Hybrid Vehicle Top Safety Pick

An auto insurance trade group, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has named a hybrid vehicle as a top safety pick. The Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a small gasoline engine, achieved the honor along with the all-electric Nissan Leaf. The Insurance Institute offered the judgment after the group’s first US crash tests of plug-in and pure electric cars. Anyone wondering if hybrid vehicles are going to be safe can rest easy.

The Volt earned its top rating of “good” for front, side, rear and rollover crash protection. The Institute also noted that both the Volt and the Leaf have standard electric stability control which the group considers a crucial safety feature. Makers of hybrid vehicles are clearly using the same standards of safety in the production of these new types of cars as in the more common internal combustion engine vehicles.

Critics have long argued that hybrid vehicles could not be made economically and that safety would be compromised in the rush to “go green,” but the recent crash tests show that this is not the case. These hybrid vehicles are as safe or safer than any car produced today.

Both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt are small cars which initially would seem to indicate a lack of safety. Both, though, have battery packs adding significant weight to the vehicles making them safer than other cars in their class. This, too, was demonstrated by the Institute’s crash tests.

Additionally, the tests proved that using technology to boost fuel economy, such as the electric batteries in both these vehicles, is preferable to simply downsizing and lightening the weight of cars to save fuel. Hybrid vehicles are actually safer than standard cars of the same size while remarkably fuel-efficient at the same time.

These hybrid vehicles are perfect for highway driving. Should a crash occur, these cars will protect the drivers better than the vast majority of standard cars.

In fact, these electric cars are far safer than the low-speed vehicles, such as the GEM e2 or the Wheego Whip, which were judged dangerous after crash tests last year. These are golf-cart-like vehicles which are becoming increasingly popular, but are not required to meet the national safety standards of passenger vehicles.

The image of the electric and hybrid car was damaged in the mind of the consumer by these small carts which were never meant for highway driving. Nevertheless, industry observers think that the new tests will propel the Leaf and the Volt forward in the minds of eco-minded consumers who have been waiting for a chance to purchase a reasonably green, fuel-efficient and safe car for at least five years. The time has finally arrived. Both the Leaf and the Volt are extremely safe, fuel-efficient and will not harm the environment. Auto makers have finally turned the corner on producing desirable hybrid vehicles.

Hybrid Vehicles Have Good Combustion

You’d be interested to know that there are different types of hybrid vehicles available in the market. There are even more different types of hybrid cars being worked upon and they are expected to arrive soon. If you are looking to buy such an automobile, you will have to do a lot of research before you purchase one. Because there are lot of different hybrid automobiles having different technology and the prices are different as well. Following are the different types of hybrid cars available in the market.

Full hybrids – These are arguably the best amongst the hybrid vehicles available in the market right now. These are based on two separate systems of propulsion i.e electric motor and internal combustion engine. Both of these work independently of each other. Under different driving conditions the cars are powered just by electric motor. These cars use regenerative braking; they charge the battery through the energy that would have been lost otherwise.

Mild hybrids – These types of hybrid vehicles were created in order to capitalize on the high demand for such cars. Examine these vehicles closely and you will realize that the mild hybrids are just like other hybrids but they have a turbocharger. That is why these cars are not regarded as hybrid cars by many. In such vehicles, the power train is not connected to the electric motor like the full hybrid. Internal combustion is assisted in electric motor but it is not capable of propelling the car on its own. These cars are not bad but they can mislead the buyer. Manufacturing process is quite inexpensive and is not that complex either. They also give you better gas mileage. An excellent example of such a car is the Chevrolet Malibu hybrid which gives 2 mpg more than the standard counterpart.

Plug-In Hybrids – These types of hybrid vehicles are not out in the market right now but you can see them in the near future. These cars use internal combustion engine as a back up to electric motor. These cars can be plugged in to your standard household electric outlet for charging and they also have the same charging mechanism as the hybrid automobile. Full hybrids use internal and electric combustion engine but the plug in cars use only the internal combustion engine as backup when batteries of electric motors are empty. The car will run as full hybrid at this time. These cars give you better fuel efficiency as compared to other hybrids and many people consider this technology as the future of such cars.

Performance Hybrid – Electric motors have the ability to offer instant torque unlike conventional combustion engine. There are few companies which figured out that you can pair a small gasoline motor with electric motor and get the performance of a larger engine along with better fuel efficiency. Lexus GS450h is an excellent example of such hybrid vehicles; it is capable of achieving a top speed of 0-60 miles in 5.2 seconds. However, it also gives 25mpg city / 28mpg freeway which is not too high compared to the fuel-run vehicles. Get more quality information hybrid vehicles here.

PHEV’s Set To Revolutionise The Hybrid Vehicle Market?

Hybrid and electric vehicles have already proven to be a global success; however the economical benefits and environmental gains of conventional hybrid vehicles have always been limited by the restrictions on battery-only driving distances. The use of lithium-ion batteries within Plug-In Hybrids (PHEVs) however could change all of this. More efficient and capable of producing up to 3 times the energy of a NiMh battery, lithium-ion technology is set to revolutionisethe hybrid vehicle market.

Whereas the battery pack in a conventional hybrid is charged exclusively from the on-board internal combustion engine and regenerative braking, a plug-in hybrid can be plugged into the mains and charged to give extended travel time running on battery power alone. PHEV’s are able to give drivers the best of both worlds, providing the performance and journey distance of conventional hybrid cards, whilst offering the substantial fuel economy, emission reduction, and petroleum displacement benefits of pure battery electric vehicles. With today’s ever increasing oil prices, electric and hybrid vehicles have never been so relevant, and with performance figures of over 100mpg it’s easy to see why PHEV’s are being hailed as the future of the auto industry.

Lithium-Ion Technology

Previous hybrid vehicles used nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, which can be engineered for relatively short battery-only driving distances. The larger energy storage and electrical power capacity that lithium-ion battery technology provides however, means that next generation plug-in hybrids will be capable of travelling much further using battery power alone. PHEV designs currently beingtrialledboast top speeds of 62mph in EV mode and an electric-only range of 12.5 miles, a significant improvement on the previous 2 mile range of conventional hybrids.

The environmental gains and economical benefits of PHEV’s are significant, the increased power, endurance and acceleration in EV mode means that during town driving the vehicle is able to perform using battery only power, leaving the combustion

engine to kick in for higher speed driving or when battery power runs out. When the battery power does run down, PHEV’s operate like conventional hybrids and use the engine power and regenerative braking to charge the battery and drive the vehicle, eliminating the practicality issues with pure electric vehicles and their restricted travel distances.

The Future of Hybrid Vehicles

This extended battery-only power means reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions, especially when powered using electricity from renewable energy sources. Offering the best compromise between efficiency and usability, PHEV’s are predicted to be popular with consumers looking for increased economical benefits and environmental gains while retaining the function and performance of a conventional hybrid. Toyota are alreadytriallinga new plug-in hybrid version of their popular Prius, and with other manufacturers following closely in their lead and indicating the release of PHEV vehicles in the next 2 years, plug-in hybrids could soon be commonplace on our roads.