Hybrid vehicles are one of the greatest automotive innovations of the past couple decades. However, when you think about driving a hybrid, all you are thinking is: "I'm saving gas and money!". But, do you ever stop and wonder just what a hybrid is and exactly how it's saving you all that gas and money? Lucky for you, we're here to shed some light on that topic.
What is a hybrid engine?
The term “hybrid” refers to a combination of some sort. In the case of a hybrid engine, it is combining traditional gasoline and electricity to power the vehicle, keeping you on the road and away from gas pumps longer. To go even further in depth, there are three types of hybrid engines:
1) Series Hybrid System - In a Series Hybrid System, the gas-powered engine drives a generator, which in turn powers the electric motor from the converted electricity of the generator to drive the wheels. The engine and motor do approximately the same amount of work.
2) Parallel Hybrid System - In this system the engine AND the electric motor, which are parallel to each other, drive the wheels. In contrast, in the Series Hybrid system mentioned earlier, only the electric motor would be driving the wheels. The engine in a parallel system, however, is the main power source and is used much more than the motor, which is used mainly to provide acceleration.
3) Series/Parallel Hybrid System - Lastly, the most efficient system is the Series/Parallel Hybrid System. This system combines both of the previous systems to maximize the benefits of both, which in turn delivers you the best fuel efficiency available. In this case, since the motor can run on electricity as it is generated, it is used more than the engine.
Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive. Toyota has combined all of these of these hybrid systems to produce their Hybrid Synergy Drive or HSD system, which is the name given to all Toyota and Lexus hybrid models. The main difference between Toyota hybrids and their competitors is that Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system generates enough power to be self-sustaining. In other words, the petrol engine is not needed during ignition or low speed situations. Only when you need more acceleration and speed does the engine kick in.
Why should you purchase a Toyota Hybrid?
Along with the money that is saved on gas, Toyota's hybrid engines were also designed with the preservation of the environment in mind. In 1997, Toyota began its Toyota Eco Project in the hopes of reducing CO2 emissions and the effects of global warming.This, combined with their desire to double the fuel efficiency of conventional vehicles led Toyota to envision and create the Toyota Hybrid System for passenger vehicles in 1997.
What Hybrid Vehicles Does Toyota Offer?
Toyota offers a variety of hybrid vehicles in different trim levels ranging from compact cars to SUV's. We have chosen three models below to give you an idea of Toyota's wide selection of hybrids to choose from.
- Prius C. Lets start with the most efficient and best value. At 46 highway mpg and starting at $19,080, the Prius C is your best value hybrid vehicle. Standard in the Prius C is the EV/ECO Mode, which gives you control of the driving mode you want. EV Mode allows the vehicle to run solely on electricity whereas ECO Mode will help maximize fuel economy by limiting the climate control operation and adjusting the throttle response. Also standard on the Prius C is a 3.5 inch multi-information display, Bluetooth capability, and keyless entry.
- Camry Hybrid. Another great hybrid to choose from is the Toyota Camry Hybrid. Starting at $26,140 and getting 39 highway mpg, the Camry Hybrid offers a more spacious vehicle while still not sacrificing fuel economy. There are two trims to choose from, the LE and the XLE. Both come with the EV/ECO Mode, 6.1 inch touch screen audio display with Bluetooth capability, and the Smart Key System with Push Button Start.
- Highlander Hybrid. If you are the type that needs SUV-like capabilities but want sedan-like gas mileage, look no further than the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and Hybrid Limited. At 28 mpg highway and city you will be hard pressed to find any hybrid crossover with comparable mileage that can seat as many as seven. Starting at $40,170, the Highlander Hybrid comes standard with 4WD, Entune, Navigation, a 3.5 inch multi-information display, and back up camera. Both feature hybrid V6 engines and 280 horsepower for all your towing needs.
Where to start?
If you are interested in learning more about Toyota hybrids or would like to take one for a test drive, visit us at our Greater Boston Toyota Dealership or leave us a comment here and we would be happy to assist you with any and all questions you may have.