How to Buy a Hybrid Electric Car

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How to Buy a Hybrid Electric Car

The future of motoring does not lie in petroleum-only powered vehicles, but in a combination of petroleum and electricity leading to more fully electric vehicles. Hybrid electric cars offer great rewards for both people and the environment, with great handling and performance capabilities comparable to any conventionally powered vehicle.

Generally, hybrid electric cars are considerably more expensive to buy than the conventional type, but eBay has a great deal of hybrid listings for a lot less than regular retail prices. A customer wishing to save on their investment would do well to browse the listings here before looking elsewhere. Doing so enables them to develop some perspective and an overview of cost comparison within the hybrid car market. The personal and environmental rewards of a hybrid car are worth the extra outlay, but so are any possible savings.

To some extent, choosing a hybrid electric car over the conventional variety requires the customer to take a different kind of car-buying risk; that of the unknown. Careful consideration of the information provided here may help shine some light on the dark precipice of the hybrid world.

The Hybrid Car Market

There is nothing new about the concept of a hybrid electric car. The idea for a petroleum/electric powered vehicle first came about with the Lohner-Porsche Mixte Hybrid, which was featured at the Paris World Fair in 1900. The concept did not undergo a great deal of further development until the 1990s, when Japan and the United States decided to invest more in the technology. Although Europe has an enthusiastic hybrid car market, its manufacturers are surprisingly not at the cutting edge. Japan and the US are still the current leaders in the hybrid electric car market, but over the course of the last decade, nearly all car manufacturers have come on board to participate in the increasingly competitive hybrid car market. Today, hybrid models can be found from all the major car manufacturers.

Determining the Suitability of a Hybrid Electric Car

For the car buyer considering a hybrid car, careful research and thoughtful consideration needs to be undertaken before making a decision. There are several factors which come into play, and each one needs to be assessed.

How suitable a hybrid electric car is for a particular driver depends on their location and annual mileage. The cost-savings of a hybrid car are felt more intensely for the city dweller who uses their car primarily for city driving. This is because at low speeds, the hybrid runs virtually all its power from the battery. On the other hand, the driver who lives in the country and spends considerable time on open roads does not experience the same degree of cost savings as does the city driver. This is because at high speeds, the biggest portion of the hybrid's power is supplied by its petrol motor. Although the degree to which this is true depends on the type of hybrid chosen.

The Powertrain

A hybrid electric car operates by combining the power source of an electric motor with an internal combustion engine. Different types of hybrid electric cars are determined by how the two power sources (electric and fuel), supply energy to the drivetrain.

Parallel Hybrid

These hybrid cars have both their electric motor and internal combustion engine (ICE) connected to the mechanical transmission. This means that in normal day-to-day operation, the car is simultaneously driven by both electricity and fuel. It performs well for all types of driving, as it can be driven efficiently in the city, but excels on country roads, where the electric motor collaborates with the internal combustion engine to save on fuel consumption. This is currently the most popular form of hybrid electric car, especially for those who do considerable rural driving.

Series Hybrid

The series hybrid electric car is designed quite differently. Its drivetrain is powered solely by its electric motor, and its small combustion engine merely acts as a generator to recharge the battery. Series Hybrids are sometimes known as 'extended range hybrids', where its combustion engine can extend the life of the battery on long drives. These hybrids are generally more expensive than the parallel hybrids as they have a larger battery pack. As petrol is only consumed to generate power to the battery, fuel consumption is extremely low. The Series Hybrid is a most efficient car for city driving.

Power-Split Hybrid

The power-split hybrid is so termed because it combines the way parallel hybrids are powered with the way series hybrids work. It is the most overall economically efficient hybrid to run, but more expensive to buy than a straight parallel hybrid.

Degrees of Hybridisation

Hybrid electric cars are divided between full hybrid and mild hybrid. Fully hybrid cars are those which can be powered entirely by their electric motor, particularly at low speeds. To do so, the car needs a larger and high capacity battery pack. The full hybrid car enables the power path to be split between mechanical and electrical energy, giving greater flexibility to the drivetrain.

The mild hybrid is dependent on fuel supplied by the internal combustion engine to drive the car, particularly for acceleration. It is, however, able to cruise with electric power only, and shuts off fuel whenever possible to improve fuel efficiency, such as when idling and braking. The mild hybrid is the least expensive of the two types.

The Customer's Choice of Hybrid Electric Car

From an economical point of view, the choice of hybrid car to buy amounts to the customer having a clear understanding of the type of driving they habitually engage in. The below chart summaries the information already given, describing which hybrid suits which type of environment.

Hybrid type

Driving environment

Parallel hybrid

Most suited to open road, with some city driving

Series hybrid

Ideal for city driving

Power-split hybrid

Equally suited to both city and open road driving

Environment is only only one influencing factor a customer should consider. Other factors that affect the car's overall power, fuel efficiency and maintenance costs are determined largely by manufacturer.

The Advantages of a Hybrid Electric Car

Hybrid electric cars are both clean and efficient. Although they still use a degree of fossil fuel and contain many associated mechanical parts, hybrid cars take the pressure off the environment by lowering carbon emissions whilst maximising fuel efficiency and economy. Naturally, weekly fuel costs are significantly reduced as only a small portion of fuel is required to drive the car. The price of charging the battery is very low, and when compared to the weekly cost of petrol consumption, it is impossible to overlook the enormous long-term savings.

Hybrid cars require less mechanical servicing over the course of their lives, which provides great incentive to move towards electrically powered vehicles. Together with the reduced costs in fuel, therefore, the owner of a hybrid car can save considerable money on their vehicle.

The Disadvantages of a Hybrid Electric Car

The initial cost is some deterrent to purchasing a hybrid car, but the other potential problem is where to charge the battery. Hybrid electric cars need to be connected to a charging station, and depending on battery depletion levels, can take a significant amount of time before the battery is fully charged again.

Charging stations for electrically powered vehicles are set up in many metropolitan and provincial cities and towns throughout the world. The hybrid car owner also keeps a power connector device inside the car which can be connected to power supplies at home; the private garage doubling as a potential charging station.

How to Buy Hybrid Electric Cars on eBay

Hybrid electric cars can safely be purchased from eBay when you know what to look for and take the necessary precautions. You can search by make and model, such as "Honda Insight Hybrid&", or via general terms if you would like to view a wider range of listings.

Buying a car on eBay is one of those bigger purchases you can make. You need to invest a great deal of time and thought into it. It is recommended that you determine the type of hybrid car you want before you consult the eBay listings. When you do, ensure you have read and understood all information clearly. With a purchase like this, you should conduct open communication with your designated seller. You may even be able to speak with or meet with them in person. This would be the best scenario as you can then find out a lot more about them than via email only. Additionally, however, you should check their eBay reputation also, as this gives you the greatest clue as to the experiences of previous customers.

Conclusion

The range of hybrid cars on eBay is a good indication of their increased popularity. As prices further reduce over the years, their popularity looks certain to gain even more ground in the mainstream car buying market, eventually giving way to greater acceptance of fully electric cars. Fuel engines are not going to go away, but with the addition of commercially accessible hybrid alternatives, the motoring world has opened up, ushering in a new generation of unprecedented choice.

Selecting a hybrid car over a regular fuel powered car pays off in more ways than just the pocket. Although the additional purchasing cost may take some time to pay the driver back in fuel savings, the overall benefits outweigh the cons for most environmentally concerned drivers. The reduced Co2 emissions of electric and hybrid cars gives its drivers a sense of taking an active part in helping restore a cleaner ecosystem for everybody.

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