Hybrid vehicles combine traditional gasoline-powered engines with electrical motors, enabling the car to save the energy a traditional car loses every time a driver brakes. Hybrids store this extra energy in battery packs that provide power to the vehicle.
It’s a mixture that works. Consumers driving hybrid vehicles can save hundreds of dollars a year on gasoline.
The choice to switch to a hybrid might seem simple, but if you think all hybrid cars are created equal, think again. There are multiple hybrid technologies available to today’s consumers, and depending on what you’re looking for, one might be a better fit for your driving needs.
If you’re thinking of converting to a hybrid vehicle, these are the most popular options on the market:
If you’re looking for a little more power and speed from your car, a series hybrid might be your best choice. On shorter trips, the car runs on an electrical motor that’s recharged by the vehicle’s gasoline engine. Trips longer than 50 miles get powered by the gasoline engine, which allows it to reach higher speeds than other types of hybrids. Because they have a larger battery, series hybrids can be more expensive than their counterparts. The Chevrolet Volt and Fisker Karma fall in this category.
Parallel hybrids combine a traditional gasoline engine with an electrical engine. Both engines fuel the car at the same time – the engine runs on gasoline, while the electrical engine keeps the car’s battery charged. This is a popular option for drivers who want more fuel efficiency and the ability to drive longer distances. If you fall in this category, you’re in luck. Some of the best-selling options on the market today are parallel hybrids, including the Toyota Prius and the Honda Insight.
For the more budget conscious, the mild hybrid offers better fuel efficiency than a traditional car at a more affordable price. How does it work? The mild hybrid uses an electric motor that supplements the gas engine allowing the car to save energy when needed. The electric motor takes over any time the vehicle slows down or stops. Power is switched back to the gasoline engine any time the car accelerates. It’s the least fuel-efficient hybrid on the market, but if price is a concern, this may be the right choice for you. The Toyota Camry and Honda CR-Z utilize this technology. Chevrolet and Buick also offer several mild hybrid models.
Split Configuration Hybrid
The split configuration hybrid utilizes gasoline and electric engines. The two engines are separated and power a different axle, which gives the vehicle better fuel economy. Split configuration models include the Ford Escape, Ford Fusion and the Lexus GS 450h.
With gas prices on the rise, hybrid vehicles are becoming a more popular option among consumers. If you’re thinking of making the switch, there are plenty of hybrid models available from your favorite carmaker.
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