Here’s the thing about plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs): You get the benefits of a battery electric vehicle for driving a certain number of zero-emission miles, with the versatility of a gas-electric hybrid without range limitations. There’s no secret to it, and it’s that simple. But PHEV ownership does take some thought, and some effort.
The thought part is straightforward. If you’re in the market for a PHEV and your intent is to drive electric as much as possible, then part of the decision making is choosing a new plug-in hybrid model offering a battery electric range that fits your driving patterns. Some plug-in hybrids offer battery electric range as low as 14 to 19 miles, with a great many featuring electric range in the low to high 20s. Some raise that number up to 42 or 48 miles of battery electric driving, like the Toyota Prius Prime and Honda Clarity PHEV, before requiring a charge or the addition of combustion power. Many families find the electric range of Chrysler’s Pacifica Hybrid to be entirely workable at 32 miles, with its total 520 miles of driving range reassuring for any driving need.
The effort in owning a PHEV is that you need to install a 240-volt home wall charger and commit to using it to gain maximum benefit. Really, that’s no different than an all-electric vehicle, with the exception that an electric vehicle must be charged to function, while a PHEV will continue operating with the aid of combustion power once batteries are depleted. Both can be charged with a 120-volt convenience charger plugged into a standard household outlet, but that’s rarely a good option since the charging time at 120 volts is so long, while charging at 240 volts is comparatively short. The goal in achieving maximum benefit, of course, is to keep a PHEV charged in any event so you’re operating on battery power whenever possible.
What range do you really need? If your daily driving or commute is about 20 miles – as is the case for so many – then choose a PHEV with a battery electric range offering that capability, or more. Drivers with longer average daily drives should choose a PHEV with greater all-electric range. If you charge every night and wake up with a fully-charged battery ready for your day’s regular activities, you’ll likely find trips to the gas station unnecessary until longer drives are needed. In those cases, there’s nothing to think about because the transition from battery to combustion power happens seamlessly behind the scenes, with no driver action required. Yes, you’ll want to keep gas in the tank for those eventualities, but if your daily use fits within your rated electric range then fill-ups will be infrequent.
From my perspective, the ability to drive electric most of the time with the ability to motor on for hundreds of additional miles without thought is a win-win. I’ve been doing this for years with a variety of PHEV test cars, and more than a year-and-a-half now over 30,000 miles in a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. As much as possible, my driving is electric with zero localized emissions, as long as I’m consistent about plugging in at night and my charger isn’t required for another test car. I’m driven to do that not only because driving with zero emissions is the right thing to do, but also because electricity offers a cheaper cost-per-mile driving experience. If you’re on a utility’s electric vehicle rate plan and charge at off-peak hours, there’s even more money to be saved. And let’s not forget the blissful and effortless convenience of charging at home, right?
Any claim that PHEVs won’t deliver their desired environmental benefit is based on assumptions that drivers won’t plug in. That isn’t likely, given that PHEV drivers have paid, sometimes significantly, for the privilege of having a plug-in capability. The notion may have its roots in an unrelated alternative fuel story years ago, when we witnessed the phenomena of motorists driving flexible-fuel E85 ethanol/gasoline vehicles without ever fueling up with E85 alternative fuel. That occurred because of a loophole that allowed automakers to gain significant fuel economy credits by offering flexible-fuel vehicles without any consideration whether drivers would ever fuel up with E85 ethanol. Those vehicles were sold at no premium by the millions, with most drivers unaware their vehicle had an alternative fuel capability or whether E85 fueling stations were nearby.
But this is different. While you have the option to use public charging stations, and that’s a nice benefit enjoyed by many EV and PHEV owners, if you do this right there will be a plug in your garage that requires no effort at all to keep your PHEV charged up. Consider, too, that if a buyer spends the extra money for the plug-in hybrid variant of a popular model, there’s clearly an incentive to plug in most of the time to make the most of one’s PHEV investment.
PHEVs will be with us a long while because they are a sensible solution for many who wish to drive electric, and when used as intended they represent a logical pathway for the all-electric future many envision. There’s no doubt that the increasing number of plug-in hybrids coming now, and in the years ahead, will aim at greater electric driving range than the models that came before them. More choices and greater range will provide an even more compelling reason to step up to a plug-in hybrid for the daily drive.
Clearly, Chrysler’s original minivans had a great run, and for good reason. All were based on the same platform featuring a low floor and an overall design that allowed the ability to park in a typical garage. Plus, they drove like cars and not trucks due to their passenger car-like construction. Offering different flavors of the minivan under the Dodge, Plymouth, and Chrysler brands – with varying levels of sophistication – was a smart move as well. But alas, change is inevitable even within notable success stories.
The company’s sixth-generation minivan broke new ground again in 2017 as the Chrysler Pacifica replaced the Town & Country. Featuring an exciting new design on an all-new platform, among its many innovations was the inclusion of the Pacifica Hybrid variant, the first and only plug-in hybrid minivan in the U.S. market to this day.
Four years later, the Pacifica Hybrid now features a redesign with deeper sculpting and sport-utility influences. It’s available in Touring, Touring L, Limited, and Pinnacle iterations, all powered by a 3.6-liter Atkinson V-6 engine mated with electric motors and a nine-speed electrically variable transmission.
This transmission incorporates two electric motors that drive the front wheels via a clutch, rather than using just one motor for propulsion and the other for regenerative braking. The one-way clutch is located on the input side of the transmission and the output shaft of the motor. This one-way clutch enables power from both ‘A’ and ‘B’ motors to act in parallel, delivering the full torque of both motors to the wheels. The system provides a combined 260 horsepower. All Pacifica Hybrid models feature front-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive available on the Touring L model.
Energizing the electric drive system is a 16 kWh lithium-ion battery pack comprised of six 16-cell modules. The pack is located under the second row of seats. The benefit of this battery placement is that it doesn’t infringe on interior space, so cargo-carrying capacity is not sacrificed. The battery pack provides 32 miles of battery electric range and can be recharged in two hours using a 240-volt charger. Total hybrid driving range is 520 miles.
A suite of driver assistance systems is available either as standard or optional equipment, depending on trim level. Among these are a 360° Surround View Camera, Rear View Camera, Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning with Active Braking, Pedestrian Automatic Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitor, Adaptive Cruise Control, Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, and Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist.
Pacifica Hybrid’s Uconnect 4 system comes with a standard 7-inch or optional 8.4-inch touchscreen, standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and available 4G Wi-Fi. Uconnect 4 with the 8.4-inch touchscreen displays vehicle performance, power flow, driving history, and adjusts charging schedules for less expensive off-peak hours.
The conventionally-powered Pacifica minivan offers a base price of $35,045, while the Pacifica Hybrid starts at $39,995 for the Touring L model and travels upward to $50,845 for the Pinnacle edition.
