What Is a Hybrid Car & How Does It Work?

2022 toyota prius prime

Hybrids used to be niche, expensive, and hard-to-find vehicles, but these days, they’re more available and affordable than ever! Almost every automaker today has a hybrid vehicle in their lineup or a hybrid variant of an existing model. Metro Toyota offers a wide range of hybrids, from the game-changing original Toyota Prius to hybrid models of the Toyota Avalon, Corolla, and RAV4. But, how do hybrid cars work? How exactly do they earn such great gas mileage without sacrificing performance? The team at Metro Toyota has answers to all your questions about how hybrid cars work in the guide below. Check it out, then head to our inventory to see what models we have available!

How Hybrid Cars Work: Parallel Hybrid vs. Series Hybrid Vehicles

In short, hybrid cars are powered by a combination of gasoline and electric power, rather than solely by gasoline. They have both a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric battery under the hood, which work together to maximize fuel efficiency, optimize performance, and improve torque and acceleration. There are two main types of traditional hybrid engines: parallel and series. Here’s how each one works:

Parallel Hybrid

When you think of a hybrid car, you’re probably thinking of a parallel hybrid. This is the most common type of hybrid car found on the Parma roads today. In a parallel hybrid, the electric motor and gasoline engine are both connected to the transmission and work together to provide power to the car and move it forward.

Series Hybrid

Series hybrid cars are a bit more unusual. They also have an electric motor and a gasoline engine, but only the electric motor is connected to the transmission to provide power to the vehicle. Rather than the engine and the motor working together to move the vehicle forward, the engine provides power to the motor, which in turn provides power to the car.

How Do Hybrid Cars Work Compared to Plug-In Electric Vehicles?

There’s a third type of hybrid car that’s becoming increasingly popular on the road these days: the plug-in hybrid. Plug-in hybrids are a sort of middle ground between traditional hybrids and fully-electric vehicles. Like traditional hybrids, they run on a combination of gasoline and electric power, but their electric batteries are much larger and more powerful. While this means you can go further on electric power, it also means that you have to plug your vehicle in to recharge it – hence the name. Here are the basics of how plug-in hybrids work:

  • With their increased battery packs, plug-in hybrids can go further on electric power alone.
  • If you’re only driving a short distance, you can use a plug-in hybrid much like you’d drive an EV – relying on 100% electric power all day and recharging at night.
  • If you’ll be heading out on a longer trip that exceeds the electric driving range, you can fill up on gasoline like you would with a conventional powertrain.
  • Because they don’t rely solely on electricity, plug-in hybrid vehicles only take between 1 and 4 hours to fully charge.

Discover Hybrid Power With Metro Toyota

If you have any questions about how hybrid cars work or are interested in learning more about your hybrid and EV options at Metro Toyota, contact our office! You can also stop by our dealership to talk to a member of our team in person or to take an available model out for a test drive around Brunswick. Be sure to keep up with our blog for more information on hybrids, EVs, and all things Toyota!


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