The Lexus GS 450 hybrid petrol/electric car has been given the award for Australia’s best luxury car!
The judging for this contest rated fuel efficiency as low importance, because luxury car owners traditionally aren’t very concerned about such things. The Lexus won because of it’s quiet engine (can’t beat an electric motor at low speed), high performance (3.5L petrol engine that outperforms mode 4L engines because of the electric motor assistance), safety, security, and other factors.
There has been an idea that hybrid cars are only for people who want to protect the environment at all costs. The result of this contest proves that idea to be false. The Lexus won by simply being a better luxury car, the features that benefit the environment also give a smoother and quieter ride and higher performance – which are factors that are very important to that market segment! Also it wasn’t even a close contest, the nearest rival achieved an aggregate score of 9% less (a significant difference as there was a mere 2.5% difference in score between the 2nd place and 5th place).
This of course shouldn’t be any surprise. The high torque that electric motors can provide at low speed is well known – it’s the reason for Diesel-electric hybrid power systems in locomotives. It was only a matter of time before similar technology was introduced for cars for exactly the same reasons. The next development will be hybrid Diesel-electric trucks.