Nowadays, the two words sit together a little more comfortably, with cars like the sporty 2011 Honda CR-Z, or the surprisingly quick 2012 Infiniti M Hybrid.
Pushing the term to its limits comes the XSeed concept, via Ubergizmo.
With styling that crosses sports car with beach buggy, and a gas or ethanol internal combustion engine connected to an electric motor, the XSeed seems to be several cars in one.
The brainchild of designer Marcos Beltrao, it's a vision of future fun transportation, minimizing environmental impact and maximizing driving fun. Marcos hints at a 0-60 mph time of just 4.5 seconds thanks to the 225-horsepower drivetrain.
As with any self-respecting car of the future, light weight is a priority too. To this end, Marcos says the electric thrusters on each wheel will be made of very light and strong carbon nanotubes, and the 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine would feature a ceramic block, that would require no cooling or lubrication.
The body itself would use carbon-fiber reinforced plastic, and the wheels are magnesium alloy.
The XSeed is clearly no more than a design exercise, but uses technologies being explored today. So while we won't see anything like it on the roads any time soon, the forward-thinking concept really could preview the lightweight sports cars of the future.