What is a hybrid car?
Hybrid cars are electrified vehicles that still use an internal combustion engine, which means combining a petrol or diesel engine with an electric motor. The main advantage of a hybrid is that it consumes less fuel and emits less CO2 than a conventional petrol or diesel-engine vehicle.
How do hybrid cars work?
Driving a hybrid is similar to driving an automatic car, so there’s little compromise on performance. A hybrid combines at least one electric motor with a gasoline engine to move the car, and its system recaptures energy via regenerative braking. Unlike an Electric Vehicle (EV) or Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), hybrids also have a petrol or diesel engine to fall back on if the electricity supply is diminishing.
Types of hybrids:
There are three different types of hybrids and each work in a different way.
This is the most common type of hybrid. A full hybrid is a car which can drive under its own electric power, petrol or a combination of both. They are sometimes called ‘parallel hybrids’. The car’s wheels can be powered in three different ways: either directly by the engine, by the electric motor alone, or a blend of the two power sources. The Toyota Prius is the most widely known example.
A mild hybrid car cannot drive under electric power alone and doesn’t improve fuel economy to the extent that a full hybrid system can. The engine never drives the car; it only produces energy for the electric motor. The Honda Jazz r is one of the more popular examples.
As its name states, this type of hybrid can be plugged into an electric outlet to recharge their batteries, as well as being charged on the move. It carries a much larger battery pack that must be fully recharged using an external electricity source from the home or public charging station. Popular plug-in hybrids include the BMW i8 and VW Golf GTE, with both cars having bigger battery capacities to enable a longer electric range.