How to Buy a Hybrid
After weighing your options and letting your curiosity get the
better of you and start researching the Hybrid’s potential to
increase fuel economy and reduce emissions… you start to
hunt and shop around. Yet, the internet and printed dealer
brochures, car reviews and owner opinions only tell you part
of the story.
ALSO NOTE: It is a fact that there are a wide range of what
is put under the umbrella or identifier ‘hybrid’ that simply is
not! NOT ALL are created equal.
HYBRID CAR FACT: HYBRID vehicles being marketed as
hybrids, do not all utilize and leverage the full spectrum of
hybrid technologies that are available.
If the environment is a personal priority and selection criteria
for you, ensure that you know what you are getting and what
really is under-hood, past the hype and marketing lingo.
According to online sourcing and research regarding Hybrid
vehicles, there are currently FIVE TYPES of hybrid technology
available to automakers:
• Idle-off capability. The engine turns off when the vehicle
is stopped in traffic or at a light, and turns back on when you
move your foot from the brake to the gas pedal.
• Regenerative braking. The electric motor helps slow the
car, and functions as a generator to convert some of the
energy typically lost during braking into electricity (thereby
recharging the vehicle’s battery).
• Power assist and engine downsizing. The electric motor
helps propel the car, in particular during acceleration. Because
the motor and engine share the power load, the engine’s size
can be reduced, saving even more fuel.
• Electric-only drive. The electric motor can power the
vehicle by itself at low speeds and when first starting the car.
• Extended battery-electric range. The car runs solely on
electric power for 20 to 60 miles before engaging the gasoline
engine. You have to recharge the car’s battery by plugging it
into an external electricity source.
There are numerous types and classifications making their
way into this automotive category and hot seller:
“mild” hybrids (Honda’s Insight and Civic Hybrid) employ
the first three technologies above
“Full” hybrids, (Toyota Prius and Ford Escape Hybrid)also
“Plug-in” hybrids that utilize all five technologies are not
currently available as passenger vehicles.
“muscle” hybrids, such as the Toyota Highlander Hybrid
and Lexus RX 400h, provide only a fraction of the
potential fuel economy and environmental benefits.
In-between hybrids (Honda Accord Hybrid) fall
somewhere midway between mild and muscle hybrids.
Also “Hollow” Hybrids which is not more than a marketing
gimmick to sell conventional cars and simply calling them
Visit the Union of Concerned Scientists’ website at
http://www.hybridcenter.org to learn more about hybrid cars and
even view some side-by-side comparisons. These are
extremely useful when you compare and test drive hybrids for
yourself. (yes, we do recommend you drive as many of the
models you are considering, YOURSELF!)
Hybrid cars have many environmental and economical
incentives and benefits. You can cut down on pollutants and
emissions and get tax breaks, rebates and benefit in the long
run from saving on gas for example and low maintenance
We have in all probability not seen the last of tax rebates and
incentives. There will be more to come to encourage
consumers that it is a wiser choice.
Fuel economy is a big selling factor of these hybrid cars and
vehicles. Some say they will have slower depreciation too
pretty soon as more and more of them make their way onto
With battery efficiencies and related technology developments
fueling continued interest in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles,
futuristic transportation and even humanly powered
‘machines’, more and more of us will be looking to alternative
market offerings to get around.
Contribute and do your part to help the environment by
purchasing a electric car. The main impetus and momentum
for hybrid cards came in the early 1990s. Donated funds and
research and increasing interest in new hybrid technologies
are on the rise.