With fuel prices on the rise and no signs of coming down, the appeal for an electric car is climbing. Consumers were eager to get their hands on the very first Prius, but the novelty has worn thin now there are newer and better options out there. At the moment, the Prius pulls rank with its new upgraded model. Consumers can reap the rewards of the combined 56 miles per gallon (when Eco Mode is activated), a better suspension option, and awesome tech upgrades like parking assist, and improved LED lighting.
If the new features don’t win consumers over, the new and aggressive exterior appeals to everyone’s sense of modern styling. But how much will this cost you? Less than $25,000, surprisingly. Although the Prius offers a pretty good deal, Tesla is keen on competing with Toyota in the hybrid vehicle market. As such, they’ve introduced their very own Model 3 that will hit the market with a price tag of $35,000. While still a few figures off from the Prius, they’re getting closer to the Prius’ affordable price tag; perhaps too close for comfort. Of course the benefits of purchasing a Model 3 include a $7,500 federal electric vehicle incentive, which rewards consumers for contributing to a better environment. Meanwhile, General Motors is in the background quietly whittling away on their own revamped Chevrolet Volt hybrid. The Chevy Volt was a successful project, but Chevrolet decided to take things up a notch by introducing the Chevrolet Bolt at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show. General Motors proudly proclaimed that this ‘Bolt’ can travel up to 200 miles (on electric generated power) on a still-affordable price range of $30,000. Technically, that’s fewer than what the Tesla Model S boasts, but Chevrolet may win over the crowd with its affordability. The appeal of hybrid vehicles to consumers has just about every automaker inspired to create their own hybrid of sorts. Unfortunately though, these automakers are late in the game and will have to find new and innovative ways to appeal to the consumers. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency sets the standard for fuel efficiency standards at about 54.5 miles per gallon to be achieved by the year of 2025 for all participating auto manufacturers. At the present moment, the average fuel economy for any new vehicle sold in 2015 ranges from 20 to 25. mpg. While auto makers are working on improving gas efficiency, they still have a way to go to reach the 2012 goal set by Environmental Protection Agency. Still, they’re ahead of the 19 mpg that the Department of Transportation totaled for vehicles in 1995. At the present, there’s an estimated 35 vehicles manufacturered in North America matching a 40 mpg on combined mileage. Affordable priced hybrids are responsible for a large percent of that population. The EPA recognizes a minimum of 15 hybrids that have a combined 40 mpg without requiring a plug-in to be charged. If you’re interested in jumping on the hybrid bandwagon, check out these top 6 EPA rated vehicles:
6. THE 2016 TOYOTA AVALON HYBRID AND THE LEXUS ES 300H
Price Range Each: $37,000 For Toyota and $41,000 for LexusMPG Each: 40 city, 39 highway, or 40 combined total mileage. Both share their good looks, but the Avalon appeals in the sense of offering more than 14 more mpg with its gas powered option. Lexus however, appeals to the consumer in its sense of simple yet much-welcomed refinements such as leather seating, a premium audio system featuring 15 speakers, and a boat load of other premium options.
5. THE LINCOLN MKZ HYBRID
Price Range: 36,000MPG: 41 city, 39 highway, and 40 for combined total Lincoln has maintained a reputation for luxurious vehicles, the MKZ Hybrid being no exception. The new hybrid offers 13 additional miles on top of its base model, but if the additional fuel savings don’t grab your attention, the luxurious touches like the heated/cooled seating just might. Lincoln managed to add a variety of premium features and surprisingly, it won’t cost you a penny extra from the base model option.
4. 2016 FORD C-MAX HYBRID
Price Range: $25,000MPG: 42 city, 37 highway, 40 for combined total The C-Max almost looks like a replica of the original Prius. Almost. While it doesn’t boast the same fuel economy of the Prius, it will however win bonus points for consumers with the state and federal refunds after purchase.
3. 2016 HYUNDAI SONATA HYBRID
Price Range: $26,000MPG: 44 city, 40 highway, and 42 for combined total If you’re looking for a family sedan that is sure to turn a few heads, the Sonata should be on your list of considerations. With cool features like the touch screen audio and Blue Link telematics system, you’re getting a lot of bang for your buck.
2. 2015 TOYOTA CAMRY HYBRID
Price Range: $27,000MPG: 43 city, 39 highway, and 41 for total combined Easily one of the most popular hybrid vehicles ever produced, the Camry hybrid offers the same seating and cargo space as the base model, but the hybrid receives a windshield with noise reduction enhancement. Of course, this is just one of the basic features that have won consumers’ hearts over.
1. 2015 FORD FUSION HYBRID
Price Range: $26,000MPG: 44 city, 41 highway, and 42.5 for combined total Ford created a winner with combined perks of a hybrid vehicle and a sporty looking exterior. While appealing to consumers’ sense of style with the exterior, consumers were eager to sign on the dotted line with the interior upgrades. Is there a hybrid in your future?
You know that long belt that snakes around the front of your engine? It’s called the serpentine belt. The belt is driven by the engine as it turns. It powers your alternator, air conditioning compressor and power steering pump. On some vehicles it also runs the water pump, radiator fan and power brakes. It sounds like a lot of important stuff, doesn’t it? If your serpentine belt were to break, your battery would die in a few miles.
When you take a corner in your car, the outside wheels have a slightly longer distance to go than the inside wheels. That means the outside wheels have to turn a bit faster than the inside ones, and the piece of mechanical wizardry that makes this possible is called the differential. The differential allows the drive wheels to rotate at different speeds and turns without the wheel binding or hopping. If you have a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is on the rear axle.