Are Hybrids More Fuel Efficient?
Today we have a guest blog post by freelancer Miles Walker about the benefits of hybrid vehicles. Thanks for a great post, Miles!
Ever since Toyota unveiled the Prius, the most well-known hybrid, these cars have been touted for their increased efficiency. They are known to get great gas mileage, often with over 50 mpg. In contrast, the Honda Civic boasts 36 mpg. Certainly a hybrid with 48 mpg to 60 mpg is more efficient. The 20% to 35% increase in fuel economy comes from a variety of sources.
The Technology Behind Hybrids’ Fuel Economy
A hybrid car has both a combustion and electric engine. However the advanced fuel efficiency is often gained through a combination of technological advancements.
An electric motor is the defining component of a hybrid vehicle. These have been vastly improved since the first ones in the Prius. Today, they are often found in hybrid sports cars providing over 100 hp. These electric motors offer a small boost on the highway, but their real advantage is in city driving. During city driving, many cars will automatically turn off the combustion engine when stopped. Some allow this to be completely shut down during city driving. Models that allow the gasoline engine to be turned off do offer a large boost to city mileage.
Smaller Gasoline Engine
The power provided by an electric engine allows car manufacturers to install smaller gasoline engines in hybrid cars. Smaller engines are more efficient than larger ones. Just as a V6 engine is more efficient, but less powerful, than a V8 engine, a hybrid’s combustion engine usually offers increased efficiency at the cost of reduced performance. This lack of power is partially compensated for by the electric engine, with results varying from model to model.
Many car companies used the development of the hybrid vehicle as a catalyst to redesign the vehicle’s design. As engineers worked on developing an efficient engine, others worked on improving the aerodynamics and reducing the drag of the car’s exterior. This also increases fuel efficiency.
Hybrids Have Many Improvements
Hybrids have many improvements that increase gas mileage. In addition to the electric motor, smaller engines and an improved design increase fuel efficiency. Just as the hybrid has been greatly improved since the first models of the Prius, this technology will continue to advance. When evaluating whether hybrids really are more efficient than gasoline-powered vehicles, the answer is yes. Hybrids are more efficient for several reasons.