You’ve probably noticed that more and more hybrid cars are popping up on roadways across the United States.
Many car manufacturers that market to U.S. drivers have heeded the rising popularity of hybrid vehicles and designed models to meet the growing demand. This type of automobile has been around for many years, but only widely available as a reasonable means of transportation for about a decade. Since Toyota released the Prius in 2000, hybrid cars have boomed in popularity for cost-conscious commuters, environmentally-minded young drivers, and hip soccer moms.
The first generation Toyota Prius became the world’s first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car (Toyota UK)
Even though hybrid cars are now quite common, many drivers are still in the dark about the technology behind these vehicles and how they compare to traditional gasoline powered cars.
Hybrid cars are a blend of gasoline-powered vehicles, which have a fuel tank and internal combustion engine, and electric cars, which operate by a set of batteries and electric motor.
Hybrid cars combine the positive characteristics of gasoline and electric cars. The gasoline component of a hybrid allows the car to be refueled quickly and drive for a long distance before needing to be refueled. The electric component reduces emissions and the driver’s fuel budget.
There are two types of hybrid car designs. A parallel hybrid vehicle has two separate power systems that can work together or independently. A series hybrid uses a gasoline engine to turn a generator. The generator either charges the electric batteries or powers the electric motor. In both types of hybrid cars, either gasoline or electric power turns the vehicle’s transmission which in turn causes the vehicle to move.
Many hybrid cars have smaller gasoline engines than comparable all-gasoline cars. Because the electric motor can create additional power when accelerating or driving up an incline, hybrid vehicles can produce the same type of handling as a more powerful vehicle with an engine of fewer cylinders and less bulk.
Many hybrid cars employ something called regenerative energy to charge the battery as the vehicle decelerates. As the driver applies the breaks, the electric generator kicks in and begins to charge the batteries as it simultaneously works to slow the car.
Since hybrid car owners are typically concerned about fuel efficiency and reducing their carbon footprint, the exteriors of many hybrid cars are designed to optimize their gas mileage. Aerodynamic body designs, special tires, and super lightweight materials all contribute to the effectiveness of the concept of the hybrid car.
Here is more about plug-in hybrids that are extremely popular today. Check how they differ from regular hybrids and why they are more economical.
If you are looking for your first car or a replacement vehicle and are concerned about fuel efficiency and the environment, why not consider a hybrid? Hybrid owners have a community all their own and usually grow very fond of their unique vehicles. If you decide that a hybrid car best suits your driving needs, here is a list of some of the most popular and affordable hybrid models on the market in the United States:
As mentioned before, the Toyota Prius is widely considered the original mass-market hybrid. This car’s unusual body-style has remained almost exactly the same in the last decade and is easy to recognize on the road. The Prius is the first thing that comes to mind when the topic of hybrid cars enters conversation. The Prius is only available in hybrid form.
Toyota Prius C earns top safety scores, but don’t expect fast acceleration (Automotive Rhythms)
Hyundai Ioniq is another hybrid that is very hard to beat. It offers the best fuel economy in its class and the price tag looks extremely appealing. Its 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor make 139 horsepower combined. Unlike the Prius, the Ioniq is also available in a fully electric version. The only potential down side is its quite low predicted reliability rating.
Hyundai plans to double its environmentally friendly offerings by 2020 and is very serious about it (Automotive Rhythms)
While Ford and Chevrolet joined the hybrid bandwagon later than other auto manufacturers, they now offer several excellent hybrid models that are quickly gaining popularity. The most affordable Ford’s hybrids include the Fusion and C-MAX. Chevrolet offers the Malibu hybrid and Volt, both being very successful. In addition to offering great mileage, the Chevy Malibu comes with a long list of tech perks like 4G LTE WiFi.
Ford C-MAX boasts of a spacious and refined interior, and affordable price tag, but is a bit thirstier than other hybrids
Two of the most popular mid-sized cars in America, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, have been available in hybrid form for several years. These are dependable and traditional fuel efficient models that have been super-charged with hybrid technology to give drivers extra efficiency and the best handling possible.
Toyota Camry hybrid has respectable mileage and is pretty powerful for its class
Lexus GS 450h is your choice if you consider a luxury fuel-efficient cruiser that doesn’t compromise on engine power
Now that you understand how hybrids work and have been introduced to several popular models, you’re ready to test-drive your first hybrid car and see exactly what all the hype is about.