A hybrid car, or hybrid electric vehicle (HEV), uses both an electric motor and an internal combustion engine to propel the vehicle. Hybrids are efficient, eco-friendly cars and vehicles that are available to meet multiple driving needs. The first HEV cars introduced in the U.S. were the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius.
A hybrid is designed to capture energy that is normally lost through braking and coasting to recharge the batteries (regenerative braking), which in turn powers the electric motor.
A 'parallel' HEV uses the electric motor and/or the internal combustion engine or microturbine to propel the vehicle. A 'series' HEV uses the electric motor to provide added power to the internal combustion engine or microturbine. Hybrid electric vehicles have the potential to use electricity to power onboard accessories or to provide outlets to plug in appliances or tools. All have the potential to achieve greater fuel economy than conventional gasoline-engine vehicles.
Advantages of HEVs:
- Reduced fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions
- Optimized fuel efficiency and performance
- Lower fueling costs
- Recovered energy from regenerative braking
- Uses existing gas station infrastructure
"Hybrid vehicles are the fastest growing segment of the light-duty vehicle market" 2011, National Research Council (Assessment of Fuel Economy Technologies)
"The number of registered HEVs in the U.S. grew to nearly 2 million [in 2012]" (State Clean Energy Index)
"Nine of the ten most fuel efficient vehicles today are hybrids or electric vehicles" (Top Ten Lists)
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