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All About Hybrids

Date: 16-Jul-09

Basically, a hybrid car is any vehicle combining the power of two or more energy sources. Hybrids reduce petrol use and greenhouse gas emissions by using the electric motor powered by an internal battery, rather than the usual petrol engine alone. The ability to use two different types of motors makes hybrids more efficient, since drivers can draw on the strengths of each type. Petrol engines are more efficient at high speeds, and electric motors at low speed, stop-start city driving. 

Not all hybrids are created equal though. There are two types of hybrid vehicles - a ‘full' hybrid and a ‘mild' hybrid. Toyota's latest Prius - the All New 3rd Generation Prius powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive - is the former, a ‘full' hybrid. 

A 'mild' hybrid always has the petrol engine spinning to propel the car, even at low speeds. They become more efficient at higher speeds when the electric motor supplements the petrol engine. The Prius, however, can run on the electric motor alone, or a combination of both electric and petrol, choosing the most fuel-efficient balance between electric and petrol power at any speed.

It can also charge the hybrid battery while the car is running - not just while braking as in a ‘mild hybrid'. ‘Full hybrids' conserve the largest amount of fuel and significantly lower emissions.

To see how different cars rank on the "green" scale, visit the Federal Government Green Vehicle Guide.

If you would like to register to get more information from Toyota on their hybrid cars please click here.

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