Consumer Reports On Hybrid Cars

Hybrids are the in thing these days. A hybrid car operates with 2 engines — one using traditional fuel, and the other energy from a rechargeable battery. With the influx of hybrid cars in the market, one cannot simply take advertisement and supplier claims for their word. After all, it is every hybrid car manufacturer’s duty to sell. So, how do we sift through the multitude of brands, then?

The simplest way is by reading consumer reports on hybrid cars.

There are lots of information available about hybrid cars. Data from the manufacturer’s website are good sources of needed preliminary knowledge on hybrid cars. However, we may be able to glean a much more honest report on the ins and outs of this new revolutionary vehicle by consulting consumer reports.

What consumer reports say about the reliability of hybrid cars

“These hybrid systems have been very reliable,” according to Consumer Reports’ senior director for auto test centers David Champion. Mr. Champion said that around 94% of Toyota Prius owners would definitely buy another Prius and are very happy and satisfied.

Findings like this one can prove valuable to a consumer, because aside from taking individual consumer reports on certain hybrid car models, it also provides comparison on certain features.

However, this doesn’t really show that consumer reports agree with other opinions, as some automobile experts and analysts have criticized the hybrid car as flamboyant because of the fact that two engines are being used for one purpose. Several consumer reports argue explaining that the electric motor adds power to the engine.

Consumer reports often say that they are for the protection of environment, asserting that they are supportive in the burning of less fossil fuel. This is in lieu of opinion from experts that hybrid drivers are paying too high for an automobile that offers only marginally better fuel efficiency than the other economy cars already on the road.

At one point, consumer reports compared the 2003 Honda Civic Hybrid car, which consumes 36 miles per gallon and worth $21,000, with the 2003 Honda Civic EX, which consumes 29 miles per gallon and worth $18,500 a unit on the average. Interested to know the results? The tax break excluded, it would take a consumer 21 years in fuel savings to cover the earlier expense for buying hybrid.

So many information, right? The fact of the matter is, consumer reports only serve as a healthy guide for people planning on buying hybrid cars. It takes rigorous tests on the products itself, using the expertise of its well-appointed staff and crew, and hopes that the consumer will be able to discern for himself if the product is worth buying or not.

In the end, after all the consumer reports that have been released and published about hybrid cars, it is still the buyer’s decision that will prevail.

Some consumer reports say hybrid cars are practical; some don’t. Some say only specific models are recommendable; others argue against them and sing praises about others. The bottomline is, consumer reports are exactly what they are: consumer reports. Their findings are based on their experience and opinions of the their own set of experts. How you respond to them, however, is a different story.

How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

Hybrid vehicles boast of an all-encompassing operational system. They operate by combining an electricity-run motor, a gasoline engine and maximum-powered batteries. The battery gives off energy for the electric motor and recharges when it recaptures the energy that is usually lost when the car is lessening its acceleration or while it is coasting.

Regenerative breaking is the term for this process. In specific instances, the energy coming from the gas engine can be placed into diversion charge the battery simultaneously. Because of this, there is no need to put hybrid cars in plugs

Let us classify hybrid cars into two categories to better understand the battery functions, the engine and the electric motor, and how they work when put together. There are two kinds of hybrids: the mild hybrids and the full hybrids. Each of these kinds have different approaches when combining the three components.

How Mild Hybrid Cars Work

In this type of hybrid car, the electric motor is only an assistant when it comes to operating the main propulsion. It is the gas engine that gives the major energy needed.

The motor depends on the gas engine to be able to operate. The electric motor is capable of eating up electricity from the batteries, or it can come up with energy for it, but the electric motor cannot do these functions at the same time. This is used for two of Honda’s hybrid models, the Insight and the Civic hybrid.

How Full Hybrid Cars Work

The distinction of the full hybrid from the mild variety is that the electric motor and the gas engine can operate on its own. In most instances, the electric motor can function by itself in low speed, and once it picks up, the gasoline engine automatically takes over. Both the motor and the engine can function together if the car is in hard acceleration.

This combined effort provides the car the power that it needs for that situation. Full hybrid cars can consume and build up electricity simultaneously. The full hybrid setup can be found in models such as the popular Toyota Prius, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid, and the Escape hybrid from Ford.

For instance, one can look at the way the Toyota Prius works. The Prius runs on a technology called the Hyrbid Synergy Drive, which involves a power split device to combine the energy of the electric motor and the gas engine. The HSD enables a effortless switching of power sources that the car driver would not notice in the slightest while driving.

Unlike the other mild hybrid types, the Prius can be operated by the electric motor alone powered by the battery pack. As a result, a motorist can drive silently for short amounts of time. The Honda hybrids on this level cannot function just by the electric motor.

While speeding up a highway, the Prius utilizes the gas engine as its main operator, and can get assistance from the generator if needed. Then this hybrid car shuts off the gas engine automatically during stops. This contributes greatly in mileage improvement and produces less emission.

To sum up, the main goal of hybrid cars is providing sustainability amid the growing need for better forms of transport. Environmentally-conscious individuals would find heaven with hybrid cars. However, since they are just being introduced in the market, they can come at quite an expense. With increased patronage, it is hoped that more hybrid cars will become accessible to everyone in the future.