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The Deal with Hybrid Cars

Hybrid cars have been around since even before this millennium. They were the breakthrough of the 90s, with the Toyota Priusʼ release in 1997 as the crowning moment of hybrid cars. Though hybrid cars have been around all the way back to 1899 (Iʼd bet some of you didnʼt think cars as a whole would be around at the time) when Ferdinand Porsche combined a gasoline engine with an electric motor, and since full electric cars are growing in popularity, hybrid cars are still in constant evolution. Cars like the BMW i8 and the Honda CR-Z are still creating waves of excitement and hype in the field of hybrid cars.

What then is the deal with hybrid cars? Why have hybrid cars not yet phased out full gasoline or diesel cars? What are their pros and cons?

Letʼs have a crash course on hybrid vehicles. Hybrid cars were created with efficiency and environmental sustainability in mind. This also means having better fuel economy in mind since electricity would at some point take over. Hybrid engines are common not just in passenger cars, but also in trains, buses, construction vehicles, and even in aircraft.

Hybrid vehicles work primarily when diesel or gasoline works to start the car and to get it moving, while electric motors take over at higher speeds. Hybrid cars are, of course, marketed for their fuel economy and their environmental friendliness. The mpg ratings on hybrid cars are off the charts since electric motors take over in higher speeds. Hybrid cars also have way less harmful carbon dioxide emissions, at some point even claiming to have zero carbon emissions. Hybrid vehicles are considered a breakthrough in heavy traffic, start-stop driving, where fuel consumption is often the highest. Hybrids are also considerably quieter with their electric motors.

Why then havenʼt hybrid vehicles or full-electric cars dominated the market? First of all, hybrid vehicles still cost a premium over their diesel or gasoline brothers. As the technology continues to evolve, however, it wonʼt be long when this technology becomes more accessible. Of course, marketing still comes into play for additional brand costing. It also does not help to know that the savings in fuel economy may not make up for the extra cost of the car itself for a long time. Second, there is still debate on the true carbon footprint of hybrid cars. While the carbon emissions directly from the car are greatly reduced, the electricity used by that car still comes from somewhere. Finally, the stigma that hybrid cars are “lame” still looms. With sports cars going hybrid though, that stigma has largely faded. Nonetheless, that stigma is a villain to the marketing of hybrid cars.

Hybrid cars and full-electric cars are definitely the future of automobiles, with legislation being planned to phase out full-diesel or gasoline cars in the far future. Full-electric cars, booming in its own market, are a topic in itself for a later date.

This is a friendly Acom reminder to always consider the future in all that you do. God bless!