Hybrid Cars

With increasing petrol prices which do not seem to be stopping more people are starting to look at car with much better efficiency.  You can get quite a few cars that will offer you well over 55 mpg (miles per gallon) so why would you choose a Hybrid Car instead?

The simple answer is not only do some of these Hybrid Cars give over 70 mpg but they are better for the environment and very cheap for road tax.


What is a hybrid car?


The term ‘hybrid’ is derived from anything that uses more than one source of energy to make it move. A Hybrid car is usually a vehicle that uses two technologies for energy. Its engine is powered by petrol through a normal combustion engine – and electric through battery power. This makes it a making it a cheaper and more environmentally friendly way of driving.  Although the all electric car is the untimate green car the Hybrid car does offer less c02 emissions making them better for the environment.


How does it work?


Most hybrid cars capture the kinetic energy you create when breaking and store it in a battery. The hybrid car switches between using the petrol and the battery as it needs to. Often this happens when the car is slowing down and resting. You can usually hear the sound of the engine cease and switch over to the battery. Clever and simple!

Some hybrid cars can be plugged in overnight to charge and are reported to be able to run for over 150 miles until it needs to switch over to using petrol. Though the new ‘breaking’ technology has lessened the need for this.


What are the advantages of a hybrid car?


Hybrid cars are cheaper to run. The kinetic energy created during the breaking process is stored in the battery meaning that the fuel consumption is lower. Using less nonrenewable energy results in lower green house gas emissions, most notably CO, and are therefore considered a greener technology.

Since Vehicle Excise Duty, commonly referred to as ‘Road Tax’ is calculated on the basis of CO emissions, hybrid cars have the advantage of paying a lower tax duty.

Hybrids perform equally if not better than conventional petrol cars so they are just as reliable and as comfortable and provide better mileage. Most of the leading car manufacturers have introduced a hybrid model car.

The demand for fossil fuels has a direct impact upon global prices so because hybrid cars demand less on fossil fuels their existence helps reduce demand and therefore the upward pressure on fuel prices.


What are the disadvantages?


There are of course some disadvantages of using a hybrid car, the main one being that they are a more expensive outlay initially. They are usually heavier than their conventional counterparts due to the battery pack and they need specialist be repair and maintenance. This means that parts are often pricey.


Do I need to plug in a Hybrid Car?


The simple answer is no you don’t.  At the moment ‘most’ Hybrid car uses both petrol and electric there is no need to plug the car in to a standard electric point.  The battery is recharged by the cars breaking system meaning you (at the moment) do not need to plug the car in to recharge the battery.


What Tax Band is a Hybrid Car in?


At the moment most Hybrid cars are sitting in tax band B.  This means that road tax for the year is £20 for the majority of Hybrid Cars.


What is the Future of Hybrid Cars?


There are already Hybrid Cars being produced / developed which will need to be plugged in and charged as they have a much larger battery, this in turn means a much great travel distance in ‘electric mode’ which will reduce the amount of petrol used meaning a much better MPG for the Hybrid Car.  As the Technology gets better for the ‘normal’ engine this should also mean a reduced amount of c02 which is better for the environment and should drop the tax band for the Hybrid Car to A which means there will be no road tax to pay.


A quick history of the Hybrid Car

Porsche developed the first hybrid car over 100 years ago – the Mixte and during the 1930’s and 40’s many buses ran on duel fuel – petrol and diesel but it wasn’t until the 1990’s that hybrid’s came into their own.

During the early part of the 20th century, petrol was cheap so the demand for a more energy efficient car was low. But with rocketing oil prices and instability in parts of the world, hybrid cars became more and more popular. Today nearly all the major car manufacturers have launched a hybrid option.

Key dates for hybrid cars are the launch of the Prius by Toyota in 1997, which was quickly followed by the launch of the Insight by Honda in 1999.


Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius Hybrid Car

Honda Insight

Honda Insight Hybrid Car

Posted on August 19th, 2011 in by JP 4 Comments

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