The first Hybrid car was launched in 1997 with the Toyota Prius selling 18,000 cars in Japan the first year. Although hybrids did not receive as warm a welcome in Europe initially, by 2002 the launch of the Honda Civic hybrid opened the doors for different versions of hybrids around the world including Mercedes-Benz and Lexus. Hybrid cars use both electricity and an internal combustion engine in order to provide a more eco-friendly way to power with fossil fuel. They save energy by running on the electrical battery and the fuel engine kicks in when the electricity runs out.In fact, the electrical battery charges every time the brakes are applied.
Sales and the Impact on the Environment
With more and more people seeking ways to embrace the eco-friendly lifestyle and help reduce green house emissions, hybrid cars are making leeway in sales. In fact in 2012 worldwide sales for Toyota hybrids reached over 5 million. To put this into perspective as to how this helps the environment these sales saved 12 million kiloliters of gasoline. This in turn was able to reduce 34 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
How Hybrids Work
How each hybrid works has a bearing on where best they should be driven. For example those which have wheels and propulsion run by electrical power uses gas to operate the engine only, not the car. These are good for driving in urban and suburban areas but are not as good for highways. When driving on highways it is best to use parallel hybrids which run using both the fuel engine and electrical together as required as they can give you more power but will prove less of an energy saver. A more expensive option is the Two Mode Hybrid. This hybrid operates the wheels using both electrical and fuel at the same time and runs with one or both motors if needed. Higher gears require the use of the gas engine alone. You have to consider your driving habits, such as how and where you drive to make the decision best suited to your needs.
Benefits of Hybrids
As with anything there are both pros and cons to hybrids. On the pro side they are of course environmentally friendly as they can use half the fuel of a gas engine alone. There are rebates and tax breaks often associated with hybrids. You can save money on hybrids overall, however upkeep and upfront charges are higher. The purchase price as well as replacement parts are expensive and because of the new technology you really should have your hybrid serviced by the dealer.
As with any car models there are always new advances being made. For example Peugeot Citroen and Bosch are forecasting a 30 percent CO2 emissions reduction with the Hybrid Air. That is compared to today’s standards not just compared to emissions from gas engines.It will take a lot of research to understand hybrids, but hybrid owners say it just takes one test drive to be sold.
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