Hybrid Electric Cars
Hybrids are gas cars that include a battery and an electric motor for improved fuel economy, lower emissions and better performance. Gasoline is still the main source of power.
How They Work
A hybrid car combines an internal combustion engine with a battery-powered electric motor, which usually results in improved fuel economy and reduced emissions compared to their non-hybrid counterparts. Hybrids are fueled by gasoline alone and are not rechargeable by plugging in. However, as the vehicle runs, the engine and a regenerative braking system charge a small onboard battery.
While the electric drive can help increase fuel efficiency, especially in stop-and-go city driving, it isn’t designed to run the car in an electric-only mode. Using primarily gas, hybrids have driving ranges similar to traditional gasoline vehicles.
- Engine – Powers the vehicle when driving at speeds above 15 mph
- Electric Motor – Powers the vehicle up to 15 mph, and assists engine when accelerating
- Gas Tank – Fueled with gasoline just like a conventional car
- Electric Generator – Captures energy from regenerative braking and transfers to battery
- Battery – Secondary small 1 kWh battery powers the electric motor
Each hybrid will perform differently, but in general, their performance is similar or better than their gasoline counterparts.
While hybrids offer fuel savings compared to gas-only cars, they do not qualify for many of the incentive programs available for other types of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars.