How Does a Hybrid Car Work?
Drivers looking for a more fuel-efficient and eco-friendlier ride are turning to hybrid cars. As these vehicles become more popular, many drivers ask: How does a hybrid car work? What’s the difference between a parallel hybrid and a plug-in hybrid?
Our team at Val-U-Line® has the answer. We’re going to break down the inner workings of a hybrid car so you can decide if it’s the right ride for you! Then, browse our used hybrid inventory online.
How Do Hybrids Work?
A hybrid car combines two engines. There’s the traditional, gas-powered internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors, which are powered by a high-voltage battery pack. Hybrid cars come with a wide range of performance features and capabilities you won’t find on most vehicles. They include:
- Smaller engines
- DC/DC converter
- Regenerative braking
- Power electronics controller
- Electric Motor Drive/Assist
What is regenerative braking? The most common type of hybrid car comes with a parallel hybrid system. It can’t be plugged in, so the battery must be charged by other means. In steps regenerative braking. It harnesses the heat created by the friction of the brake pads and rotors and uses it to recharge the battery pack.
Hybrid cars can drive using all-gas power or all-electric power for short trips. When using both at the same time, however, you’ll be able to maximize the range of the vehicle. Plus, the Electric Motor Drive/Assist lets the electric motor supplement the power of the internal combustion engine to enable more effective passing and merging.
How Does a Plug-In Hybrid Work?
The powertrain in a plug-in hybrid is like that of a parallel hybrid but offers a larger battery pack, which helps further extend the all-electric driving range and the combined range. A larger battery means more powerful charging is necessary, which is why plug-in hybrids come with an onboard charging outlet that can be plugged into an auxiliary power source.
Plug-in hybrids typically offer an all-electric range between 15 and 55 miles. If you recharge nightly and have a short commute, a plug-in hybrid could possibly reduce your trips to the gas station. It also makes them a great eco-friendly option.
Do electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids work the same way? No. In a plug-in hybrid, the internal combustion engine is connected to the driveline. In most EVs, there is no internal combustion engine at all. However, some feature a small gas-powered generator that can charge the battery in emergencies, but it’s not connected to the driveline.
Most Popular Used Hybrid Vehicles
There are so many great used hybrid cars out there and in our inventory. Whether you’re looking to avoid that weekly trip to the gas station or just become a more eco-conscious driver, there’s bound to be one that suits your needs. Some of the best hybrid cars include:
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Civic Hybrid
- Hyundai Ioniq
- Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid
- Ford Escape Hybrid
The Toyota Prius was one of the first hybrid vehicles to be mass produced, and it still leads the charge in many ways. The cutting-edge Hybrid Synergy Drive® helps the gasoline engine deliver both power and enhanced fuel economy. You may also find pre-owned models packed with interior technologies, like Bluetooth® connectivity and a JBL® GreenEdge™ Audio System.
If you need more room for your growing family, a hybrid SUV like the Ford Escape has it. When equipped with the available hybrid powertrain, most used models achieve around an EPA-estimated 34 city/31 highway MPG. You’ll also have about 66 cubic feet of cargo space to fill up with the rear seats lowered.
Learn More About Hybrid Cars Today!
Now that you know more about how hybrid cars work, you can decide if it’s time to hit the road in one of your own. You can see your favorites up close and experience them firsthand at one of Val-U-Line®’s nationwide used car dealers.