Fuel prices continue to rise, and the cost of fuel for a monthly commute or regular family excursions can now sometimes exceed the cost of changing your car!
Hybrid cars have become the focus for people looking to lower their overall fuel bill – they are environmentally friendly and with smaller fuel consumption, they are often the most viable solution.
What makes hybrid cars such a good alternative? How do they work, and who are they right for?
Understanding hybrid cars is essential for anyone passionate about cars, as they are the most practical solution so far to combat rising fuel prices. They work by running on two power sources:
Probably the biggest advantage to the hybrid car is its utilising kinetic energy to generate power that would otherwise be wasted in brakes while the car is travelling downhill.
A traditional car ultimately uses fuel in order to power the brakes to slow the car down, while a hybrid cleverly absorbs and stores the energy generated in order to use it later when the vehicle needs it. This conversion is one of the main reasons why hybrids are able to minimise fuel consumption and save money on petrol.
A hybrid itself is divided into two categories: the parallel hybrid and the series hybrid:
In a parallel hybrid, both the main combustion engine and the electric motor are directly connected to the transmission to power the vehicle. This can allow the use of a smaller engine and reduced weight, as there is no need for a special starter motor to initialise the vehicle’s engine.
A series hybrid means the engine is connected to the generator, which in turn drives the transmission or charges the batteries.
Most impressive with the hybrid car is the clever use of power to minimise fuel consumption and emissions. By using a battery to start the car, making use of lighter engines to reduce weight, and reducing air resistance with aerodynamic designs, the modern hybrid combines technologies to achieve its aim.
They are also made of strong, lightweight materials such as plastic, aluminium and carbon fibre to further reduce weight and thus fuel use.