The efficient plug-in hybrid variant of BMW’s third-generation X3 premium compact crossover, the X3 xDrive30e shares drivetrain components, technology, and driving characteristics with the automaker’s 330e plug-in sports sedan. Manufactured in Spartanburg North Carolina on BMW’s refreshed cluster architecture (CLAR) platform, the X3 x30e PHEV blends the efficiency of a hybrid powertrain, super low emissions, and instantaneous low to midrange torque for a spirited drive experience.
Motivation comes from BMW’s 2.0-liter direct injected, turbocharged 4-cylinder engine paired with a 107 horsepower electric motor. The result is 288 total combined horsepower and 310 lb-ft torque that provides a zero to 60 mpg sprint in 5.9 seconds. Fuel efficiency is EPA rated at 60 MPGe while driving on battery power, with a combined city/highway rating of 24 mpg on gasoline. It features an overall driving range of 340 miles on 13.2 gallons of gas plus 18 miles on battery power.
A frame-cradled, air-cooled 12.0 kWh lithium-ion battery supplies energy to the motor. Charging is via an on-board 3.7 kWh charger. Charge time is 3.5 to 6 hours depending on source. Gear shifting is delegated to the time-tested ZF 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission featuring sport and manual shift modes, steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, and launch control. All-weather traction is enabled by BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive.
The 5-passenger compact SUV features a driver-centric cockpit layout with premium materials like Sensatec upholstery, dark oak wood trim inlays, and quality hard and soft touch surfaces. Front seats feature 10-way power adjustment, with the rear offering 40/20/40 split and fold-down functionality with adjustable seat backs for passenger comfort. A 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch center information display provide information and controls, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.
Standard equipment includes ‘smart key’ recognition and personal settings memory, a futuristic yet comprehensive electric drive monitor, remaining electric-only range minder, and navigation-controlled chassis efficiency monitoring. The latest in driver assist and active safety technology is offered. Rounding out this very comprehensive package are voice-activated commands, integrated navigation, optional 360-degree surround camera, premium audio, and automatic three-zone climate control. A two-way power glass moonroof is optional.
All this comes at a base price of $49,600, about $6,600 more than the conventionally-powered X3 xDrive 30i.
The Q5 is offered in three models, two of which combine electrification with Audi’s 2.0-liter TFSI four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The Q5 55 TFSI e plug-in hybrid positions an electric motor between the engine and seven-speed S tronic dual-clutch automatic transmission to produce a total of 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft torque, and earn an EPA rating of 50 MPGe. Those output numbers rival the 3.0-liter, 349-horsepower TFSI V-6 in the range-topping SQ5. The Q5 45 is powered by a new, mild-hybrid variant of the TFSI engine that produces 261 horsepower and 273 lb-ft torque.
Audi is marketing the Q5 TFSI e as part of a ‘Plug-in Trifecta’ for 2021, with its A7 and A8 sedans also available with TFSI PHEV powertrains. These additions move Audi closer to its goal to electrify 30 percent of its U.S. model lineup by 2025.
The Q5 TFSI e can be operated in all-electric, hybrid, and battery-hold modes. A 14.1 kWh battery pack, located under the rear cargo area, enables the Q5 to travel up to 19 miles on electric power alone, according to EPA estimates. Audi says the battery can fully charge in 2.4 hours when plugged into a 240-volt charger. The maker also engineered the battery to act as a source of heat for the Q5’s cabin via a heat pump integrated into the pack.
A standard feature aboard the PHEV Audis is Predictive Efficiency Assist, which is designed to increase the energy regenerated under braking when the vehicle is rolling downhill or approaching a slower-moving vehicle. When the Q5 is equipped with optional satellite navigation, additional input is factored into the energy regeneration, including road curves, speed limits, a the road’s vertical profile. The system prompts the driver, via feedback from the accelerator pedal and a signal in the head-up display, to let up on the accelerator to take advantage of as much kinetic energy as possible.
External cues that set off the TFSI e from other Q5 models are subtle. The plug-in hybrid is equipped with S Line exterior trim, including a honeycomb version of the automaker’s Singleframe’ grille and more aggressive front and rear diffusers. It rolls on standard 19.5-inch double-spoke-star wheels or optional 20-inch, 10-spoke wheels. An optional Sport Plus package combines the 20-inch wheels with adaptive air suspension.
The Audi Q5 TFSI e plug-in hybrid comes at a base price of $52,900, just over $9,000 more than the conventionally-powered Q5.
It’s no secret why the RAV4 is such a global hit. Beyond its obvious style, this is a model that carries a lot of gear, gets excellent fuel economy, and exhibits the traditional high standards for fit and finish found with Toyota products. What’s not to like? Toyota's latest variation, the RAV4 Prime, brings a plug-in hybrid variant to the model that adds to its appeal with 42 miles of all-electric driving range and 600 miles of total range.
RAV4 Prime is powered by the automaker’s 177 horsepower, four-cylinder DOHC engine and a pair of electric motors, one at the front and another at the rear, for on-demand four-wheel drive. Total combined power is a stunning 302 horsepower, which Toyota points out makes it the second-fastest car in its lineup behind the marque’s Supra sports car.
Available in two models, SE and XSE, RAV4 Prime combines lessons learned with Toyota’s other hybrid success stories like the groundbreaking Prius. While many competitors have focused on moving toward all electric power, Toyota has opted to focus on refining hybrid technology to motivate its electrified models. The RAV4 Prime presents an excellent example: Simply, it’s a popular and appealing plug-in crossover SUV offering on- and off-road capability with exceptional drivability, handling, and performance.
There’s a wealth of technology at work beneath the skin in the RAV4 Prime that makes it not only powerful, but exceptionally functional and efficient. Its 18.1 kWh battery is positioned beneath the floor, so it doesn’t impact interior and cargo space. Beyond its truly usable all-electric driving range, the RAV4 also delivers a 94 MPGe rating while operating on battery power. Recharging the battery is handled via a 240-volt home or public charger in about 4 ½ hours, or in about 12 hours when plugging into a conventional 120-volt AC outlet. When faster 6.6 kW charging is available, the RAV4 Prime can charge up in about 2 ½ hours.
Inside, driver and passengers enjoy heated and cooled leather seats, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, JBL audio, and a handy conductive phone charging pad. The RAV4 Prime also comes will all the advanced safety and driver assist systems desired these days including Toyota's Safety Sense 2.0, which includes pre-collision with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert with steering assist, lane tracing assist, and road sign assist. Also available is front and rear parking assist with automated braking, and rear cross traffic braking.
On the outside, the Prime edition features special badging and 19-inch alloy wheels, the only indications that call out this new and advanced version of the RAV4. Cost of entry for the RAV4 Prime is $38,100.
Somewhat smaller than Lincoln’s first plug-in SUV, the Aviator Grand Touring, the Corsair is a luxury-oriented, two-row crossover that injects comfort and class into a compact premium crossover segment dominated by European offerings. It's offered in both conventional gas- and plug-in hybrid-powered variants.
