High-Performance Hybrids

There's electricity in the air as experimental technologies redefine high performance, both on and off the track

(continued from page 1)
Mercedes-Benz: As noted earlier, Mercedes is heavily committed to battery power, with hybrid versions of the flagship S-Class sedan and ML SUV already on sale. It has a variety of other electrified offerings in the works, though none quite as outrageous as the SLS E-Cell, the battery version of its gull-winged supercar. Other BEVs will follow. The maker remains committed to fuel-cell technology and recently started leasing its F-Cell hydrogen car in limited volume in Southern California.
Mini: One of the first to test the market for battery power, Mini has gotten good feedback for the Mini E despite its limitations. The prototype could soon be followed by a battery-electric version of a concept vehicle revealed earlier this year, the Mini Rocketman.
Porsche: Porsche has a wide range of hybrids and plug-ins coming to market, all the way up to the $845,000 918 Spyder. Porsche also plans to campaign its hybrid technologies, with an emphasis on flybrids, or flywheel-based hybrids, on the racetrack.
Rolls-Royce: This marque delivered a shocker when it revealed its 102EX, a Phantom-based, all-electric concept designed to test owner response to battery power. So far, the response has been mixed, at best, but some form of battery propulsion, perhaps a hybrid, could follow.
Tesla: Tesla has made a name for itself as a proponent of pure battery-electric vehicles starting with the two-seat Roadster. Next up is a mid-range luxury sedan dubbed Model S that aims to overcome so-called “range anxiety” by offering buyers a choice of three battery packs.
Volvo: The Swedish automaker, now Chinese-owned, has long focused on safety, but is increasing its emphasis on environmentally friendly technology.  It recently launched a low-volume version of its small coupe, dubbed the C30 Electric, but it has particularly high hopes for the upcoming V60 plug-in launching in Europe. Expect similar technology in the U.S. but on what model and when is uncertain.
Paul A. Eisenstein is publisher of TheDetroitBureau.com on the Internet.
Log in if you're already registered.

Or register for Cigar Aficionado today—it's free.

Registration allows you to:
  • Keep track of your favorite cigars in your personal humidor.
  • Comment on all our stories.

Forgot your password?

Ratings & Reviews

Search our database of more than 17,000 cigar tasting notes by score, brand, country, size, price range, year, wrapper and more, plus add your favorites to your Personal Humidor.