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Best and Affordable Hybrid Cars in Kenya

Posted on 2018-09-03 in: Motor Insurance in Kenya Car Insurance in Kenya
Best and Affordable Hybrid Cars in Kenya

First of all, what does hybrid mean and how does it work? Well, hybrid is a type of vehicle that uses two or more distinct types of power to function. The basic principle with hybrid vehicles is that different power sources work better at different speeds and then switching from one to the other at the proper time during the speed transform yields a win-win in terms of fuel efficiency.

Most hybrid cars we have on the roads at the moment alternate between fuel and electricity. The two work differently but somehow manage to integrate in a hybrid car. A fuel car typically works by powering the engine, which in turn powers transmission, which is responsible for powering the wheels.

The electric car on the other hand has a set of batteries that provides electricity to an electric motor. The motor turns a transmission, and the transmission turns the wheels.

The most famous electric car in the market is the Tesla by South African inventor Elon Musk. He has succeeded in bringing the revolutionary electric cars mainstream rivaling traditional cars in performance, safety, comfort and finally price. While Tesla cars in Kenya are not yet common, a newer provider has entered the market under the name No Pia Ride. This is a town service compact saloon car which is full electric. It is targeted at the rider hailing apps like UBER, Little and Taxify.

The hybrid is a compromise. It attempts to significantly increase the mileage and reduce the emissions of a fuel-powered car while overcoming the shortcomings of an electric car.

One thing to also take key note is that the engine of a hybrid car is much like the conventional car. The only difference is that the engine on a hybrid is smaller and uses advanced technologies to reduce emissions and increase efficiency.

One thing most people don’t understand is that the hybrid concept in automobiles is not a new concept but dates back all the way to 1900. A man called Ferdinand Porsche developed the Lohner Porsche, which was the first hybrid vehicle. First prototypes were two-wheel drive, battery-powered electric vehicles with two front-wheel hub-mounted motors. A later version was a series hybrid using hub-mounted electric motors in each wheel, powered by batteries and a fuel-engine generator.

Fast-forward to a century plus, this concept has been greatly explored and advanced and more and more automobile companies are experimenting with it.

Kenyans are also flirting with the idea of hybrid cars with quite number of them being spotted on our roads nowadays.

We are going to try to offer some insight into this and offer you the full perspective just in case you are planning on acquiring one.

Toyota Prius Hybrid

Toyota Prius Hybrid

The Prius first went on sale in Japan and other countries in 1997, and was available at all four Toyota Japan dealerships, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was subsequently introduced worldwide in 2000. The Prius is sold in over 90 markets, with Japan and the United States being its largest markets.

Toyota Hybrid Price:

As of January 2017, the Prius liftback is the world's top selling hybrid car with almost 4 million units sold. It’s also very common in Kenya currently retailing at somewhere between Ksh 1M-1.2M for a 2010, 2011 version.
Some of its features include: 1500Cc engine, state of the art navigation system, DVD, CD music system, reverse camera, fog lights, electric mirrors, traction control and many other features.

Honda Insight Hybrid:

Honda Insight Hybrid

Now in its second generation, it’s a five-door, five-passenger hatchback (2009–2014) and it was the first production vehicle to feature Honda's Integrated Motor Assist system.

Some of its features include: traction control, xenon lights, power steering, CD player and many others. The most notable difference between it and the Prius is the engine size with the insight being a 1300 Cc.

The engine utilizes lightweight aluminum, magnesium, and plastic to minimize weight. The electrical motor assist adds another 10 kW (13 hp) and a maximum of 36 pound-feet (49 Nm) of torque when called on, with the aim to boost performance to the level of a typical 1.5 L petrol engine. It also acts as a generator during deceleration and braking to recharge the vehicle's batteries, and as the Insight's starter motor. This improves fuel efficiency and extends the lifetime and fade resistance of the brakes, without adding unsprung weight). In our previous blog on the cars in Kenya, we looked at the most fuel efficient cars on Kenyan roads and also the best cars ideal for Kenyan roads.

