Fuel is becoming one of the most hotly contended issues when it comes to cars. The latest car technology includes electric vehicles that don’t require fossil fuel and hybrid cars that use a combination of conventional fuel and electricity to power them. But how do these cars work and how do they measure up? Hybrid cars might appeal to motorists who are motivated by being more ecologically friendly, and saving on the cost of fuel. These cars aren’t cheap but do their fuel savings justify their premium price?
How do hybrid cars work?
Hybrid vehicles reduce emissions and increase fuel economy because their engines use a combination of an electric and petrol engine. At low speeds the electric motor has no problem powering the car. That’s why it’s better suited to city driving.
When the car reaches cruising speed, the petrol engine kicks in at the most efficient pace. The petrol engine can also power the generator at this speed, producing electricity and storing it in the batteries for later use.
When the car has heavy acceleration both engines work together. This is made possible because of the power-split transmission; the petrol engine also powers the generator here. Regenerative Braking is initiated when the driver applies the brakes or releases the accelerator pedal. As the vehicle slows down both the engines are switched off and energy is redirected from turning the wheels to the generator where it produces electricity that is stored in the battery. When the car stops the petrol engine and the electric engine switch off and the vehicle uses energy from the battery to run the air conditioning, lights and radio. The newest models have a plug in facility so they can be connected for recharging.
Where you drive affects cost-saving margins
Because of the way they work, it is more economical to drive a hybrid vehicle under certain conditions (compared with fossil fuel engine vehicles). Hybrid vehicles save more money travelling in the city because of the fuel spared when they are driven for shorter journeys. So if you usually drive cross country distances, diesel engines will save more fuel for you. And, even if you are an urban driver, you should remember that the initial outlay for a hybrid vehicle can be substantial and it might take penny pinching motorists some time to recoup outlay costs and enjoy the fuel cost saving.
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