It’s well documented that car emissions are a leading contributor to greenhouse gases, and as we all become increasingly environmentally aware, more and more of us are choosing to buy a hybrid car. So how do these cars work, and is buying one a sound investment?
Hybrids work using a combination of an electric motor and a more conventional engine running on petrol or diesel. Some use the conventional engine for when the power in the electric batteries runs out, and others use the electric motor alongside the petrol or diesel engine to improve running costs and lower emissions. All-electric cars need charging up at special power points, but hybrids use the motor as a generator, continuously recharging the battery.
All this sophisticated technology does come at a cost, as hybrids tend to be more pricey than their conventional equivalents, but this is partly offset by tax credits, and the other incentives that are available (such as exemption from the congestion charge in London). Another upside is that they are almost always cheaper to run, consuming much less fuel and giving much better mileage. And, of course, you have the added assurance that your car is low on emissions and better for the environment. They are cleaner to run, and clever features such as ‘idle-off’ (where the engine shuts down as you sit at traffic lights or in a traffic jam, so there are no fumes being released as you sit not moving) help to keep the local air free of smog.
There is a hybrid model for everyone – from hatchbacks to luxe saloon cars – so you’re sure to find a model to suit your needs. And when you come to sell, you may find that your hybrid has a higher resale value thanks to their increasing popularity. A win-win all round.