In general terms hybrid vehicles are those using more than one power source. Even motorized pedal bike can be called a hybrid vehicle in a way. But nowadays when we talk about hybrid cars we usually have hybrid electric vehicles in mind. They make use of internal combustion engine and electric motor at the same time. Hybrid cars are on the market for few years already and many of manufactures had already announced a plans to produce some models of them. They can give us up to thirty miles per gallon comparing to traditional cars. Today they’re targeted mainly for wealthy customers, but future versions will probably be addressed to average Joe’s as well. Let’s have a look at benefits and drawbacks of using them. Pluses first.
For most people main advantage is their low carbon dioxide emission level. Compared to traditional internal combustion engine cars, they’re much eco-friendly. If this technology would be popularised, total emission of carbon dioxide could be reduced to 50% of current level. Also they consume less petroleum, what means we postpone the time it’s sources will get finished.
This leads to another thing: if you use less oil you don’t have to refill it so often, and you can save on it. This will become more important to improve mileage, as oil prices will be moving up.
On the other hand these vehicles use special batteries that are difficult to utilize. You can’t just throw them to the bin or they’ll pollute environment. So the problem of pollution is not automatically solved when you switch to hybrids. And what’s also connected with batteries, is that cars are not so easy to re-charge comparing with driving to gas station and refilling fuel.
Another big disadvantage is that you can only drive about 80 to 160 kilometres before you’ll have to recharge it. For those who only go few kilometres to work and back to home this can be all right, but for someone travelling in business between cities on daily basis this is disqualifying. Of course we hope this will change as this technology is constantly being improved.
I’m sure this technology is going to evolve rapidly and become more available to everyone soon.