Awesome Eco-Car Makeovers

Offbeat

They may be green, but the idea to turn them into performance machines isn't too far-fetched.

When most people think of a Toyota Prius or a Chevrolet Volt, they think of a green four-door designed to haul the family from place to place for pennies on the dollar. For the most part this image is true, but occasionally these uber-popular green vehicles get an epic makeover going from sensible and smart to just plain awesome. Will they ever achieve the performance of their gasoline-engined counterparts? With the technology developing fast these days, anything is possible in the future.

The most popular hybrid in America will soon be receiving a makeover of epic proportions in the form of the Prius GT300. Toyota is outfitting their mega-hit hybrid to race in next year's Super GT series. The Prius GT300 will stay true to its hybrid roots, but will feature a tweaked engine pumping out a powerful 300hp.

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Your view on the Leaf may change forever after seeing what Nissan's performance division Nismo did when they got their hands on one. The Nismo Leaf is highlighted by its aggressive performance-enhancing body kit. Besides the body kit, the Nismo Leaf also features 18-inch wheels and low-profile tires. The Nismo team left the Leaf's engine intact, which may not be such a bad thing considering the fact that the EV can top out at 90 mph.

The Formula 1000 Honda Insight is perhaps the most unlikely rally car ever made. The gas-sipping Honda hybrid was tuned by Oaktec and entered into the 2011 Formula 1000 season where it dominated in spectacular fashion placing first twice and finishing second once all in the first three races. Oaktec's Insight averaged around 100 mpg doing slow speeds and nearly 82 mpg when the pedal was put to the metal. Unfortunately for Oaktec, their awesome Insight was banned for being "unfair."

Over summer, the city of NYC added 70 EVs and hybrids to its fleet of city vehicles. Out of the 70 vehicles added, 50 were Chevy Volt hatchbacks. Out of those 50, an undisclosed number were to be used as cop cars. The performance specs on the Police Volt haven't been released, but I'd expect them to easily outperform and out-handle the Volts sitting on dealer lots. Criminals do tend to drive dangerously.

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