How do hybrids work? No more gas? I'm all new to 'green living' but very willing to try it.l?

5 thoughts on “How do hybrids work? No more gas? I'm all new to 'green living' but very willing to try it.l?”

  1. I have a Honda Civic hybrid. It always uses gas but when needs more power the battery kicks in.When I stop at a red light the car turns itself off. It costs appx. $7000 more than the regular counterpart. Check out they’re coming out w/ new technology that doesn’t use gas at all. If saving money is the goal alone it’s not worth it for most people. I put about 30k a year on my car so I got my money’s worth.

  2. Hybrids do use gas. They use both, an electric motor and a gasonline motor, making them earn the name "Hybrid." Hybrids usually have a gas motor that operates during acceleration and higher speeds. Some hybrids use only the electric motor at speeds lower than 20 mph, saving gas. Of course, the electric motor needs electricity. For that there is a battery and a generator that is attached to the gas motor. The gas motor will turn on if the battery becomes too drained. With a hybrid, the battery is also charged everytime you would hit the brakes. It uses the turning of the wheels to turn the generator, instead of turning on the gas motor.
    Want to know more, check out

  3. Hybrids employ a super efficient gasoline engine paired with a lightweight, high-output electric motor. Power for the motor is stored in a battery pack behind the rear seat. The motor turns itself into a generator during breaking, helping to slow the car while it builds up the energy stored in the batteries.

  4. A hybrid car is a car that is propelled by more than one energy source. Typically, when one is thinking of a hybrid car, it is usually a gasoline/electric hybrid, as that is what is currently available commercially. (There are diesel-electric concept cars (not in production), and there are diesel-electric locomotives, submarines, and heavy construction equipment…) Usually a dual-fuel vehicle, like a CNG-gasoline or LPG-gasoline vehicle isn’t in the popular hybrid definition, but those are usually aftermarket-fitted anyways.

    How a hybrid car works depends on the technology that a manufacturer decided to use to make it a hybrid. Not all hybrids are created equal.

    As the lowest common denominator, hybrids usually have a larger electric motor (for starting the gasoline engine or for charging the hybrid battery), larger/additional hybrid battery pack to drive the electric motor, auto-stop (gasoline engine turns off at idle), regenerative braking (coasting or light braking will cause the motor to act as a generator, capturing some of that lost kinetic energy of wheel motion and storing it as electricity in the hybrid battery), improved fuel economy, and lower emissions.

    More improved hybrid systems allow for tuning for higher performance (more power or acceleration), or for more fuel efficiency (usually through using a smaller engine, where the electric motors help out). On the more improved hybrid systems, you could see:
    – ability to act as a standing generator to power equipment off-site
    – additional peak power, by the electric motor assisting the gasoline engine as required (for acceleration or hill climbing, for example), similar to a turbo
    – electric-only propulsion (short periods of the electric motors/hybrid battery alone powering the car, for low power requirements (such as coasting, driving on the level, low speeds)
    – reduction in weight and ability to move accessories from belt-driven to electrically-driven (smaller wires needed)

    The Ford/Mercury hybrid system and the Nissan hybrid system is fairly similar to the older Toyota THS system (seen on the 2001-2003 Prius). Toyota/Lexus hybrids are currently using the THS-II or HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) system. Honda is using their IMA (Integrated Motor Assist) hybrid system. GM’s newer hybrids are using their BAS (belt-alternator system) or two-mode system, while their older "hybrid" pickups are pretty much the lowest common denominator listed above.

    For general overviews:

    Specific to manufacturers, how it works (and use a Flash-enabled web browser!):
    Toyota Prius (celebrating it’s 10th anniversary in Dec. 2007!): (use the "Understanding the Prius" link)
    Toyota hybrids in general:
    Lexus hybrids in general:
    Ford Escape Hybrid: (use the Hybrid Technology 01 button on bottom left)
    Mercury Mariner Hybrid:
    Honda Accord Hybrid:
    Honda Civic Hybrid:
    (I couldn’t find anything substantial on the site for the Altima hybrid’s system. GM only notes that they have "hybrids" here: )

    and for the Honda Insight (which in general also covers the Honda IMA seen in the HCH and HAH above):

    There are no commercially-available plug-in hybrids on the market so far. (So you cannot plug them in, other than the same gas station pump that most other regular cars use.) Some hobbiests and aftermarket companies have been altering a few hybrids (Prius, Ford Escape Hybrid/Mercury Mariner Hybrid) to make them plug-in capable. Typically this requires adding additional hybrid batteries, besides the ability to charge off the mains.
    For more information, check out

    For cost reasons, unless you are a fleet owner or other high-mileage driver it probably will not be worth the cost of the PHEV conversion for you. (Conversion pricing is high due to startup costs and low volumes, besides the pricing of the needed additional battery packs.)

    To note, converting to a PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) does not reduce the vehicle’s range. It gives the owner the option to recharge the (newly added larger) hybrid battery pack at night (cheap electricity and off-peak electric load which would otherwise be lost). The vehicle would run for a certain distance (longer than stock) on the stored electric power alone, and when the battery pack is depleted to a certain point the vehicle reverts back to its original hybrid self and runs on a combination of the gasoline engine (which will also recharge the battery) and the electric motor. A PHEV would add a greater all-electric range to the existing hybrid, besides the ability (but not the requirement!) to plug it into an electric source.

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