Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Look At Hybrid Cars

By: Mike Eggert

Are hybrid cars, the cars of the future? Only time will tell. I am sure most of you have by now heard about the new hybrid cars in the marketplace today. I'm also sure many of you are saying, "What the heck is a hybrid car anyway?" Well let us see if we as laymen people from the old school of gasoline automobiles can understand these new high tech automobiles.

Firstly we need to know what powers a hybrid. Well a hybrid has a gasoline engine and also a battery powered generator. The gasoline engine in the equation is much the same as the cars most of us are driving today. In most cases it is a bit smaller than the engines in our somewhat larger automobiles we currently drive. The reason for this is because the generator helps power the hybrid car. Both still operate the same as far as having a transmission to drive the wheels. Albeit a much more sophisticated version than what is in the typical gasoline powered vehicle. The difference is when the car begins to slow down, the gasoline engine stops and the generator motor takes over, thus saving fuel you would be burning for instance at a stoplight. Now, not only is this a saving for you as a consumer. It is also making the air we breathe cleaner. Both are I'm sure you will agree, a good thing. Now, both engines require a tank for the fuel, a gas tank the same as most of us have now, but also a tank for the generator, which is a set of batteries that must be kept charged. You see, this is the purpose for the generator.

It takes about 1000 pounds of batteries to equal the energy in a gallon of gasoline. Sounds like a lot of extra weight, but with the new designs this is not a problem. The newer designs are even converting kinetic energy produced by the engine into electric energy for the batteries. Confused yet? If not, you are probably reading the wrong article. However, it really doesn't matter if you understand the inner workings completely. By now you should at least have a basic understanding of what makes these little cars more efficient.

I'm sure you have seen some of the new hybrid cars on the street and were maybe a bit taken back by their appearance at first. Yes, the new hybrids do take some getting used to, especially the early models. They are a little smaller in size and very aerodynamic in design. And, with a driving force of about 60-90 horsepower, don't feel quite as powerful as your current automobile, but on the horizon are several new models, including SUV's that are much more traditional in their styling.

I think for now at least, the hybrid cars will take over a big part of the auto industry and carry us along until the arrival of the eco- friendly efficient cars of the future.

Take a ride in one of the new hybrid cars and decide for yourself if they are worth all the hype.

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