2014: Year of the hybrid, Formula One leading the way

Williams 2014 Car

Williams 2014 Car. Courtesy of Williams F1

If you are planning to buy or lease a new car in 2014, fuel economy is likely to be one of your most important concerns when making your decision. With the cost of petrol and diesel continuing to rise, more and more drivers are choosing efficient, electric or hybrid cars to drive on contract hire or car leasing agreements.

Many experts believe that 2014 is set to be the year when hybrid and electric cars really take off in the UK. And, it’s the unlikely world of Formula One racing that may be the catalyst for this change. Keep reading to find out more…

F1 cars will become 35 per cent more fuel efficient in 2014

While it may not appear that Formula One is an industry that is concerned with fuel economy and carbon emissions, 2014 is set to mark a sea change in the way drivers think about their cars. That is because the 2014 F1 rules are changing in order to restrict the amount of fuel that cars can use – and so manufacturers have been forced to work hard on fuel economy.

2014’s Formula 1 cars will be powered by 1.6-litre engines – the same size as millions of car lease and contract hire customers across the UK are used to. The Daily Telegraph reports that the new F1 engines — from Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault and, in 2015, Honda — are turbocharged V6s and come with a complex hybrid kit attached, but are no bigger inside than the four-cylinder engines you’ll find in a Volkswagen Golf.

The leading F1 drivers in 2014 will effectively be driving hybrid cars, while at next year’s Le Mans 24 Hours Porsche’s new 919 Hybrid will do battle with Audi and Toyota’s hybrid.

And, as the manufacturers of racing and supercars continue to improve their technology, this will trickle down into the cars that millions of motorists lease and hire every year.

German sports cars set to replace V8 engines

2014 sees the launch of some highly sought-after new hybrid and electric cars. BMW’s sporty i8 is already sold out for 2014, while the smaller i3 is not far behind. March sees the launch of the Tesla Model S, which offers the highest range of any electric car and is also set to sell out.

Even if you’re thinking of leasing or buying a sports car in 2014 – the new M3 and M4 are set to hit forecourts as is an AMG version of the new Mercedes C-Class – these are still likely to feature hybrid engines.

Like the new Formula 1 cars, BMW and Mercedes have abandoned their big V8 engines for a smaller displacement turbo-motor in the search for better efficiency. The Telegraph also speculates that by the time these models are replaced, all of them will have some form of energy recovery and hybrid systems on board.

Motoring expert Michael Harvey concludes: “It’s been a while coming, but with F1 about to really make some noise about it, 2014 will be the year it won’t just become cool to drive a hybrid but positively uncool not to.”

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