How Hybrids Work: Eco-Friendly Technology Explained

“Hybrid” is a term frequently used in the auto industry, but not every car buyer truly understands what it means. That’s why we’ve put together a post on how hybrids work, explaining the basics and the advantages of this eco-friendly design.

According to the EPA, a hybrid is any model that combines an electric motor with a gasoline engine. Not only does this generally increase fuel economy, but hybrids can also increase power—one of the reasons they were actually invented. Typically, the engine provides most of the power, while the electric motor supplements power when accelerating or passing. This lets you get have a smaller engine, eliminating weight and gas-guzzling designs.

Electric power tends to be generated through the gas engine, regenerative braking, and/or through a plug-in source. Full Hybrids—so-named because they use electric motors as the sole source of propulsion—often have a small gas generator to power them. Hybrids also feature technologies a regenerative braking system to capture energy from friction as you stop, electric motor drive/assist to help you climb hills and pass, and auto start/stop to save gas when you would normally idle.

One of the most popular hybrid models is the Ford Fusion, which comes as the Fusion Hybrid or Fusion Energi. The Hybrid is a standard design, which gets up to 43/41/42 MPG City/Highway/Combined* on the 2017 model year. The Energi is a plug-in hybrid, reaching 101/91/97 MPGe City/Highway/Combined* when properly equipped. Eliminating unnecessary waste and utilizing alternative-energy designs, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Energi are just two examples of the future of automotive engineering.
*EPA mileage estimate. Actual mileage may vary. MPGe is an EPA-regulated figure which stands for “miles per gallon equivalent.”