With the need to 'go green' and become more environmentally friendly at the top of a global agenda, many car manufacturers are increasingly developing or planning to develop hybrid car models. A hybrid car is a vehicle which is able to use both electricity and petrol as a fuel source. Running primarily on its electric charge, if this reaches empty levels the car will automatically switch over to use its petrol power source whilst you continue to drive. How often and how much you use your hybrid car will influence which fuel source is used in day to day driving, however there is the ability to manually switch between power sources if you desire to do so.
The three types of hybrids:
- Conventional Hybrid - The car is driven under electric power, as the speed climbs above a certain level or the electric charge is running low the car will switch to its conventional petrol engine automatically in order to recharge the batteries and power the wheels of the car.
- Plug-in Hybrid - This type of hybrid can be plugged into a mains and charged before driving, making better use of the car's electricity mode by taking pressure off of the engine for charge.
- Range-extender Hybrid - Range-extender hybrids are slightly different, although still powered by an electric motor and petrol engine, the engine is purely to recharge the batteries not to power the wheels.
There are many benefits to owning a hybrid. Acting as an electric car when not using petrol to drive, the car is more economical to run and can provide for a more peaceful driving experience due to its quieter engine.
Advantages of using a hybrid car:
- Hybrid cars have better fuel economy than a conventional car and are easy to refuel.
- Hybrids generally benefit from low road tax costs due to the low CO2 levels the car emits.
- The US government are in support of eco-friendly hybrid cars and since 2005 have established a federal income tax credit of around $3,400 when purchasing a hybrid.
- A hybrid car has a much lower depreciation rate than that of a conventional car. This along with their increasing demand suggests hybrid cars keep their value and make for a good investment.
- As hybrid cars are a relatively new development there are only a limited choice of models to choose from as of yet and they can tend to be quite pricey to buy.
- Fuel economy savings are only saved when in a town setting and the electrical motor is being used. If only powered by its electrical source, hybrids can be known to have a limited range.
- Hybrids can contain some expensive parts - However, most come with warranties that provide free replacements of these parts for many years.