The Toyota Prius Hybrid, introduced in Japan in 1997, was the first mass-produced hybrid car. Honda’s Insight Hybrid came out in the United States and Japan in 1999.
A hybrid car is an automobile that combines an internal combustion engine and electric propulsion drive train. Most hybrids employ a conventional 4-cylinder gasoline engine and electric generator. This combination is a more efficient system in delivering power to the drive wheels. The electric motor is superior at supplying torque, that is, getting the car moving quickly. The gasoline engine is best suited for maintaining the car’s momentum at higher speeds. The combination of the two propulsion systems yields better fuel economy and cleaner emissions. This “hybrid” system “switches” the two motors at optimum speeds to maximize fuel efficiency and performance.
Initially, hybrid cars were not that popular because they were priced considerably higher than conventional gasoline-powered cars and production capability was limited. Toyota and Honda had very few factories dedicated to producing hybrids.
I sold the Toyota Prius between 2000 and 2007 and the typical buyer was a high-income customer who liked the idea of using less gas and expelling lower emissions. The Prius was usually three to six thousand dollars more than comparably equipped, 4- cylinder gasoline Toyota Corollas.
But, the hybrid cars gained popularity as gasoline prices went up and down. The hybrid cars became more comfortable to drive and came better equipped; The idea of much better fuel mileage “caught on” in the eyes of the consumer. The hybrid batteries are more compact in size and more powerful and, prices have moderated in that they are more “inline” with non-hybrid cars.
Today, every manufacturer, including Toyota, Honda, Ford, GM, Fiat/Chrysler, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda and all the luxury brands offer sophisticated hybrid models.
An example of the efficiency of a hybrid automobile vs. a conventional 4-cylinder gasoline equipped car:
- A 2018 Toyota Corolla LE
- City: 28 mpg
- Hwy: 36 mpg
- Overall 32 mpg
- A 2018 Toyota Prius (base model)
- City: 54 mpg
- Hwy: 50 mpg
- Overall: 52 mpg
- Hybrid cars are here to stay because:
(A) They get far superior gas mileage.
(B) They give off far fewer emissions.
(C) Their batteries are smaller in size and more powerful.
(D) They are very well equipped.
(E) They have state-of-the-art interiors and beautiful exterior styling.
(F) Their pricing is more “in-line” with conventional powered cars.
Do yourself a favor; Before you buy your next car, check out the new 2018/2019 hybrid models. I think you will be quite happy in what you’ll find.
Remember for your auto parts, please shop online from Amazon.com, Tirerack.com, and Vividracing.com.