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What Is Hybrid Technology & How Does It Work?

You’ve definitely heard of hybrid technology before as it has been around for some time. The question is, do you actually know what it is and how it works? There’s a common misconception that hybrid technology is the same as electric technology in cars. While hybrid cars can be powered electrically, they are not technically classified as electric vehicles. 

So, let’s look at this technology to understand what it is and how it works:

The basics of hybrid technology

Essentially, hybrid technology works by fusing two different types of technology together. Hybrid cars will have an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. The motor is powered by electricity stored in batteries, and the combustion engine is what’s used to charge them and get the electric motor kicking into action. Moreover, the electric motor is also charged by regenerative braking, which is where kinetic energy from the wheels is transferred into electricity every time you brake, being stored in the batteries. 

How do hybrid cars work?

In the above scenario, fuel is injected into a fuel tank that will then power the internal combustion engine, to then charge the batteries that power the electric motor. This is how classic hybrid technology works, and smaller engines can be used because you have the electric motor doing most of the work. Thus, fuel efficiency is decreased. 

The evolution of hybrid technology: plug-in hybrids

Nowadays, we’ve seen advancements in this technology that have created a new category of hybrid cars; plug-in hybrids. There are plenty of cars that fall into this category today. Head to a Citroen main dealer and you’ll find the highly-rated C5 Aircross Hybrid, go to Toyota dealerships and you will find the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, or visit a BMW dealer for the BMW 330e. There are so many other options out there, but these three are some of the most well-known right now. 

How do plug-in hybrid cars work?

What’s the difference between this technology and the traditional hybrid? Well, the clue is in the name; a plug-in hybrid can be plugged in and charged via an electric charging point. This is crucial as it means you can run the car without calling on the internal combustion engine at all. If you wanted, you could literally drive it fully electrically and charge it whenever the battery goes down. 

Nevertheless, the internal combustion engine exists to step in whenever you need it. You can choose to use it when the electric power is going down, and some cars even let you use a combination of the two at the same time. In either case, the main difference is that a plug-in hybrid lets you switch between your two power sources depending on the conditions. With a traditional hybrid, the internal combustion engine is always running to power the electric motor. 

Hybrid technology has evolved a lot and continues to bridge the gap between classic fuel-driven cars and electric ones. The whole idea behind the technology is to create more fuel-efficient cars that burn less fuel when you use them. Whether you opt for a plug-in or traditional hybrid, you will certainly achieve excellent efficiency

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