Hybrid Car Green - Our Daily Green

Friday, September 21, 2012

Hybrid Car Green

As gas prices continue to rise, consumers look for more fuel efficient cars. One of the early pioneers in the realm of fuel efficiency was the Toyota line of hybrid vehicles. Their Prius model was the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle in the world, and it was available for worldwide purchase in 2000. They quickly became the "poster car" for fuel conservation, as they achieved as much as 50-60 miles per gallon of gasoline.

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Hybrid cars are interesting. They utilize both gasoline and electricity to power them. They don't fire up like a traditional vehicle, and in fact there is no ignition sound at all when they are started, much like an electric golf cart. Hybrids are as the name suggests, a hybrid combination between a gasoline powered vehicle and an electric powered one.

Electric batteries generally store enough energy to give the vehicle a range of 50-100 miles, depending on the size of the batter. They are recharged through regenerative braking. What happens is that when the car is slowing down with the use of brakes, the kinetic energy is converted and stored in the battery. Hybrid cars do not need to be plugged in to recharge. But because electric batteries have a limited amount of energy storage, the cars also utilize a gasoline engine to create a farther range for the vehicle.

Hybrid vehicles are more efficient in city driving than their plain gasoline counterparts exactly because there is more braking in stop and start traffic. Every time a hybrid car has to use brakes to stop, it converts and stores that kinetic energy in the battery, allowing more time for the car to operate with electric versus gasoline power.

Hybrids are an excellent compromise in a vehicle between efficiency and convenience. Until there are better solutions for charging electric cars, a hybrid offers an great solution for the driver who wants to save fuel in a reliable vehicle.

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