Hybrid Vehicle Basics

Hybrid vehicles are so named because they use two or more conventional engines to power them. Commonly, the term “hybrid” refers to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), which combine an electric motor and an internal combustion engine (ICE) to save fuel. An on-board computer determines how to use both engines while driving the car.

The popularity of hybrid cars continues to rise due to huge savings on gas costs and more environmentally friendly features. In most cases, hybrid cars will rely solely on their electric motor at slow speeds. When more power is needed, its ICE kicks in. In other circumstances, both the electric motor and the ICE are used to propel the car. There will be times when the car will not burn any fuel while in use, which translates into less gas mileage. An energy saving feature of hybrids helps them get better mileage.

Furthermore, hybrids do not suffer from the usual charging problems of fully electric cars. This is because a hybrid car can charge the electric motor while driving. For example, the combustion engine can be used to turn an electric generator that charges the battery. In other cases, the battery is also charged by regenerative braking. Currently, high-end hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius have an average fuel consumption of just over 45 miles per gallon, which is a drastic improvement over the average 17 miles per gallon consumed by gasoline vehicles. common among American motorists.

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