Performance isn’t widely associated with hybrid technology – how could it be when the most well-known car in the segment is the Toyota Prius?
But the versatility of electric motors, and specifically the many ways in which they can be used to aid a range of combustion engines, means that speed and power are just as attainable through hybrid technology as huge fuel efficiency is. This has been pertinently demonstrated by the latest wave of supercars – namely the LaFerrari, the McLaren, and the Porsche 918 Spyder.
You don’t have to spend house prices to put a performance hybrid on your drive, however, as a number of automakers are turning to the technology for one little-known reason: these cars will out-perform their purely gasoline siblings one moment yet return far superior fuel efficiency the next.
This is possible because while the electric motor – often mounted within the car’s transmission – adds to total power output during acceleration, it’s also strong enough to function alone for short bursts (or many miles if it’s a plug-in hybrid equipped with a larger battery pack) in during city driving.
Combined with regenerative brakes to charge the battery and ‘decoupling’, where the engine is disengaged from the transmission for ultra-efficient coasting, the advantages of the an auxiliary electrical system to efficiency quickly reveal themselves at the pumps.
Below, listed from slowest to fastest, are eight of our favorite performance hybrids.
Click on the image of each car to go to the Buyer’s Guide for that model
How much? $56,700
How much? $100,000 (est)
How much? $59,450
How fast? 0-60mph takes 5.2 seconds, top speed is 167mph
How much? $99,000
How much? $49,900
How much? $44,300
How much? $135,295
How much? 781,155 euros