How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

Dec 7, 2018

How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

Electric and hybrid vehicles are the cars of the future, but do you fully understand how they work? How can a car perform on both traditional fuel and electric? Glove Box Blog is here to walk you through exactly how a hybrid car works, how power is delivered to the wheels when the car starts, stops and when exactly the car uses petrol and when it uses electric.

Hybrid cars work on both;

  1. Electric
  2. Petrol/Diesel

With the selection of hybrids available is finally expanding beyond the Japanese car manufacturers there is a lot more to choose from and understanding how they function is important because when you choose your next car it’s likely that you’ll consider a hybrid or an electric vehicle.

So, How Does Starting A Hybrid Car Work?

When a hybrid vehicle is starting off the car is only using electricity to power the initial take off. The car will only use electric when the car is operating at a low speed once the car goes above a certain speed (usually 15mph) then the petrol engine will kick in to assist. When the car is only using electric it’s producing zero emissions which essentially means it’s not polluting the environment, hence why these cars are the car of the future. This is why Hybrids are great for city drivers, the stop-start style driving means that the vehicle will operate mainly on electric which saves you on fuel costs.

Hybrid Regular Driving

During regular driving, the car is using all resources to propel the vehicle forward, depending on the type of hybrid it can use favour to use electric or petrol. During regular driving kinetic energy is converted to electric and stored for future use. When reving and using high acceleration for example up a hill the fuel kicks and combines with the electric to drive power to the wheels. This also sends power to the generator which re-charges the car’s battery.

Hybrid Braking

When braking the engine takes a break and the and electric motor turns off the car switches to battery power. The diagram below is from Toyota which explains the motions and what ‘fuel’ is used at each stage of the driving process.

Hybrid Cars Explained

Source: Toyota Europe

What are the advantages of Hybrid Cars?

  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Financial Benefits & Incentives
  • Regenerative braking
  • Reduced fuel dependence
  • Fewer emissions
  • Smaller engines
  • Higher resale value

What are the disadvantages of Hybrid Cars?

  • Low power
  • Less speed
  • Poorer performance
  • Poorer handling
  • Higher Price
  • Higher maintenance costs
  • Presence of high voltage batteries
  • Hybrid cars are most definitely the cars of the future but they require an electrically trained mechanic and finding a trained mechanic can be a difficult task. can connect you to thousands of garages nationwide. If your hybrid needs a service, MoT or brakes or just repair work then get a quote today by entering your reg number and a few details and we’ll source the quotes from electrically trained mechanics near you.

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