When one looks to Corsair, its distinguishing characteristics and luxury appointments mean there’s no mistaking it for anything other than a Lincoln. Its attractive design features creased and organic dynamic bodylines, a Lincoln-esque diamond patterned grille, and oversized alloy wheels. Inside is a premium leather-upholstered, wood-accented, and tech-rich cabin. The compact Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring lives large enough for four to five well-sized adults and a complement of weekend luggage.
At the heart of 2021 Corsair Grand Touring beats a 2.5-liter inline 4-cylinder, Atkinson cycle gas engine and a twin electric motor planetary drive system. A constant variable transmission transfers torque to the front wheels. A third motor producing 110 lb-ft torque is dedicated to driving the rear wheels, bringing the confident traction of all-wheel drive. Combined, this powertrain delivers an estimated 266 horsepower.
EPA fuel efficiency is rated at 33 combined mpg and 78 MPGe when running on battery power. It will drive 28 miles on its lithium-ion batteries with a total range of 430 miles. Conventionally-powered Corsairs net an estimated 22 city and 29 highway mpg, and 25 mpg combined .
A driver-centric cockpit offers infinitely adjustable and heated leather seating surrounded by wood and burnished metal accents. A comprehensive dash and infotainment display, back-up dashcam, pushbutton drive commands, head-up display, parking assist, and smartphone keyless access are standard or available. Top-of-the-line Co-Pilot 360 driver assist, electronic safety, and personal connectivity features are offered. Corsair Grand Touring’s 14.4 kWh battery module is located beneath the model’s body pan, resulting in a lower center of gravity and unobstructed rear deck cargo space.
The Corsair Grand Touring has an MSRP of $50,390, about fourteen grand more than the conventionally-powered base model. It's expected to make its way to Lincoln showrooms sometime this spring.
Now in its second generation, BMW’s 330e plug-in hybrid sport sedan comes to market with measurable improvements in electric-only driving range, fuel efficiency, and a neat trick or two. Long the benchmark of premium compact sport sedans, BMW’s 3 series first presented an ‘e’ variant in 2016, a bit early to capture the growing electrification movement in North America. Fast forward to today, and you’ll note every major and minor car and light truck manufacturer is turning to electrification. And this brings us to a more powerful and fuel efficient 2021 BMW 330e PHEV, a logical step toward total BMW fleet electrification.
Looking to the exterior of BMW’s latest and greatest 3 series variant, one is hard pressed to discern it from its 330i I.C. stable mate. Case in point: A modern plug-in needn’t look Bladerunner-esque to be ‘green,’ nor lack sport performance characteristics and panache. The beauty and marketing genius of the 2021 BMW 330e is the car’s appeal to the sport driver in all of us, without jeopardizing our collective environmental inclinations. Simply, it looks like a BMW.
Torque 4-cylinder goes electric
Seamless electric motor integration juices up an already torque-rich twin-scroll turbocharged, direct injected, variable-timed 2.0-liter DOHC gasoline engine. This results in a combined 288 horsepower and 310 lb-ft torque, an increase of 24 horsepower and 12 lb-ft torque over the first generation offering. New for 2021 is BMW’s Xtra boost function that delivers an additional 40 horsepower for up to 10 seconds, with or without remaining battery reserve.
Torque transfer is delegated to the time-tested ZF 8-speed Sport Automatic transmission, featuring integrated steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, sport and manual shift modes, and ‘launch control.’ BMW xDrive all-wheel-drive is an available option for greater traction and all-weather driving. Performance tuned suspension, selectable variable dynamic drive modes, auto start-stop, regenerative braking, and personalized electric assist steering rounds out the performance package for an exceptional driver-centric commute. There are real performance benefits that come with electrification A non-hybrid base model 330i claims a lesser 255 horsepower and 294 lb-ft torque in the low- to mid rpm range, with no benefits of electrification, fuel efficiency, or electric-only drive capabilities.
The base 2021 330e PHEV retains its rear axle drive, sports performance heritage. Sport drivers will appreciate this compact BMW’s power-to-weight ratio and new-found lower center of gravity, thanks to the under-passenger seat positioning of the 330e’s increased charge capacity, air cooled 12 KWh lithium-ion battery pack. Drivers will enjoy an estimated 20 mile electric-only driving range, combined with an estimated combined fuel efficiency of 71 MPGe that represents a range increase of 8 miles over the earlier 330e. Combined driving range is estimated at 290 to 320 miles on a full charge and 10.6 gallons of premium gasoline.
The 330e cabin environment is pure BMW and shared with the conventional 330i, conservative yet elegant in detail. Appointments include Sensi-Tech fabrics, burnished wood details, and an anthracite grey contrasting headliner. Standard equipment includes the latest in driver assist and active safety technology, a rather intuitive electric drive monitor, range minder, and navigation-controlled chassis efficiency monitoring. Also standard is premium audio, 14-way power adjusted front seats, automatic three-zone climate control, a two-way power glass moonroof, rain sensing windshield wipers, and more.
The BMW 330e is available at an MSRP of $44,550 with the all-wheel drive xDrive version coming in at $46,550. An interesting side note is that when factoring in anticipated Federal and State tax rebate incentives, the 2021 BMW 330e comes to market at less cost than the conventionally-powered 330i, while affording single drivers to HOV lane access and greater fuel efficiency.
It’s no surprise that the move toward electrics is also being driven by growing consumer interest in vehicles that address the challenges of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Those who don’t see this this transition aren’t paying attention. However, taking this as a sign that the imminent end of the internal combustion vehicle is upon us assumes too much. The numbers and trends do not bear this out.
While our focus here is on all ‘greener’ vehicles offering lower emissions, higher efficiency, and greater environmental performance, we give significant focus to electrification on GreenCarJournal.com because, to a large degree, this represents our driving future. There are many electrified vehicles now on the market that have met with notable success, particularly gasoline-electric hybrids. In fact, hybrids have become so mainstream after 20 years that most people don’t look at them differently. They simply embrace these vehicles as a normal part of their daily lives, enjoying a familiar driving experience as their hybrids deliver higher fuel efficiency and fewer carbon emissions.
Less transparent are electric vehicles of all types because they have a plug, something that’s not familiar to most drivers. This includes plug-in hybrids that really are seamless since they offer both electric and internal combustion drive. The challenge is especially pronounced for all-electric vehicles that drive exclusively on batteries.
A recent survey of consumers and industry experts by JD Power underscores this. Even as the overall survey indicated most respondents had neutral confidence in battery electric vehicles, many said their prospect for buying an electric vehicle was low. They also had concerns about the reliability of battery electric vehicles compared to conventionally powered models. Clearly, there’s work to be done in educating people about electric vehicles, and it will take time.
Overall, automakers do a good job of providing media with the latest information on their electrification efforts, new electric models, and electrified vehicles under development. That’s why you’ll read so much about electric vehicles in mainstream media and learn about them on the news.
