In the eyes of environmentally conscious individuals, the gas guzzlers that we commonly see around us may seem a big mistake. These cars use fossil fuels, the reserves of which are rapidly depleting. They emit noxious gases, create pollution; they harm the environment as well as our health. For all these reasons, alternative fuel cars or hybrid cars provide a more earth friendly alternative.
Hybrid vehicles are being seen as a viable green alternative to conventional combustion engines as well electric vehicles. Electric vehicles are rechargeable, battery propelled vehicles with zero emissions; producing no noise and no vibrations. As such they are a green, non-polluting means of transport; but they have several limitations.
Electric cars have been around for a very long time – they first came on the scene in the late 1900s and then saw a revival during the energy crisis years of the 1970s and 1980s. However electric vehicles always had their limitations, being unable to go long distances or achieve high speeds and requiring frequent and lengthy charging. So hybrid vehicles that bring together the best features of both – that allow people to reduce pollution and permit them to travel longer distances – are a real, viable alternative.
There are several types of hybrid cars: micro hybrids or mild hybrids use regenerative braking, give greater fuel economy and reduce emissions. Then there are full hybrids which are powered by two systems – an onboard electric motor as well as a combustion engine.
You can use the electric motor when you drive at lower speeds and when you do not have to travel a long distance. So when driving shorter distances at lower speeds, you have the satisfaction of producing no emission. However this is neither practical nor feasible for all of us all of the time. When you need to travel longer distances at higher speeds, the car switches to its combustion engine mode; selecting the appropriate energy source at the appropriate time.
The hybrids cars available today are quite sophisticated and technologically advanced. They offer powerful engines with a superior ride quality, impressive acceleration and excellent fuel economy.
Whether these cars really become the future of motoring will depend upon how cost effective buying and running them will be for a majority of car owners. It is true that hybrids are expensive and out of reach for many of us. However, for those of us who can afford them, they can be a great green option.