PHOTO CAPTION: Infiniti Essence hybrid concept car was born in Nissan's San Diego design studio.

Infiniti Essence Hybrid Concept Shatters Stereotypes

Lithium ion batteries help power the 158 hp electric motor.

Published: 28-Sep-2009

I love it when stereotypes are shattered. Or at least seriously questioned.

Take auto styling. The rap on Asian brands is they can’t design beautiful, timeless cars. OK, the styling of Japanese and Korean brands’ production vehicles is often, to put it mildly, uneven. At one extreme you’ve got the cookie-cutters — sometimes I think Hyundai out-Accorded the Honda Accord with its Sonata. Then there are those attempts to break from the pack. You know the ones — where “polarizing” is code for “We know some will think this is just plain weird.” From this driver’s seat, Scion’s old xA, as well as the galleon-sized butt of the current Acura TL, are in that category.

When it comes to style, I’m partial to the clean, monochromatic European exterior and interior touches that help rides like the Audi A5, Jaguar XF, and even the sub-$20k Volkswagen Jetta, stand out from the clutter. I’m not alone. Nearly one in ten Asian Americans opt for European brands when it’s time to buy a new vehicle.


Kia Soul Hybrid concept car

The Soul hybrid is a concept, and it uses a 1.6-liter engine and a 15-kw electric motor. It also has stop/start technology and regenerative braking.

Honda Numo Hybrid Scooter prototype

Electric-only scooters slated to follow in 2011. Pictured is prototype Numo.

Peugeot HYmotion compressor hybrid motor scooter

Range of hybrids include sedans and motor scooters.


blog comments powered by Disqus