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Focus on: Hybrid Vehicles

Focus on: Hybrid Vehicles

Hybrids, fuel engines, EVS: buying a car is more complicated than ever. In this series, we will take another look at exactly how hybrid cars work, their pros and cons.

What is a hybrid car?

As the name suggests, a hybrid car uses a combination of energy sources to make it run: an engine powered by either petrol or diesel, as well as a motor powered by electricity. When you are driving more slowly, for example in traffic, a hybrid car is powered by the electric motor. When additional energy is required from the car, for example when you are driving at higher speeds, or if you are carrying a heavy load or have a full car, a hybrid will switch to the engine. While you are running on fuel, the energy created recharges your battery, so that your power levels remain topped up. Hybrids are intuitive, so will opt for the most effective power source depending on your driving style and conditions.

Does that mean that hybrid cars need charging?

With huge queues for charging EVS, coupled with the rising costs of charging, the charging question is an important one. Although hybrids are powered by electricity, that electricity is generated and harvested as you drive, so there is no need to charge your vehicle through an external source. Because of this, hybrids don’t have a range like EVS; as long as you have fuel in the tank, you can drive for as long and far as you like.

The advantages of using a hybrid

There are plenty of benefits of investing in a hybrid car, including:

  • Great fuel economy for short and medium journeys as you will tend to power most of the journey by electric
  • Cheaper in general – pay less road tax
  • No need to panic about range – the combination of fuel and electric means you are not limited by range, or access to power supplies
  • For some types of hybrid, there is no need to rely on charging points – with increasing demands and often limited supply, charging can be a significant challenge.

The disadvantages of using a hybrid

Nothing is perfect! And there are a few limitations of using a hybrid vehicle, including:

  • Compromising on power – the engine size of a hybrid is smaller than a petrol or diesel alternative, so it won’t be as high powered
  • Not the greenest choice – whilst a hybrid is definitely greener than fuel, the most environmentally friendly option is still a fully electric vehicle
  • You only see the benefits in city driving – if your commute is straight down the motorway or a major road, with limited traffic and few stops, you are unlikely to see the benefits of having a hybrid
  • More expensive in the first instance.

Whether you invest in a hybrid vehicle depends on your needs, your driving style, and your budget. If you do decide to take the plunge, it is worth doing a bit more research. Head to your local car dealership, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter as next week we will look at the different types of hybrid car.

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