What’s less evident is that consumers truly learn what they need to know about plug-in vehicles at new car showrooms. Car dealerships are critical even in an era where online car buying is starting to gain traction. Showrooms are still where the vast majority of new car buyers shop for their next car, and the influence salespeople have on a consumer’s purchase decision is huge.
The JD Power study illustrates consumers’ lack of understanding about the reliability of electric vehicles…even though reliability is a given since electrics have far fewer moving parts to wear and break than conventional vehicles. Dealer showrooms can help resolve this lack of understanding with readily-available materials about electric car ownership, a sales force willing to present ‘green’ options to conventional vehicles, plus adequate stock of electrified vehicles – hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric – to test drive.
Sales trends tell us that conventional internal combustion vehicles will represent the majority of new car sales for quite some time. More efficient electrified vehicles will continue to make inroads, but not at the pace many would like, even at a time when greater numbers of electric models are coming to market. In the absence of forward-thinking dealerships willing to invest in change, an enthusiastic sales force eager to share the benefits of electrics, and auto manufacturers willing to incentivize dealers to sell electric, this promises to be a long road. It’s time to change this dynamic.
Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV, the world's best-selling plug-in-hybrid SUV, features innovative technology to provide welcome performance and family-friendly, fuel efficient all-wheel-drive capability. The combination of a gasoline engine and two electric motors, lithium-ion battery, and plug-in capability allows the Outlander PHEV to travel 310 miles on hybrid power and 22 all-electric miles on a completely charged battery. The Outlander PHEV has an EPA rating of 25 city/highway combined mpg when operating on gasoline and 74 MPGe (miles-per-gallon equivalent) when operating on battery power.
The Mitsubishi Plug-in Hybrid EV System features three modes to achieve its unique series-parallel operation. Plus, there’s the ability to select up to six levels of regenerative braking to tailor the driving experience.
An integral part of the vehicle’s plug-in hybrid drivetrain is a Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control (MIVEC) engine that combines maximum power output, low fuel consumption, and a high level of clean performance. This 2.0-liter, 16-valve DOHC engine produces 117 horsepower at 4,500 rpm and 137 lb-ft torque at 4,500 rpm. It drives an electric generator that supplies electricity to the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery or directly to the electric motors. Each of its two AC synchronous permanent magnetic motors are rated at 80 horsepower (60 kW). A maximum combined 197 horsepower is available. The lack of a driveshaft or transfer case means response and control much faster than a traditional 4WD setup.
A 12 kilowatt-hour, high-energy density, lithium-ion battery is located beneath the floor where it contributes to a low center of gravity and stable driving performance. This battery can be charged in 10 hours with a household Level 1, 110-volt source or four hours with a Level 2, 240-volt charger. Using DC Fast Charging that’s available at commercial charging facilities, the Outlander PHEV will charge up to 80 percent capacity in as little as 25 minutes. The Outlander PHEV holds the distinction as being the first PHEV capable of DC Fast Charging capability.
The Outlander PHEV’s parallel-series hybrid features three operating modes that are automatically selected for maximum efficiency, according to the driving conditions. These modes are EV Drive, Series Hybrid, and Parallel-Series.
In the EV Drive mode the Outlander is powered exclusively by the electric motors, with no battery charging except from regenerative braking. EV Drive is used for medium- to low-speeds during city driving. The two electric motors power the Outlander when operating in Series Hybrid mode, except when battery power is low or quick acceleration or hill climbing is needed. Then, the gasoline engine automatically starts to drive the generator and provide electric power for the electric motors to augment battery power. The engine-generator also charges the battery.
In Parallel Hybrid mode the gasoline engine supplies power to the front wheels with the two electric motors adding additional power as needed. The engine also charges the battery pack in Parallel Hybrid mode under certain driving conditions. At high speeds, the Parallel Hybrid mode is more efficient since internal combustion engines operate with greater efficiency than electric motors at high rpms.
A driver can also choose Charge Mode so the generator charges the lithium-ion battery at any time. Save Mode conserves the battery charge for later use. EV Priority Mode, which can be used at any time, ensures the gasoline engine only runs when maximum power is required. Mitsubishi’s Twin Motor S-AWC integrated control system delivers optimal power and control by managing Active Yaw Control (AYC), an Anti-lock braking system (ABS), and Active Stability Control (ASC) with Traction Control (TCL).
No matter the hybrid mode, whenever the Outlander PHEV decelerates regenerative braking charges the battery to augment electric driving range. There are six levels of regenerative braking –B1 to B5 plus a B0 coast mode – that are conveniently selected by a pair of paddles behind the steering wheel. Regenerative braking strength can also be selected by console-mounted controls. Automatic Stop and Go (AS&G) automatically stops and restarts the engine when the vehicle stops, further conserving fuel.
The Outlander PHEV benefits from Mitsubishi Innovative Valve timing Electronic Control system (MIVEC) technology that controls valve timing and amount of lift to achieve optimum power output, low fuel consumption, and low exhaust emissions. MIVEC adjusts intake air volume by varying intake valve lift stroke and throttle valves, reducing pumping losses and thus improving fuel efficiency. The MIVEC engine improves fuel consumption through other strategies, including improvement of combustion stability through optimization of the combustion chamber and reduction of friction through optimization of the piston structure.
We’ve spent plenty of time now behind the wheel of the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV GT as part of our long-term test of this highly functional vehicle. We can tell you this: It’s obvious to the Green Car Journal staff why the Outlander PHEV was named the magazine’s 2019 Green SUV of the Year™ and now the 2020 Family Green Car of the Year™.
First of all, it’s a joy to drive. The Outlander PHEV is spacious, well-appointed with an upscale leather interior, and reasonably priced for a plug-in hybrid crossover in today’s market, at $36,295 for the SEL S-AWC and $41,695 for the GT S-AWC. It’s rated at 74 MPGe on electricity and 25 combined mpg on gas, so it’s quite thrifty when driven as intended – as an electric vehicle for around-town driving and as an intelligent hybrid when the need calls for longer distance travels.
This is what we do on a daily basis. We plug in at night with a 240-volt wall charger, top off the batteries while parked, and start the day off with a full charge. Most of our driving, which is likely a reflection of what most folks will experience, is daily use for commuting and running errands within this vehicle’s EPA rated 22 miles of battery-powered driving range. That means if we’re diligent about charging every night – happily, at our utility’s discounted electric vehicle rate – we won’t be visiting a gas station anytime soon.
Of course, if circumstances dictate a daily commute that’s longer than the Outlander PHEV’s rated range and there is on-site charging available at the workplace, it’s possible to effectively double all-electric range by plugging in at work for the drive home. Four hours at 240-volt Level 2 charging at work or at a public charger brings the Outlander PHEV’s pack back to a full charge from a depleted state. If a rapid charger is available, then the battery can be energized to 80 percent capacity in just 25 minutes.
