Luxury hybrid cars comprise about 12% of total hybrid sales. Total hybrid sales in turn make up less than 3 percent of the total auto market. This translates to around 36 luxury hybrids out of 10,000 total sales. Not a huge market.
Despite the small market share, there are a number of luxury hybrid car models manufactured today. While most hybrid luxury cars are still lead sleds, they are an improvement over their gas gulping relatives, and there are a few luxury hybrid cars with respectable fuel economy values. Lets look at the numbers.
The chart below has 7 luxury hybrid cars listed and compared to their gas only powered relatives. Number 8 on the chart has no gasoline powered equivalent.
Mileage and CO2 statistics are provided by the US EPA. The EPA uses 15,000 miles per year driving as the basis for computing fuel economies and pollution quantities. Vehicle costs are invoice averages from Yahoo Cars. Actual prices will of course not be the same.
Not all hybrid cars are equal. For example, although the BMW X6 Hybrid may be a fine ride, from a financial standpoint, it would take a long time to make up the $20,000 in vehicle costs compared to the gas only version. However, from a cleaner air point of view, the hybrid driver will pollute close to 20% less. That is a good thing. BMW shares the two-mode drive train with the Cadillac Hybrid.
Taking a look at the Cadillac, it offers a quicker payback than the BMW, and less pollution either way. The Caddy offers the latest in luxury electric cars from GM.
GM's two-mode hybrid technology places electric motors mounted inside the transmission to assist a 300-horsepower V-8. So, the hybrid Escalade has the power most full-sized SUV consumers require.
Another benefit of GM's dual mode powertrain enables the hybrid Escalade the ability to lock the electric motors out of the drive train when extreme engine power is needed, such as when towing. This enables enables the Escalade hybrid to tow up to 6,000 pounds - something Toyota hybrids cannot do at this point in time.
In Escalade guise, the hybrid system bumps city fuel economy by 50 percent, resulting in an increase in city mileage from 12 mpg to 18.
In terms of time to payback, the Lexus 250h rules the luxury hybrid cars. If you are seriously considering a hybrid and like the Lexus line, you could in theory recoup your investment in a few years, plus be doing good things for the air.
The most efficient of the luxury hybrid cars is the Lincoln MKZ. The MKZ will be the most fuel-efficient luxury sedan on the market, getting an estimated 41 miles per gallon in city driving.
The MKZ is based on the award winning Ford Fusion platform. The payback time is not too much more than the Lexus, with similar carbon output values. The price, amenities, and performance all look very good from here.
We would select the MKZ as the best of the luxury hybrid cars.
Finally, the new Fisker Karma is included as a luxury car due primarily to cost. The Karma is a well engineered and probably well built car. It will however be purchased by those willing to make luxury car payments.
Fisker Karma Hybrid - Looks great but some have had mechanical problems
Based on the EPA mileage figures, annual gas costs were computed for gasoline at $3/gal, and $6/gal. All costs are in USD.
Subtracting the Hybrid from gas only vehicle values gives differences in mileages, annual gas use, CO2 and annual gas costs.
Finally, the years to break even is figured as the difference in vehicle cost divided by gas savings per year. All costs are in present day values, future worth is not considered. Battery pack replacement costs are not considered.
Lexus 600h - luxury green machine in apperance, but still heavy on the gas
Audi Q5 - Audi produces for sale the Q5 luxury SUV