Toyota dual-mode hybrid vehicle
Photo by Warren Gretz (NREL PIX number 08407)
By definition, a vehicle is considered a "hybrid" when it runs on two or more power sources. According to hybridcars.com, most of today's hybrids run on a rechargeable battery and gasoline, and generally:
- Are lighter and more aerodynamic; tires are often stiffer and inflated higher to reduce drag.
- Hybrid engines are built smaller to accommodate the 99% of time when not going up hill or accelerating quickly. It uses the battery to provide extra acceleration power when needed.
- When the car is stopped, hybrid gasoline motors can shut off and run on the electric motor and battery.
- Hybrid cars often recover braking energy and use it to charge the battery; no plug-in or long extension cords necessary.
If driven properly, hybrids can substantially increase gas mileage and save consumers money. For example, the Toyota Prius gets about 60 mpg in the city and 51 mpg on the highway and there are also tax incentives that can be taken advantage of for purchasing such vehicles. While hybrids may not provide a long term solution to our transportation problems, they will definitely play an important role in the transition to clean, sustainable technology and infrastructure.
This web site is an essential resource for any current or future hybrid vehicle owner! It offers discussion forums, a "real hybrid mileage database", news in the field, information on hybrids on the market, and much more.
"Hybrid Cars" was started in 2003 by hybrid car enthusiast Bradley Berman. The site’s purpose is to share news and information about hybrid cars and their impact, accomplished through the distribution of a monthly email newsletter, an on-line discussion forum, and published writings. The site provides helpful information on buying hybrids, an extensive look into the technology, and a host of other resources on hybrid vehicles.
NREL is the nation's primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. This organization's website is a good source of free published research on hybrid vehicles.
The DOE site contains introductory information related to hybrid vehicles, advantages, key components, and the likely future of this technology.
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Header photo by Carol Y. Swinehart, courtesy of Michigan Sea Grant Extension
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