Hybrid vehicles are blazing the trail for new forms of transportation, but can they run on only gas? Let’s find out.
Hybrids are known as the stepping stone between pure EVs (electrical vehicles) and cars with traditional combustion engines. They’re becoming increasingly popular and according to Statista, the global hybrid car production will reach 5.4 million units by 2025.
You can find multiple types of hybrid cars available in the market with different drivetrain configurations. One of the most common questions related to hybrid cars is whether or not they run purely on gas. There’s no one-word answer to this question.
That’s why it’s important to understand different types of hybrid cars and how they actually work. If you’re wanting to buy a new car, it’ll help you to choose the right option according to your needs.
What Is A Hybrid Car?
A hybrid car utilizes both an electric motor and a traditional gas engine as its power source. In a nutshell, it’s a cross between an electric and a diesel or petrol car.
Because of their fuel efficiency and eco-friendly operation, hybrid cars have become very popular in the last two decades.
How Do Hybrid Cars work?
As discussed, hybrid vehicles are powered by a combination of gasoline and electricity. This means they consume less fuel than traditional gasoline vehicles, making them more fuel-efficient. They also emit less greenhouse gas, which not only lowers the tax, but also benefits the environment.
However, the actual MPG (miles per gallon), emission, and fuel efficiency of a hybrid car vary depending upon their technology and your driving style.
Hybrid Car Types
Primarily, there are four different hybrid car types, and each comes with a slightly different working mechanism.
Series Hybrid Cars
In a series hybrid car, the gas engine provides power to the generator that charges the battery by producing electricity. As a result, the electric motor is used to propel the wheels. This means that the gas engine is never used to move the vehicle forward, as it only powers the electric motor to drive the car.
It’s also important to note that a series hybrid car can use a combination of both power sources as well. The gas engine comes into play to achieve faster speed if the car needs more power or the battery gets low.
This working mechanism makes this type of hybrid very efficient, especially in city traffic where you continuously need to stop and go.
Parallel Hybrid Cars
Parallel hybrids, as the name suggests, come with a configuration where the electric motor and petrol engine are coupled. Both of the power sources work together to propel the car. However, the electric motor only gives a boost and most of the work is done by the gas engine.
The main difference between series and parallel hybrid cars is that rather than generating electricity, the gas engine directly powers the car. This type is also the cheapest one, but it offers less fuel efficiency as compared to series hybrids.
Series-Parallel Hybrid Cars
The series-parallel hybrid is the combination of all types discussed above. This means you can drive this type of hybrid only on the electric motor, purely on gas, or a combination of both. In addition, the gas engine in series-parallel hybrids also comes with the capability to charge the battery.
However, if you’re driving normally, then the electric motor will provide a boost, and the gas engine will work as the main power source. On the other hand, if you’re driving in the city with a lot of traffic, then the battery will take over.
In simple words, the series-parallel hybrids do run solely on the electric motor, but only when you’re driving at a low speed.
A PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) comes with a configuration closer to an electric vehicle. It’s modern technology and it allows you to charge the battery by using an external power source. You can use a charging station or your home’s wall outlet to achieve that. The petrol engine can also charge the battery while driving.
This type of hybrid comes with a larger battery as compared to other types. This means you can travel longer distances by using only the battery power.
So Can Hybrid Cars Run On Gas Only?
As you can see, hybrid cars mainly rely on gas to run. The all-electric range of most hybrids out there is very low (a few kilometers), and plug-in hybrids can cover about 40 to 50 kilometers at most.
After that, the gas engine kicks in and continues to power the vehicle as long as you’re driving without frequently using the brakes. From this perspective, a hybrid car can run only on gas.
On the other hand, if your hybrid car’s battery is dead or removed then you won’t be able to use it. You’ll need to replace or repair the battery if you want to operate your car normally.
How Is The Hybrid Car’s Battery Charged?
The mechanism of charging the battery depends upon the hybrid type you have. Most hybrids, including PHEV and series, produce electricity using their gas engines to charge the battery. In addition, you can also use an external source to charge your plug-in hybrid’s battery.
Parallel hybrids use a different charging mechanism. They create electricity by using the excess energy (created when the car is decelerating or idling) to charge the battery.
If a majority of your commute is done in the city, then a hybrid car will suit you the best. It’ll allow you to run mostly on electric power to save fuel. If you are looking for a car to drive mostly on the motorway, then a traditional car with a gas engine might suit you better.
However, if you’re concerned about the environment and want to stick to a hybrid car, then you can choose any of the types discussed above according to your preferences.
Bear in mind that you’ll need to keep the battery of your hybrid in a good condition to make the best out of your experience.