Friday, 11 January 2013

The Hybrid Story

The ever-rising cost of fuel has created a demand for ‘hybrid cars’ both in Australia and overseas. But what is a hybrid car and what advantages do they offer?

Basically, a hybrid vehicle is one that uses two or more separate power sources, such as an electric propulsion system alongside a conventional petrol engine. The small petrol engine delivers better fuel economy while maintaining the same level of performance and when more power is required for acceleration, the electric propulsion system delivers the extra kick.

Some of the advantages of a hybrid vehicle include: 
  • Stop-start technology that conserves energy - the petrol engine turns itself off when the car is idle, and then automatically re-starts when the driver engages the accelerator. 
  • Hybrids are the greenest cars on the market because of their low carbon emission levels - far lower than standard petrol cars. The main pollutant from most cars is carbon dioxide, which is directly related to the amount of fuel used. An Australian study estimated that hybrid vehicles boast a 66% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions compared to the average Australian family car. 
  • Hybrids use as little as half the fuel of a conventional family car. While hybrids are more expensive upfront than their petrol equivalents, the reduced fuel costs will over time make-up for the extra purchase cost.

Currently the most popular hybrids in Australia include the Toyota Prius and the Honda Civic Hybrid, but other models are now making their way on to the market, such as:
  • Toyota Camry 
  • Lexus CT 200h saloon, RX450h SUV, GS450h V6 luxury sports saloon, LS600hl V8 luxury saloon 
  • Honda Civic Insight saloons 
  • Honda CRZ sports and the Honda Jazz Hybrid (due to be launched in December)

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