Eco-Saturday: Green Machines
Remember when the Toyota Prius was the only green car in the game? Ever-spiking gas prices and a car-buying public eager to live green have put an end to all that. This summer, with a Honda hybrid sports coupe making a splashy debut and Chevrolet taking orders for it's plug-in hybrid, the Volt, the pedal's to the metal on the eco-autobahn.
Chevy's Volt, powered by batteries and backed up by a gas engine, comes with a price tag of $41,000. (Tax credits take the total down a bit.) The Volt takes 10 hours to charge, then has a range of about 40 miles before the back-up engine has to kick in. Unlike previous electric cars, which had to be re-juiced at the socket when they ran dry, the Volt's back-up gas engine (which makes electricity) means drivers won't be left high and dry.
Car guru Dan Neil of The Wall Street Journal recently talked about the Volt with NPR, discussing the high price and performance. Interest is high enough that Chevy has upped its production of the hybrid to 45,000 vehicles in 2012. President Obama drove one and loved it.
Meanwhile, reviews are rolling in for the Honda CR-Z, the first true hybrid sports car. The two-seater offers "conservationist virtues and Kardashian curves on a Kmart budget" says the Lps Angeles Times. Though the CR-Z's fuel economy hovers in the 39-mpg range, reviewers seem taken with the car's zip and verve.
So how about it: Is $41k too steep for an electric car? Is a hybrid that can't manage more than 40 mpg worthy of its name? I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below.
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