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How a Hybrid Car Works

We all know hybrid vehicles have a gasoline engine and an electric engine. But just how does a hybrid car work?

According to the web site HybridCars.com, most hybrids start out using the electric motor "until about 15 mph—or if you accelerate very slowly, all the way up to about 30 mph."

The site writes:

At low speeds, the careful driver is effectively operating an electric car, with no gas being burned, and no exhaust spewed from the tailpipe. Pretty cool. The more spirited driver will cause the ICE (internal combustion engine) to kick in at lower speeds.

At higher speeds, the gasoline engine kicks in. However, the hybrid's computer is constantly monitoring things:

For your entire ride, the computer will be calculating when to let the gasoline engine do all the work and how much of a boost it needs from the electric motor. Because of the intermittent (but powerful) assist from the electric motor, the gasoline engine can achieve basically the same performance as a conventional car even when it has a smaller, more efficient size. Why put a high-horsepower, high-consumption engine into a car, when most drivers never drag race?

As far as recharging the batteries, that is done by reclaiming the energy when the driver steps on the brakes, which then act as a sort of generator.

This site follows the emergence, application and development of transportation innovation. Reference to manufacturers, makes and models, and other automotive-related businesses are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an endorsement by FutureCars.com.

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