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Hybrid Cars

Steering toward green living


You've likely heard about the latest hybrid cars making their way onto dealer lots. But how does a hybrid car work and what are the benefits to driving one?

You’ve likely heard about the latest hybrid vehicles making their way onto dealer lots. These green machines are a popular option for environmentally conscious drivers wanting to do their part to lower vehicular emissions, and you’re going to be hearing more about them.

Automotive-related pollution and fuel consumption are on the minds of the masses, and hybrid vehicles offer significant improvements in these areas compared to a standard automobile.

Fleet of Choices

Most families can’t do without a car, but there are plenty of impact-minimizing options. The green-car market is replete with more selections that involve less sacrifice than ever before. New-car shoppers can even select hybrid versions of their favourite conventional models.

In most cases, a hybrid system is simply an option available on an existing model, as opposed to an entirely different vehicle. This means it is as familiar, functional, and as easy to live with as any other car.

Hybrid Mechanics

These eco-warriors work by attaching an electric motor and battery to a conventional gasoline engine under the hood. As such, the vehicle can be driven normally by the gas engine, or by electricity, depending on the situation.

The gas engine is needed for most situations because it generates the most power for merging, passing, or cruising at highway speeds. It makes sure the vehicle doesn’t suffer in the performance department.

The electric motor is powered by a battery pack located behind the rear seats or in the floor of the car. This electric motor isn’t as powerful as the gas engine, so it can only drive the vehicle at speeds of up to about 60 kilometres per hour and during very slow acceleration. The gas engine in many hybrids will turn off completely while the car is in a drive-through or a parking lot, or when it is slowly cruising through a residential zone.

Smooth Operator

In these situations, the vehicle is propelled along solely by electricity, making no noise, using no fuel, and creating no exhaust emissions. It’s a magical experience. The gas engine also turns off when the vehicle stops for a red light or stop sign. This allows drivers to cut needless idling and pollution from their commute and it boosts mileage as well. Remember, an idling car gets zero miles per gallon!

When the gas engine switches off, accessories and vehicle functions continue to operate off the battery pack. This is recharged automatically by a generator that’s driven by the gas engine, so there’s never any need to plug the vehicle in when you get home.

Savings–Energy and Dollars

The transition between electric and gasoline driving is handled automatically by a computer system, and it all happens very smoothly and with no driver input required. Over the course of a driver’s day, fuel-free moments add up to benefit owners’ pocketbooks, as well as Mother Nature.

The end result? Depending on your driving style and locale, a hybrid vehicle can save 30 percent or more on your weekly fuel bill and prevent a similarly significant amount of pollution from winding up in the atmosphere.

Long story short, hybrids are all about environmental benefits without sacrifice in usability compared to a conventional vehicle. With the level of choice and effectiveness offered, there’s never been a better time to upgrade to a greener drive.

Go for a Green Test Drive

There are plenty of green car choices on the market. Check out your local auto dealer and try out one of the following vehicles, all available with a hybrid drive system:

  • Toyota Prius
  • Honda Civic Hybrid
  • Nissan Altima
  • Toyota Camry Hybrid
  • Chevrolet Malibu


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