The importance of plug-in hybrid power is that regardless of battery state-of-charge, there’s never anxiety about range. While this Mitsubishi crossover’s battery range is suitable for zero-emission motoring around-town, the Outlander PHEV itself is geared for any transportation needs required. It offers a 310 mile overall driving range that we’ve found very workable and convenient for longer drives and road trips when we do travel beyond those 22 electric miles.
Beyond its electric capability, we’ve found many reasons to appreciate our time in the Outlander PHEV. It’s right-sized for a family of five and it’s comfortable, with loads of room up front and plenty of room afforded by the rear seats. The rear seats three, but with only two in the back there’s a handy pull-down center console and armrest to deploy with cupholders and storage. A 120-volt AC outlet is located at the back of the center console for plugging in a laptop or other device that requires household power. USB power is also available front and rear.
We also appreciate the driving experience. Acceleration is brisk and handling confident, with excellent steering input. The Outlander PHEV offers a smooth ride and is well isolated from road noise. Its series-parallel hybrid drivetrain intelligently balances power from its 2.0-liter engine and twin electric motors under most driving circumstances, providing optimum performance and efficiency. Transitions between electric and combustion power are seamless and virtually unnoticeable, even if you’re looking for them. An EV Drive mode is also driver selectable via a console-mounted switch to allow traveling exclusively in electric mode, with the engine kicking in only when additional acceleration is needed. Steering wheel paddles can be used to control the vehicle’s level of regenerative braking force.
As is the case with most drivers today, we’ve come to appreciate the many sophisticated on-board systems working behind the scene to ensure our safety, and the safety of others. We fortunately haven’t had the need for forward collision mitigation, but we know the system is there in the background. The Outlander PHEV’s many driver assist systems – from adaptive cruise control and automatic high beams to rear cross traffic alert and lane departure warning – inspire that extra level of driving confidence. Particularly helpful every day is the center display’s birds-eye view of the vehicle’s surroundings as we’re backing up.
It's not lost on us that we enjoy a measure of exclusivity while driving this long-term tester. While the Outlander PHEV has been sold worldwide for years – achieving the distinction as the world’s best-selling plug-in hybrid – it has only been here in the U.S. since the 2018 model year. Plus, the Mitsubishi brand’s presence in the U.S. market is significantly smaller than competitors like Honda and Toyota, so you won’t see as many Outlanders on the road as you will CR-Vs or RAV4s. But that’s a good thing if you’re looking to drive something that stands apart from the crowd…which our stylish, PHEV-badged Outlander PHEV GT certainly does.
The 2020 Karma Revero GT is a major remake that delivers a new model substantially more refined than the original Karma Revero, which evolved from an existing series hybrid sedan. Externally, all of the Revero GT’s body panels have been restyled, including the doors. Most noticeable are the new grille and front fascia that present quite a departure from the Revero’s original and rather massive grillework.
Besides a more modern look, weight has been reduced by more than 500 pounds, an important move since this is one heavy grand touring car weighing in at some 5,050 pounds total. Optional carbon fiber wheels shave off an additional 55 pounds. Inside, there are new seats, center console, and an all-new infotainment system.
There are also big changes in the drivetrain. A turbocharged 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine, sourced from the BMW i8, replaces the previous GM-sourced 2.0 liter engine originally used in the Revero series hybrid. Two electric motors drive the rear wheels through a single speed transmission. Combined power output has noticeably increased from 403 to 535 horsepower, with a beefy dose of 550 lb-ft torque at the ready. All this brings an impressive 0-60 mph sprint in just 4.5 seconds. In a departure from the norm, the exhaust for the Karma GT’s three-cylinder engine is located behind the front wheels.
A lighter 28-kWh battery pack is configured to run down the spine of the car. This nickel-manganese-cobalt lithium-ion pack provides a battery electric range of up to 80 miles, an impressive gain over that offered by the 2019 Revero. With the 280 mile range afforded by electricity from the car’s gasoline engine-generator, overall driving range comes in at 360 miles. EPA rates the 2020 Karma Revero GT at 26 combined mpg and 70 MPGe when driving exclusively on battery power.
Drivers can choose between Stealth, Sustain, and Sport modes to tailor the driving experience. Stealth is for all-electric driving. Sustain mode uses the BMW range-extender engine to supply electricity to the rear motors, preserving power from the battery pack for later use. Sport mode maximizes performance by combining the power from both the engine-generator and battery pack. Three levels of regenerative braking can be selected using steering wheel paddles.
A Karma Revero GTS is planned for introduction later in 2020. Here, torque will be increased to a massive 635 lb-ft for even greater performance. The GTS variant will also feature electronic torque vectoring and Launch Control to handle all that torque. In addition, a planned battery upgrade is expected to provide up to 80 miles of all-electric driving.
Lincoln’s new Aviator comes in two versions, the conventionally-powered Aviator and the Aviator Grand Touring plug-in-hybrid. Both luxury SUVs feature a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 engine, which in the Aviator is rated at 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft torque. The Grand Touring adds a 101 horsepower electric motor and a 13.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. Adding the electric motor to the V-6 increases output to a combined 494 horsepower and 630 lb-ft torque.
That kind of power means the Aviator Grand Touring has V-8 big block-like performance, with acceleration coming on strong courtesy of an electric motor that deliver loads of torque from zero rpm. Hybrid power also means better fuel economy than a conventionally powered model, with the Grand Touring variant offering an EPA combined fuel economy rating of 23 mpg, compared to 20 mpg for the all-wheel-drive version of the conventional Aviator. The Aviator Grand Touring comes only with AWD while the conventional model has the option of rear-wheel drive.
The Aviator Grand Touring uses Ford's innovative new modular hybrid transmission that’s also used in the Ford Explorer Limited Hybrid and Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid It was created by essentially inserting an electric motor and disconnect clutch between the engine and torque converter on Ford's 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. The MHT shares about 90 percent of its components with Ford’s conventional 10-speed automatic.
Drivers are afforded 21 miles of all-electric driving in the plug-in hybrid for typical around-town needs. The Aviator Touring’s 13.6 kWh battery pack features under-floor packaging that does not infringe on interior space, so this 7 passenger SUV’s cargo-carrying capacity is not compromised when the third row seating is folded flat. Charging a depleted battery takes three-to-four hours using a 240-volt Level 2 charger.
All Aviators have five Lincoln Drive Modes that change the suspension settings, steering, shift points, and ride height with the optional Air Glide Suspension. The Aviator Grand Touring has two additional modes – Pure EV for all-electric driving and Preserve EV to save stored electrical energy for later use. The Aviator can tow 6,700 pounds while the Aviator Grand Touring can tow 5,600 pounds.
Lincoln's all-new Aviator offers a point of entry at $51,100 for the base rear-drive model, with the Grand Touring plug-in hybrid variant coming in at $68,900.
