Hybrid cars have emerged as a sustainable and eco-friendly alternative to traditional fuel-powered vehicles. Combining the benefits of internal combustion engines and electric power, hybrid cars have gained popularity for their improved fuel efficiency and reduced environmental impact. In this blog, we’ll dive into the world of hybrid cars, covering what they are and how they work.
What is a hybrid car?
A hybrid car is a vehicle that utilises both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Unlike conventional vehicles that solely rely on fuel, hybrids integrate electric components to enhance efficiency and reduce fuel consumption.
What are the types of hybrid cars?
While many people are aware of hybrid vehicles, there are different types of hybrid systems. We’ll breakdown the three main types:
As the name suggests, a mild hybrid has a small boost of electric power to assist the vehicle’s fuel engine. The batteries are recharged via a mixture of power from the engine and energy recovered from regenerative braking. Different vehicle makes will refer to a mild hybrid via a range of names such as eAssist, eTorque and EQ Boost.
Full hybrids (FHEV) have fuel powered engines with an electrical component. However, compared to a mild hybrid, full hybrids can cover longer distances purely on electric power. You may also see full hybrids described as self-charging hybrids. There are two types of full hybrid vehicles:
Parallel hybrids can be powered straight from the engine, the electrical motor or by a mixture of both.
Series hybrids are powered purely by the electric motor.
A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) requires you to plug in to the mains to charge the vehicle’s battery. These vehicles have a greater electric range compared to full hybrids.
At Halfords, we offer a home charging solution via a company called Cord. From £999, they can install an EV home charger on your property. Discover more on our electric vehicle home charging page. Or, explore our other range of EV cables and chargers from a variety of brands.
How Do Hybrid Cars Work?
There are several components of a hybrid vehicle:
Internal combustion engine
The traditional fuel powered engine in a hybrid car operates similarly to those found in conventional vehicles. It burns fuel to generate power, which is then transmitted to the wheels through a transmission.
Hybrid cars incorporate an electric motor powered by a high-voltage battery. This motor assists the internal combustion engine during acceleration, allowing the vehicle to operate more efficiently.
One of the key features of hybrid cars is regenerative braking. When the driver applies the brakes, the electric motor switches to generator mode, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy. This energy is then stored in the battery for later use.
Many hybrid vehicles are equipped with start-stop systems that automatically shut off the internal combustion engine when the vehicle comes to a stop, such as at traffic lights. The electric motor takes over during these idle moments, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
Hybrid system control:
A complex control system manages the interaction between the internal combustion engine and the electric motor. It determines the most efficient power source based on driving conditions, battery charge level, and the driver’s demand for power.
Benefits of Hybrid Cars
Hybrid vehicles offer a range of benefits for those looking for a more sustainable mode of transport than traditional fuel powered cars:
Improved fuel efficiency
The integration of electric power allows hybrids to achieve higher fuel efficiency, resulting in fewer emissions and reduced reliance on fossil fuels.
Hybrid cars produce fewer emissions compared to traditional vehicles, contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. Additionally, some hybrid vehicles may be exempt from emission-free zone charges. Find out if you can drive your hybrid vehicle free of charge around clean air zones on the government website.
Regenerative braking not only enhances efficiency but also extends the lifespan of brake components, reducing maintenance costs.
Lower operating costs
With the ability to switch between electric and fuel power, hybrids often experience lower fuel and maintenance costs over time.
Things to consider about hybrid cars
While there are many advantages of hybrid cars, there are also some less beneficial points to consider before buying:
While hybrid cars are more fuel efficient and use less emissions, they do not offer the same horsepower of traditional vehicles, meaning lower acceleration and overall power.
Even though hybrid vehicles are cheaper to run than traditional cars, they are often more expensive to buy due to their advanced technology.
While you shouldn’t need to replace this very often, hybrid car batteries can be more costly to replace than standard car batteries. It can also be more of a challenge to find specialist mechanics that are qualified to deal with hybrid vehicles, compared to standard cars.
As you can see, hybrid cars utilise modern technology to offer a more efficient alternative for environmentally conscious drivers. Hybrid vehicles are likely to become even more significant, as many countries look to achieve a net-zero emissions target for a greener future.
Looking for hybrid car servicing? At Halfords, we offer a full, interim, and major service for hybrid vehicles. All our technicians are highly qualified, so you know your vehicle is in safe hands.