The answer is probably “Yes”
It’s pretty well established that the future is going to include electric vehicles of all sizes and shapes. This will likely include cars and trucks along with mass transportation and taxis for urban settings. And over the road cargo trucks are in development. Today we want to feature the electric, hybrid, or plug-in hybrids that can or will soon be found on our Central Maine Motors Auto Group sales lots or showroom floors.
First, let’s see at what exactly is a “Hybrid Vehicle”?
Car And Driver said it well— “Quite simply, a hybrid combines at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine to move the car, and its system recaptures energy via regenerative braking. Sometimes the electric motor does all the work, sometimes it’s the gas engine, and sometimes they work together. The result is less gasoline burned and, therefore, better fuel economy. Adding electric power can even boost performance in certain instances”
Believe it or not, the first hybrid car was built around 1900 by Ferdinand Porsche. He called it the System Lohner-Porsche Mixte and it used a gasoline engine, instead of a battery pack, that supplied power to two electric motors that each drove the front wheels.
But let’s look at the automobiles that truly broke trail for modern hybrid–powered vehicles. In December 1999, the Honda Insight became the first hybrid available in North America. Just over six months later the Toyota Prius Hybrid was introduced in Japan and came to the U.S. automotive market in 2001. While the Honda faded by 2006 (it would return a few years later) the Toyota Prius has set the standard for the many hybrid vehicles that followed. In 2021, most if not all automotive manufacturers have at least one hybrid model in their product line.
Meanwhile, Toyota has continued to expand the number of models now available as hybrids. They include the RAV4, Highlander, Avalon, Camry, Corolla & the all-new redesigned 2021 Toyota Venza crossover. There are now Prius Prime & RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrid models that extend the electric travel range of the base models. An electronic all-wheel drive option (AWD-e) is also now available on Prius models. And rumblings and rumors about a hybrid Toyota truck keep coming from various corners of the automotive press. If it happens, we’ll be sure to let you know.
The year 2021 will see the introduction of two new hotly expected hybrid models. A plug-in Hybrid Jeep … the Wrangler 4Xe.
And the all-new redesigned 2021 Toyota Sienna which will be all-hybrid and have an all-wheel drive option. This new Sienna is the first minivan to combine hybrid and all-wheel drive.
Chrysler introduced a Pacifica plug-in hybrid in 2017 (a first for minivans)
EV = Electric Vehicles
We currently have one model in our product line that meets the definition of an electric vehicle. That is the Chevrolet Bolt EV, an all-electric subcompact hatchback. The Bolt EV was introduced in late 2016 and owners continue to rave about its efficiency & performance. It made such an impression that it was named the Motor Trend Car of the Year 2017, North American Car of the Year 2017, and Time Magazine included the Bolt EV among 25 Best Inventions of 2016.
The Bolt EV has a combined EPA-rated range of 238 miles on a single charge. A fast charge option will give 100 miles of range in 30 minutes. With the battery completely drained, a full charge can be had in approximately 9.5 hours.
The Chevy Volt was part of Chevy’s product line from 2011—2019. The Volt operates as a pure battery electric vehicle until its battery capacity drops to a predetermined threshold from full charge. From there, its internal combustion engine powers an electric generator to extend the vehicle’s range as needed. We often get quality low mileage pre-owned Volts on our sales lot. They get snapped up quickly by sharp-eyed shoppers.
Recently, General Motors (GM) has updated their corporate logo. The gradient of vibrant blue tones evokes the clean skies of a zero-emissions future
Given the strong focus GM is giving to electric vehicles, this corporate logo upgrade makes sense. Another hidden visual “Easter egg” is the horizontal line under the letter “m”. If you look at the negative space over the solid line and include the blank space in the letter, you’ll see the shape of an electrical plug. Between the expected new GMC Hummer electric truck and a new contract with FedEx for electric delivery trucks, GM is putting a lot of eggs into the EV basket. We’re certain to be seeing more EV commercial vehicles with Chevy or GMC branding.
Hydrogen Powered Vehicles
Toyota appears to be rock-solid in their support of the Toyota Mirai fuel cell vehicle, having given that model a complete makeover for 2021. Fuel cell vehicles combine hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity, which runs a motor to drive the vehicle. Hydrogen production for vehicles is still in limited development and it may be a while before we’ll see fuel cell vehicles in all corners of the U.S.
In conclusion, hybrid and electric vehicles are here to stay. They will continue to be seen parked in the driveways around our neighborhoods.
We hope that when you’re ready to make the leap to an electric or hybrid car, truck (soon?), SUV or van, who’ll come visit one of our Central Maine Motors Auto Group sales locations on Kennedy Memorial Drive or Airport Road here in Waterville.