Large automakers see the solution to these problems in switching to alternative energy sources, particularly in reducing the share of gasoline and diesel engines in a car by using hybrid power units. It is a smart option in our current economic condition. The problem of the depletion of oil resources is a hot topic nowadays. According to forecasts, there will be enough fossil fuel for only around 100 years if we remain at the current rate of consumption. That is why almost all automakers around the world are keeping their eyes on hybrid vehicle technology as well as public auto auction demonstrates their positions in priority.
Hybrid vs. Internal Combustion Engines
The essence of a hybrid car is a combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Vehicles like those were created in order to save fuel during those moments when it is supposed to be consumed the most. For example, at low speeds, a car with an internal combustion engine has the highest fuel use, so every start from a traffic light or acceleration in a traffic jam costs the driver dearly. But the electric motor works perfectly in such situations. At the same time, when traveling over long distances and on high-speed roads, the advantage remains on the side of cars with internal combustion engines.
How Does the Hybrid System Work?
The hybrid vehicle’s programming provides instructions for the electric motor to take over the most energy-consuming cycles of motion. Therefore, the economy is based on three intervals: when the driver stands at a traffic light, the diesel engine does not work; when they move smoothly, in the first few seconds, the diesel engine does not work; and when they keep the speed within 25–31 mph without pressing the gas too much, the diesel engine, again, does not work.
The electronic system switches the car from one type of engine to another automatically. At a speed above 31 mph, the electric drive is turned off, the internal combustion engine is started, which creates torque, and the battery is charged at the same time.
Fuel Economy Question
There are a few factors to bear in mind when considering the hybrid vehicle’s fuel economy. If we are only talking about reducing fuel consumption, it is not necessary to chase hybrids. The fact is that most of such cars that are used today are not at all more economical than their counterparts. For example, the Toyota Prius consumes about 29.4 MPG in the city cycle. If we take the Volkswagen Passat B8 model with a diesel engine as an example, it is a little more than 39 MPG. The Honda Civic Hybrid configuration uses 49 MPG of fuel in the summer in the city, while the consumption of a diesel Civic in the same conditions is 56 MPG. That is why it is always better to conduct research and compare the specifications of a few vehicles before purchasing one.
Continuing the topic, it is quite difficult to measure savings in numbers. The fuel consumption of hybrids, as well as of cars with internal combustion engines, depends on the technical characteristics of the car itself and on the driving style of the person behind the wheel. But if we try to be objective, it is possible to note that fuel savings for small 4-cylinder engines amount to 15–25%, and for diesel engines with six or more cylinders, the parameter is 25–40%.
Terrain Also Matters
In addition to the driving style, the locality where a driver usually operates their hybrid vehicle is also important in terms of getting benefits. Outside the city, hybrids will hardly perform in economy mode. Even if you drive along the highway monotonously at a speed of 56 mph without breaking the rules, the hybrid installation will not work. The electric motor starts on average from zero to 31 mph and only if it is provided that you have a fully charged battery. If, for example, a hybrid car is not new, the battery capacity decreases overnight, and when you start the engine in the morning, the vehicle can run on gasoline until the accumulator is fully charged. In the city cycle, you will make up for this fuel consumption at the first traffic light, but on the highway, the hybrid installation will not allow you to save. That is why it is profitable to buy hybrid cars for people who spend most of their time moving around the city.
Modern automakers can offer a wide range of hybrid vehicles to meet the rising demand and customers’ requirements. If you are interested in that type of car, it is important to take into consideration a few significant aspects concerning fuel economy, the locality where you are going to drive, and your expectations or capabilities. Foremost, it is not always possible to get fuel efficiency when choosing a hybrid automobile. As we discovered, this type of vehicle is the most appropriate fit for city roads, where you should switch gears often and have a stricter speed limit compared to highways. That is why every car lover must analyze their needs and purposes when choosing the most suitable vehicle.