- Hybrids, Electric & Alternate Energy Vehicles
Hybrid Cars: Why go Hybrid?
Getting Familiar with Hybrid Cars
When compared to conventional cars, hybrids cars are not more expensive to maintain. The low maintenance cost may even be credited to decreased wear and tear on the engine and the braking system.
Hybrid cars and hybrids overall are so named because of the dual power sources used to operate them. These vehicles are considered to be more environmentally friendly and economical. They are now made in models such as SUVs, trucks and sedans with future projections for sub-compacts and minivan models to also be made available on the market. Luxury type vehicles such as Lexus are now also available as hybrids. Toyota put up the first Prius for sale in 2000.
How Hybrid Cars Operate
Unlike the customary vehicles which are operated by a gasoline internal combustion engine, hybrid cars are made to use gasoline engines and electric motors to function. This combination allows for the partial use of electricity to operate the vehicle. This means that less gasoline is required to fuel the car.
Rechargeable batteries are used to store the energy that the electric motors require to operate. Hybrid vehicles are computerized so that a switch between the energy sources at appropriate times results in maximum efficiency and an appreciable comfort level to the user. This means that users of conventional cars do not have an edge over users of hybrid cars.
Features and Performance
Maintenance, Performance and Battery Expenses
When compared to conventional cars, hybrids are not more expensive to maintain. There is less wear and tear on the engine and the braking system, which means that the owner is faced with a lower maintenance cost.
Hybrids are also built to withstand extremely hot or cold weathers without copping-out on performance standards. The latest hybrid vehicles do not use rechargeable nickel cadmium batteries, but rather the NiMH batteries which are much more environmentally friendly. These battery packs have a lifetime comparable to that of the vehicle (150,000 and 200,000 miles) or longer, and have a warranty of eight to ten years depending on the manufacturer. According to Toyota, they have not had to replace a battery due to wear and tear since the Prius was introduced to the market (in 2000).
Hybrid vehicles are also considered to be relatively safe, even now, as the latest models are small, quick and good at avoiding accidents. These attributes allow the hybrids to be given a high safety rating within their weight class. The gas-electric system used by hybrids allows the right balance to be struck between performance and efficiency.
Altima Hybrid Racer
What to do When your Hybrid Car has to be Placed in Storage
In relation to storage, hybrid vehicles which may have to be stored for longer than three months should be started and left running for 30 minutes at every three month interval. Hybrid vehicles which are left dormant for longer periods would require a professional test on its state-of-charge, and the batteries (Nickle-metal-hydride batteries) may require a boost.
A little Fact
The Toyota Prius is the top selling hybrid car with global sales figures surpassing the 1.5 million mark in early 2010.
Another Plus for the environment
Toyota and Honda have given their commitment to recycle batteries that have died. To this effect Toyota has placed a number on each battery, and a $200 reward for each battery that is turned in to them. This would stimulate users to turn in dead batteries instead of just disposing of them. Nickle-metal-hydride batteries are said to be fully recyclable.