Hybrid cars are steadily rising in popularity in the UK. With advances in technology and increased availability and options, it is easier than ever to find a hybrid model to suit you. In this article, we will be looking at some of the ins and outs of hybrid cars – including how they work, advantages and disadvantages. So, if you want to find out more about this form of vehicle, or if you’re considering making a hybrid your next car, read on
How does a hybrid car work?
A hybrid car uses a combination of power sources to run the vehicle. As with standard cars, a hybrid will have an internal combustion engine which functions by burning petrol or diesel. However, a hybrid car also has an electric motor and battery which is powered by electricity. A hybrid car can, therefore, use electricity to either entirely or partially power the car. This combination of fuel burning and electricity results in increased fuel efficiency, cheaper running costs and reduced pollution, in comparison to standard vehicles.
Plug-in hybrids are a variation of hybrid car which allows the battery to be recharged at an electricity outlet. These technologically advanced cars tend to have larger batteries and can run on electricity for longer before needing to use the combustion engine.
Hybrid car features
The electric motor and battery in a hybrid car can allow a variety of useful features which can improve a car’s efficiency. Some examples include:
- Idle-stop: this feature allows the combustion engine to be turned off when the vehicle is stopped in traffic, junctions or traffic lights, for example; this saves fuel. The electric motor can keep air conditioning, radio and other accessories running and also provide the power for starting the car again and moving off.
- Power assist: the electric motor of a hybrid takes pressure and demand off the combustion engine, allowing it to be reduced in size and run closer to peak efficiency.
- Regenerative braking: braking in conventional cars is carried out by turning the car’s movement into heat through friction braking. Regenerative braking can harness some of this wasted energy and convert it into useful electricity.
- Electric-only drive: this option allows the car to run using only the electric motor and battery, thus fuel usage is reduced. In hybrids, this feature tends to be used only at lower speeds and moving off. However, in plug-in hybrids, this feature can be used at good speeds for relatively long distances.
Advantages of a hybrid car:
- More eco-friendly: hybrid cars use less petrol/diesel than a standard car – and therefore have superior miles per gallon – as well as producing fewer harmful emissions.
- Lower running costs: a reduction in fuel usage means paying less for petrol/diesel over time. Electricity – for plug-in hybrids – is a lot cheaper than fuel too.
- Financial incentives: many hybrid vehicles fall into the low CO2 emission categories which qualify a car for government grants for green vehicles. This can see you get up to £4500 off the cost of the new car.
- Reduced tax: low emission vehicles can also expect reduced road tax fees, compared to petrol and diesel cars.
Disadvantages of a hybrid car:
- Higher vehicle costs: generally, a hybrid car will have a higher price tag than an equivalent conventional petrol or diesel fuelled alternative.
- Making back your money: making back the higher initial cost through reduced running costs can take longer than buyers may think. Some hybrids don’t have as notably favourable miles per gallon, and poor driving habits can also negatively impact the expected fuel efficiency savings.
Citroen Peugeot Specialists are French car experts who provide high quality servicing, MOTs and repairs at competitive prices for customers across North London. Our skilled professionals carry out their work to a consistently high standard, providing a helpful and reliable service for jobs both big and small. For any further information about our services, for advice, or to book your vehicle into our Finchley garage, get in touch today.