Hybrid Cars - Use Electricity and Gasoline Together To Recharge The Earth - And Your Wallet

Hybrid cars can have very low to near-zero greenhouse gas emissions. The Toyota Prius for instance has near-zero tailpipe emissions and no evaporative emissions.

Hybrid cars combine the two energy components of petrol and electricity to produce a hyper-low emission, cheap to run, quiet motor vehicle that recharges itself as you drive. Good for planet earth, and for your wallet.

Looking for a green and clean car?

One that will save you money on fuel cost?

More practical right now than an electric car?

Well, this car is certainly worth considering.

For Choosing Your Hybrid Car In Six Easy Steps go here.

Hybrid vehicles are not a new idea

They are a new phenomenon as an individual passenger vehicle but are not otherwise. Diesel-electric locomotives, diesel electric buses and mining trucks, as well as diesel-electric or nuclear-electric submarines are all examples of earlier hybrid applications.

Hybrid car advantages

  1. Very low greenhouse emissions

  2. Low fuel cost

  3. Reduces national foreign oil dependency

  4. Good resale value

  5. Overcomes limited drive range of electric car

  6. Incentives

Very low greenhouse emissions Almost 25% of CO2 emissions in the US come from vehicles. Low fuel costPetrol is only needed in situations of extra load and hybrids shut down instead of idling at lights. The 2006 Toyota Prius for example gets 60 miles to the gallon (US). There's a new Toyota concept car, the 1/X that aims for more than 100 mpg and the Honda Civic hybrid is also very competitive among hybrid vehicles.

Reduces national foreign oil dependencyWith a volatile international oil situation and possibility of peak oil, there was never a better time to switch than now.

Good resale valueIn the US, where there is a waiting list for buying some of these cars, resale value is good as people cannot wait to get into a hybrid. With production stepping up that resale value is expected to slide more towards normal levels over the long run.

Overcomes limited drive range of electric carA hybrid can give you a driving range of more than 500 miles without having to plug in your car to recharge.

IncentivesThere are incentives in the form of tax rebates on purchase price in the US and some states offer the use of low traffic lanes to hybrid cars. Reportedly, some companies like Google and the Bank of America even match their employees’ tax rebates on these cars.

This film, The Engine Counts gives you further in-depth information.

Hybrid car disadvantages

Of course disadvantages too. There are always trade-offs.

High initial purchase price – about 30% higher than for conventional cars. However, offsetting this cost, US federal- and some state governments offer a "clean-fuel vehicle" tax refund, worth of up to $2000.

You may rejoice however - prices are coming down "as we speak."

How do hybrid cars work?

Big, conventional gasoline engines are really only needed for acceleration, overtaking or going uphill. When driving at a steady speed much of their capacity is not needed. You may only use around 20 horsepower to do that and to

  • run your airconditioning, power steering and lights
  • overcome friction from tires, transmission and brakes, and
  • overcome aerodynamic drag

Hybrids deal with these facts of car-life much smarter.

The combustion engine is much smaller than in a conventional car. This is because the two systems work together when greater power is needed, such as during acceleration.

A smaller engine means less weight and greater fuel efficiency. And fewer cylinders mean less fuel is used.

As petrol is only needed in situations where a little extra oomph is called for, your wallet is smiling. So is planet Earth, getting a little relief from its greenhouse gas headache through your efforts. You're laughing with hybrid cars

Hybrid components

Essentially hybrid vehicles are made up of six interlinked parts

Fuel tank. The fuel tank stores the energy sources, petrol, for its gasoline engine.

Gasoline engine. It’s a much smaller gasoline engine compared to a conventional engine as discussed already. Unlike the electric motor, which can charge batteries and draw from them, it’s a one way street of fuel from tank to engine.

Electric motor. It has the dual functions of a motor and generator. It can act as a brake and transfer this braking energy to the batteries and draw electricity from the batteries when needed, such as during acceleration.

