What Is a Hybrid Vehicle and What Are the Benefits?

Over the last few years we have seen electric vehicles taking the headlines across the automotive industry and while there has been a large improvement in the associated technology, many people are also considering hybrid vehicles. While hybrids are often seen as something of a stop gap between traditional fueled vehicles and electric powered vehicles, what exactly is a hybrid vehicle?

Power source

The end power source for a hybrid vehicle is the electric motor which powers the wheels and on-board services. This is a fact which is often misunderstood by many people and indeed it is worth confirming exactly where the hybrid tag comes from.

As electric technology continues to evolve the comparison between journey capacity for traditional fueled vehicles and electric vehicles is moving favorably towards electric vehicles but there is still some way to go. The award-winning Nissan Leaf is able to do in excess of 100 miles per full battery charge but this is still nowhere near the capacity available from a traditional fueled vehicle with a full tank of gasoline/petrol.

Backup power source

As a consequence, many car manufacturers around the world have introduced hybrid systems which are effectively backup power supplies fuelled by gasoline/petrol which are then used to recharge the batteries which then power the electric vehicles. Due to the recharging capacity of the gasoline/petrol motors on many hybrid vehicles this can increase the journey capacity enormously and effectively make the hybrid vehicle as efficient if not better in terms of journey capacity.

There is an argument as to whether hybrid vehicles are in some ways more environmentally friendly although the fact that they do use traditional fuels to recharge the lithium ion batteries used to power the electric motors has caused some confusion.

Developments in hybrid vehicles

As battery capacity with regards to electric cars continues to improve there is the opportunity to replace current hybrid batteries with those offering a longer charge and more capacity. This would then ensure that the traditional fuel backup system is not required as often as it is at the moment and therefore improve the efficiency of the vehicle and also reduce ongoing damage to the environment.

For many people hybrid vehicles are a stepping stone along the track to full electric vehicles, as and when the technology improves and is comparable to traditional fuel powered vehicles, but until they see improvements in technology many people are concerned about charging stations and the reduced journey capacity of a full electric vehicle.

Conclusion

It will be interesting to see how the hybrid vehicle is impacted by the ever-growing advances in electric car technology which many believe will at some stage be comparable or better from a journey capacity point of view than their traditional fuel counterparts. How long this will take remains to be seen although there have been some very impressive advances in both electric power technology as well as battery power technology there is still much to do.

More and more experts believe that battery power technology is the key to the future of the electric car market and as such we have seen significant investment in this arena over the last few years. Much of this investment is now beginning to pay dividends and perhaps if the worldwide recession had not occurred we would be in a far stronger position with regards to electric vehicle sales?