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Benefits of Hybrid Automobiles

Sep 14, 2007
High fuel prices and concerns over the environment have inspired more people than ever to go in search of alternative energy sources. The internal combustion engine is considered to be the biggest polluter on the planet. Hybrid automobiles have been gaining attention and popularity as a result of these concerns. Most manufacturers either currently offer these vehicles or are in the process of developing them.

There are two types of hybrids: series hybrids and parallel hybrids. The parallel kind has a fuel tank for the gas engine and batteries for the electric motor. Both the engine and the electric motor can turn the transmission and power the vehicle. The small gas engine runs the car and the electric motor comes on when needed to boost power. This is typically needed for increasing speed, merging and passing other vehicles. Honda currently uses this technology.

Series hybrids have a gas engine that powers the generator. The generator then charges the batteries and powers the electric motor. The gasoline engine doesn't power the vehicle on its own. The electric motor runs all the time and the gas engine comes on only when needed. This vehicle gets better mileage around town, where the electric motor is doing most of the work. Ford and Toyota currently use this technology.

Hybrid cars get significantly better gas mileage than the traditional internal combustion engine. Most get between 20 and 30 miles per gallon more than standard automobiles. All hybrids shut off the gas engine automatically when the car is stopped. This saves fuel and is better for the environment. When you press the gas pedal, the engine turns back on automatically. The gas engine will also come on to start charging the batteries when they become low on power.

Because less gasoline is burned in these vehicles, there is less pollution causing emissions released into the atmosphere. In addition, there is a lower level of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Many scientists and environmentalists link carbon dioxide to global warming.

Parts of a Hybrid Vehicle:

* Gas engine: the engine is smaller and more energy efficient than engines in traditional vehicles.
* Fuel tank: the fuel tank is also smaller and holds less gasoline. Since these cars burn less, a smaller tank is plenty to power the vehicle.
* Electric Motor: the electric motor acts as both a motor and a generator. The motor takes energy from the batteries to power the car for acceleration. When you slow down, the energy is returned to the batteries, which are then automatically recharged.
* Batteries: a series of batteries store energy needed to power the electric motor.
* Transmission: in most hybrids, the transmission works to propel the car forward in a similar way as in traditional gasoline powered vehicles.

Hybrids recover energy from the electric motor to the battery. When you step on the brake, the energy from the motor is transmitted back to the battery. This process is known as regenerative braking. This helps to recharge the batteries and keep them in good working order.

The aerodynamic designs of the hybrids help in their energy efficiency. Look at pictures of the various hybrids on the market. The shape of the vehicle is intentional. It reduces the frontal area of the car, which reduces the drag on the car when it moves through the air.

Lightweight materials are used on hybrid cars. This is also intentional. The more a car weighs, the more energy is needed to propel the vehicle forward. This is one reason SUVs use so much more gas than other cars. Lighter materials are used to reduce the overall weight of the car and in turn, decrease the energy that is needed to run it.

The tires on these vehicles are specially designed to increase efficiency. Stiffer materials are used in the construction and the tires are inflated to a higher pressure. This ensures optimum efficiency and conserves energy. These tires have about half as much drag as regular tires.

Automobile manufacturers are always looking for ways to increase the energy efficiency. Technology is being continually developed to increase the efficiency and performance of these vehicles. Some of the coming improvements include: increased fuel economy, more safety features, better performance and comfort.

Your new hybrid automobile is an investment that you will want to protect. Keep the exterior looking great with regular washing and waxing to protect the finish of the car. Don't overlook the headlights when performing exterior maintenance. Headlight cleaner and restorer is now available.
About the Author
David Maillie is a chemist with over 12 years experience in biochemical research and clynical analysis. He holds numerous patents including his recently awarded patent for headlight cleaner and restorer. He can be reached at M.D. Wholesale: http://www.mdwholesale.com
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