Why Get a Hybrid Car?

Ever wondered if it really makes sense to buy a hybrid car?

If you’re frustrated with the environmental impact of fossil fuel consumption, as well as paying nearly $4 a gallon at the gas pump, you may want to consider buying a hybrid electric vehicle.

Why Buy a Hybrid
CC flickr photo courtesy of Beth and Christian

What is a Hybrid?

Hybrids, like Toyota’s popular Prius model, use a combination of a small, gas-powered internal combustion engine and electric motors to power the drivetrain. Electricity is stored in your car’s batteries. A typical car has one battery, to act as a starter and power electric features in your car, such as power windows or locks. A hybrid might have an array of batteries, which do all those things, but also powers the drivetrain itself. The Prius, like many hybrids, has an acceleration and speed threshold where the battery itself can power your car, up to a certain point. When your battery power is spent, or if the car needs to accelerate faster than the battery can handle by itself, the gas engine is fired up and does the work. Many hybrids also feature regenerative braking. This means that the force of your brakes is harnessed by small generators that give your battery a small charge. Your gas engine is also used as a generator to recharge your battery.