I saw my first Tahoe Hybrid on the road tonight.
If you have an appreciation for Hybrid Technology (at any cost) than certainly, as the commercials say, the best application of the technology is going to be where it has the greatest potential impact. SUV's.
Save 25% (or whatever) of the fuel a Prius-sized car burns? Okay. Save 25% of what a full-sized SUV burns...now that is something.
Thing is...why is the thing so homely? Why punish those willing to pony up a few extra grand to save a few less in gas by making the rig an ugly suit?
The answer is clear and can be found in the reasons why (among others) the Honda Accord Hybrid didn't sell (and was killed) and the Prius, despite it's butt-ugliness, continues to enjoy strong sales.
The Honda didn't sell because it wasn't ugly enough. Okay, so it isn't the ugliness per se that makes the difference. Its the difference that makes the difference. The Accord Hybrid looked almost exactly like the standard version.
As for the Prius? It may be ugly, wimpy, and embarrassing, but it is distinctive. You know it's a Hybrid.
You see owners of Hybrids have been proven to be conspicuously green. They aren't content with saving the planet and keeping it to themselves. They want to be recognized for their valor!
I don't begrudge them. Anyone willing to pay a premium for a car that will only be returned to them if they keep the car for fifteen years should garner some recognition.
And that is why they made the Tahoe, replete with homely 80's-era Pontiac plastic cladding, lumpy bumper covers and four-inch high "Hybrid" decals down the sides, as ugly as they could.