What Is a Hybrid Car?

Hybrid Cars Have Made Their Way Into The UK Car Market, But What Exactly Is A Hybrid Car And How Do They Work? Find Out All You Need To Know!

Over recent years, hybrid cars have grown in popularity. As concerns have grown about rising fuel prices and the impact of driving on the environment, hybrid cars have become the smart choice for many motorists.

And, there are an increasing number of hybrid cars on the market with Ford about to launch a new Mondeo hybrid. But what are hybrid cars? How do they differ from electric vehicles? And what are the advantages of these models? Our guide tells you everything you need to know.

Over the last few years the cost of driving has risen significantly. Fuel prices have increased substantially and changes to the law mean that less fuel efficient cars now also cost more in terms of road tax and company car ‘benefit in kind’ payments. Hybrid cars can offer more fuel efficient and greener motoring. This has meant that many people have turned to cars which cost less to run. Diesel models, more efficient petrol cars and electric cars have all become more popular in recent years, as have hybrid models.

In simple terms, a hybrid car is one that uses more than one means of propulsion. Hybrid cars combine a normal petrol or diesel engine with a battery driven electric motor. Some hybrid cars use an electric motor to assist a conventional engine while there are also hybrid cars that are capable of running on electric power alone for a short distance. A popular type of hybrid is the ‘plug-in hybrid’. These models can be connected to the mains to recharge their batteries as well as being charged on the move.

Effectively, they are half way between a conventional hybrid and a full electric vehicle. Although they have a conventional engine, they also have larger batteries than regular hybrids and can drive longer distances on electric power alone.

There are a number of advantages of driving a hybrid car. These include:

More fuel efficient – As they use both a normal engine and battery power, hybrids tend to give you a higher ‘miles per gallon’ than traditional models

More environmentally friendly – hybrid cars generally emit less CO2 then petrol or diesel models. On European roads it has been estimated that petrol-hybrids can cut greenhouse gas emissions by around 25 per cent per mile. Hybrid cars also reduce harmful emissions: hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides can be reduced by as much as 90 per cent

Cheaper to run – As well as being more fuel efficient so you don’t have to fill them up as often, hybrid cars are generally found in the cheaper car tax bands. They are also often cheaper alternatives as company cars

You don’t need to change the way you drive – Full electric vehicles have a limited range and may therefore affect your driving habits. A hybrid car is the same as driving a conventional car and so you don’t need to worry about ‘range anxiety’

There are lots of hybrid models on the market and the choice will shortly be improved by the launch of a brand new Ford Mondeo hybrid.

The Mondeo is the first time that Ford has sold a hybrid car in Europe and it will be available as a saloon with an automatic CVT gearbox. The gearbox will be allied to a 2.0 litre petrol engine and a 35 kilowatt electric motor which provide a combined 184bhp. The hybrid Mondeo will produce just 99g/km of CO2 meaning it is in the ‘zero’ road tax band. It also gives you a combined 67.2 miles per gallon.

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