The BMW 7-Series gets a facelift for 2020, and without a doubt its most notable styling change is a more massive twin kidney grille. Importantly, BMW’s 745e xDrive sedan gets a new and improved plug-in-hybrid powertrain to bolster its environmental credentials. This flagship BMW sedan is now powered by a six-cylinder, 3.0 liter TwinPower Turbo engine that replaces the previous version’s 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine used in its 740e predecessor. Engine output is now 286 horsepower and the electric motor is rated at 113 horsepower.
Lithium-ion battery output has also improved with battery pack capacity increased from 9.2 to 12 kWh. This provides a bit more all-electric range –16 versus the earlier version’s 14 miles. Total driving range with electric and hybrid drive is 290 miles. The high-voltage battery is positioned underneath the rear seats so luggage compartment volume is about the same as in the non-hybrid 7-series sedans. Importantly, this plug-in hybrid also delivers much better performance when running on the gasoline engine alone or when driving in hybrid mode with both the engine and electric motor supplying power.
The 745e’s electric motor is integrated in the model’s 8-speed Steptronic transmission. As xDrive implies, the 745e features BMW's xDrive intelligent all-wheel-drive. The BMW 745e xDrive is equipped with a hybrid-specific version of the eight-speed Sport Steptronic transmission that incorporates both the electric motor and an improved separating clutch that acts as the link to the engine. The extremely compact design is only about 0.6 inches longer than the Steptronic transmissions in the non-hybrid models.
Drivers are provided an array of selectable driving modes. In default Hybrid mode, the 745e runs on electric power with the combustion engine kicking in only after the car reaches 87 mph. This mode provides an optimized balance between the combustion engine and electric motor. Hybrid Eco Pro mode is biased towards reduced fuel consumption with enhanced coasting. Electric mode provides all-electric driving.
By selecting the Battery Control mode, charge state of the high-voltage battery is maintained at a level determined by the driver, enabling battery power to be used later for emissions-free driving in town, for example. Sport mode combines both engine and electric motor output to provide a total 389 horsepower for maximum performance. Adaptive mode is geared towards relevant driving styles and situations.
BMW is a pioneer in using carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) in production vehicles. The 7-series’ A, B, and C pillars, as well as the roof, are made of CFRP to reduce weight and the car’s center of gravity. The price of entry for the 745e is $95,550.
We’ve been driving Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV for 6,000 miles now as part of an ongoing experience with this long-term test vehicle. Over the months, our plug-in hybrid crossover has served as a daily commuter as well as our go-to ride for quick weekend getaways and the occasional longer trip. This time, we decided to see what it’s like to be behind the wheel on a genuine road trip for a solid week, from our offices on California’s Central Coast to the southern reaches of Washington State.
First, let’s say this: The capabilities of the Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid – Green Car Journal’s 2019 Green SUV of the Year™ – lend a sense of confidence. We knew that we could charge the Outlander’s batteries when desired and convenient to gain about 22 miles of all-electric range during our travels, a nice plus. But we were also aware that taking the time for charging wasn’t necessary. This crossover’s EPA-rated hybrid range of 310 miles would be plenty to get us where we wanted to go, without hesitation or delays. That’s an important thing when packing a few thousand miles of combined day and late-night driving into a seven day period.
Our trip began by heading northbound from San Luis Obispo, California on US-101, where we crested the Cuesta Grade and continued toward the busy San Francisco Bay corridor three hours ahead. We were hoping an early departure would allow avoiding the unpredictable traffic there. Success! It turns out that late morning near the Bay Area provides a decent travel window with reasonably free-flowing traffic. Then it was onward toward Oregon on US-101, transitioning to I-680 and I-505 and ultimately the long stretch of I-5 that would take us to Washington State.
Since this was a road trip, adventure is built into the journey. That means if something interesting presents itself along the way, we may just stop to check it out. Sure enough, this happened less than an hour north of Sacramento, where a series of highway billboards enticed travelers to stop at Granzella’s Restaurant in Williams, a sleepy, postage-stamp-size of a city that’s home to about 5,000 people. It was lunchtime, so why not?
We found plenty of cars in Granzella's parking lot but also no wait inside. Food choices here are plentiful, with options for ordering from a fully-stocked deli or sitting down for a home-style meal in their restaurant. Being traveler-oriented, Granzella’s encourages you to wander around inside, checking out their sports bar, wine room, coffee bar, and olive room, plus of course the array of gifts aimed toward travelers. There’s also a separate Granzella’s Gourmet & Gifts store across the street and Granzella’s Inn across the way if an overnight stop is needed. We were on a tight time schedule, so it was back on I-5 for another 550 miles of road time before our anticipated arrival in Vancouver.
Daily experience in a long-term test car lends a thorough sense of what it's like to live with a vehicle, offering an opportunity to fully experience its capabilities. Beyond that, longer drives like this allow uninterrupted hours behind the wheel to reflect on a vehicle's features, large and small, that either enhance the driving experience or fall short of expectations.
We can say it is hard to find fault with the Outlander PHEV. This crossover provides a spacious and well-appointed cabin offering very comfortable and supportive seating for long drives, plus plenty of room to store all the stuff needed for long trips. Our considerable time on the road was made all the more pleasant since the Outlander PHEV’s ride is smooth and handling confident, with plenty of power for any driving situation we encountered.
Along the way we made good use of this model’s Apple CarPlay capability. Of course, driver assist systems like adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, blind spot warning with lane change assist, rear cross traffic alert, and rear-view camera enhanced the driving experience and sense of safety. Its heated steering wheel is a real plus. While always handy, we really came to appreciate this crossover’s retractable cargo cover that kept things out of sight and more secure while parked at restaurants and hotels during our week on the road. We also made use of its convenient power lift gate multiple times every day.
The Outlander PHEV’s total driving range of 310 miles is well-suited to longer trips like this. Range is something we rarely think about on a daily basis since our everyday driving is typically less than 20 miles, so often enough we’re driving on battery power and there’s no need for gas at all. When we do drive farther to nearby cities, the Outlander PHEV seamlessly transitions from electric to hybrid power once the battery is depleted. There is no range anxiety because we can travel as far as needed on gasoline. Back in the garage, we charge again overnight and we’re once again driving on battery power.
It’s worth noting that the Outlander PHEV has a smaller gas tank than the conventionally-powered Outlander, 11.3 versus 16.6 gallons, resulting in less overall driving range than the conventional gas model. This is due to design changes for accommodating this PHEV’s 12 kWh lithium-ion battery pack and other PHEV drivetrain components. Packaging the vehicle’s electric componentry in this way means the battery and other necessary equipment do not infringe on passenger or cargo space, something that’s bothered us for years in some other electrified models. So, all things considered, we’re good with trading some hybrid range for additional roominess, especially since refueling at a gas station is quick and easy.
Speaking of ‘refueling,’ there was the potential for quickly charging at an array of public fast charge locations during our drive. A growing number of Level 3 charging opportunities are located along major routes in California and other states, and the Outlander PHEV is capable of CHAdeMO DC fast charging to 80 percent battery capacity in 20 minutes. We didn’t feel the need on this trip, though we have done this at other times.
