What are Hybrid Cars?

Hybrid cars are usually powered by both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor. Put simply, these cars are not fully electric, but not 100% petrol either. In Australia, there are three main type of hybrid cars, a mild hybrid, a parallel hybrid, or a plug-in hybrid.

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Hybrid Car FAQs

Traditionally, cars run on petrol and diesel, however with the rise of hybrid and electric cars there are a number of more environmentally friendly alternatives for car buyers.

Unlike a completely petrol or diesel car, a hybrid vehicle uses a combination of fuel and electricity to run. There are a few types of hybrid cars which differ in how the electric and petrol components work together to power the car. Hybrid cars have lower emissions than petrol vehicles and use less fuel.

The best part about hybrid vehicles is they are more friendly on the environment, which means you’ll be spending less money on petrol and putting less emissions into the environment. They are particularly good for city driving where in stages of heavy traffic, the electric component of the car will be used more frequently.

By definition, a hybrid car uses less petrol than a regular car, so you are saving money on fuel and the environment from emissions. Other advantages include an automatic start and stop when the vehicle is idle, and a regenerative braking system, meaning each time you hit the brakes, it will help recharge the car battery. They may also have a higher re-sale value than older model cars or fuel cars.

One disadvantage of a hybrid car is that it can be more expensive than regular petrol cars, but this should be considered alongside the fact that you’ll be saving on running costs. There may also be higher maintenance costs due to more complex engines which may be difficult for some mechanics to work with.

Hybrid cars also rely on fuel to run, and depending on the type of hybrid car, the all electric capability can be as little as 2km before the petrol engine will assist. Some plug-in hybrids however can go up to 50km before the petrol engine kicks in.

Lithium ion battery, nickel metal hydride battery and lead acid battery are the three main types of batteries used in hybrid cars.

Lithium ion batteries are the same as those used in mobile phones and laptops, and these have high energy and high power-to-weight ratio.

Nickel-metal hydrid batteries are more commonly seen in computer and medical equipment, and have a longer life cycle than the other battery options.

Lead-acid batteries are high in power, and often cheaper than the alternatives. They are the least prone to failure of all options, however have more limited charging capacity.

Most hybrid cars can’t be plugged in to charge the battery. Instead, the battery gets charged through regenerative braking and also by the internal engine. However, there are specific types of plug-in hybrids which are charged via plug-in. The size of the battery will determine how fast the car can get charged.

Parallel hybrids use a smaller battery, and therefore rely on regenerative breaking. In a series hybrid, it’s only the electric motor which turns the wheels, and they require larger batteries to meet their power needs. Series hybrids are more costly than parallel and are not as efficient for highway driving as parallel.

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