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With all the discussions regarding environmental policies and climate change going on right now, ‘hybrid’ is a buzz word. Many say that hybrid vehicles are better for the environment and that generally, all cars are heading towards becoming more electric. But while everyone is discussing why hybrids and electric vehicles (EVs) are such a great idea, no one is discussing what they actually are or how they get you where you're trying to go.

To make a complicated explanation simple, hybrid cars are vehicles that rely on two different sources of energy. The vast majority of hybrids in North America are electric hybrids, meaning that they run partly on gas and partly on electricity. This means that the vehicle has both an electric motor and a conventional engine. Depending on the situation, the car may solely run on the electric motor or the engine, but in most cases, the two would work together to power the vehicle.

Acura Pickering in Pickering - How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

The term hybrid basically covers all vehicles that are not solely electric or solely gas-powered, meaning each hybrid varies in how often it actually uses the electric motor. Some mostly use the engine with the electric motor only kicking in when the vehicle is speeding up or slowing down, while others almost exclusively use the electric motor, and only use the engine to recharge the motor’s battery as the car is being driven.

Hybrids are thought of as environmentally friendly because, like electric cars, they save on gas by using the electric motor instead of the internal combustion engine, and as a result, manufacturers are able to improve the car's fuel economy. Decreasing the amount of fuel the car uses is better for the environment because it cuts down on your use of fossil fuels (which are already being rapidly depleted) and limits the emissions of CO2, a major contributor to climate change.

Acura Pickering in Pickering - How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

Types of Hybrids

Vehicles that have both electric motors and gasoline engines usually fall into one of two categories: hybrids and plug-in hybrids.

  • Hybrids: A conventional hybrid mostly uses its gasoline engine as the main source of fuel, while the electric motor only really kicks in during acceleration and deceleration.
  • Plug-In Hybrids: A plug-in hybrid runs mostly using its electric motor and only uses the engine to provide additional power to the motor when its battery pack is dying or if the car is speeding up/slowing down.

Plug-in hybrids, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, need to be plugged into a source of electricity. This lets you recharge the electric motor’s battery without the use of the engine. Most plug-in hybrids can be charged either at a charging station or at home using a standard electrical outlet (though this does take longer to charge this way). Traditional hybrids, on the other hand, don’t need to be plugged in since the vehicle’s engine (which requires gas) provides energy to the car’s electric motor.

Acura Pickering in Pickering - How Do Hybrid Cars Work?

At Acura, we currently offer two of our vehicle models as hybrids: the MDX (our SUV hybrid) and the RLX (our car hybrid). Both the MDX hybrid and the RLX hybrid are traditional hybrids and do not need to be plugged in. Our hybrids are extremely fuel efficient; the MDX can get you 822 km on a single tank of gas while our RLX has a range of 680 km. For more information on our hybrid models, give us a call at 905-428-8888 or check out our inventory here.

Hybrids can be a great option since they’re both environmentally friendly and help you save money on gas. They may be slightly pricier than their gas-powered counterparts, but the rebate offered by the Canadian government on plug-in hybrids and electric cars (which is up to $5000) can definitely level the playing field. Overall, a hybrid can definitely be a great option if you’re in the market for a new car.