Hybrid cars leave little room for argument; they are now the car to buy. Hybrids save the environment from harmful emission, makes less noise than traditional cars, and hybrid fuel economy is off the charts. Car manufacturers around the world have begun producing these cars in droves, and in the U.S. hybrid car sales topped 95,000 in 2013 alone.
The advantage of a hybrid car is that it runs on both an internal combustion engine, as well as one or more electric motors, meaning it does not rely solely on gas to function. There have also been technological advances regarding the battery in a hybrid car. Hybrid car batteries are designed to ideally last the lifespan of the vehicle itself, but this is not always the case. Early hybrids were made with nickel metal hydride, but now batteries in hybrid cars are increasingly being manufactured using lithium ion. This battery’s makeup also helps increase fuel economy, and is lighter and smaller.
While there is no guarantee that a hybrid battery will go the distance, there are some ways that hybrid owners can do to prolong the life of their hybrid battery.
- Ease up on the brakes. As in any car, it is not good for the brakes on your hybrid car when you to come screeching to a stop at a red light. This kind of aggressive driving can also subtract years from batteries in hybrid cars. It is best to coast to stop at a light or at your destination. When you slow the car down without exerting a large amount of force the brakes, kinetic energy builds up and allows your battery to charge.
- Start slowly. It is better not to get your car going by exerting quick, heavy pressure on your accelerator. At a red light, your gas engine completely stops and the battery kicks in. When you apply light pressure to the accelerator as you move forward, it helps to keep cycling the battery. Fast acceleration essentially wastes the energy. This also helps fuel economy.
- “Mountain Mode.” In some plug-in hybrids, there is a “Mountain Mode” function that allows you to switch completely to the gas engine to save battery life. In most cases, the car will use up all of the battery’s power before it switches to gas power. With this function, you can preserve the life of your battery, which can save it from being recharged constantly, and continuous recharging could reduce the lifespan of your battery.
Even with the concerns surrounding batteries in hybrid cars, hybrids are becoming increasingly popular. With some diligence and care on the part of hybrid owners, they can get great MPG use, superior fuel economy, and protect the expected lifespan of their hybrid battery.