Buying A Hybrid Car Part 1

Introduction To Buying a Hybrid

Even though more people are turning to motorcycles and mopeds in an effort to save gas, there is no question that larger automobiles are a necessity of life in the United States. Unfortunately, the rising cost of gas paired with a crumbling economy means that the current fleet of vehicles cannot sustain or support the needs of consumers in a cost effective manner. That there are a number of newer technologies emerging that will help you to save gas, as well as take advantage of renewable fuels.

As an example, there are many different kinds of hybrid vehicle to choose from. While they all accomplish the same basic job, you will find that each design comes with disadvantages as well as benefits. It is crucial to realize that some designs will lose popularity and become obsolete within the next few years. As a result, you will need to be very careful in your choice of vehicle.

Without a question, when you are shopping for a car, you want to find the best value for your money. Aside from selecting a vehicle that will meet your traveling needs, durability, maintenance costs, and depreciation value are all important components of your decision. This guide is meant to give you the basic tools to help you evaluate a hybrid vehicle on each of these criteria.

Part 1 - The Different Types of Hybrids

As you may be aware, a hybrid car is one that uses an electric motor in combination with an internal combustion engine. It is thought that combining the two enables motorists to have the reliability and power supplied by a gasoline engine, as well as the efficiency of an electric motor. Typically, the vehicle will take advantage of the gas engine at high speeds, and the electric motor at lower speeds. When you are shopping for a hybrid, it is very important to understand the basic principles each model uses to accomplish this goal. Among other things, you will find that certain engine/motor ratios are more fuel efficient than others.

In order to understand the four different types of hybrids, it is important to realize that the vehicle will allocate propulsion resources differently depending on when the car is starting from zero mph, and when it is actually in motion. For the most part, parallel/series designations refer to how the vehicle co-ordinates power when the car is in motion. On the other hand, full and mild type refers to energy sources used as the car accelerates from zero mph. As may be expected, the vehicles you are looking at can combine these four elements in any number of ratios and timing points.

Hybrids For Sale

Series Hybrids

For the most part, if you think of series and parallel in the sense of how they work in the design of electronic circuits, you will have a good understanding of how the hybrid's gasoline engine, electric motor, and batteries function in relation to each other. As an example, in the series hybrids, the gasoline engine powers a generator. The generator, in turn, either powers the driving motor, or it charges batteries. In this type of car, the gas engine is not linked to the transmission or the drivetrain. Rather, all of the thrust comes from the electric motors. Although you will not find currently available hybrids with this design, they may become available at some point in the future.

Figure 1: In a series engine, the gasoline engine is still the main power source. Energy efficiency is achieved by using a combination of electric motors and rechargeable batteries for propulsion.

Figure 1: In a series engine, the gasoline engine is still the main power source. Energy efficiency is achieved by using a combination of electric motors and rechargeable batteries for propulsion.

Parallel Hybrids

Almost all hybrids on the market use a parallel relationship between the three propulsion sources. While the gasoline engine is running, batteries also supply current to the electric motor. As a result, motion is accomplished by using a combination of both the engine and motor. Depending on your rate of speed, the gasoline engine may stop running altogether, and you will run on just the motor and battery.

Figure 2: Propulsion sources in Parallel hybrid engine.

Figure 2: Propulsion sources in Parallel hybrid engine.

Mild-Hybrid Car

When you accelerate from a standstill with a mild hybrid, the gas engine will be running. The electric motor will only be used to provide additional thrust. As a result, if you tend to accelerate too quickly, you will not gain much benefit from this type of system. Depending on the model that you buy, you may find that the gas engine cuts out altogether while you are idling, and then starts up again as soon as it is needed.

Full Hybrid Cars

A full hybrid vehicle will allow you to accelerate with power from the battery or the electric motors. That said, the faster you try to accelerate, the sooner the gasoline engine will phase in. This can happen in ranges as low as 12 to 15 mph. In addition, most gas engines will phase in at around 25 mph irregardless of how slowly you accelerate.

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