The Beginners Guide To Hybrid Cars

WHAT ARE THEY ARE, WILL THEY SAVE THE PLANET AND MOST IMPORTANTLY – ARE THESE MOTORS THAT CAN SAVE YOU MONEY?GREEN campaigners are learning to fall in love with cars. New owners are switching from fuel-powered vehicles to electric cars, citing the massive reduction in carbon emissions. However, for many motorists, an electric car is simply not practical. The most powerful electric vehicle on the market, the Tesla Roadster, will set you back 87,000 UK pounds and still only travel 250 miles before the battery goes kaput, taking around 8 hours to charge back up on a domestic power supply. But most affordable electric cars will only get you 100 miles before they run out of juice – alright for the school run or the weekly shopping trip, but not for a week of commuting or a family holiday.That’s why more and more attention is being focused on hybrid vehicles, lauded by green campaigners and money experts for cutting not only your carbon emissions, but also your petrol money. With most major car manufacturers now producing hybrid vehicles, they are fast growing in popularity. But what is a hybrid car and how does it work?CAR RUNS ON FUEL, ELECTRIC MOTOR AND BATTERYIn essence, a hybrid car runs on both fuel and electricity. Ordinarily, a hybrid car will contain a fuel tank, a combined electric motor and generator and a battery. But there are two types of hybrid car, the parallel hybrid and the series hybrid, which utilise these power sources in different ways.
In a typical parallel hybrid, the fuel tank supplies petrol or diesel t the engine, whilst batteries power the electric motor. Both the engine and the motor turn the transmission simultaneously, which in turn rotates the wheels. The batteries also recharge by recovering energy produced when breaking, or energy generated by the motor.In a series hybrid, the engine never directly powers the car. The fuel engine is used to power a generator, which will either charge the car’s batteries or power an electric motor which turns the transmission.REDUCED ENGINE SIZEOne of the primary reasons why a hybrid car is more fuel efficient is that the additional electric power allows manufacturers to reduce the size of the engine. Reducing the engine size in turn reduces the weight of the car, meaning that less energy is consumed when driving uphill or accelerating. Skeptics argue that the reduced energy size makes the car less powerful, but the added electric power source gives the vehicle that extra boost, making it just as powerful as a regular car.It’s not just the engine in a hybrid car which weighs less. Most models are manufactured using lightweight materials. This weight loss, combined with the motor’s ability to recharge using energy produced by braking and engine use, all reduces fuel consumption quite considerably. In fact, because the car has an alternate power source in the electric motor and the batteries, motorists can even shut the engine off completely and travel using nothing but electric power, which will result in a serious reduction in fuel consumption and far more miles to the gallon.The current most affordable industry leader is the nifty Toyota Prius Hybrid, which will give you 50 miles per gallon. When driving at 31miles per hour or less you can switch to EV mode so that the car is powered purely by electric. Its solar powered ventilation system reduces energy consumption and carbon emissions are also so low that you’ll be exempt from road tax too! How’s that for efficiency?