1. What is a hybrid car?
Hybrid cars are cars that operate on multiple means of propulsion. In other words, they combine an electric motor and a diesel/ petrol engine.
One of the major advantages of hybrid cars is that they have low fuel consumptions and emission of less CO2 in comparison to regular cars that have a diesel or petrol engine.
Owners of hybrid cars also enjoy other benefits including lower company car tax and first year road tax. They also avoid charges in congestion.
2. Different types of hybrid cars
Hybrid cars make use of an engine that’s conventional, a battery and an electric motor. These cars are of three different types. Each of them has a peculiar mode of operation.
2.1. Parallel hybrid cars
Parallel hybrid is the most popular amongst all hybrid cars. A very good example of this is the Toyota Prius. Commonly driven by people, there are three ways to power its wheels: using only the electric motor, using only the engine or by combining both sources of power.
When its speed gets up to 15mph, the Prius engages only the electric motor for power. This is quite economical for running errands around the city. The petrol aspect of the engine comes to use when the speed is increased, and is often used when acceleration is hard.
Parallel Hybrid is the most popular type
Upon using the braking system which is regenerative, it releases electricity, and it’s saved in the battery for future use.
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2.2. Range extender hybrid cars
Range extender hybrid cars make use of their inbuilt electricity for the production of electricity in the generator designed to recharge its batteries. The driving of the car isn’t done by the engine – it only dishes out energy to the electric motor.
A very good example of this type of hybrid is the BMW i3. Likewise, Honda Jazz Hybrid is another brand that makes use of an electric motor to boost its somewhat small conventional engine whenever the need arises.
Like its name suggest, BMW i3 Range Extender is the second type of Hybrid
Hybrids can also be categorized as mild or strong, in terms of the level of battery power they are made of. Having a high battery capacity, strong hybrids have the qualities to go farther than mild hybrids that make use of just electric power.
2.3. Plug-in hybrids
Taking after its name, this brand of hybrid can be connected to electricity for its batteries to be recharged. It can also be charged while on the move. They are in between full electric vehicles and conventional hybrids.
Despite having a conventional engine, their batteries are larger than those of regular hybrids. They can also go long distances making use of their electric power solely. They go as far as 30 miles sometimes.
We may come across this scene more often in the future
Plug-in hybrids are becoming popular by the day. Examples of these include: Toyota Prius, Mistubishi Outlander and Volvo V60 among others.
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3. Benefits of hybrid cars
Hybrid cars offer some benefits to users. Driving one is just like driving a regular car with automatic transmission. However, it has a little difference in terms of performance.
Strong hybrids present options for power modes from eco to power. The driver gets to choose maximum performance in line with the given driving conditions.
Drivers of hybrid cars don’t have to worry about range anxiety. Also, they don’t have to worry about charging the batteries as they can charge their batteries themselves.
Despite the fact that hybrid cars’ tax benefits are no longer as big as they were in the past, drivers of company cars still enjoy lower payments for Benefit-In-Kind (BIK) tax. Users of diesel or petrol cars pay more.
4. Advice for buying a hybrid car
A hybrid car is most beneficial if you use your car around town a lot. You get to enjoy the free travel of using only the electric power. If you do a lot of long distances, a diesel or petrol car is better off.