Choosing Hybrid Cars

By: Gary Fumeaux

Automakers are facing energy instability and higher gas prices, and customers are demanding cleaner and more economic solutions. The hybrid phenomenon is about saving time and money at the fuel pump, but it's also about saving a part of the world every day. Transportation is responsible for about a quarter of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, and the United States is the greatest greenhouse gas contributor on the planet.

The hybrid phenomenon is allowing drivers to change the earth and feel good about it. In business and commerce, hybrid dollars help stimulate economies and create jobs. The shift also is creating global virtual communities and empowering people to promote environmental sustainability. The phenomenon shouts globally and acts locally every day.

4 Types of Hybrid Cars

FULL HYBRID The most efficient and widely used hybrids are called full hybrids, which can run on electricity alone. At low speeds, full hybrids can use batteries, computers, and a complicated transmission to move the car without burning any fuel. The Toyota Prius has sufficient technology to run electrically for several miles. This feature increases gas mileage and eliminates smog and noise pollution.

MILD HYBRID Hybrids that rely mainly on an internal combustion mechanism are called mild hybrids. The electric motor increases efficiency by assisting the engine. But it cannot move the vehicle on electricity alone. Mild hybrids provide the same driver benefits as full hybrids, but to a lesser degree. They use common transmissions and are cheaper to manufacture than full hybrids so they cannot be converted to plug-ins.

LIGHT HYBRID Light hybrid cars do not recycle energy, although they perform as typical hybrids in other ways. They reduce fuel consumption by shutting the motor down when the vehicle is stopped. The stopping and restarting of the engine is computerized so the driver need not be bothered with this process.

PLUG-IN HYBRIDS. Plug-in technology is the next step in making full hybrids into electric vehicles. Plug-ins use larger battery packs that can tap into external electricity. Drivers make use of all the benefits of full hybrids to a greater degree and can fill up with electricity.



How They Will Affect our World and our Future

The hybrid phenomenon is playing a noteworthy role in the future of jobs, companies, economies, and countries-as well as in our world-view of gas, transportation, and the environment. After all, our cars connect everything in our lives, from family to work to recreation to the surroundings, and trucks deliver almost everything we consume.

Benefits of hybrid technologies go well beyond gas mileage and saving money. They lead toward new applications and platforms. The hybrid has the potential to move to greater innovations for a growing number of goods and services.



Hybrid cars can potentially increase the efficiency of almost any fuel and class of vehicle. The tradeoff in cost seems minimal compared with the growing number of benefits. If users continue their present rate of investment, hybrid technology will surely become the core technology of the automobile industry.

Surveys indicate that many hybrid owners joined the hybrid phenomenon not only to help themselves, but also to help the world. Drivers conserve money on gas, leaving more oil for other purposes. They relish quiet rides allowing others to breathe cleaner air. They get to feel confident and content about the car they own. Their hybrid cars recycle energy and demonstrate how to get the most out of life while saving our oil reserves and our earth.

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