Driving a hybrid—cars that combine the power of a gas engine with an electric motor to cut fuel consumption and emissions—might appear to be something that only an environmentalist or a tree-hugging celebrity (hello, Leonardo DiCaprio!) would be interested in. However, there has never been a better moment to consider making the move to a green, clean, and environmentally friendly gas-saving machine.
Hybrid cars are becoming more popular – over 17 million hybrid vehicles have been sold globally since their introduction to the market in 1997 – and are typically viewed as a mid-point between ICE vehicles and Electric Vehicles (EVs) for individuals who are not yet ready to go entirely electric.
What exactly is a hybrid vehicle? It’s essentially a conventional, fuel-efficient car with two motors: an electric motor and a gasoline-powered motor. It also includes a unique technology for capturing braking energy and storing it in an onboard battery.
But why should you buy them? Here are a few reasons:
Reduced fuel usage
The benefit of having a battery-pack is that you’re depending less on your gas-guzzling ICE, lowering your fuel consumption and saving money along the way. Many hybrids will also allow you to drive in ‘all-electric’ mode at least some of the time, which means you could technically go without spending another dime for fuel.
While hybrids aren’t zero-emission vehicles like EVs, they do reduce harmful glasshouse gas emissions from the exhaust, which means your hybrid is kinder to the environment (the difference a mild hybrid makes is negligible).
One of the most significant advantages of a hybrid vehicle over a gasoline-powered vehicle is that it runs cleaner and gets greater gas mileage, making it more ecologically friendly. A hybrid car is powered by two engines (a gasoline engine and an electric motor), which reduces fuel consumption and conserves energy. A hybrid reduces emissions by 25% to 35% compared to even the most fuel-efficient gas-powered vehicles.
However, hybrid vehicles provide more than simply excellent fuel efficiency; they also provide numerous environmental benefits. Even a slight improvement in fuel efficiency makes a significant difference in emissions over the life of the vehicle. Furthermore, in large cities when pollution is at its worst, they make an even bigger difference because they emit relatively little pollutants during low-speed city driving and the unavoidable traffic jams.
Maintenance is reduced
The motors and batteries in these vehicles do not need to be serviced over the lifetime of the car. The engine requires no more upkeep than any other car’s engine. In the case of HEVs, there’s no need to stress about charging because the car recharges the battery itself.
When you engage the brakes while driving a hybrid vehicle, it helps to recharge the battery slightly. An internal mechanism kicks in and absorbs the released energy and uses it to charge the battery, reducing the amount of time and the need to stop to recharge the battery on a regular basis. Because hybrids use regenerative braking, brake pads may last much longer than those in standard vehicles.
Because electric motors require zero revs to reach maximum torque, combining an ICE and an electric motor delivers more power and improved performance to a hybrid. And, in perfect conditions, you get power from both sources at the same time.
There is a large selection of models to pick from
There are various hybrid vehicles that can comfortably transport a family. They provide not just improved fuel efficiency and solid performance, but also a long range of family-friendly amenities. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Ford Fusion Hybrid, and Toyota Camry Hybrid are all excellent options.
Experts believe hybrids will be a transition technology in the end. Cars fuelled by hydrogen or methane fuel cells are most likely the vehicles of the future. In terms of the environment, there are numerous strategies to cut emissions, including taking public transportation, carpooling, riding a bicycle, and even walking. Even purchasing a smaller, more fuel-efficient car makes a significant effect. So, before you buy a hybrid, consider what you actually want to achieve.