Hybrid cars have been on the scene for a while now. Honda introduced the hybrid to the US market at the turn of the century in their Insight. It was an unusual little car with quirky styling, but it was well received by “tree hugger” community and techies who wanted the latest gadget. It was a two-seater, a fact that helped to limit its market appeal, but it implanted the new idea of hybrids in the public’s mind. Honda’s technical approach was to simply add an electric motor to the drive train, dubbed “integrated motor assist.”
In 2001 Toyota brought their “Hybrid Synergy Drive” to America’s roads in the first-generation Prius. A more practical four seater, it was a cute hybrid car that was also very reliable and efficient. In 2004, they cloaked the same drivetrain and an improved hybrid battery in the iconic wedge-shaped hatchback body style that most of us instantly identify as the Prius. Today, the same technology has been employed in a lot of models in the Toyota product range including the Camry, Avalon, and Highlander and various models of Lexus, including the luxurious LS600h.
Since then most foreign and domestic manufacturers have ventured into the hybrid world, employing various technologies. Hybrid cars are attractive to car manufacturers because the appeal to buyers who want to be “green.” Also, the MPG ratings help manufacturers meet their government-imposed Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
So, why not electric cars? Unlike and electric car, a hybrid will get you to a gas station and ultimately home. Let’s say you run out of gas in your hybrid – you Uber to a gas station and borrow a can which you take back to your car and drive back to the gas station. Now let’s say you run out of electrons in your electro-mobile. You will have to have the car towed to the nearest public charging station and wait (how long?) for it to get enough juice to get you where you are going.
SOMEDAY there may be as many charging stations as there are gas stations and charging times will improve, but in the meantime hybrid cars looks like a pretty good bet from a lot of perspectives. It helps that there are hybrid experts like The Hybrid Shop around to make sure these cars will last and last. You can shop for a used hybrid car by browsing our inventory.