Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid Technology: Are You Current?

hybrids and plug-in hybridsIn the quest to build more fuel-efficient vehicles, several auto manufacturers have started offering both hybrids and plug-in hybrids. When choosing between the different types of vehicles available, it’s helpful to understand the differences between hybrids and plug-in hybrids and the potential advantages of the technologies. 

Hybrid vehicles

A “traditional” hybrid vehicle uses batteries and electric motors to improve the engine’s fuel efficiency. There are three primary ways in which a hybrid conserves fuel:

  • Since the electric motors provide additional horsepower for acceleration, the gasoline engine can be smaller and kept running at a constant, fuel-efficient RPM.
  • They have start-stop systems that shut the engine down completely when it’s not needed, with the batteries powering the car during those times.
  • They use regenerative braking to recapture the energy of momentum and recharge the batteries.

Plug-in hybrids

Hybrids and plug-in hybrids share most of the same features, including the technologies listed above. But there is one defining difference:

  • In a regular hybrid, all of the energy originally comes from gasoline or diesel fuel. Even the batteries are charged by the engine driving a generator.
  • With a plug-in hybrid, at least some of the energy comes from the city’s electrical power grid. Though the engine may recharge the batteries (if needed), the initial charge comes from plugging it in to a power outlet.

To make better use of this charging capability, most plug-in hybrid vehicles have more battery capacity and more powerful electric motors, so they can be driven in all-electric mode.

A plug-in hybrid operates as an electric vehicle until the battery charge is depleted, at which point the engine turns on. If your commute is shorter than the range of its batteries, though, the engine never turns on, and the car uses no gas at all. The MPG rating of a plug-in hybrid therefore depends heavily on how far you’re driving each day.

At Swapalease.com, you can find affordable lease transfers on a number of environmentally-friendly hybrids and plug-in hybrids. If you have any questions about how our convenient lease transfer program works, please contact us.

Image via Shutterstock.com

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