A Hybrid car combines the power of a traditional petrol engine and an electric motor. These cars are best suited to urban driving and can save you money on fuel bills.
Using energy normally lost to heat when you brake, regenerative braking technology turns kinetic energy into electricity to recharge the battery. This helps improve fuel economy and reduce emissions.
A hybrid uses an electric motor and battery pack along with a regular gasoline engine. The best hybrids achieve better fuel economy and lower emissions than conventional cars. This results in significant savings on fuel costs.
Hybrids can run on electricity alone for short distances, depending on the charge level of their battery and power demand at a given time. They also have the ability to recycle kinetic energy from braking, using it to recharge their battery. This technology is called regenerative braking.
The combustion engine typically shuts off when the car is stationary, which helps save fuel and reduce noise and vibration inside the cabin. This feature is available in many standard cars today, but hybrids do it more efficiently and effectively.
A hybrid’s electric motor(s) drive the wheels during normal operation, allowing them to be more responsive and powerful than a conventional engine. It’s only when the battery is depleted or when power demands increase that the gas engine kicks in to deliver a smooth and powerful acceleration experience.
Unlike fully electric vehicles, which need to be plugged in regularly to charge their batteries, hybrids can generate their own electricity through the engine and the regenerative braking system. However, their large high voltage systems make repairs more expensive and not all mechanics have the proper tools or training to work on them.
Hybrid cars achieve impressive fuel economy, especially in city driving where the electric motor has more of an impact. They also produce fewer emissions than gas-only vehicles, which makes them an excellent choice for urban driving where pollution is most harmful.
In hybrid cars, the internal combustion engine and the electric motor operate separately or together to maximize efficiency and performance. The electric motor drives the car at lower speeds and under light load conditions, while the gasoline engine is engaged when additional power is needed for acceleration or to climb hills. The system can recharge the battery through regenerative braking, when the car’s electric motor acts as a generator to convert kinetic energy into electricity and charge the battery.
The best hybrid cars provide the best combination of fuel economy and electric range. They are often smooth and quiet, with minimal vibration and noise from the engine and transmission. Some hybrids feature an automatic start/stop feature that shuts off the engine when the vehicle is stopped, like at traffic lights or in a jam, to reduce fuel use and emissions.
Hybrid cars cost more than gas-only models, but they generally pay for their premium through fuel savings. With gas prices rising, it’s even more important to consider a fuel efficient hybrid. CR’s analysis shows that many hybrids can save you money on fuel costs over their lifetime, especially when you factor in the reduced emissions that can cut your carbon footprint.
A hybrid car uses a gas engine and an electric motor. The electric motor can help reduce the need for gas, which makes it more efficient and quieter. The battery also supplies power for short trips or when the engine is not running. The system can manage the flow of energy automatically or let you choose how much electric or gasoline power you want to use.
In the most common design, the electric motor(s) and the gasoline engine are connected in a transmission. The type of transmission and the size of the gasoline engine can affect how the car accelerates and feels.
Unlike plug-in hybrids or pure electric vehicles, hybrid cars don’t need to be charged. They replenish their battery by capturing energy during deceleration (via regenerative braking), which would otherwise be wasted as heat in conventional cars. The energy is used to charge the battery, which is often smaller than the one found in a conventional car.
The smaller battery helps keep the cost down. Typically, hybrids produce lower emissions than gas-only cars and can be driven for long highway stretches or in hilly terrain at higher speeds. Of course, it’s best to take steps to reduce your impact on the environment even if you drive a hybrid car. This may include replacing car trips with public transportation or driving less.
As a result of using both electric and gasoline power, hybrids can achieve a higher mileage than traditional petrol cars. They produce far fewer harmful emissions and typically have lower running costs. Hybrids also cost less to insure.
The petrol engine provides a boost to the electric motor at low speeds, which makes driving a hybrid more like a regular car. As speed increases, the gas engine takes over to deliver a smoother, more powerful acceleration. In some hybrids, the petrol engine is also used to provide braking energy, which reduces wear on the car’s brakes.
Hybrids are grouped into strong and mild hybrids according to how much they can drive on electric power alone. Strong hybrids have more battery capacity and can drive further on electric power than mild ones. They are also able to be plugged into an electricity outlet to recharge their batteries and can use the engine to charge the electric motor at speeds up to 100mph.
Plug-in hybrids, or PHEVs, are a good compromise between conventional hybrids and fully electric vehicles. They have enough battery range to get around town or on short journeys without using any petrol. Then, when the battery is drained, the petrol engine kicks in for longer trips. Some models, such as the Lexus NX 450h and Volvo X3 xDrive30e, have enough range to get you to work and back on a single tank of fuel.