Most of the so-called ‘hybrids’ we have in India are not legitimate hybrids – rather, they are mild hybrids and micro-hybrids. Why buy them? Some improvement in fuel economy is the real benefit – plus, you may be exempted from the next odd-even plan introduced by some state government. First, let us understand what mild hybrids and micro hybrids offer.
Mild hybrids are the simplest form of hybrid systems in a car. In this, the car is equipped with an electric motor that supplements the engine’s power during hard acceleration. The mild hybrids also uses employs regenerative energy from the brakes to charge the batteries and then assist the engine through the electric motor.
Mild hybrids cannot run exclusively on electric only mode. Mild hybrids are cheaper to build than full hybrids. Also mild hybrid systems don’t add a lot of weight to the car, compared to the massive batteries of a full hybrid. The maintenance cost of the vehicle comes down which makes the car way cheaper than the full fledged hybrid system.
Idle-Stop (micro-hybrid) system
The idle-stop system is an automatic system which shuts off the car when the car is idling for too long and then automatically switches it on too when the clutch is engaged or the accelerator is depressed. Such system can vary on sophistication levels.
A few systems keep the music system and AC on because they have bigger batteries to take the load. In smaller cars, such systems generally restart everything when the car starts again automatically. Manufacturers may term them as ‘micro-hybrids’ but the truth is, these are simple start-stop systems.
Here are all the mild hybrids and micro hybrids in India, arranged by cheapest to priciest.
Mahindra KUV 100
The cheapest car from Mahindra is incorporates the simple start-stop on idling technology and sells with a tag of micro hybrid. The car’s micro-hybrid system of the car keeps the music system on when it shuts off automatically. The AC of the car does not work when the car shuts down though. Only the fan works until the car switches back on. The car’s prices start from 4.67 lakh rupees.
The Bolero is India’s most popular MUV. The vehicle is the first choice of many buyers in the Tier-II and Tier-III cities. The Bolero also comes with Micro-Hybrid badge on its tail gate. The popular people mover has automatic start-stop on idling feature which is named as micro hybrid and it shuts the engine automatically when the car stops for few seconds and then automatically starts it when the clutch is engaged, saving a lot of fuel. The Bolero Power+ starts from 6.87 lakh rupees.
Mahindra TUV 300
The Tough Utility Vehicle or the TUV is a sub 4-metre SUV from the Mahindra brand. The brute looking SUV carries a micro-hybrid badge on its rear but there is nothing related to hybrid with the SUV. It has the similar function of switching off the engine and starting it again when the engine idles for more than few seconds. The TUV300’s prices start from 7.46 lakh rupees.
The NuvoSport is the Quanto’s replacement. The sub 4-metre car does not look all that good but proudly features the micro hybrid badge on its rear. The micro hybrid system in the NuvoSport shuts down the engine when it is idling for a long time and then restarts it when needed. The system makes sure that your infotainment system and the AC fan is working when the engine is shut off. The Nuvosport starts from 7.7 lakh rupees.
Xylo was launched to compete against the likes of Chevrolet Tavera and to gain a edge in the market, Mahindra put the micro hybrid badge on the car. The micro-hybrid system has the same functioning of turning off the car and then turning it on when needed, saving fuel in the process. The Xylo’s prices start from 8.71 lakh rupees.
The Maruti Ertiga became the second car in the Maruti line-up to receive the mild hybrid technology. The MUV shed off a lot of price after becoming hybrid and like the Ciaz, only diesel engine gets the mild hybrid technology. The Ertiga also becomes a lot more efficient with an ARAI certified fuel efficiency of 24.52 km/l. The Ertiga SHVS starts from 7.2 lakh rupees.
The Ciaz was the first car in budget segment to incorporate a mild hybrid system. The system is only available with the diesel engine variant of the car. It also became the first car in the budget segment to receive the benefits under the FAME scheme. The car’s prices start from 7.73 lakh rupees.
The Ciaz uses a large battery and a small electric motor to assist the engine with about 0.1 BHP. The energy is regenerated from the brakes which charges the battery. The car can run AC and music system for a few minutes when the engine shuts down completely, saving a good amount of fuel. The car has a certified fuel efficiency of 28.09 km/l.
After facing the ban of sale in Delhi-NCR on vehicles with diesel engine above 2.0-litre or more capacity, Mahindra launched the 1.99-litre diesel engine for the region. Soon after that, Mahindra launched the intelli-hybrid Scorpio with mild hybrid technology. The mild hybrid technology only comes with the 2.2-litre engine option. The SUV has a certified fuel efficiency of 14 km/l. Prices start from 9.99 lakh rupees.
Mahindra XUV 500
The flagship vehicle of Mahindra comes with the idle-stop technology that Mahindra calls micro hybrid. The XUV 500’s engine shuts down to save fuel whenever the engine idles for a few seconds and the automatically starts back when the clutch is engaged. Prices start from 12.09 lakh rupees.