For the past ten years, I've struggled with the subject of hybrid automobiles.
It started when I drove my first Toyota Prius ten years ago at a Farmer's Market on Madison's Capitol Square. What surprised me about that Prius was how it drove like a normal small sedan, despite a few sonic differences. There was some initial resistance based on some quirkiness in the styling inside and out along with the concern about battery life and overall reliability of the system.
My summation at the time was that the combination of petrol and electric motors was a fantastic idea, if it meant to simply cut down emissions and optimize fuel economy. However, I questioned whether the general public was ready to pay a premium over regular automobiles for the sake of being "green."
Since then, I tried very hard to embrace this alternative method in vehicle propulsion. After driving a few of these samples as part of a local car-sharing program, I concluded that while the second generation Prius improved in various ways, it was quite dull to drive. Furthermore, I question whether being "green" meant sacrificing true automotive engagement from this five-door neo-futuristic (now iconic) appliance.
Being blatantly honest does have its price. Over the course of a decade, I had huge arguments over my stance on the Prius that friendships were actually put on the line. I needed to find alternatives.
After a series of turns in subsequent hybrids, namely the third generation Prius, the Honda Insight and the Ford Fusion Hybrid, my internal conflict worsened. I ultimately asked myself if there was a hybrid automobile out there that drove the way I liked.
Something with grip and traction. Something that I would take it into the corners and make it beg for mercy. Something I would not feel guilty about driving, as I gobbled up the miles towards destinations unknown. Something that was actually engaging, but spewed almost no carbon in the air and sipped fuel like it was a fine wine.