1. What is a hybrid vehicle?
A hybrid vehicle combines two or more sources of power. Hybrids almost always have a gasoline engine, and an auxiliary electric motor system that runs off rechargeable batteries. Most are designed to save fuel and to be more environmentally friendly than a standard gas vehicle. However, for some of the more upscale hybrid models on the market, the technology is meant to boost power while requiring less fuel, this is also known as a “light hybrid” vehicle.
2. Do you have to plug your hybrid in at night?
This is almost never the case, though it is the case for Electric vehicles. Hybrid cars recharge their own batteries “on the fly” through the utilization of friction created while braking and through the gasoline powered portion of the engine.
3. Do you have to replace the batteries?
The short answer is, No. Hybrid batteries typically have an 80,000 – 100,000 mile warranty. The U.S. Department of Energy tested them to 160,000 miles and stopped testing because they still performed almost like they were brand new. Some taxi drivers have gone more than 200,000 miles in a Toyota Prius without battery problems.
4. Are hybrids expensive to purchase?
Hybrids range from as low as $19,000 to as much as $110,000. The most popular models remain — the Insight, Civic, and Prius — all with a price tag starting under $30,000. With new models from Nissan, Chevrolet, and Ford, the “entry level” hybrids are becoming much more prevalent. According to automaker announcements, there should be more than 40 models available by 2010. Some of the new models on the horizon are from automakers like BMW and Mercedes who have yet to enter the hybrid market, but who realize their need to play a role in the future of the hybrid market. In short, there’s a hybrid that will fit most budgets.
5. What is the reason people buy hybrid vehicles?
Saving money on fuel is the first thing most buyers think of. What most don’t know is that the amount saved on fuel over the life of the vehicle may not equal the extra purchase cost of the hybrid. Many hybrid drivers are simply enamored with the idea of being more energy efficient and creating less pollution which for some is good enough reason to buy or lease one, regardless of the increased cost.
6. Will hybrid technology save the environment?
Maybe. At this point, the savings is very small, but as Hybrid technology gets better and better, the cars we drive will have a reduced effect on environmental deterioration. The effect is only as great as the number of people who choose to drive them as opposed to vehicles that run on regular unleaded gasoline.
7. Does that mean hybrid technology is only a fad?
No. Finding a combination of fuels that will reduce our almost total dependence on oil makes Hydrogen fueled vehicles as well as those that we presume will be fueled by fuel cells, diesel, and other alternative fuels yet to be discovered a necessity for our future. What is almost certain is that every promising solution will involve some kind of hybrid combination of technologies. Today’s hybrid vehicles are an important and necessary step towards a much more promising and sustainable future. Hybrid technology will be an evolution. Most now listen to iPods and MP3 players to hear their music. Nothing that came before them was a fad, but each was a participant in the development of what we use now!