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Buying a new car used to be a straightforward choice between a petrol or diesel engine. While these two still remain the default options, soaring fuel prices and environmental concerns have increased the availability of other options – including the hybrid car.
First introduced to mainstream motoring over 10 years ago, hybrids are now appealing to a wider audience – the cars' mileages are increasing, and new releases often boast luxurious interiors with the latest gadgets.
Considering going hybrid? Take a look at our quick guide below.
Hybrid cars have two power sources – a conventional petrol or diesel combustion engine combined with an electric motor.
They don’t need as much fuel to run, as they’re partly powered by the electric motor – and the batteries can be charged in part by absorbing and recovering energy that would otherwise be lost when you brake.
There are several types of hybrid cars available, that work in slightly different ways – depending on whether the power sources drive the car separately and independently, or work together.
Hybrid cars come into their own in stop-and-go city driving – they use no fuel when stationary, and produce zero emissions when running in pure electric mode.
However, when cruising at higher speeds – on a motorway, for example – fuel economy is likely to be similar to the equivalent petrol or diesel car.
(22 November 2013)