In the popular consciousness at least there is only really one hybrid vehicle on the market. The Toyota Prius has been online and a huge success since since 1997, so much so that you’ll now see Lewis-Day taxis around the country, exploiting the car’s super-high economy around town and begging concessions from bureaucrats such as the London Major.
Why then have other manufacturers been so slow to follow suit?
Especially when the motoring press have been generally better in favour of a dual-fuel drive train such as that found in the Prius, as a system which addresses the concern with new EV cars i.e. range anxiety.
Range anxiety is the fear that you are going to run out of charge a long way from a power point. By having another fuel system on standby, or by complementing the electric system as standard, you eliminate such anxieties.
This is why the trade have been so impressed with the new Vauxhall Ampera, due out in 2012. Despite continuing questions as to this, indeed any car’s EVs true electric credentials, it seems that on the whole we like the reassurance of a slightly less radical electric vehicle.
So now we have the 3008 Hybrid4 from Peugeot . It is telling that some reviews have pointed to the fact that, from the outside, you’d never know that this was a hybrid vehicle.
Peugeot may be working with a psychological quirk of our engagement with EVs. That actually, we don’t want to be seen as too different from our neighbours and their fossil-fuel burners. That in fact you have to be a closet ecologist if you want to get along, in the provinces at least.
Yes, this car is essentially a large car with super-efficient 2.0 litre HDI engine. That is a fact. But it also has a very usable small electric motor attached to the rear axle. This means that your car will run as an EV up to 30mph, whereupon the transition to the diesel engine is smooth and seamless.
This is an implicit recognition of the fact that EVs are ideal for city driving, for which everybody who has to live with pollution of the city will be supremely thankful.
And in its basic spec the 3008 Hybrid4 will be exempt from annual road tax and London’s congestion charge for life. And if you factor in the minimum 49mpg urban fuel consumption, this is going to be a very cheap vehicle to run.
This is a different choice to the one that many would logically have us making when considering a green car, based as it is on cost rather than ethical grounds. But then who really has the money to indulge their ethical choices these days anyway?
Peugeot may have both bases covered with this well received and well reviewed new car.