Hot Hybrids

8 min read
Cars that are hybridised under the bonnet enjoy the best of both worlds — the power of a combustion engine and the eco-friendliness of an electric motor.

1.
BMW 225XE ACTIVE TOURER IPERFORMANCE

Hybrid drive technology has developed by leaps and bounds since it was introduced in the 1990s, and BMW continues to progress in this sector with their plug-in hybrid version.

The 1.5-litre BMW 225xe Active Tourer iPerformance is an ideal vehicle for Singapore roads. It features a 100kW/136hp, three-cylinder engine with BMW TwinPower Turbo that drives the front wheels while a 65kW/88hp electric motor run the rear axle. The car can operate up to 45km on the electric motor alone.

When running on electric power only, the new BMW 225xe drives like a rear wheel-drive car. The extra weight over the rear axle enables a finely balanced weight distribution; as a result, enhanced driving dynamics is achieved.

The lithium-ion battery is arranged in a space-saving position under the rear seat bench, and has a capacity of 7.6kWh — the energy content for customers’ use comes to 6.1 kWh. An electrified xDrive, BMW’s permanent all-wheel drive system, complements the electric feature as well as various operating and drive modes.

Optimised fuel consumption over short distances and in urban areas was a key objective in the development of the new BMW 225xe Active Tourer iPerformance’s plug-in hybrid drive system. Dynamic ability and efficiency in urban use were both key areas of focus in the development of the synchronous electric motor and its incorporation into the drive system via a single-speed transmission.

Propulsion purely from the electric motor may be possible up to a speed of 125km/h, after which the BMW TwinPower Turbo is called upon to drive the car faster. The car converts to a front-drive car on the expressway, capable of hitting 202km/h.

The electric motor boasts a new mode of driving experience. AUTO eDRIVE is the hybrid drive system’s default setting, and allows the car to be driven up to 80km/h solely on electric power. Beyond 80km/h, the combustion engine kicks in. The engine is intelligent enough to toggle from electric to combustion as the car travels under and over this speed, ensuring maximum efficiency on fuel consumption.

The BMW 225xe can be charged with a Type 2 charger. There are currently 29 Type 2 chargers in 19 publicly accessible locations around Singapore.

PRICE  $192,888 (WITH COE, AFTER VES REBATE)
ENGINE  1,499CC IN-LINE THREE-CYLINDER, BMW TWINPOWER TURBO WITH BMW EDRIVE SYNCHRONOUS ELECTRIC MOTOR
TRANSMISSION  SIX-SPEED STEPTRONIC
POWER  136HP @ 4,400RPM
TORQUE  220NM @ 1,250–4,300RPM
0–100KM/H  6.7 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  PERFORMANCE MOTORS LTD (TEL: 6319 0100)

2. HYUNDAI IONIQ HYBRID

The latest rendition of the sleek-looking Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid bumps the car’s efficiency up several notches, thanks to a new lithium-ion module. The Hyundai SmartStream technology — the alternator management system of the vehicle — has been refined and upgraded, and is now located above the rear suspension. In addition, the lifetime maintenance-free lithium-ion module is now integrated with the 12V battery.

The new battery configuration enables removal of the auxiliary battery, thus reducing the weight of the car by 12kg. As a result, the fuel economy has improved to 3.8L/100km (against its predecessor’s 3.9L/100km). The battery removal also enables more space in the trunk. The battery removal also makes the trunk more spacious.

The IONIQ Hybrid is powered by a new Kappa 1.6 GDI, direct-injection petrol, four-cylinder engine, 139bhp of hybrid horsepower. The engine has been tailored to the hybrid application and is combined with the direct-responding, smooth-shifting, six-speed, double-clutch transmission. The mated electric motor enables pure electric driving and delivers instant torque as the chassis with rear multi-link suspension greatly enhancing driving dynamics.

Efficiency of the IONIQ Hybrid goes beyond what’s under the hood. The coupe-like silhouette and its simple, wrought contours assist the efficient management of airflow around the exterior. Applications such as front wheel air curtains, a rear spoiler and diffuser, side sill moldings, floor undercover, and a closed wheel design all contribute to the car’s high aerodynamic efficiency.

The eco-consciousness extends to the interiors. The door covers are made of natural plastic combined with powdered wood and volcanic stone to give a softer, more natural feel while also being less reliant on oil-based products. Raw materials extracted from sugar cane are partly applied on the headlining and carpet, thus helping to improve the quality of air inside the car and the recyclability of vehicle parts at end of life. Paint with renewable ingredients extracted from soybean oil is used to achieve lustrous metallic colours on some of the components.

With enhanced efficiency, the latest Hyundai IONIQ Hybrid qualifies for Vehicle Emission Scheme rebate of $10,000, making it an attractive option whether you’re an eco-aware driver or not!

