Hybrid Cars: What Are They?


Hybrid cars (or hybrid electric vehicles) act as the metaphorical middle man between fully electric models and traditional internal combustion engined (ICE) cars. Hybrid cars also look a lot like conventional gasoline cars but the engine is often much smaller. Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) are largely powered by a traditional internal combustion engine and electric motor that uses stored energy in its batteries.

The extra power provided by the electric motor can potentially allow for a smaller engine, and could even reduce engine idling when it is stopped. It can even effectively power auxiliary loads.

The Main Benefits

A hybrid vehicle offers many benefits including greater economy, tax benefits, and fewer car emissions than their generic counterparts. This is generally achieved due to the fact that the hybrid car relies on two different power sources in order to achieve motion. The two different power sources are nearly always petrol and electricity in the US, and then diesel and electricity in Europe. All of these features mixed together result in better fuel economy without having to sacrifice performance in a vehicle. This will also save the buyer of the car much more money in the long run! And while nearly everyone has heard of hybrid vehicles, most people are actually unaware of the different types that are available on the market. There are three main types of hybrid vehicle; Mild Hybrids, Full Hybrids, and Plug-in Hybrids.

Mild Hybrid Vehicles

These have an electric motor and a fully functioning combustion engine that always work well together. Mild hybrids are not able to run in combustion engine mode or in just electric mode. Instead, the engines and motors work parallel with one another, much like those in the Honda Accord Hybrid. They also don’t need to be plugged in and instead rely on receiving charge through the internal combustion engine and also through regenerative braking.

Full Hybrid Vehicles (FHEV)

These vehicles come equipped with a gasoline engine and an electrical component (such as the power from batteries) much like a mild hybrid. However, the electrical component of this particular variation can withstand a more intensive workload than its mild counterpart.

A full hybrid can usually operate solely on electric power over some distances. These vehicles are also not plugged in to recharge, but instead rely on running the gasoline engine and regenerative braking. The Toyota Prius is the most commonly known example of this.

Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles (PHEV)

So far, the hybrid vehicles that have been mentioned rely solely on internal means to recharge their batteries. And although plug-In Hybrid Vehicles can rely on internal equipment to charge the vehicle, they aren’t limited to it. As the name suggests, the plug-in hybrid vehicle can also be plugged into an external main in order to fully recharge its battery. These vehicles have the power just to run in electric mode and are often seen as the half-way mark between a hybrid vehicle and a completely electric vehicle.

Notable Features

• Batteries: HEVs have two batteries; auxiliary batteries and traction batteries. The auxiliary battery serves the same purpose as it does in a conventional gasoline car— to supply the power to the ignition system and other accessory systems including the radio – even while the motor isn’t up and running. The traction battery pack is what provides increased fuel economy and acceleration. This includes the full power required for low-speed acceleration. • Braking System: The braking system on a hybrid vehicle is also vastly different from a gasoline powered car. As soon as the driver lifts their foot off the accelerator, even before the brake pedal is pushed, the system in a hybrid vehicle will begin to take the mechanical energy created by movement and will convert it to electrical energy. This is then sent to the battery for storage where it will be later be used to power the vehicle. • Warranty: Conventional gasoline cars have a mechanical warranty to cover major problems relating to the engine, transmission, and other essential systems. Hybrid warranties are similar but also have their own separate warranty for their batteries.

Transportation has undergone a serious transformation in just over a century. From horse drawn carriages in the 1900s to the technologically advanced electric and hybrid supercars that exist today, we can only begin to imagine the type of technology that will come around in another 100 years!


It’s a fact that the entire automobile industry will always be in a perpetual state of development – purely because new technologies are constantly being invented that will help to make cars that little bit more advanced.

Not many people believed that hybrid and electric cars could never catch up to their conventional counterparts, but just look at how wrong they were!

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