I was not personally attracted to the Prius or the Insight when it first came out. Although, with time they have grown on me and don’t mind their design, especially if that design helps increase the efficiency of the car. There are other hybrid that have come out from Lexus, Ford, even Toyota and Honda that are better looking the older hybrids and could easily fit the bill of “cool”. Take a look at the Lexus LS Hybrid here: http://www.lexus.com/models/LSh/index.html?s_ocid=30690
No, though I think they will become so. As hybrids become more popular in general, surely there will be innovations in the appearance of these cars. It’s only a matter of time, for instance, before James Bond is roaring around in the movies in a cool-looking hybrid sports car with all the usual fittings (rocket launchers, tacks to disable pursuers, smoke screen etc.) and then everybody will want one. But the history of car design shows that a car need not be attractive to sell well. Design abominations such as the Ford Pinto, the Chevy Vega and the infamous AMC Gremlin–which many people regard as the ugliest car ever made–proved to have some considerable measure of popularity. Personally I think the Smart Car sedan is one of the stupidest looking vehicles in automotive history, but they sell like crazy, especially in Europe, demonstrating that attributes other than appearance can be overcome by the car-buying public. Even James Bond in his sleek 1964 Aston Martin DB-5 would have a hard time parking his rig in a four-foot-wide alcove in an alley in central Rome, a job the Smart Car would make mincemeat of.
Yeah you certainly need attractive design – at least until oil prices get another good jump. I did see a couple beautiful green cars. But those were pure electric, not hybrid. I’m thinking Tesla Roadster, or the prototype Model S sedan. After a little digging, I found a nice-looking hybrid too, although Fisker Karma is definitely more of a race car than a city car:
There are some attractive models of more affordable hybrids if you look through here as well:
Electric cars are already cool and they are the future of automobiles. They will replace hybrid cars in a few years. The prius is ugly yes, but it doesn’t matter anymore. People who are going to be buying the hybrids are not going to care whether it looks cool. They care about the mpg.
I think increased gas prices or decreased difference between the hybrid and non-hybrid models will help their popularity. Many of the hybrid models look identical to the only gas powered options. I think many of the people who initially wanted a hybrid, chose the prius due to the fact that you could instantly tell it was a hybrid. I heard a rumor while I was car shopping that the civic hybrid was not doing as well in part because people wanted other drivers to know they were driving a hybrid without having to read the bumper logo.
Sedan is one of th stupidest looking eco friendly car, but still it has been sold like crazy. Other attributes are also very important than the apperance of the car.
It wouldn’t hurt to put some entertainment value and aesthetics in the design of hybrids. The more mainstream that hybrids look the more attractive they will be to the general consumer. I think they are starting to become more attractive externally.
I’m certainly of the opinion that all forms of environmental design must be attractive to reach audiences in consumer cultures like the US. This includes building permaculture, shoes and clothing, and also cars. I think this is very well possible, but it needs to be taken more seriously to reach a wider audience. Some models are alright. I attached the link for a list of recent hybrid models below.
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