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Cars for Baby-Boomers

 

With the environment being such a hot topic these days, one needs to take a look at the cars they drive and see if there are alternatives to big gas guzzlers of our parents’ generation.

Hybrids

 

Car companies are coming out with hybrids that use a combination of gas and electric.

About.com says that ‘A hybrid vehicle is any kind of vehicle that uses two or more propulsion systems. Current hybrids integrate an internal combustion engine and an electric motor and battery. Depending upon the type and design—and kind of usage—hybrid designs can range from operating mostly on the internal combustion engine with some assistance from the electric motor, to almost the opposite—operating predominantly on the electric motor, using the internal combustion engine only when significant power is needed.’

About.com continues with a good explanation about three main types of hybrids:

  •  Mild – uses the electric motor and battery as an assist to the internal combustion engine
  • Full – the two propulsion systems (electric motor and internal combustion engine) can work independently or in conjunction with each other
  • Plug-in – the internal combustion engine acts only as a back-up to the main rechargeable motor and battery system

How Mild & Full Hybrid Cars Work

 

According to an About.com – Alternative fuels article, ‘mild and full hybrids never need to be plugged in.

A mild hybrid is one that cannot drive on the electric motor alone—it always needs the internal combustion engine to propel the vehicle while the motor acts as an assist.

A full hybrid, unlike its mild counterpart, has the ability to propel the vehicle solely on its electric motor—without the internal combustion engine running. However, it is only able to do this under certain conditions (usually low load conditions). Under very light cruising load and under light acceleration, a full hybrid can run on just the electric motor. As soon as additional power is needed, the internal combustion engine will kick-in to provide full acceleration power.

Full hybrids tend to get much better fuel mileage than mild hybrids, plus much better city mileage, since the electric motor is used much more in city driving.

Hybrid Cars

Here are just a few makes and models of hybrids offered by different automotive  companies:

  • 2014 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  •   Honda Accord Hybrid
  •  Toyota has several Hybrids from the Toyota Prius, to the 200 Hybrid System Net HP Camry Hybrid, one of the most fuel-efficient sedans in its class, including the Highlander Hybrid, Avalon Hybrid, and the Prius Family…
  •  Volkswagen has a Jetta Hybrid that is also turbocharged.

 

Rankings of Hybrids priced under $30,000 (2018)

http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/rankings/Hybrid-Cars/

 

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Toyota Prius

Electric Cars

  • Nissan 2015 LEAF® electric vehicle
  •  Then there’s Tesla … a bit pricier, at nearly $70,000 with some environmental rebates at time of purchase.

 

Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Ballard Power Systems is the forerunner in Research and Development of hydrogen fuel cells. From their website they say, ‘Ballard Power Systems, Inc. was founded in 1979, under the name “Ballard Research Inc.”, to conduct research and development on high-energy lithium batteries.  In the course of investigating environmentally clean energy systems with commercial potential, the Company began developing fuel cells in 1983. Over time Ballard entered into a number of strategic alliances related to fuel cell R&D, including an alliance with Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company.’

CES 2014: Toyota says fuel-cell car has 310-mile range… Toyota is ready to sell fuel cell cars in 2015 after a decade of prototypes

 

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