A hybrid vehicle can be defined as one that uses several means of propulsion but essentially it is more energy-efficient and better for the environment than traditional internal-combustion vehicles. Currently, this basically means combining a diesel engine or a normal engine with a motor that uses electric energy. In practice, hybrid vehicles have traditional fuel tanks and internal-combustion engines. In addition, they will have a battery starter pack and one or more electric motors.
Features of hybrids
The following are some common terms used when making reference to hybrid vehicles:
- Motor generator – This is a more precise term that is used to refer to the electric motor. It offers supplemental acceleration when it is operated as a motor via drawing electric energy from the battery. A number of hybrids have 2 while other models use even three.
- Stop-start – This is a feature that is present in each and every hybrid vehicle. The traditional starter motor for engines is absent as the motor-generator assumes that function as well. Normally, the software controls the hybrid feature shuts off the engine while the vehicle is at a standstill in traffic and the electric motor restarts automatically when the brake pedal is released by the driver.
- Regenerative braking – One essential function of the motor generator is to actively generate electricity that will be used to recharge battery. This is because it absorbs part of the momentum of a vehicle when coasting downhill or slowing. However, it is not sufficient to stop a vehicle quickly therefore still necessitating conventional hydraulic brakes.
- Electric drive – A hybrid vehicle can solely be operated on electric power if its system has adequate electrical capacity. The distance and maximum speed over which only electric-operation is sustainable varies from nil to several miles.
- Hybrid layouts – There are several hybrid layouts such as series hybrids, parallel hybrids, series-parallel hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
- Hybrid degrees – Degrees of hybrids basically classify hybrids according to their power. The degrees include mini hybrids, mild hybrids and strong hybrids.
- Battery – Hybrid vehicles use two types of batteries i.e. Nickel-metal hydride batteries and lithium-ion batteries. Nickel-metal hydride batteries are usually not sufficiently efficient and are also not compact enough for plug-in use. Lithium-ion batteries are lighter and are also energy-dense.
Benefits of a hybrid vehicle
Hybrid vehicles have several benefits that consumers can enjoy. The notable advantages include the following:
- Environmentally friendly – Hybrid vehicles stand out from the ones that run on gasoline mainly because it operates in a cleaner manner and has gas mileage that is better. This is why it is considered to be environmentally friendly. Hybrid vehicles operate on twin engine i.e. electric motor and gasoline engine that reduce fuel consumption and also conserve energy.
- Financial benefits – Hybrid vehicles are usually supported by numerous incentives and credits that greatly contribute to their affordability. Exemption from congestion charges and decreased annual tax are enjoyed in terms of less money spent on fuel.
- Decreased dependence on fossil fuels – Since hybrid vehicles use less quantity of fuel to operate they generate fewer emissions and are also less dependent on fossil fuels. This reduces the price of gasoline.
- Regenerative braking system – Every time that the brakes are applied on hybrid vehicles, the vehicle automatically recharges the battery a little. The internal mechanism comes online so that it captures released energy and consequently uses it to charge the battery that will eliminate the need and time for halting to periodically recharge the battery.
- Higher resale value – Hybrid vehicles are gaining popularity by the day due to the ever increasing prices of gasoline. This has resulted in green vehicles commanding very high resale values.
- Built from light materials – They are normally manufactured from light materials to mean that less energy is required to operate it. Their engines are lighter and smaller facilitating energy savings.
2016 Toyota hybrid
Toyota is known to push the envelope of technology open a little bit each and every year. In the year 2016 it unveiled a RAV4 hybrid that is considered as being one of the best SUVs that are eco-friendly. This vehicle joins 7 other hybrids that constitute Toyota’s large line-up of vehicles that are green-themed. It has a new look and is targeting the small SUV market. The RAV4 hybrid model is available in both four-wheel-drive and two-wheel-drive forms. The powertrain of this hybrid model is based on a 2.5-litre petrol engine that is larger.
This RAV4 hybrid model was an ambitious attempt by Toyota to pierce the green space and it turned out to be very successful. This vehicle is undoubtedly the most fuel-efficient one in its class. Similarly, it is considered to be the only all-wheel-drive hybrid vehicle that is most fuel efficient.
The top-shelf Limited and the hybrid midgrade XLE are the 2 feature-packed vehicle models of the RAV4 hybrid. It strongly resembles the Lexus NX crossover and similarly borrows a lot from the NX300h.
Toyota is going greener with this RAV4 hybrid model as consumers will experience unbelievable savings with it. This is because they will be saving on fuel costs, saving the environment and even saving on the vehicle itself on purchase or leasing it.
The 2016 Toyota RAV4 hybrid has a number of interesting features that are bound to pique the interest of any vehicle enthusiast. The features include the following:
- Powertrain – This vehicle uses a hybrid powertrain that is similar to that used by Lexus.
- Engine – The RAV4 hybrid uses a 2.5L 4-cylinder Atkinson-cycle engine with an impressive 154-horsepower that is connected to Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive System, eCVT transmission and an electric motor. This combination is responsible for the production of 194 horsepower at 5700 rpm.
- Emissions – It has CO2 emissions of 118g/km.
- Acceleration – This vehicle accelerates from 0 mph to 60 mph in just under 8.3 seconds. Its top speed is 112 mph.
- Fuel economy – It has a fuel economy of 34 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The combined rating is 33 mpg.
- Cargo – It provides 70.6 cubic feet of cargo space.
- Body – In terms of looks, the RAV4 hybrid strongly resembles the RAV4 that is gasoline powered. However, it has new rear and front fascias, new tailgate design and restyled rocker panels.
- Wheels – It has new 17-inch wheels.
- Battery – This green vehicle operates on a nickel-metal hydride battery pack together with a continuously variable transmission.
- Display – It has a 4.2-inch TFT information screen inside the gauge cluster of its interior, an extra USB as well as fresh new around-view monitor. There is a 7-inch touch screen on the center stack.
Individuals who are thinking of going green should look no further than the 2016 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. It is more powerful, tech-savvy and efficient compared to its counterpart that is gas powered.