How Hybrid Cars Work
A hybrid car is a passenger vehicle that is driven by a hybrid engine, which is any engine that combines two or more sources of power, generally gasoline and electricity. There are two types of gasoline-electric hybrid cars; the parallel hybrid, and the series hybrid. Both use gasoline-electric hybrid technology, but in radically different ways.
In a parallel hybrid car, a gasoline engine and an electric motor work together to move the car forward, while in a series hybrid, the gasoline engine either directly powers an electric motor that powers the vehicle, or charges batteries that will power the motor. Both types of hybrids also use a process called regenerative braking to store the kinetic energy generated by brake use in the batteries, which will in turn power the electric motor.
Both parallel and series hybrids have small gasoline engines, and produce much less pollution than standard gasoline cars, but also produce much less power - hybrids generally produce between 60-90 horsepower, while the average gasoline engine probably produces about double that. To overcome this power gap, hybrid cars are constructed with ultra lightweight materials like carbon fiber or aluminum. Hybrid cars are also designed to be more aerodynamic than most cars, allowing them to "slice" through air instead of pushing it out of the way. All these factors combined equate to a super efficient form of car that gets excellent fuel economy and helps the environment by cutting down on pollution.
To compare hybrid car emissions levels with those of popular automobiles, see emissions. If you are interested with the hybrid solution to pollution, see pollution. If you are interested in buying a hybrid car, see our article, why buy a hybrid.
How Do Hybrid Cars Work
By: Steven Magill
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