Hybrid cars have become a household name in all developed countries of the world. Hybrid car technology has been worked upon since early twentieth century. Toyota motors launched the first commercial hybrid car called Prius in 1997. The world saw in hybrid technology a saviour, who would save our environment from the devastating carbon emissions from the automobiles.
Taking the lead from Toyota other car makers have also experimented and developed hybrid technology. A number of major car makers have announced launch of their hybrid cars. Honda was the second Japanese automaker to launch their mild hybrid cars, the Insight and the Civic hybrid. Lexus- the luxury car division of Toyota has successfully introduced hybrid cars in its luxury cars line-up.
Hybrid cars use two power sources, an electric motor and a petrol engine. In a full hybrid, like the Toyota Prius, the electric motor powers the car at low speeds. At higher speeds the petrol engine takes over. The electric motor kicks in when extra power is required. Regenerative braking energy charges the batteries of the car.
Hybrid cars are supposed to give high fuel efficiency than conventional cars. On an average, they give 33-60 mpg in city, and 27-68 mpg on highway. The actual figures vary because no two hybrid cars are alike and no two drivers drive the same way. Hybrid cars are preferably used for city driving, because they are based on the stop-and-go technology. The batteries are recharged every time brakes are applied, which happens during city driving only.
Hybrid cars cost more initially then conventional cars. Also, there maybe a long waiting period before the car is delivered. Hybrid cars have smaller petrol engines and do consume less fuel than equivalent conventional cars. A hybrid car can cut down fuel costs by 20 to 70 percent. The fuel saving depends on driving habits and conditions that the car is driven in. Hybrid cars are made using lightweight body parts to compensate for the weight of the battery packs. Hybrid cars emit lesser emissions than conventional cars and are taxed less too.
There are many safety concerns associated with hybrid cars. There may be no noise coming from hybrid cars when they stop or are running at low speed because of their use of electric motors. This issue has been specially raised for blind pedestrians. The high powered cable that runs from the battery packs to the electric motor is also a matter of concern for emergency workers.
The hybrid vehicles use dual source of energy to operate which makes them highly environment friendly. They emit substantially less pollutants into the air in comparison to gasoline-operated cars. The hybrid cars are top rated for fuel economy making them top rated for green scores also. So if everybody makes mpg their top priority then the vehicle pollution can be greatly reduced.
Another myth associated with hybrid cars is that they need specially trained mechanics and their parts are more expensive. This again is wrong as the petrol engine is a smaller engine but its parts are easy to come by and are not costly. Nothing goes wrong with the electric motors or the power trains. The fact is that hybrid cars are better than conventional cars otherwise they would have been shunned by customers. There are millions of hybrid cars on the roads and there are hardly any complaints about them. The only plausible complaint is that hybrid cars are very quiet and a pedestrian does not hear them approaching.
By jingoba from Pixabay