The future may be electric. And there may even be compelling examples for it around today. But what if you’re not ready to dive into the deep end and want to test the waters first? Well, then you have hybrid cars that combine both worlds. Here are all the things you should know about them.
The first hybrid car was invented in 1898 by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche, who combined electric and petrol elements into one engine. He used fuel to generate power for four electric motors and created the first hybrid. But when Henry Ford started selling cheap fuel-powered cars, hybrids were largely overlooked. But in 1997, Toyota launched the Prius and brought hybrids into mass production for the first time. Honda quickly followed with the Insight. Today more and more people are opting for the cost and climate saving advantages that hybrids offer.
Hybrids were originally available as odd-looking small cars. But now, you get hybrids in all shapes and sizes. There are hybrid versions of hatchbacks, sedans, SUVs, and even sports cars. They’re also available across the price spectrum. Since they offer a good compromise between EVs and conventional cars, they fit into their owner’s lives as easily as conventional cars.
There are three types of hybrids available today. The mild-hybrid is the most basic version that uses a small battery and an electric motor to assist the combustion engine. The battery is recharged from the power that is usually wasted during deceleration. Mild hybrids can’t be driven using only electric power, and they’re exactly like conventional cars to drive. Then you have self-charging hybrids that have an electric motor and battery, and the technology seamlessly selects the best power source depending on driving conditions. They can often drive a mile or two on electric power only. The battery gets charged with regenerative braking. Then, you have plug-in hybrids, which feature large battery packs that have to be plugged in and charged regularly. They can often be driven up to 30 miles in pure electric mode, which means no fuel consumption for short commutes. These are also like regular cars to drive. In electric mode, they generate zero emissions like fully electric vehicles.