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Energy efficiency doesn’t have to be at the expense of style

January 24, 2018 GMT

If you’re into action, look no further than hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. No longer are U.S. consumers limited to two or three nerdy choices.

Today’s alternative-energy vehicles range from the sexy BMW i8 coupe to the all-battery Chevrolet Bolt EV small wagon to the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivan.

Just a few of 2018′s new alt-energy vehicles include the second-generation Nissan LEAF EV with estimated 150-mile range and a host of standard safety innovations; Honda’s plug-in Clarity that can travel about 47 miles on a full charge and then cover another 290 miles or so with its gas engine, and the Hyundai Ioniq plug-in that can go 650 miles on its 8.9-kWh battery and 1.6-liter gas engine.

In 2011, registrations of new plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) - those with internal combustion engine and electric motor and batteries that can be charged externally - totaled only 7,980 units in the United States. In 2016, PHEV registrations grew to nearly 10 times that.

In that same period, U.S. registrations of battery-only electric vehicles (EVs) soared from 9,750 units to 86,730.

With the cost of batteries falling, energy density rising and several new models affordably priced between $25,000 and $30,000 before potential federal tax credits of up to $7,500, the EV market still has a lot of gas.