Hybrid Cars – Myth vs. Reality

Hybrid vehicles are becoming more popular, but many people still buy into the myths and misconceptions that surround them. In this article, we will examine some of those misconceptions, and we’ll learn how hybrids really work.

Hybrid = Electric Car

Hybrids get their name from the pairing of an electric motor and a gas engine under the hood. Most of the pollution created by a combustion engine is emitted in city traffic; braking, idling and acceleration all consume fuel. A hybrid car solves this issue by using electric power at speeds 25 mph and below, and by not idling at all. When traveling at highway speeds, the gas engine is used, with electricity being reserved for acceleration and passing.

Hybrids are Slow and Tiny

Because a hybrid car has a gas engine and an electric motor, they often come with more horsepower than traditional vehicles. Like a regular car, the least-expensive hybrids are small in every way. Along with economy models, hybrids and pickup trucks are now being sold, and some automakers are building high-performance vehicles for road and track use.

They’re Expensive

People who drive hybrids spend less on fuel, but at a higher initial cost. Like most pieces of technology, hybrid cars cost more when they first became available – but now that the market is growing and hybrids are becoming mainstream, they’re getting more affordable. More repair shops have the tools and skills to repair them, and replacement parts are more available.

The Batteries Run Out Quickly

This is one of the most prevalent myths around hybrid cars, and it’s easy to believe if you’ve ever had a device with a battery that won’t hold a charge. Unlike your mobile phone or your laptop, hybrid batteries are never fully charged. By keeping the charge at about 50%, long battery life is ensured. Most hybrid car batteries have a warranty that lasts up to 100,00 miles, but batteries can perform well for much longer.

“You Have to Plug it In!”

While some hybrids must be plugged in for charging, others use regenerative braking to keep the system charged. When the brake is applied, energy (that’s normally dissipated) is transferred through an electric motor to the vehicle’s batteries. The longest-range hybrid cars have plug-in charging and regenerative braking capabilities.

While there are still misconceptions about hybrid vehicles, more people are learning the truth. Hybrid vehicles are becoming popular as costs decrease. If you buy a hybrid, prepare to pay more upfront – but you’ll recoup your investment in the form of lower fuel costs and a diminished carbon footprint.