The Rise Of The Hybrid MinivanPosted on Friday, January 27th, 2012 in Car News.
For large families and people in carpools for the school run, the concept of hybrids that are also minivan has been long awaited. Toyota brought out its version last year, now other manufacturers are doing the same. In Japan, at the end of 2011 Honda updated and re-released the Freed as a hybrid minivan that will take seven people. It comes in two varieties – the Freed Hybrid minivan and the Freed Spike Hybrid. The minivan is also on sale as a petrol only version and there are also special needs mobility models.
The Freed benefits, as with all of Honda’s hybrids, from having the Eco Assist System and the ECON button – both to improve eco-friendly driving. The ECON button can be pressed at any time by the driver to ensure that all systems work at their environmentally friendly optimum, and the Eco Assist visual display on the dash aids drivers to drive in a green fashion. If their driving uses too much fuel, they illuminate the blue bars on the display – they then need to adjust their driving to get back onto the green side.
Meanwhile in Detroit at the Detroit Motor Show 2011, Ford revealed its C-Max Energi. This is the US manufacturer’s first plug-in hybrid and offers a range of more than 500 miles – even further than the Chevvy Volt’s range. There’s also a full hybrid version – the C-Max Hybrid – which is set to rival the Toyota Prius v on fuel efficiency. Ford’s C-Max hybrids will carry the lighter and smaller lithium-ion batteries instead of metal-nickel-hydride ones.Where Ford didn’t quite deliver though, in terms of producing its minivan hybrid, is in the seating. Both the C-Max hybrid models only have room for five people, instead of the seven that the Freed and Prius v can carry.