What is a Hybrid Vehicle and why it’s the best choice for the next car you buy

The first time I ever heard of a hybrid was on a TV program about old English vampires. But that is a story for another day. The first time I ever heard of a hybrid car, I thought it was a car brand, like Toyota or Nissan. I was never the motor enthusiast so I did not bother to find out much about it back then. Word on the street was it used electricity and with the ‘ever-reliable’ paraffin lights and candles company (KPLC), it sounded like a one-percenter pursuit.

Toyota’s Hybrid System Badge

Diesel was the name of the game, up till recently. With Tesla and Electric Vehicle (EV) innovations raging the world over and within our territory in recent times, the future of the automotive industry became clear. And as a hopeful future owner of one, it was time to awaken from my slumber.

The World is Moving There

In the next several decades or less, Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles will be relics. The automotive industry is moving on toward efficiency and innovation in motor manufacturing through the adoption of electric-powered vehicles. 17 countries have come out to strongly commit to completely phasing out the production and importation of ICE vehicles in the next two to three decades. For instance, Britain, France, and China will have no new ICE vehicles after 2040. India will ban the importation of ICE vehicles after 2030. Some countries like Denmark are taking a step further and giving out tax incentives to increase EV adoption.

There are so many misconceptions about hybrid vehicles, especially when it comes to cost. While it is true that hybrid and electric cars are comparatively more expensive to purchase than their traditional counterparts, it has been proven to be cost-efficient to own one in the long run. Hybrid cars are cheaper to run and maintain. Innovation has stripped off the need for many of the mechanical elements that are necessary for a traditional car as well as improving fuel efficiency. For instance, Toyota hybrid car parts wear less reducing maintenance costs by up to 5%, with their electric motors and battery components parts requiring no maintenance!!

So, what is a hybrid car?

Simply put, it is a vehicle that is powered by an engine and an electric motor. The engine gets its power from the fuel and the electric motor is powered by the traction battery (high voltage battery). Unlike an EV, a hybrid battery cannot be plugged into a power source to charge in non-plug in hybrids. Instead, it relies on recaptured energy through regenerative braking by the engine to charge. The electric motor is also used as a generator, to capture the energy that is usually lost when the vehicle brakes and stores it in the battery.

A hybrid vehicle transmission

Hybrid vehicles have a fuel-efficient system design. The energy produced from the electric motor means a smaller ICE engine is needed which reduces fuel usage. When driving at a slower speed, decelerating or when the engine is idling at a temporary stop e.g. traffic lights; hybrid cars use the electric motor and battery to power the car. This allows the engine to shut off, reducing idling and fuel consumption. This way, the vehicle uses the engine only when extra power is needed e.g. when accelerating or driving up hills. Some hybrid vehicles are fitted with larger batteries and powerful electric motors which can power them for a longer range.

So, what makes a hybrid vehicle the next best car for you?

Fuel economy and better performance compared to conventional vehicles for one. The ability for a hybrid to switch power sources from electric to fuel means cost efficiency and increased performance in terms of range and even mileage.

The electric component translates to a reduced carbon footprint for the climate conscious consumer. The levels of CO2 emitted by hybrid vehicles are lower compared to ICE vehicles.

The cost of maintenance is also lower as demonstrated in the discussions above. Keep in mind that ICE vehicles are on their deathbeds, with most countries having set up goals and measures to phase them out completely in the coming years. In case you have doubts or questions concerning hybrid and electric vehicles, do not hesitate to reach out to us at NSA Garage. We are specialists in the diagnosis, care, repair, and maintenance of hybrid and electric vehicles.