2019: alternative powertrains for all
Alternative powertrains are the privilege of those who can afford one: that is the common assumption. Still, 2019 brings a multitude of new options that bring hybrids, electric vehicles and other choices within reach of many. Indeed, this year sees an acceleration of new models coming to market. It’s time to explore your options and change your policy – if you haven’t done so already.
If there is any brand that comes to mind in this category, it must be Toyota. Together with Lexus they have built a solid reputation in the area of non-pluggable hybrids, which require no charging infrastructure and are therefore straightforward to implement. The downside is that the electric range is inherently limited, which also translates into higher CO2 emissions than plug-in hybrids.
The hybrid offer keeps on expanding, incidentally. Toyota has recently launched the new Corolla, whereas Lexus takes on the premium compact cross over segment with the UX. In the D segment the newcomers to consider are the Ford Mondeo Hybrid and the Lexus ES.
Plug-in hybrids (PHEV)
As they combine a combustion engine with an electric motor and an externally chargeable battery, plug-in hybrids offer an interesting compromise between electric range, low CO2 emissions and convenience. PSA has two interesting newcomers in its portfolio: the 3008 and the 508 Hybrid, that combine an 80-kW e-motor with a powerful 1.6 turbocharged petrol engine.
Remarkably, Mercedes-Benz goes against the stream and believes diesel can be a good running mate for electric. The new E 300 de sedan mates a frugal 4-cylinder diesel for long-distance driving with 90 kW of “EQ Power” fed by a 13.5-kWh battery for about 50 km of emission-free urban mobility.
Electric vehicles (EV)
Interesting newcomers in the middle EV segment are the Hyundai Kona EV and the Kia e-Niro, two crossovers that carry either 39 or 64 kWh worth of batteries. The long-range versions get you about 450 km of range (WLTP) – a number until now reserved to expensive cars EVs like the Tesla Model S. By the end of the year, Volvo will launch an all-electric version of the incredibly popular XC40 – yet another car to add to your shopping list.
PSA has the firm intention to bring electric power to the lower segments and make EVs accessible to even more people. The first new PSA model to go ‘zero emission’ is the DS3 Crossback E-Tense, an urban crossover that boasts a range of over 300 km (WLTP). It will face competition from the equally new Mini E, the details of which have not been released yet.
- Reducing CO2 emissions is no longer an option – it has become a must.
- The number of alternatively powered vehicles – electric, hybrid, cng – is expanding exponentially, meaning there are solutions for all budgets.
- Sales of alternatively powered vehicles are picking up and demand could outpace supply. Don’t postpone the decision to go alternative too long.