High fuel prices have led many people to turn to diesel hybrid cars because
they are more fuel efficient. Originally lauded for their supposed
“environmental friendliness,” the Diesel Hybrid is slowly becoming more and
more common. But what is a hybrid car? Why are they more fuel efficient?
And should you buy one – or should you hold out for the electric sports car?
A Diesel Hybrid works on the principle that internal combustion engines
work best within a very narrow range of temperatures and revolutions. Any
more or less and fuel is not burned fully, which results in increased fuel
consumption for the same amount of work. In very inefficient engines this
actually results in backfiring, as unburned gasoline is ignited in the
exhaust system. Most cars do not backfire, but they nonetheless still
release large amounts of unburned and poorly burned fuel into the exhaust,
which does nothing but wear out the catalytic converter and muffler.
So what is a hybrid car, and how does it keep fuel from being wasted? These
mixed-propulsion vehicles will burn fuel in a traditional gasoline engine,
but instead of using that to power the wheels, an electric motor is used.
Instead, the traditional internal combustion engine only provides power to
a large battery, from which the electric motor runs. Electric cars are
equally efficient at all revolutions, so it doesn’t matter what speed the
car is going at, because the motor remains efficient at all times. This
enables drivers to get the portable power of a traditional internal
combustion engine while obtaining the efficiency and torque of an electric
The first mixed propulsion vehicles were large, mostly boats and trains.
The infamous German U-Boat was in fact an electrically driven machine which
used a diesel engine to recharge its batteries and operate at the surface.
Most modern tug boats and trains also use this hybrid system, as it enables
them to operate much more efficiently when hauling great loads or
exploiting the torque of an electric motor. It was not until the
development of the lithium ion battery that the technology became practical
for the general consumer, with vehicles like the Toyota Prius and Honda
Insight entering the market.
Remarkable Things about Hybrid Automobiles
the first electric sports car.
win the 24 Hours of LeMans, making it the world’s fastest electric sports
car on the market, even though it is the most common answer to “what is a