A hybrid car is a vehicle that uses more than one form of energy to drive. Most hybrid cars use both a combustion engine that uses gas/fuel as well a battery-powered electric motor. Electric cars use ONLY a battery powered motor to drive. Hybrid cars provide amazing fuel economy, while electric cars don’t use any fuel, just electricity. Here’s a brief overview of how hybrid and electric cars work.


Electric Motor Drive/Assist

Hybrid vehicles have both a gas engine and an electric motor. The gas engine provides the main energy source that propels the car forward, while the electric motor provides additional power to assist the gas engine in accelerating.

This combination allows for a smaller, more efficient gas engine to be used, resulting in less fuel consumption, less environmental impact and greater energy efficiency. In some hybrid vehicles, the electric motor is used on its own during low-speed driving where combustion engines are far less efficient.

Regenerative Braking

When the driver wants to slow down, the electric motor applies resistance to the drivetrain which slows down the wheels. At the same time, the resistance turns the electric motor which in turn generates more electricity that can then be stored in the battery for later consumption. This highly efficient system converts energy from coasting and braking that would normally be wasted into usable electricity.

Automatic Start and Shut Off

When a hybrid vehicle comes to a stop, the engine automatically shuts off. When the accelerator pedal is pressed, the engine turns back on. No energy is wasted by idling.

100% Electric Cars
Purely electric cars use powerful batteries as the main energy source for driving. While some models of hybrids can be plugged into an electrical outlet to charge their batteries, hybrids don’t rely solely on electricity. Cars that are 100% electric do, however. Electric cars need to be charged via an electrical outlet in order to run. They typically have a limited range of driving distance, but for someone using their electric car as a means for running errands around town, or short commutes, this limited range might not be a problem.

If you like the idea of an incredible fuel economy, less environmental impact, and an all-around highly efficient vehicle, then a hybrid or electric car may be perfect for you. Toyota’s line of hybrid cars is among the finest in the industry. If you have any questions about hybrid or electric vehicles, or if you’d like to schedule a test drive, contact us today.