Blog / Car Insurance
Hybrid car. Ahhh the bliss
What do you get when you make a new thing by putting together two other things? In the case of a zebra and a donkey, you get a zonkey. We’re not kidding…it’s a thing.
Back in the world of cars, (and looking after our planet), petrol + electric = hybrid car. If you’ve taken an Uber/Grab/taxi recently, one may have picked you up. Hybrid cars are very quiet, very smooth, and perhaps your driver may have mentioned to you, extremely economical on petrol.
So what is a hybrid car? And should you buy one? Here’s a handy guide from the trusty car team at Budget Direct Insurance:
1) What is a hybrid car?
Put simply, a hybrid car is one that runs on two powertrains, an electric motor and a regular engine. Both work seamlessly in various situations to offer maximum fuel efficiency, hence ‘hybrid’.
Most hybrids are powered by a petrol engine, but there are a selected few (if rare) models that are diesel-electric hybrids. Either way, the key point to note is that hybrids are able to get themselves moving either through electricity or ‘regular’ petrol/diesel power, or both.
2) Sounds fancy. How does it work?
From start-up and at slower speeds, the car drives on the electric motor only. This means that the engine is not running at all, and you’ll experience a bit of a weird sensation as you waft about silently, emitting no pollutants at all. Ahhh the bliss!
However, once you put your foot down the regular engine kicks in, and the car now drives like any other normal car. However, at the same time the engine is running, it sends some of its power to a generator, which is where the electric motor sources its power. When the car is being driven hard (perhaps the driver is competing in some sort of Hybrid Grand Prix), the electric motor is also called into action to help give the regular engine a bit of a power boost. Such fancy stuff!
3) Cool! But how do you charge the batteries?
You don’t, really. You don’t have to do anything. The system does it all by itself. As mentioned, hybrids have a generator which powers the electric motor, and the generator gets its power from the engine while it is running, as well as converting the kinetic energy produced when the car is braking, for instance.
However, now there is a newer kind of hybrid called the Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV). For these cars, you can also recharge the batteries by plugging them into an external power source, like your electrical mains socket. These sorts of hybrids will offer a longer range when driving on electric mode. Expect to see more of these over the next few years.
So this means that, yes, while hybrids are as technologically advanced as they come, they don’t require any extra knowledge from you to drive. You can just operate it just like any other normal car. Isn’t that wonderful?
Stay tuned for a later post when we’ll talk more on the benefits of hybrids and why they’re becoming ever more popular.