Is a Hybrid Car Right for You?

As environmentally friendly vehicles flood the marketplace, it’s important to know what benefits one of these vehicles may have for you (and your wallet). This article gives a brief overview of hybrid vehicles to help you decide if buying one is right for you.

Understanding hybrid vehicles
It is very important to understand how hybrid vehicles work. Hybrid vehicles are almost a combination of a gas-fueled vehicle and an electric vehicle. Hybrid vehicles use an electric motor and a gasoline engine to power them. The electric motor is powered from a large battery pack that is recharged by the gas engine when it captures wasted energy. This energy is then stored in the battery until the electric motor needs it. Because of the support from the motor, the engine has been built smaller, making it more environmentally friendly and also more efficient. Hybrid vehicles use small, four-cylinder gas engines that are more efficient than those V6 and V8s found in gas-fueled vehicles. However some hybrid SUVs may have a V6 or V8 engine for towing and hauling capabilities. Like gas-fuel SUVs, their hybrid counterparts have the option of front, rear, or all-wheel drive.

Vehicle choices
When shopping, there are a few different types of hybrid vehicles to choose from- full hybrids, mild hybrids and plug-in hybrids. Full hybrid vehicles run only on electricity for a limited time. They then use their gas engines to travel further distances and at higher speeds. Mild hybrids work differently in that only the gas engine has the ability to turn the wheels and the electric motor is there only to support the gas engine. Lastly, plug-in hybrids work like electric cars as they allow you to recharge the batteries from a wall. The charge they receive is used upfront and when depleted, the car switches over to standard hybrid operation mode. This means that you are also able to go a higher speed than when in electric mode.

Now that you understand how hybrid vehicles work, you need to understand how they can be beneficial to you. The biggest advantage to hybrid owners is that running on a motor and engine can prove to be beneficial for both everyday commutes and long distance trips, as explained above. The only difference is with a plug-in hybrid, if your trip is within the battery range, you may be able to make your daily commute without relying on a gas-powered engine. However should you be driving a long distance trip, you can then switch over to this engine. In addition, the electric motors included are proven to be more efficient at accelerating than standard gasoline-engine vehicles.

Manufacturers are continuously making improvements to their hybrid vehicles and each year we see new models and manufacturers enter the marketplace. For more information on hybrid vehicles, research online or visit a dealer near you.