Many car buyers are thinking about getting hybrid cars to replace their traditional petrol or diesel vehicles. What is it that makes hybrid cars so attractive? One of the reasons why car buyers are making the shift is because of the many benefits of owning a hybrid vehicle. Not only is it more environmentally friendly but it tends to be more affordable to run and maintain. Let’s get to know what hybrid cars are and their many interesting features.
What’s a Hybrid Vehicle?
To put it simply, this type of car combines an electric motor along with a petrol or diesel engine to get the car going. At the same time, the car’s system can recapture energy through a process called regenerative braking.
There could be times when the electric motor alone moves the vehicle, while there are also instances where the engine does the work. The car can also run using both the electric motor and engine. As a result, the car uses less fuel and there’s less emission of harmful gases.
How Do Hybrid Cars Work?
The electricity needed to run the car comes from its high-voltage battery pack. This is distinct from the usual 12-volt battery of cars. The hybrid car’s battery pack is replenished through regenerative braking. This system works by getting energy during deceleration. Usually, this energy is lost to the generated heat of the brakes in traditional cars.
Hybrid vehicles also rely on the petrol or diesel engine in charging and maintaining the battery pack. Various car manufacturers use unique designs so they can attain their goal for the car, be it fuel efficiency or affordability for the car buyers.
What is a Parallel Hybrid Car?
This type of hybrid car is the most common one. With this design, the electric motor and the car’s engine are both linked to a common transmission which allows these power sources to be used to run the car.
Transmission could be manual, automatic, or continuously variable (CVT). Chevrolet Volt and Toyota Prius use a hybrid transmission which is a power-split CVT. The type of transmission, as well as the engine’s size, determine how the car accelerates and performs.
What’s a Series Hybrid Car?
With a series hybrid vehicle, the electric motor is the one that produces the thrust. There is also no connection between the wheels and the engine mechanically. The engine only serves to recharge the car’s battery.
When you drive a series hybrid, it’s more like driving an electric car. It’s smooth to drive and it also has powerful acceleration. If you like a hybrid car that feels a lot like an electric vehicle, this is a good choice. An example of this type of hybrid is the BMW i3.
What’s a Plug-In Hybrid Car?
The battery pack of a plug-in is much larger compared to the previous types mentioned. It’s much like an electric car because you have to charge it through an external power source. Charging can be done at home or at a public charging station.
You can drive for 15 to 55 miles all-electric, but this depends on the model of the plug-in hybrid car. If your goal is to reduce your fuel consumption, this is a good option to consider. If you charge the car every night, you can drive it using electricity only. Once it runs out of power, it would work much like a parallel hybrid.
Interesting Facts About Hybrid Vehicles
- Hybrid cars are not a new invention. Dr Ferry Porsche built the first hybrid vehicle in 1902 called the “Mixte.” He was also known for his designs of the Volkswagen Beetle.
- For modern hybrids, the first one that became popular to car buyers was the Toyota Prius which was introduced to the market in 1997. Over 10 million have been sold since then.
- Hybrids can actually be fast, as in Formula One kind of fast. In fact, racing cars for Formula One have electric motors and are hybrids.
- Hybrid cars are cheaper to maintain. For example, you won’t have to get the brake pads and discs changed so often. It’s because the brakes are not used in the same way as traditional cars. Hybrids have a feature called regenerative braking. Whenever the car slows, the electric motor is reversed and energy is returned to the battery.
- Don’t worry too much about the car’s depreciation if you have a hybrid because they can hold their value for a longer time than other types of cars. For example, the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid can retain up to 81% of its value even after 30,000 miles and 3 years of use.
- You can really save money by driving a hybrid car. Even if some models can be more expensive to buy, the initial investment will be offset with the slow depreciation, better fuel economy, and lower taxes and other grants from the government.
- In the UK alone, there are over 13,000 public charging stations. The network for these charging stations is growing at a fast rate. Soon, there will be more of these hybrid and electric car charging stations than petrol ones.
If you want to save money as a car owner, you might just consider buying a hybrid car. Sure, it can be an expensive purchase just like any other vehicle, but with the many benefits you get to enjoy, it’s a good long-term investment.
Hybrids are better for the environment than traditional cars. The driving experience is also something that car owners of hybrids really enjoy. And with technology becoming more advanced and the design of hybrid cars improving, it’s becoming cheaper to make them, and therefore, they are also becoming more affordable to car buyers.