If you’re on the lookout for a new car and considering a Hybrid, here is what you need to know:
A hybrid car is one that uses more than one means of propulsion – this means combining a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. One of the main advantages of a hybrid is that it should consume less fuel and emit less CO2 than comparable petrol or diesel-engined vehicle.
So how do hybrid cars work?
Hybrid cars have a conventional engine, an electric motor, and a battery. There are three different types of hybrids and each works in a different way – A Full Hybrid, A Mild Hybrid, and a Plug-in Hybrid.
A Full Hybrid - A full hybrid or ‘parallel hybrid’ uses both the combustion engine and electric motors to drive the car, either simultaneously or independently. This is the most common type of hybrid vehicle.
Typically, Full Hybrids hold small amounts of electric charge, which can be used to provide extra power which is employed in conjunction with a combustion engine, and in turn, improving fuel economy.
Due to the electric motors being built into the drivetrain, a Full Hybrid can switch to run in electric-only mode, however, this is usually just at low speeds whilst driving around town or very limited distances as the batteries are fairly small. Having a small battery is a plus when it comes to charging as it doesn’t take long to charge to full capacity. It also eliminates range anxiety as even if the batteries are completely flat, you can always drive on petrol or diesel alone.
A Full Hybrid is often considered the best option for drivers doing lots of miles.
As the electricity you are using is mainly generated by burning fuel in the engine, it’s worth remembering that even though driving in Electric mode might cut pollution driving around town, it’s actually less efficient than allowing the hybrid system to do its thing by selecting the best mix of ICE and electric power based on the driving conditions.
Mild Hybrids - A Mild Hybrid is typically the cheapest way to own a hybrid. It offers a simpler powertrain with modest power and efficiency gains. Like a Full Hybrid, A Mild Hybrid uses an electric motor alongside a combustion engine, however, the two power sources can’t be used independently of one another, and the small electric motor is used solely to assist the engine.
Plug-in Hybrid - As the name suggests, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle is a hybrid which can be plugged in to charge its electric batteries.
Moving the Full Hybrid concept closer to that of a full-electric vehicle, it has bigger onboard batteries that can be charged from an external power source and therefore provides a much better electric-only range that you would get from a Full Hybrid.
Depending on the mileage you do, theoretically, it is possible to run a plug-in hybrid without even having to use its petrol engine. If you only drive a short distance in a day (typically around 30 miles) and have the ability to recharge at your place of work or destination, it could be entirely possible to take full advantage of using the fuel-saving electric driving mode, without needing the use of the petrol engine.
Benefits of driving a hybrid car
Driving a hybrid is similar to driving a conventional automatic car, so there’s little compromise on performance.
Most strong hybrids will have a choice of power modes, too, ranging from eco to power, enabling the driver to choose maximum efficiency or performance depending on the driving conditions.
Range anxiety isn’t an issue and you don’t need to a charging point because hybrids charge up their own batteries.
Environmentally friendly - On average, hybrid cars produce fewer emissions, consume less fuel and emit less CO2 comparable diesel or petrol-powered cars.
Hybrid cars are considered to be more affordable to run because they have an electric motor and battery, in addition to an internal combustion engine, so they use less fuel and, as a result, significant savings on fuel costs can be made.
Is a Hybrid for you?
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