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How Do Hybrid Cars Work: What You Need To Know

As fuel prices continue following a non-stop upward trend, a large number of people are looking at buying hybrid cars in order to save on gasoline money. Hybrid cars are also getting popular with environment friendly groups because of the extremely low amounts of emission that they produce. If you are also in the market for buying a hybrid car or are planning to buy one soon, then it is important that you first understand how hybrids work and how much you will save on gas when you use one.

When it comes to defining hybrid vehicles, then we can easily say that any car or vehicle that uses more than one source of power is a hybrid. Almost all the hybrids available in the market work with a combination of gas and electricity, both of which are used to provide power for running the vehicle. In spite of the fact that almost all hybrid manufacturers are offering gas-electric hybrids, you can expect diesel-electric hybrids in the market very soon. Some people are also using do-it-yourself kits to convert their cars into gas-water hybrids, where hydro-energy is used as an alternate source of power. However, since most of us only manage to come across or plan to buy gasoline-electric hybrids, these are what we will discuss here.

Hybrids work on the principle of the seamless integration of 2 power sources- the gasoline run engine and an NiMH battery. Unlike electric cars, a hybrid does not run only on an electric battery and neither does the battery need to be plugged in to be charged. Batteries in hybrid cars are charged through a process called regenerative braking. What this means is that the car’s battery gets charged whenever the vehicle decelerates or brakes by using energy that is otherwise lost as heat in other vehicles.

In almost all the hybrids available in the market today, the electric battery can be charged even while it provides power to the vehicle. However, the electric battery does not provide propulsion at all times. Instead, power from the battery is used only while starting and stopping the vehicle, when speeds are low and the gas engine is shut off. The gas engine in hybrid cars automatically shuts off whenever you stop the car and starts automatically once certain speeds, generally higher than fifteen mph are reached. In many cases, power from the battery powered motor is combined with the power from the gas engine to provide propulsion at very high speeds. On the other hand, the electric motor might work independently when the vehicle is running at low speeds while the gas engine shuts off. 

Most hybrids manage to provide fuel economies that are at least fifteen to twenty per cent less than that of only gas powered vehicles. Apart from saving on fuel costs, they also greatly reduce emissions, so you actually get double benefits by buying one. It is important to consider the kind of driving that you are planning to do with a hybrid before buying one, since this would greatly influence the kind of fuel economy you get from your vehicle.  Some of the most popular hybrids in the market are Honda Insight Hybrid, Honda Accord Hybrid, Toyota Prius, Toyota Highlander, 2007 Toyota Camry hybrid, Honda Civic Hybrid and the Ford Escape Hybrid and most of them provide fuel economies ranging from 30 to 50 MPG.

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