What is a hybrid car?
- Full (or parallel) hybrid
- Range extender hybrid
- Mild hybrid
- Plug-In hybrid.
How do hybrid cars work?
A full hybrid can run on its traditional engine or its electric motor, or a combination of both. The electric motor on a full hybrid is charged by running the traditional engine. The most common example is the Toyota Prius, which has been around since 1997.The traditional engine and electric motors in full hybrid cars tend to switch automatically depending on the type of driving being done. The electric motor usually operates when the car is starting or idling (for example at traffic lights), or when driving at low speeds. The fuel motor usually kicks in when driving at higher speeds, or when the battery on the electric motor is running low or flat.
- A range extender hybrid runs solely on its electric motor, and the batteries in the electric motor are charged by the traditional engine. The traditional engine never runs the car in a range extender hybrid.
- A mild hybrid always has the traditional and electric motor running together. It can’t operate on one or the other like a full hybrid can.
- A plug-in hybrid can run on its traditional engine or its electric motor, or a combination of both, just like a full hybrid can. However, it differs from a full hybrid in that the electric motor needs to be plugged in to be recharged. It can’t be recharged by the traditional engine like a full hybrid can.
What’s the difference between a hybrid car and an electric car?
What are the pros and cons of a hybrid car?
- are cheaper to run due to lower fuel costs (a big factor at the moment with petrol prices at record highs in Australia).
- are better for the environment (due to their lower carbon emissions).
- potentially handle better and are potentially safer due to having a lighter engine.
- have a higher luxury car tax threshold than traditional cars due to their greater fuel efficiency.
Popular hybrid car models in Australia
- Toyota’s RAV4, Kluger and Corolla models
- Kia’s Sorento and Niro models
- The Mitsubishi Eclipse
- The Lexus NX
- The Honda HR-V.