DETROIT -- Car manufacturers at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show are anesthetizing drivers to pain at the pump in the form of plug-in hybrid cars that theoretically render the gas station obsolete for some consumers.
Honda (NYSE:HMC) has rolled out its 2014 Accord Plug-In Hybrid in California and Oregon, and had the new vehicle on display at the auto show. The rest of the nation will be able to purchase the new hybrid in the fall.
Plug-in hybrids, which require either an at-home charging station or a charging station facility for electric power, have an advantage over typical hybrids.
“If you have a lot of short commutes, you can do them all with all-electric,” a Honda representative said.
The hybrid is priced at $39,000, the representative said. Only one model of the Accord Plug-In Hybrid is being produced.
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Honda announced last week it would build the hybrid sedan at its plant in Marysville, Ohio, and that the company would hire 50 new employees at the facility to produce the new car.
“With more than 30 years of continuously building eight generations of the Honda Accord close to our customers, our team now is using its experience and flexibility to add this sophisticated Accord Hybrid model," said Jeff Tomko, plant manager of the Marysville plant. "At the same time, we are continuing with our commitment to manufacture new models in Ohio, along with the resulting growth in jobs."
Toyota (NYSE:TM), recognized for its Prius hybrid car, has also ventured into the plug-in variety of hybrids with its 2013 Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
Billed by the Japanese automaker as “our most advanced Prius yet,” the new model has a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery that charges in three hours when used with a 120-volt outlet. That charging time gets cut in half when a 240-volt outlet is used, according to Toyota.
The $32,000 Prius Plug-In Hybrid also features technology to combat distracted driving. Called Heads-Up Display technology, which projects information from the speedometer, navigation system and Hybrid System Indicator onto the windshield.
Ford (NYSE:F) has its own plug-in hybrid, one of three environmentally friendly models offered by the Dearborn, Mich.-based manufacturer.
The 2013 Ford C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid gets 100 highway/100 city MPGe, the standard used for hybrid vehicles.
With a starting price of $32,950, the C-Max Energi Plug-In Hybrid features an illuminated charging port that notifies owners when the vehicle is fully charged. The port is sectioned in quadrants, so drivers will know when electricity is 25 percent, 50 percent and 75 percent full as well.