Hybrid Cars

by : tommymac

The use of the term hybrid with plant and animal species is both old and common. The phrase "hybrid car" is, however, relatively less common. A hybrid car generally consists of a combination of gas engine, electric motor, and high-power battery. Hybrid vehicles were first developed over a century ago, and since then they have undergone various changes. They provide more mileage and cause less pollution.

Hybrid cars vary both in terms of internal structure and external appearance. There are mild hybrid cars as well as full hybrid cars. Leading car manufacturers like Toyota, Honda, and Ford offer hybrid cars. Nissan has announced that its first hybrid car will be launched next year.

Both mild and fully hybrid cars utilize gas engine and electric motor. In mild hybrid cars, the electric motor plays the role of assistant to the gas engine, which propels the vehicle. In other words, the electric motor cannot function independently and only provides assistance to the gas engine when extra power is required. The motor has the capacity to obtain electricity from the battery and generate electricity for it. However, it cannot perform these tasks simultaneously.

In full hybrid cars, the gas engine, electric motor, and battery are integrated. The electric motor functions independently under certain conditions, generally, under low speed. It can also consume and generate electricity simultaneously. At higher speeds, the gas engine starts automatically and takes over from the electric motor. In the case of hard acceleration, both parts work in tandem to provide the necessary power. An important feature of hybrid cars is that the battery does not have to be recharged by plugging in. In addition, hundreds of miles can be covered using less fuel than a conventional vehicle would require.

In addition to the above varieties, there are muscle and plug-in hybrid cars. The former concentrates on increasing performance, but not reducing fuel consumption. Therefore, it is an expensive variety. A plug-in hybrid car needs to be recharged from an electric grid. This enables it to work as a battery-electric vehicle for several miles, providing known environmental benefits.

While choosing a car, differentiate between conventional and hybrid varieties by checking out the following features:

- Idle-off function: This saves fuel as the gasoline engine is turned off when the car stops. However, conventional vehicles also offer this feature and the difference between them and hybrid vehicles lies in the power source and power intensity used to perform the task.

- Regenerative braking: In conventional cars, the vehicle is stopped by applying brakes. In hybrid cars, apart from the mechanical breaks, the electric motor also helps to stop the car. This is possible due to regenerative breaking.

- Power assistance and smaller engine: The power assistance provided by the electric motor to the gas engine is the most important and distinguishing feature of a hybrid car. A smaller engine is another feature, and these two combine to provide more mileage than conventional cars.