Hybrid cars have been around for a while. They were first developed back at the turn of the last century with Dr. Ferdinand Porsche producing his first hybrid vehicle as far back as 1898. Concerns about environmental issues, the ongoing availability of fossil fuels and rising fuel costs have all contributed to a recent upsurge in interest in hybrid cars but there are still a lot of myths and misunderstandings concerning hybrids.
With all of their models, from the new CRV through the Honda Civic and Insight, offering environmental benefits and decent fuel economy figures, Honda remain an industry leader in an eco-conscious world – but what do their hybrids bring to the table?
What is a hybrid car?
Strictly speaking, a hybrid car is one that uses any two or more power sources to move it. In common usage however, the term refers specifically to cars combining a petrol or diesel driven engine with an electric motor.
How does Honda hybrid technology work?
Honda have been at the cutting edge of hybrid technology for many years. Models such as the sporty CR-Z and the classic Insight hybrid recapture excess energy that would otherwise be wasted and use it to recharge a battery. This is used to provide power to the electric motor which in turn gives the engine a boost. The overall result is a car that uses less fuel without sacrificing performance. Honda’s hybrid system is known as Integrated Motor Assist technology (IMA).
Does it need to be plugged in?
Unlike a fully electric car, Honda hybrids do not have to be charged or ‘plugged in’. You fill up the fuel tank like any other car – at the petrol station. The electric motor runs on a battery which charges itself. This happens whenever the car stops or decelerates. It doesn’t need to be recharged from an external power supply and drivers don’t have to worry about driving beyond their ‘range’.
Are hybrid cars really more fuel efficient?
The short answer is ‘yes’. The Insight hybrid has an official combined fuel economy figure of 64.2mpg; the CR-Z 56.5mpg and the Jazz Hybrid 64.2mpg. These get you much further for far less when compared to similar non-hybrid cars.
Does a Honda hybrid feel different to drive?
Honda hybrids run, sound and handle like comparable petrol cars. One noticeable difference to most cars is that the engine stops when you stop in traffic. This is to save petrol but you don’t have to worry about restarting the car; it happens automatically when the accelerator pedal is pressed. When you consider just how long you spend in an average month queuing in traffic or waiting at lights, this is yet another saving that can really add up.
Are Honda hybrids difficult to service?
Any Honda dealer is able to service hybrid cars alongside conventional models. All elements in a new Honda hybrid are covered by a 5-year / 90,000 miles warranty – even IMA components.