PRICE  $125,999 with sunroof (accurate till 8 May 2019)
ENGINE  1,580CC DOHC IN-LINE FOUR-CYLINDER, 16V DUAL-CVVT
TRANSMISSION  SIX-SPEED DUAL CLUTCH
POWER  139BHP @ 5,700RPM
TORQUE  147NM @ 4,000RPM
0–100KM/H   11.1 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  KOMOCO MOTORS PTE LTD (TEL: 6475 8888)

3. MERCEDES-BENZ E350e E PLUG-IN HYBRID

Mercedes-Benz’s E class has perennially been the vehicle of choice for Singapore’s executive set. Now that Daimler has introduced the E350e, it will undoubtedly tap into a new, eco-conscious market looking for added efficiency.

Truth be told, the E350e does not give anything up in terms of performance. It can reach 100km/h from a stationary position in 6.2 seconds — an impressive specification, given that the saloon is seldom called upon to stretch its legs that way. But it’s the car’s fuel efficiency and hybrid performance that will turn heads.

This model uses up just 2.1 litres per 100km, including 30km of all-electric, emission-free mobility up to a top speed of 130km/h — ideal for Singapore roads. Furthermore, the four-cylinder petrol engine, working with the electric motor, provides a total system output of 286hp, shored up by a hefty 550Nm of torque.

Mercedes-Benz has not ignored the practical aspect of running this hybrid car. The high-voltage lithium-ion battery, with a capacity of 6.2kWh, can be charged from any external power source, taking just three hours for a full charge from a standard domestic socket. With a wall box, the on-board charging system gives the battery a full boost in an hour and a half. On top of this, the electric battery can also be topped up by the petrol engine while in motion.

This hybrid system is smart as well. When you programme a destination into the navigation system, it will work out the most efficient strategy, running on electric power to run the battery level down if it realises it the car will end up in an urban area where charging is possible. Alternatively, you can manually select the E-Mode, which allows the car to solely run on electric until the battery is depleted. In E-Save, the engine maintains the charge level for future use, and in Charge mode, the petrol engine is used to charge the electric battery when the car is in motion.

The haptic accelerator pedal promotes economical driving. When maximum electrical performance is being delivered, the driver feels a resistance point; step on the accelerator pedal further and the combustion engine will kick in. A double impulse prompts the driver to take their foot off the accelerator pedal — say, for independent deceleration through the generator effect of the electric motor if the distance warning system provided as standard detects a slower-moving vehicle in front. This recovers energy and avoids frequent braking, particularly in stop-and-go traffic.

The E350e Hybrid is a technological achievement from Stuttgart, and continues to set a lofty standard that will lead hybrid vehicles forward.

PRICE  PRICE ON APPLICATION
ENGINE  1,911CC FOUR-CYLINDER IN-LINE TURBOCHARGED WITH 6.2KWH LITHIUM-ION BATTERY
TRANSMISSION  9G-TRONIC AUTOMATIC
POWER  286HP (COMBINED)
TORQUE  550NM (COMBINED)
0–100KM/H  6.2 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  CYCLE & CARRIAGE (TEL: 6206 1818)

4. LEXUS UX250H

The brand-new UX range from Lexus — Urban Explore — marks a new avenue for the Japanese premium brand’s highly successful SUV range. Built on the new Global Architecture Compact (GA-C) platform, the UX possesses the widest field of vision and best turning radius of any SUV. The UX250h further provides a fuel-efficient option to Lexus’ highly anticipated range.

The Lexus UX embodies a series of technical innovations, including being the first Lexus to be built on the new GA–C global platform. This results in high structural rigidity and a low centre of gravity, thus securing excellent ride quality and stability. The new hybrid version incorporates a 2.0-litre petrol engine that reaps the performance and fuel-economy benefits of high-thermal efficiency and a new, mid-power, fourth-generation, self-charging hybrid system.

Lexus Hybrid Drive is a smart, fuel-saving technology that is self-charing and always ready to go. The self-charging hybrid system reduces harmful gas emissions to levels that are significantly lower than many international standards. In fact, at lower speeds in the fully electric EV mode, emissions are eliminated with zero fuel used.

The design of the UX body also contributes to fuel efficiency. Lexus attempted to achieve the best possible aerodynamic performance from the rear combination lamps and wheel arch mouldings. The Aero Stabilizing Blade Lights in the rear incorporate fins with a distinctive design that helps prevent airflow from wrapping around the rear of the vehicle. This keeps the rear of the car stable when turning and driving in crosswinds.

The wheel arch mouldings have flat sides and a stepped top section, which generates an airflow that helps reduce roll, keeping the vehicle stable when the car is cornering, changing lanes, or being driven in a straight line. Millimetre-precise adjustment of this step feature ensures an optimal balance between the stabilising effect and design considerations.

Through the bold design, exceptional hybrid technology, and the contemporary luxury of the interiors, the UX250h undoubtedly adheres to the Lexus philosophy of always being bold, imaginative and thoughtful.

PRICE  VISIT WWW.LEXUS.COM.SG/UX FOR THE LATEST PRICE UPDATES
ENGINE  1,987CC FOUR-CYLINDER, INLINE 16-VALVE DOHC
TRANSMISSION  E-CVT
POWER  181BHP
TORQUE  188NM @ 4,400–5,200RPM
0–100KM/H  8.5 SECONDS
DISTRIBUTOR  BORNEO MOTORS (S) PTE LTD (TEL: 6631 1388)