That said, charging at the Level 2 charger at our hotel in Vancouver, the Heathman Lodge, was a real plus. Once we arrived in Washington, we plugged in several times to get an overnight charge and enjoyed our no-cost electric drives around town. During these drives the Outlander PHEV motors along on zero-emission battery power at an EPA estimated 74 MPGe.
Driving through Northern California and the Pacific Northwest, there’s no denying you’ll find some pretty incredible scenery ranging from mountain ranges, imposing dormant volcanoes, and awe-inspiring redwood forests to scenic coastlines, rivers, and lakes. You will also find an obsession with the mythical Bigfoot. Suffice it to say there will be plenty of places to stop with ‘Bigfoot’ included in their theme, and lots of opportunities to buy souvenirs. As a side note, we did an ‘On the Trail of Bigfoot’ road trip adventure and article several decades back, so this definitely brought a smile to our face.
Along our drive we had the opportunity to visit cities large and small, drive through a redwood tree, take in scenic coastal areas in Oregon like Newport and Lincoln City, and in general enjoy the benefits of a real road trip. Of course, there were stops at roadside fruit stands, interesting eateries, and places with character that simply called to us for a closer look. Photo ops were abundant.
During our trip we came to truly understand why Mitsubishi’s Outlander PHEV is the world's best-selling plug-in hybrid vehicle. Taking advantage of technology development and learnings from this automaker’s earlier i-MiEV electric vehicle program, the Outlander PHEV combines advanced parallel and series hybrid drive, along with Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control system technology developed through Mitsubishi's Lancer Evolution. Plus, for those with the need, the Outlander PHEV can tow 1500 pounds.
This is one high-tech crossover, offered at a surprisingly affordable entry price point of $36,095, considering the cost of competitive crossover SUVs with similar capabilities at tens of thousands of dollars more. It features efficient hybrid power that integrates a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and generator along with a pair of high-performance electric motors, one up front and one at the rear.
The Outlander PHEV operates in three modes automatically chosen by the vehicle's control system to optimize efficiency and performance. In Series Hybrid mode the electric motors drive the vehicle with the engine augmenting battery power and generating electricity to power the motors. Electrical energy is also delivered to the battery pack. The 2.0-liter engine assists with mechanical power at times when quick acceleration or hill climbing are needed.
Parallel Hybrid mode finds the gasoline engine driving the front wheels with the two electric motors adding additional power as required. The engine also charges the battery pack in Parallel Hybrid mode under certain driving conditions.
Then there’s all-electric driving solely on batteries, selectable with an ‘EV’ control on the center console. We have found EV mode ideal for around-town travel or regional drives near our offices, and in fact we’ve noted no discernable difference when driving in all-electric or hybrid modes.
While regenerative braking in all modes is done automatically with the vehicle feeding electricity back to the battery pack during coast-down, there’s the added advantage of controlling how aggressively regen works. This capability is controlled through six levels of regenerative braking selectable by convenient steering wheel paddles, with one mode allowing coasting for blocks.
The Outlander PHEV proved to be an exceptional vehicle for our Pacific Northwest adventures, offering everything we could want in a long-distance cruiser. With our road trip adventure now a pleasant memory, we’re looking forward to our continuing daily drives and explorations in our long-term Outlander PHEV test vehicle over the coming months.
Ford’s popular Escape has been completely redesigned for 2020 with a lower and more car-like look, offering compact crossover buyers plenty of options with gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions. The gasoline and standard hybrid are available with front- and four-wheel-drive, while the plug-in hybrid is available exclusively with front-wheel drive. Gasoline versions come in S, SE, SEL and Titanium trim, while the hybrids offer SE and Titanium trim choices.
Although the new Escape's dramatic restyling may make it appear smaller than the previous generation, it is actually a bit longer and wider with a slightly lower roofline. Interior space has increased with additional rear legroom and up to 37.5 cubic feet of useable space behind the rear seats. A Panoramic sunroof is available on specific models.
Escape is available with either a 1.5 liter, three-cylinder EcoBoost engine producing 180 horsepower, or a 2.0 liter EcoBoost four-cylinder delivering 250 horsepower. Both come with start-stop engine technology to enhance efficiency. The 1.5-liter engine is standard on S, SE, and SEL models with the 2.0-liter standard on the Titanium and optional on the SEL.
The 1.5-liter engine has cylinder deactivation that shuts down one of the cylinders under low-load conditions, allowing it to operate as a two-cylinder engine for improved fuel economy. Both engines connect to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter engine adds SelectShift with paddle controls. The three-cylinder EcoBoost powerplant is available with standard front- or optional all-wheel drive, while the four-cylinder comes only with all-wheel drive. Tow rating for the three-cylinder Escape is 2000 pounds with the four-cylinder capable of towing 3500 pounds.
Both hybrids use an Atkinson cycle, 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with two electric motors. The hybrid offers a combined 198 horsepower, while the plug-in offers a slightly higher 209 horsepower rating. A PowerSplit electronic continuously variable transmission (CVT) transfers power to the road. The hybrid uses a 1.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, while the plug-in hybrid has more powerful 14.4 kWh pack that provides an estimated all-electric range of 30 miles. Both battery packs fit under the floor.
The Escape PHEV has a Level 1/Level 2 AC charging port. Using a household outlet and the 110-volt Level 1 charger requires about 10 to 11 hours for a full charge. Charge time is a much quicker 3.5 hours using a home or public 240-volt Level 2 charger.
Ford's CoPilot360 driver assistance features are standard on all models. These include Cross Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, Auto High-Beam Headlamps, Lane-Keeping Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, and Rear View Camera. Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop-and-Go and lane centering plus Park Assist are optional on Titanium models. A voice activated navigation system is available.
The Escape’s 8-inch touchscreen, standard on all but the base S trim, comes with Ford's Sync 3 infotainment system that’s compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, 4G LTE Wi-Fi is standard on all versions. A 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster is optional on all but the base S model. An optional head-up display projects images on a six-inch screen rather than on the windshield.
The gas models and the hybrid will go on sale in fall 2019 with the plug-in-hybrid Escape will arrive in spring 2020. Prices and fuel economy data have yet to be announced.
The SF90 Stradale represents many firsts for Ferrari. It’s the legendary automaker’s first plug-in hybrid electric model, the marque’s first all-wheel-drive supercar, and the most powerful Ferrari production car ever sold. The SF90 boasts the highest output ever for a Ferrari V-8 and, in fact, this is the first time a V-8 has powered a top-of-the-range Ferrari model. Not a replacement for LaFerrari, the SF90 Stradale's name celebrates the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Scuderia Ferrari racing team that harkens back to 1929.
The two-seat SF90 Stradale supercar combines the output of a rear-mounted, 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V-8 engine and three electric motors. A motor/generator between the engine and the transmission drives the rear wheels. Two motors at the front axle, which are not mechanically connected to the internal combustion driveline, drive each front wheel. This results in a sophisticated AWD system that Ferrari says is needed to handle the SF90 Stradale's tremendous horsepower.