When the car is not moving, for example at a stop-light, the engine shuts off. Power steering is electric, reducing accessory drag.

Honda Insight Hybrid price:

The insight is currently retailing at KSh 800,000 for a 2010 or 2011 version.

Honda Civic Hybrid

Honda Civic Hybrid

Yet another member of the Honda family, the first Civic was introduced in July 1972 as a two-door model, followed by a three-door hatchback that September. With an 1169 cc transverse engine and front-wheel drive like the British Mini, the car provided good interior space despite overall small dimensions.

Initially known for being fuel-efficient, reliable, and environmentally friendly, later iterations have become known for performance and sportiness, especially the Civic Type R, Civic VTi, Civic GTi and Civic SiR/Si.

Some of the features include: Grey, Engine Start Button, Front Ashtray, Stereo CD Tuner with RDS and MP3 Compatibility, Illuminated Driver and Passenger Mirror with Lid in Sunshades, Climate Control Air Conditioning, Drivers Seat Height Adjustment, Illuminated and Refrigerated Glove box, 4 Speakers, Front Electric Windows, Front Cup holders, Remote Key less Entry, Digital Clock, Centre Console, 60/40 Split Folding Second Row Seats, Tilt and Telescopic Steering Wheel Adjustment, Multi-function Steering Wheel, Heated Rear Screen, Leather Steering Wheel, Upholstery Cloth/Vinyl - Black Alcantara Fabric Interior, and front Armrest.

It is currently retailing between Ksh 750,000 and Ksh 1,300,000.

Lexus CT Hybrid

The Lexus CT 200h is a hybrid electric automobile introduced by Lexus as a premium sport compact hatchback. CT stands for “Creative Touring” and “200h” refers to the hybrid performance being equal to that of a conventional 2.0-litre engine. Some models however, especially those being sold in Kenya have 1.8 liter engine.

The CT 200h is powered by the same 1.8-litre VVT-i four-cylinder petrol engine (Toyota's 2ZR-FXE) as used in the Auris and Prius but is paired with electric motor/generators.

The CT 200h has four driving modes Normal, Sport, Eco and EV included on other hybrid drive vehicles. Sport mode modifies the throttle and electric power steering settings, while making the Stability control and traction control less intrusive, maximizing the CT200h's performance. EV mode generates zero emissions at the vehicle by using only the vehicles electric motors to drive the vehicle.

Some of its features include: vehicle stability control (VSC), eight standard airbags with the options of a pre-collision system, electric mirrors and electric windows.

The car is currently retailing between Ksh 2-2.5 million.

Toyota Sai Hybrid

Toyota Sai Hybrid

The smaller sibling of the Lexus HS, the Sai is also slowly crippling into Kenyan roads. If features the new Toyota Engine MC platform and it’s a 2.4 L engine. Other unique features of the car are like the Anti-Lock Braking System and Traction Control.

The Anti-Lock Braking System is there to manage tractive contact with the road when emergency brakes are put. The cadence and threshold braking principle is employed for this purpose, making the tactic of skillful driver being available to masses. The Traction Control System is there to balance the engine torque and throttle input.

The Sai also has taillights, reflectors and indicators that make parallel parking and maneuvering easy on dark and damp roads.

It also has a sun-roof to give a panoramic view of road and its curves are carefully managed to give an extremely elegant look. The vehicle is a unibody chassis that is light weight and cost effective.

It's currently retailing between Ksh 1.5-1.8 M.

Those are some of the available options if you’re looking for zero emissions and fuel efficiency.

When asked about the efficiency of the cars, this is what car enthusiast and columnist JM Baraza had to say, "Of course electricity is cheaper than fossil fuel but some things, such as convenience, cannot be quantified directly. Range anxiety and the current lack of support infrastructure will make ownership of these futuristic wheels a veritable cross to bear, so the gains made by not buying fuel can easily be washed away by the frustration of being one of a kind in an industry that favours safety in numbers."

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