Thursday, November 21, 2013

Why Are There No Hybrid Convertibles?

2015 Toyota Prius C concept
Aside from the Porsche 918 Spyder, there are no convertible hybrids available on the open market. As the 918 Spyder costs well over eight hundred thousand dollars, it may as well not even exist for those who would be interested in the hybrid-convertible platform. That being said, why there are none which are readily available remains a question to be answered. As far as I can tell, the only reason a major manufacture hasn't produced one yet would be because of engineering. There is a great deal of time, energy, and money spent on engineering cars so that they can share the same body, but have different engines, drive-lines, or convertible tops. Many of us don't realize that Chevrolet doesn't simply cut the roof off the Camaro and then throw a rag top on it. They actually have to make sure that the car they build is relatively safe for the masses. You know, issues like chassis and frame reinforcement, rollover protection, and security from potential thieves. And if it sounds like a lot of work, that's because it is. Massive amounts of money is poured into the research and development of these cars, and the finished product is more often than not a feat of modern engineering that DaVinci himself would be proud of.

Now THAT'S a hybrid convertible
As I stated earlier, engineering is the biggest hurdle to cross (IMO) when it comes to building a hybrid convertible. More specifically, weight reduction. As hybrid tech is still relatively new, the batteries used in the manufacturing process still take up a lot of space, as well as add a ton of mass, almost literally. With that in mind, you must also consider the added weight of the convertible top system itself. The 2012 Camaro with a hardtop weighs in at  3,750 lbs, whereas the convertible version tips the scale at over 4,100 lbs. While that may not sound like a lot, in the car world, it's about half a second added to its quarter mile time along with noticeably reduced handling capabilities. Of course, if the car in question happens to push over 880hp and 1,000 ft lbs of torque (Porsche 918 Spyder), than the weight issue becomes almost irrelevant.

What are your thoughts? Could there be a better explanation as to why no one has taken the time or money to build the best convertible ever? Let us know what you think in the comments below, and be sure to like and share on your favorite social networking site!


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