13 February, 2008

Overview of Hybrid Cars + New Models

Overview of Hybrid Cars + New Models

The Aptera (Greek for “wingless”) is an environmentally-friendly car that’s as clean and green as it is fantastically futuristic. The three-wheeled hybrid, which offers an all-electric or plug-in hybrid option, isn’t just a concept- you can reserve your own with just a $500 deposit. Seating 2.5 with plenty of room for luggage, the Aptera can get up to 230 miles per gallon at 55 miles per hour, and has an (electronically limited) top speed of 95 mph. Plus, it’s just so darn cool looking, we can’t resist the arthropod automobile aesthetic.

When H. Piper conceived the hybrid car decades ago, he thought of a vehicle running on the combined power of a gasoline engine and an electric motor. Today’s hybrid cars are made on the same principle of dual power sources. So what is the basic point of difference between the hybrid cars belonging to two ages?

The point of difference lies in their purposes.

Piper’s intention was to create a car that could achieve a speed of 0 to 25 miles per hour within only seconds. While it’s not a big deal today, in those days it was viewed as great achievement.

Today’s hybrid cars are manufactured with an eye for energy conservation; they are politically correct to own and stylish to drive.

So no wonder today, the hybrid car market has stretched far beyond one or two choices (read Toyota Prius) ; tax incentives, feature packed models and most importantly, unbelievable fuel efficiency have made the hybrid cars the choice of the new generation consumers, who happen to be more environment-conscious than their older generation counterparts.

Hollywood stars are famous for their love affair with hybrid cars. Even the Oscar award functions are used as the platform for promoting hybrid philosophy by encouraging the stars to appear in their hybrid vehicles than the traditional limousines.

So what makes the difference? Does it make any difference at all?

To begin with hybrid cars are more fuel efficient than the ordinary cars. Some of the Japanese hybrid models can give you a straight 68 miles per gallon saving on the motorway. By cutting on fuel consumption, they significantly contribute to a greener environment. On the personal front, hybrid cars are guaranteed to play easy on your pocket in the long run.

Hybrid cars—why are they greener?

Hybrid cars help to preserve the fast diminishing fossil fuel resources of the world. They help in keeping the pollution level low by producing less than half of the carbon dioxide and half of the carbon monoxide, less nitrogen oxide, less hydrocarbons, and less particulate matters produced by their non-hybrid counterpart. The fact that hybrids produce considerably less undesired by-products makes a hybrid the most environmentally friendly choice.

What is the main reason behind more and more people’s preferring a hybrid vehicle over a traditional car? It is not just the monetary consideration of energy efficiency ; people are today more concerned about the factors such as global warming and air pollution and that influences their choice in favor of a hybrid vehicle which is undoubtedly greener due to lower fuel consumption, use of battery and lot lower production of harmful byproducts.

Thus the rich Hollywood stars are not alone in their selection; the world is slowly but steadily moving toward the hybrid version of vehicles. From being fashionable & politically correct, the green hybrid cars are no doubt emerging as the choice of the future.

Hybrid Vehicles
Many people are unsure of what is meant by a hybrid vehicle, as they are not well publicised. However, it is relatively simple concept, where an ordinary internal combustion engine is combined with an alternative source of energy such as batteries or electricity. This alternative takes over from the engine during times when the engine is least efficient, such as long slow drives.

These hybrids are therefore twice as efficient and half as polluting. There are other benefits too – such as lower tax, exemption from congestion charges and cheaper insurance.

Hybrids are an ideal ‘in-between’ vehicle for the environmentally conscious person who is unable, or reluctant to opt for an electric vehicle.

They are just hybrid versions of cars that are already on the market, such as the Honda Civic, Prius, Accord and Insight. There are also SUV versions such as the Ford Escape, Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX400h.

You can also convert your own vehicle into a hybrid, as long as it is under 6 years old. This can be costly, so unless you are sure the vehicle is in super condition, and that the conversion will work, then it may be best to opt for purchasing a new hybrid.

There are various government schemes currently running, that are designed to assist you in converting your vehicle, or purchasing a new one.

Autogas+ is a Scottish initiative (which is about to close). It offers motorists and businesses £800 towards the cost of buying a new LPG/Petrol hybrid vehicle, or converting you own to a hybrid.

Powershift – This is a register used Nationally, where you can check which vehicles, makes, models and manufacturers are registered as being officially low-emission. Vehicles on this register get a 100% discount from the London Congestion charges. This is very good news, as vehicles travelling into London are charged around £8 per day!