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商业 - 汽车

思域混合动力车:似是故人来

Alex Taylor III 2011年08月25日

本田思域混合动力车完美体现混合动力车的魅力,燃油经济性可达到了每加仑汽油44英里。

    本田思域混合动力轿车

    我承认媒体总是喜欢搞“赛马式”的报道,不论是在债券承销商的问题上,还是在总统大选上都是如此,我也不能免俗。“赛马式”的报道很好写,因为和现实生活不同的是,这类报道很容易量化,而且结果明确,谁输谁赢,一目了然。

    不过如果过度计较一时的长短,可能让人们看不清潜在的长期趋势。

    比如拿混合动力汽车来说。大量报道都把混合动力汽车的销量和油价挂钩,或者把丰田普锐斯(Toyota Prius)和本田Insight的展厅访问量拿来作对比,总之是在拿日常的销量来给这个行业把脉。

    这固然不错,但它忽略了一个无可争议的事实:混合动力汽车已经成了汽车行业的一股不可阻挡的力量。理由如下:

    • 100年来,油电混合动力是汽油内燃机引擎的唯一切实有效的替代产品。

    • 10多年来,油电混合动力汽车从无到有,现在已经占据了美国汽车市场的3%。2015年,这一数字有望翻番。

    • 现在几乎所有的主要汽车厂商都至少有一款自己的混合动力车型,包括梅赛德斯奔驰(Mercedes-Benz)、宝马(BMW)和保时捷(Porsche)。丰田(Toyota)是混合动力汽车市场上的领军者,它在美国市场上销售了8款混合动力车型,而且到明年年底前,还将有6款新车问世。唯一例外的是克莱斯勒(Chrysler),它在经济危机时期疲于自保,未能研发出自己的混合动力车型。

    由于供应短缺和经济情况的变动,混合动力汽车的月销量也时有波动。但考虑到混合动力汽车的增长趋势,这种波动不足为虑。最近的一个例子是,福特(Ford)和丰田签署了一项具有里程碑意义的协议,决定共同研发一款混合动力的后驱皮卡。这对福特来说是个千载难逢的机会,福特的F-150皮卡本身就是一款畅销车型。

    我最近花了一周时间,开着一辆2012款本田(Honda)思域(Civic Hybrid)混合动力轿车跑了400多英里,其间竟然一次也没有停下来加油。思域官方号称它的燃油经济性达到了每加仑汽油44英里。经笔者实测,思域的确在各种路况上都可以轻松跑出这个骄人的成绩。

    思域的混合动车版轿车之所以吸引我,部分原因就是它让人驾轻就熟。例如丰田的仪表板明显是受了卡通剧《杰森一家》(The Jetsons)的影响,很有科幻风。普锐斯的车身也采取了符合航空动力学的造型。而本田思域的混合动力车却充分继承了老款本田思域完美的人机工程设计。

    思域混合动力车的造型并不能让人眼前一亮,不过一旦坐上驾驶座,你会发现,排档杆还是在最熟悉的位置上。而且我也非常喜欢思域的双层显示屏,它使汽车的重要数据随时位于驾驶者视线之内。

    思域混合动力轿车的驾乘感觉也和老款思域很相像,一切都非常连贯、顺从,响应性也很好,无论多谨慎的司机,开着它都会觉得很舒服,这是另一个我给它加分的原因。看来本田并未丧失提高驾乘乐趣的能力。

    2012款思域的汽油版上市时,有不少评测者批评它工艺太粗糙。不过它的怠速过低,的确是一个让我惊讶的问题。如果在斜坡上时,你的脚没有一直踩在刹车上的话,甚至还会向后遛车。这一点需要时间来适应。

    思域混动版的价格为27,500美元。很多人批评这款小车内饰单调,外型老旧,因此对于这样一款小车来说,27,500美元可不是一个小数目。不过这个价格包含了真皮加热座椅和导航系统。就在几年以前,这还是只有豪华车才有的配置。

    这款车之所以售价偏高,也不是没有道理。2012款本田思域混动版的底价为24,050美元,远高于标准汽油版的20,505美元。但是汽油版思域每加仑汽油要比混动版少跑12英里。

    买了混动版后,可以在加油的开支上节省出差价来,同时也算为抗击气候变化做贡献了。此外,驾驶者还藉此成了历史上第一批采用新型汽车动力系统的人之一。

    译者:朴成奎

    Okay, I admit it. The media love to report on a horse race, whether it is between bond underwriters or presidential candidates, and I'm just as guilty as anybody else. Horse races are easy to write about because, unlike real life, they can be quantified and have a definitive outcome.

    But a fascination with race results can obscure underlying long-term trends.

    Take the discussion about hybrid cars. Stories abound that measure the correlation between hybrid sales and gasoline prices, or compare showroom traffic for the Toyota Prius versus the Honda Insight. They are taking the temperature of an industry in day-to-day increments.

    That's all well and good, but it ignores one incontrovertible fact: Hybrids have become the auto industry's unstoppable force. Consider:

    • Hybrid gas-electric power is the only serious alternative to the internal combustion, gasoline-powered engine that has emerged in one hundred years.

    • ince starting from zero a little more than a decade ago, hybrids now account for 3% of the U.S. market -- and that share is expected to double by 2015.

    • Nearly every major manufacturer, including Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Porsche, now has at least one hybrid model in its lineup. Toyota, the leader, has eight for sale in the U.S. and expects to launch six more by the end of next year. The only holdout is Chrysler, which failed to develop a hybrid during its financial crisis.

    So there is a growth trend here that sweeps away month-to-month variations in sales levels due to supply shortages or economic conditions. The latest example is the landmark deal between Ford and Toyota to develop hybrid powertrains for rear-drive pickup trucks -- a huge opportunity for Ford (F, Fortune 500) with its best-selling F-150.

    I was thinking about all this while I spent a week putting more than 400 miles on a 2012 Honda Civic Hybrid -- and never once stopping for gas. The Civic reliably delivered the promised 44 miles per gallon of regular gas in all kinds of driving conditions.

    Part of the Civic Hybrid's appeal for me is that it is so familiar. While Toyota (TM) has opted for a Jetsons-inspired instrument panel and radical aerodynamic styling for the Prius, the Hybrid features Honda's typically flawless ergonomics along with a conventional design.

    The styling is less than inspired, but from the driver's seat, you find the gearshift just where you'd expect to find it. I'm also a fan of the two-deck function displays that put the important numbers right in your line of sight.

    The Hybrid drives like a Civic too, another plus in my book. Everything feels connected, compliant, and responsive; even cautious drivers will feel comfortable putting their foot in it. Honda hasn't lost its ability to encourage driving pleasure.

    Other reviewers have complained about roughness when the gasoline engine kicks in. I was surprised by the lack of transmission creep and the fact that the car will roll backwards if you take your foot off the brake on an incline. It takes getting used to.

    The price tag for the Hybrid is $27,500 -- a not inconsiderable sum for a car that has been as criticized for its drab interior and dull exterior. But that price includes leather-trimmed and heated seats and a navigation system -- features that only in the last few years have trickled down from luxury models.

    The price premium for this remarkable technology seems reasonable. Base price for a 2012 Hybrid is $24,050. That compares with $20,505 for a standard Civic that gets 12 miles per gallon less overall.

    You would be hard-pressed to make up the difference by savings on gasoline purchases. But you would be making a contribution to the battle against climate change. And you could still count yourself as an early adopter of this historic development in automotive propulsion systems.

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