Hybrid Vehicle Basics

Hybrid Vehicles are called as such because they use two or more conventional engines to power them. Commonly, the term “hybrid” refers to Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV), which combine an electric engine and an internal combustion engine (ICE) to conserve fuel. An on-board computer determines how to utilize both engines as the car is being driven.

The popularity of hybrid cars continues to increase due to the huge savings in gas expenses and more environment-friendly characteristics. In most cases, hybrid cars will rely solely on its electric engine at slow speeds. When more power is needed, its ICE is then activated. In other circumstances, both the electric engine and the ICE are used to propel the car. There will be times that the car is not burning any fuel at all while it is in use, resulting in less gas consumption. A power-saving feature of hybrids helps them gain better mileage.

In addition, hybrids don’t suffer from the regular charging hassles of fully electric cars. This is because a hybrid car is able to charge the electric engine as it is driven. For instance, the combustion engine can be used to spin an electric generator that charges the battery. In other cases, the battery is also charged through regenerative braking. At present, top-ranking hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius have an average fuel consumption of a little over 45 miles per gallon, which is a drastic improvement over the 17 miles per gallon average consumed by ordinary gas vehicles among American motorists.

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