet is a 1.5L turbocharged engine coupled with a 48V mild hybrid system. The hybrid system adds 20Nm of extra torque to the IC engine, this helps in a smoother and quicker acceleration.
The mild-hybrid system also gets regenerative braking and reduces turbo lag, thus improving the performance. While the hybrid system also improves the fuel economy by 12%.
The Toyota Camry hybrid combines plush cabins with silent miles and environmentally friendly cruises. The Camry is a globally popular nameplate, also amongst the top-selling in its segment.
The hybrid system couples the powerful 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with a 160kW output hybrid motor arrangement. The system is a self-charging one, which means it derives power from the engine(range-extender type).
The Lexus ES 300h starts the region of plush and luxury vehicles with a hybrid system for seamless power, smoother acceleration, and even some silent miles. The LS 300h is the range-topping variant of the Lexus ES luxury sedan which packs a 2.5L engine paired with a self-charging electric motor, together delivering 218-hp.
The luxury ES 300h, in the EV modes, prefers the electric motors for silent and zero-emission drives. The electric motor also assists in a seamless acceleration from a standstill, while also boosting the pace when the accelerator paddle is thrashed. Despite the size and luxury, the Lexus 300h delivers an astonishing near-22 mpg (9.35 KMPL).
The second Lexus on the list is the NX 300h hybrid compact SUV, which combines the performance and efficiency of 2.5L 4-cylinder inline with a powerful self-charging electric motor, together delivering 194-hp of power.
The NX 300h also equips a hybrid system indicator that displays real-time information about the hybrid system’s output and regeneration encouraging the drivers to adopt an eco-friendly drive. The Lexus 300h delivers a substantial 18.3 kmpl fuel economy.
The Volvo XC90 is a plug-in hybrid luxury SUV, bolts on a 2.0L petrol engine punching out 320-hp and an 87-hp electric motor. The combined 407-hp lets the Volvo XC90 cruise seamlessly and effortlessly despite the hefty curb weight. The Volvo XC90 PHEV claims and delivers an all-electric range of 40kms, owing to a 9kWh battery pack.
The Volvo XC90 PHEV can charge the batteries in 2.5hrs with a 16A fast-charger supplied by the company. It delivers a whopping certified economy of 42kmpl, being a luxury SUV of such footprint.
Toyota Vellfire is an ultra-luxurious MPV with intimidating aesthetics and lounge-like middle seat ergonomics. The middle seats are no less than business class in flights or even reclining seats in fancy lounges.
The powertrain of the Toyota Vellfire comprises a 117-hp petrol engine powering the front wheels, along with a 68-hp electric motor powering the rear wheels. Despite its size and all-wheel drive dynamics, the Vellfire can deliver 16kmpl owing to a hybrid powertrain.
For a third time Lexus, the RX 450hL again belongs to the less number of luxury SUVs available for the Indian market. The RX 450hL is a luxury midsize crossover that can seat up to 7-passengers. The powertrain comprises a 3.5L V6 working in harmony with a powerful self-charging electric motor to deliver 230-hp combined.
Like the other two Lexus in this list, the RX 450hL qualifies as a range-extender hybrid that has an EV mode for silent miles and a hybrid system indicator for real-time information about the hybrid system’s output and regeneration.
Sitting just below the top-variant the Porsche Cayenne hybrid is a luxury SUV coupe with Porsche’s menacing attire and plush cabins. The Cayenne borrows the Porsche sports car excellence and feeds it into an SUV body. The Cayenne Hybrid is motivated by a 3.0L turbocharged V6 pushing out 335-hp and 450Nm of torque, coupled with a 130-hp electric motor.
Thus the powertrain delivers 455-hp and freaking 700Nm of torque. If these figures look less, there’s the Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid, where the electric motor boosts power and performance to a whopping 655-hp and 900Nm of peak torque.
The BMW brand has always been synonymous with luxury and opulence in India. The BMW 745Le plug-in hybrid is the flagship variant of the brand’s 7-series luxury sedan. Under the hood is an Inline-6 pushing out 268-hp and 450Nm of peak torque. Combined with an electric motor, the flagship luxury sedan cranks out 394-hp and 600Nm of peak torque.
The battery capacity is rated to 12kWh which suits an all-electric range of 55 km. The hybrid system on the BMW 745Le adds punch for smoother acceleration and to assist the engine, while it also delivers applauding fuel efficiency despite the size of the vehicle.
Before you get bored with another Lexus in the list, let’s jump straight to the power specifications. The flagship luxury sedan Lexus LS 500h is motivated by a 3.5L V6, similar to the ES hybrid models. The system pushes out 350-hp, and the sedan can sprint from 0-100 kmph in just 5.4 seconds. The same powerful system also delivers 15.4 kmpl economical figures.
Who said that hybrids were meant to be SUVs or sedans when it can be a fantastic sports car. The Lexus LC 500h comes with a hefty price tag crossing the 2-crore limit.
This breath-taking luxury coupe fits a 3.5L V6 paired with a powerful, self-charging electric motor, the system delivers 350-hp and 350Nm of torque to drive you nuts. The sleek and aggressive styling is combined with masterly handcrafted premium materials and interior design.
Last on the list, the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid will have you question the hybrid system, which was meant to improve efficiency. The Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid is motivated with a monstrous 4.0L V8 and an electric motor setup, together delivering 671-hp and 850Nm of peak torque. If these digits are difficult to digest, the Panamera Turbo S E-hybrid can sprint from 0-100 kmph in just 3.4 seconds. Porsche is among the most expensive hybrid vehicles in India.
While there are loads of advantages of hybrid powertrain as a midway to internal combustion and electric vehicles, there are various shortcomings too. The major drawback is the combination of electric motors and a battery pack along with the IC engine makes the vehicle hefty, which in turn reduces the fuel economy. But the hybrid systems do boost the economy and as you’ve seen, it shoots for the sky in terms of performance.