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Hybrid Cars: Everything You Need To Know

Filling up a hybrid car

We’ve spoken before about electric cars, but maybe you’re interested in hybrids. Not quite sure what the are or how they work? Don’t worry, we’ve compiled everything you need to know about hybrid cars and their different types, so that you can put together an informed opinion of your own. There’s even a list of the current best hybrid cars at the bottom.

So let’s get started with everything you need to know about hybrid cars.

What is a Hybrid Car?

A hybrid vehicle uses a combustion fuel engine (petrol or diesel) alongside an electric battery. Both the engine and battery work together to keep the car moving as effectively as possible, with the battery also being charged by the car’s ‘lost energy’.

Lost energy is created when a car breaks, or by excess fuel usage. While different cars are focus on this differently, the best ones are able to charge the battery enough, that city driving can be done almost entirely without needing an external charge.

Types of Hybrid Car

There isn’t just one type of hybrid. In fact there are multiple and they all make use of their components in different ways. From using both engine and battery to power the car, to using the engine to actually charge the battery, hybrids are exploring how to cut down emissions in new and interesting ways.

Series Hybrid

In a series hybrid, it’s the electrics power the wheels, and then engine is used to charge the battery. These types of hybrids are most similar to fully electric vehicles, since they’re predominantly a plug in, but also use petrol to increase driving range. 

Parallel Hybrid

Just like the name suggests, a parallel hybrid uses both electric and engine together. Utilising a smaller battery than a series, the parallel benefits from both reduced cost and weight. The smaller battery is more easily recharged via braking, so doesn’t need to be charged via plug in either. 

Series-Parallel Hybrid

The hybrid of the hybrids, the series-parallel system was mostly used in the Toyota Prius, though now other manufacturers are adopting the method. The Series-Parallel can power the wheels in 1 of 3 ways. Fully electric, engine only, or both together. When using both together, it’s the electric motor which controls pulling away and speeds below 15mph. Everything else is managed by the petrol engine. This essentially makes driving around cities (where you’ve got lots of stopping and starting), a cost-effective breeze.  

How do Hybrid Cars Work?

Hybrid cars work primarily by using electric motors to power the wheels of a car. Depending on the type of hybrid car, this can be aided by a regular petrol engine – or the engine can be used to charge the electric battery when power runs low. 

This type of fuel usage in cars can help to dramatically reduce both consumption and carbon emissions. This is because the car battery can also be charged by making use of ‘lost energy’. Additionally, hybrid cars are typically more efficient than their 100% combustion or electric counterparts, due to their combination of two fuels.

5 Most Popular Hybrid Cars?

People are becoming ever more aware about their role in the protection of the environment. Because of that, hybrids and electric vehicles are becoming more and more popular. Arguably though, it’s the hybrids that’s winning rather than the electric. 

People are concerned about the range available from fully electric cars, but with hybrids there’s no reason to be anxious. With your favourite manufacturers creating hybrid cars alongside their petrol-guzzling counterparts, there’s more choice than ever before when it comes to picking up a hybrid. But which one should you choose?

Here are the most popular Hybrid Cars of 2020:

1. BMW 330e

Not just providing the best drive, but being the best looking too – the 330e is a superb car to own. Getting behind the wheel of this beauty is fun, and that’s not something you can say often about fully electric or plug-in hybrids. Considering its 36 mile battery only range, there’s no wonder why it’s the most popular hybrid car of 2020.

2. Skoda Superb iV

Combining a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine with a battery boasting a 34 mile range, the Superb lives up to its name. With both a large interior and boot space, Skoda have somehow managed to pack a lot of power into this car without taking up much space.

3. Toyota Prius

Offering better miles per gallon than any other hybrid car available, the Prius is one of the best hybrids you can buy. It’s spacious, good value, and perfect for getting around the city (and the ULEZ charges). 

4. Volvo XC90

Staying true to the Volvo name, this hybrid is practical, safe, and effortless to drive. While the electric only mode offers a mileage of 25 miles, the combined engines really gives the XC90 the power to show you what it can do. It’s greatest disadvantage though is the £66,000 price tag. 

5. Kia Niro

Designed to rival the Prius, the Niro is stuffed full of gadgets to assert its dominance. From countless USB ports to a wireless smartphone charger, the Niro tries slightly too hard in the areas that aren’t as important. It’s comfortable and roomy, though you’ll struggle to see out of the back. The real world miles per gallon really isn’t great either, with only 56mpg compared to the Prius’ 86.

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