What is a hybrid car and why are there different types?

Since the turn of the century and the advent of the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius, Americans have been buying hybrid cars at an ever-increasing rate. A total of less than 10,000 hybrids were sold in 2000, and more than 800,000 in 2021 So it is clear that hybrid cars are popular But what exactly makes a hybrid car hybrid? And why are there different types of hybrid cars?

Read more: 2000-2006 Honda Insight | Used vehicle spotlights

Non-hybrid cars

To understand what makes a car hybrid, it first helps to know what makes a car non-hybrid. Think of your parents’ first car when you were younger. If you weren’t under 23, it probably wasn’t a hybrid – it was an internal combustion engine, or ICE, car, like the first mass-produced cars of the turn of the century.

Most of the vehicles sold today are ICE vehicles, from compact cars to pickup trucks. The petrol, diesel, natural gas or other combustion engines of these vehicles make them non-hybrid without the benefit of any electric drive power.

Electric car

Over the past few decades, with concerns about emissions and the environment, more and more car manufacturers have begun researching and building electric vehicles as a way to reduce the carbon emissions typically found with ICE vehicles. These cars completely eliminate the combustion engine and replace it with an electric motor, a battery pack and sophisticated electronics that allow it to run on electricity alone.

Read more: 7 Best Hybrid Cars (And Prius Not One)

Hybrid car

However, electric cars can be expensive and difficult to manufacture. Pure battery electric cars can also present range or charging location issues for some owners. Here’s where the hybrid car comes in: Combining the easy refueling of an ICE car with an electric motor and battery-enhancing support can help hybrid drivers get better fuel economy and reduce emissions while allowing a normal driving range.

The Toyota Prius is the most successful hybrid car ever produced. There are four generations of Prius sold in the United States, starting in 2000 (top left), 2004 (top right), 2010 (bottom left) and 2016 (bottom right).

Hybrid cars, as you might expect, are a bit more complicated to design and manufacture than a traditional ICE car or an electric car in that regard. Since hybrid cars use both ICE power and electric power, in some ways they have to combine two cars into one – and both types of cars in a single driving experience.

Serial vs. parallel hybrid car

So now we know that hybrid cars are hybrid because they are a combination of two types of powertrain. But there are also different types of hybrid cars. These types are usually divided into serial or parallel hybrid vehicles. So what do these terms mean?

Read more: Chevy Volt America’s Best Used Car Bargain

A parallel hybrid is what you probably think of when you think of a hybrid How the Toyota Prius works. There is an ICE engine and an electric motor, and both can work to provide power at the same time, or one can operate on its own. Both are capable of delivering direct torque which propels the car forward.

A serial hybrid, on the other hand, can be thought of as an electric vehicle with an onboard generator. Like the original Chevrolet Volt, a serial hybrid uses its ICE engine to charge its battery pack, such as a generator, and then uses the electricity stored in the battery pack to drive the wheel with an electric motor.

Plug-in hybrid vs. regular hybrid car

Finally, the issue of plug-in hybrid vehicles and how they differ from regular hybrids. Whether a hybrid is a serial or a parallel hybrid, it may or may not be a plug-in hybrid. For a plug-in to be a hybrid, it must have the ability to power plugs to charge a car’s onboard battery. Any hybrid without this capability, and which relies solely on on-board ICE for regenerated braking and charging, is not a plug-in hybrid.

Read more: I’m not driving an electric car in California. Give me a plug-in hybrid

Plug-in hybrids are therefore more like traditional ICE-only electric cars. Accordingly, many plug-in hybrids offer an extended electric-power-only driving range compared to conventional hybrids.

Today, Toyota offers almost every type of car hybrid option, from the Prius hatchback to the Toyota RAV4 Sport utility car and even the Ford F-150 hybrid pickup truck and Jeep Wrangler off-roader.

Related videos:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.