Generator. It produces electrical energy.

Batteries. These are the "fuel tank" for the electric motor.

Transmission. Like in conventional cars, the transmission transmits energy produced by the engine to the car’s wheels.

Two types of hybrids

Parallel. In the parallel hybrid car petrol and electric motor can power the transmission at the same time.

Series. In the series hybrid car the petrol engine never directly powers the transmission. It turns a generator instead. The generator will then either charge the batteries or power an electric motor that, in turn, drives the transmission.

Additional features

Fuel efficiency of many hybrid models is further promoted by

  • Good aerodynamic design
  • Using low-resistance tyres, and
  • Using low-weight materials

And, before you move on... For the most remarkable new hybrid car you must take a look at the Acabion here.

Not all hybrids are the full quid

A full hybrid, also called a strong hybrid can run on the engine alone, the batteries only, or on both. The Toyota Prius and Escape are examples.

Assist hybrids use a small gasoline engine for their primary power. The electric motor boosts torque when accelerating or in other situations where more power is required. The Honda Insight is an example of this approach.

A mild hybrid car is essentially a car with a conventional engine boosted by an oversized electric starter motor when extra power is needed. Fuel efficiency is lower than for full hybrids. The Chrevolet Silverado Hybrid, a pick-up truck, is an example. Several other combinations of 'hyb' power are possible.

Which car makers do hybrids?

I am now going to tell you just a little bit about some of the hybrids in existence. Although things are moving so fast that new models are coming out almost as we "speak".

The Toyota Prius and Honda Insight are perhaps the two best-known. But there are others also. And you already know where you might be able to pick up one of these at a bargain price.

Toyota first launched its Prius in 1997 in Japan and had sold it 504,700 times by April 2006. Its Honda Insight is a two-seater, first launched in 1999.

The Lexus RSX400h was introduced in 2005, the first luxury hybrid vehicle, followed in 2006 by the Lexus GS 450h.

There are also the Toyota Highlander and Camry hybrids. Others are Ford Escape, Buick Rendez Vous and Honda Civic. And there are still more.
For reviews on these hybrid cars and more check out hybridcenter’s reviews and compare them here for fuel economy, greenhouse gas emissions and more.

What does the future hold?

For a good read on the future of alternative fuel cars, don't go past Forward Drive: The Race to Build "Clean" Cars for the Future.

Or for a easy-digest appraisal of hybrid cars don't pass up The Essential Hyb Car Handbook: A Buyer's Guide

But for what is presently perhaps the ultimate resource use the 21st Century Complete Guide to Alternative Fuels, Hybrids, And Alternate Fuel Transportation, Battery and Fuel Cell Powered Cars and Vehicles, Climate ... Energy Lab NREL (Two CD-ROM Superset) on CD ROM/DVD. It is also available in print form.

Saving the world with hybrids?

Well, no, of course not.

It is one of these things some of us can afford to do to reduce global warming. But it is a luxury to be able to do so compared with the majority of Earth citizens who may not ever have the money to even buy a bicycle for transport.

Even if everyone could afford one, the raw materials needed for 6 billion plus cars would obviously require more than our single planet Earth.

And I don’t think we’ve found another of those yet!

And there is no one answer to global warming anyway. That’d be too easy!

A sustainable world depends on a change of thinking about ourselves in relationship to others and to our environment.

Google
 

Acceptance of limits and interdependence are essential in that.

Change rusted-on attitudes all around by doing small things for others everyday.

And think about your impact on the environment as you go about your daily business.

Hybrid cars are part of the broader picture of change. Besides driving alternative fuel cars - go here to learn about what else you can do to save energy, save money and save the planet

More About Hybrid Cars

The New Plug-in Toyota Is a CO2- And Fuel Miser

The Electric Car - Forerunner Of The Hybrid

The Acabion – An Electric Revolution

What Are The Best Hybrids - How To Choose Yours In Six Easy Steps