A hybrid car is a vehicle that utilizes two types of technologies for energy. This usually refers to an automobile that has both a conventional gasoline engine as well as a bank of batteries and that shares the demand for power between these two sources. One source might be the main power source with the other serving as a backup, or the vehicle might use one source in certain situations and the other in different situations.
Two Power Sources
Hybrid cars work in a variety of ways. The most basic hybrid car is powered by a gas engine but also keeps a charge in a bank of batteries. Many hybrid cars also charge their batteries by using regenerated energy that was captured through braking. Hybrid cars typically will switch between gasoline and battery power as necessary. For example, when there is minimal demand on the engine, the car might stop using gas altogether and switch to battery power. Some hybrid car drivers have said that it can be unnerving to hear their vehicles' gas engines turn off while they are driving.
This technology has been around since cars were introduced in the 19th century, because most vehicles use a combination of energy sources for power. For example, most cars have a battery that starts the car and can power the car's accessories, such as the headlights. In the late 1990s, hybrid cars with more power began to be considered viable and popular alternatives to conventional gasoline-only vehicles, and several models broke into the market and became popular sellers.
The hybrid car is considered by many people to be an excellent alternative to conventional vehicles because it can be more gas efficient. Many hybrid cars have a gas efficiency that is double that of conventional gasoline-only models, which provides a significant cost savings for the user. In addition, hybrid cars tend to be less polluting during use, because they burn less fuel and because the companies that build them tend to be conscious of environmental pollution and make an effort to build cleaner vehicles. Many jurisdictions give owners of hybrid cars special incentives, such as tax breaks and permission to use carpool lanes on highways.
Advances in Technology
Some companies have gone further with hybrid car technology by building cars that can be plugged in to charge batteries that can power the vehicle for 150 miles (241 km) or more before needing to switch over to the gas engine. For most short trips, this allows the car to use only the battery power. Many companies also have begun developing hybrid cars that use alternative energy sources, such as hydrogen hybrid cars, in the hopes of encouraging consumers to switch over to more sustainable energy sources.