Hybrid Cars
The varieties of Hybrid Cars


By definition, a hybrid vehicle uses more than one source of power to move around. Currently, all commercially available hybrid cars are gasoline-electric hybrids. But there are different types of hybrid cars - ;full, assist, and mild hybrids - that work in different ways to achieve various goals with varying environmental benefits and effects. Key differences between varieties of hybrids are defined by the differences in their drive trains; there are also cost differences between the different systems. Following is a primer that will bring up to speed.

Full Hybrids / Strong Hybrids

The defining characteristic of these cars is that they can run on either just the gasoline engine, or just the electric motor. They can also run on a combination of both. Examples of full hybrids are the Toyota Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid, and Nissan.

Assist Hybrids / Power Assist Hybrids
These cannot run on the electric motor alone. The electric motor is used as a way to "boost" the gasoline engine, as well as to allow regenerative braking and stop-start capabilities. Examples of assist hybrids: Honda Civic Hybrid, Saturn Aura Hybrid.

Mild Hybrids
Mild Hybrids have drive trains similar to regular cars, with beefed up starter motors that allow them to turn off the engine to save gas (while stopped at a red light, for example) and to restart the engine very quickly when needed. An example of mild hybrid is the Chevy Silverado Hybrid.

Hybrid gas-electric cars really aren't that complicated. Add an electric motor and rechargeable batteries to the conventional gas engine—and see your efficiency increase by as much as 50 percent. The onboard computer does all the hard work of switching between gas and electric power.

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