A hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) is a petroleum-electric hybrid that uses internal combustion engines – generally petrol or diesel engines – as well as electric batteries to power the vehicle.
The first HEV automobile was invented as far back as 1899 by Henri Piper. Ferdinand Porsche was hot on his tail, developing his own series-hybrid in 1900. However, far from being memories from a distant past, these hybrids formed the future of motoring, with new variants of these models still produced today.
A hybrid-electric produces fewer emissions than a comparably-sized petrol car. This is firstly because the engine of low emission cars is usually smaller than a pure fuel-burning vehicle and secondly due to its start-stop system, which reduces idle emissions by shutting down the internal combustion engine when the car is not in motion for an extended period of time.
This is great news for the environment. Human activities, including driving, make the largest contributions to greenhouse gases, and we are increasingly concerned about global warming nowadays. These greenhouse gases collect in the atmosphere and act as a blanket, trapping heat and causing the Earth to warm up.
Some people even suspect that climate change is the culprit behind the recent torrential rain and flooding in Britain. A leading climate scientist at the UK Met Office has confirmed that since the 1970s, the amount of moisture in the atmosphere over the oceans has risen by 4%. What goes up must come down, meaning that extreme rain storms may bring more rain than before. The only way to put an end to global warming is to stop emitting these dangerous greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. HEVs are a step in the right direction; a step towards a more environmentally-friendly future where carbon footprints are sizeably reduced.
Less fuel consumption
Hybrid cars consume less petroleum than conventional cars, which is beneficial for a number of reasons. Firstly, if you convert your vehicle into a hybrid you will need to use less fuel than before, making the switch financially beneficial, something which is considered a priority, especially in the current struggling economy.
Secondly, as we are often reminded, oil reserves are steadily dwindling. If the rest of the world acquire as many new cars per capita as Europe—which has roughly one car for every two people—there will be a grand total of three billion cars on the planet by 2035.
If they all use petrol engines then we will need several times the volume of oil reserves currently known to be present in Saudi Arabia to fuel them. As we know, fossil fuels are non-renewable and this means the increase in demand could see our resources depleted quicker than anticipated.
Those concerned about saving money and protecting the environment would therefore naturally see green cars as the future of motoring. The move towards more sustainable vehicles is not a choice, but a necessity.