The SF90 V-8 makes 769 horsepower at 7,500 rpm, while the three electric motors add 217 horsepower to bring a combined 986 horsepower and 590 lb-ft torque to this supercar. Since the electric motors provide instant torque from 0 rpm, Ferrari claims a 0-62 mph (0-100 km/hr) time of 2.5 seconds, with the car hitting 124 mph (200 km/hr) in 6.7 seconds. Top speed is 211 mph (340 km/hr).
Interestingly, the 8-speed automatic transmission has no reverse gear since the front motors handle backing up. The hybrid system also helps further improve Ferrari's renowned braking. The SF90 Stradale's brake-by-wire system allows braking torque to be split between the hydraulic system and the electric motors’ regenerative braking, boosting both performance and brake feel.
There are four drivetrain modes – eDrive, Hybrid, Performance, and Qualify. In eDrive, the Stradale is powered solely by the two front motors, making it a front-wheel-drive EV. A 7.9 kWh lithium-ion battery provides an all-electric range of about 16 miles with a top speed of 84 mph, depending on road conditions and how quickly the car accelerates. Hybrid is the default mode when the car starts up. Here, all three electric motors and the gasoline engine work together to achieve optimum fuel efficiency and performance. In Performance mode, the V-8 is always providing power for great performance.
In Qualify mode, the V-8 and all three electric motors provide their peak output with no regard for fuel economy.
The new SF90 Stradale is relatively light even with its batteries and three motors. Curb weight is 3,527 pounds, a nod to lightweighting and other measures. For example, hollow castings replace conventional ribbed castings. Two new aluminum alloys are used including a high-strength 7000 series alloy for some of the body panels. Carbon fiber is used for the bulkhead separating the engine from the interior. The SF90 Stradale’s chassis features 20 percent increased bending stiffness and 40 percent higher torsional rigidity than previous platforms, without any increase in weight.
Adding to this Ferrari’s exceptional driving experience, the steering wheel allows controlling virtually every aspect of the SF90 Stradale without ever taking hands off the wheel.
Like the previous generation Cayenne, Porsche has included an electrified version to bring greater efficiency and performance to its 2019 crossover SUV. It features a completely re-engineered hybrid powertrain compared to its predecessor, the Cayenne S E-Hybrid, using the third new hybrid powertrain from Porsche since just 2017. The 2019 Cayenne E-Hybrid is distinguished from its gasoline counterpart with Acid Green brake calipers and matching outlines around all of the model’s badges, aligning it with other current Porsche plug-in hybrid models.
Porsche’s third-generation Cayenne features new styling cues that lend a more athletic appearance and a lighter weight body courtesy of extensive use of aluminum. It also rides on a lighter weight chassis and incorporates other innovative lightweighting strategies, such a lithium-ion polymer starter battery that brings an additional 22-pound weight reduction on its own.
Power is provided by a 3.0-liter turbo engine offering 335 horsepower and 332 lb-ft torque. The plug-in hybrid powertrain is augmented by a 134 horsepower electric motor boasting 295 lb-ft torque, with the combination delivering 455 total system horsepower and 516 lb-ft torque. The result is exceptional performance featuring 0-60 mph acceleration of 5.7 seconds and a top speed of 157 mph. Power is delivered to the road via an eight-speed Tiptronic S transmission.
Four drive modes allow tailoring the driving experience. E-Power mode allows driving on battery power alone an estimated 20+ miles. An all-new Hybrid Auto mode uses gas and/or electric power to achieve optimum efficiency. E Hold conserves the battery’s current state-of-charge for use at a desired time later in the drive, such as in urban areas. E-Charge mode directs the gas engine to generate more power than needed for driving to charge the battery.
The E-Hybrid is equipped with a liquid-cooled, 14.1 kWh lithium battery with about 30 percent more energy than the previous Cayenne S E-Hybrid. The additional battery power is the result of greater energy density so the size of the battery has not increased. It can be charged from a fully-depleted state with the E-Hybrid’s optional 7.2 kW on-board charger and a 220-volt power source in just over two hours, and with the standard 3.6 kW on-board charger in just under 8 hours.
Porsche’s new InnoDrive is featured in the Cayenne E-Hybrid. The system combines onboard map data and existing traffic sensing systems to look ahead 1.8 miles, allowing it to determine the best balance of gas and electric power for upcoming corners and changes in grade.
Jaguar Land Rover plans to offer an optional electrified powertrain for every one of its models by 2020. The Range Rover P400e, along with the Range Rover Sport P400e, represent the brand's first plug-in electric hybrids. Most significant about the Range Rover P400e is that it’s the first hybrid 4WD vehicle from any automaker that can drive off-road solely on battery power in almost complete silence, and without any emissions. To accomplish this the P400e uses a 144 horsepower electric motor and dual clutches inside the automatic transmission, and an eight-speed ZF transmission with steering wheel paddles for manual control.
The gasoline engine in the P400e is Land Rover’s 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that makes 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque. Combined engine and electric output is 398 horsepower. Supplying power to the electric motor is a 13.1 kWh lithium-ion battery located beneath the rear floor, necessitating the floor to be raised about 1 1/2 inches. The P400e can run on electric power for about 31 miles at speeds up to 85 mph. Range is reduced substantially in electric off-road mode.
The Range Rover received a mild makeover for 2019 with a longer hood, slimmer LED headlights, wider lower intakes, and black grille accents. Side accents and graphics were also revised, taillights are new, and a restyled rear bumper now integrates boxy exhaust exits. Only a small P400e badge on the tailgate indicates that electrification is at work beneath the skin. Its charge port is hidden behind a flap at the left of the grille. Illuminated strips on either side of the charge port allow a quick check of the battery's charge status.
Air suspension can raise ground clearance up to three inches and the PHEVs can ford 35.4 inches of water like other Range Rovers. With Low Traction Launch software, it can handle slippery surfaces like wet grass, loose gravel, and snow. On ideal surfaces, Land Rover is claiming a 0-60-mph time of 6.4 seconds with a top speed of 137 mph, impressive for vehicles weighing over 2 1/2 tons.
Range Rover’s Touch Pro Duo infotainment system has two 10.0-inch HD displays stacked on top of one another in the center console. The top one is primarily for navigation functions, while the lower screen controls infotainment, car settings, climate control, and other features. An Interactive Driver Display indicates driving efficiency. In Control gives information about charging locations on the route traveled. In parallel hybrid mode, both engine and motor work together for optimum fuel economy and minimum impact on the environment.
When a destination is entered into the navigation system, the P400e's electronic neural network factors in traffic conditions, gradients on the route, and whether driving is in rural or urban environments to deliver the most efficient combination of power modes. Save mode ensures the battery will have enough charge to allow the P400e to operate in pure EV mode in urban areas.