An Overview Of The Common Types Of Hybrid Vehicles

If you are shopping for your first hybrid car, then you should know that they are not created equal; there are various forms of hybrid cars. Here are the three major categories of hybrids available today.

Mild Hybrid

In this case, the switch between internal combustion engine (ICE) and the electric engine takes place automatically depending on the circumstances. The Ice is engaged when the car has at least a reasonable load; for example, if driving on a flat surface, driving uphill, or towing something. However, the electric system automatically kicks off if the car's load falls below average, for example, if the car is driving downhill or slowing down (like when you are stopping the car). This way the car saves power but still maintains its efficiency. The electric system also powers most of the car's electrical parts when the ICE is switched off. Mild hybrid cars are relatively simple and cost-effective. The ICE of a mild hybrid car charges its electric system side when the ICE is operational.

Series Hybrid

As you can see from the above description of mild hybrids, the ICE does most of the work with the electric system only coming into play under very light load circumstances, which aren't that many. The series hybrid cars are a step above the mild hybrid in that it is more of a balanced system. In series hybrids, the ICE is used to power the car at high loads and high speeds, but the car's electric system then kicks off at reduced speeds or at low load conditions. This means you will be able to cruise around town at low speeds using the electric system, but then use the ICE when speeding on an interstate. In this case, the ICE charges the electric batteries when it is running.

Plug-In Hybrid

Whereas the mild hybrid relies on ICE most of the time and the series hybrid is more or less balanced, the plug-in hybrid tips the balance on the other side and relies mostly on the electric system. The plug-in hybrid gets its name from the fact that it can be charged by plugging it into an electric charging station. Plug-in hybrids also tend to have bigger batteries than mild or series hybrid cars. The bigger batteries coupled with the plug-in charging gives plug-in hybrids longer ranges than the other two types of hybrids. Expect to spend a little more money on plug-in hybrids during purchase.

For more information, contact a company like Benchmark Motors INC.