Hybrid Cars - The Future of 4x4 Pickup Trucks and SUVs

Pros and Cons of Owning Hybrid Cars, Trucks and SUVs

Can you drive an SUV or pickup truck guilt-free? You can if it's a Hybrid!

The idea with Hybrid vehicles is to get the most fuel economy out of a smaller engine. By combining top-notch fuel efficiencies and ultra-low tailpipe emissions, the end result is some of the cleanest and "greenest" vehicles we've ever seen. As a whole, Hybrids deliver big-engine performance with small-engine fuel economy. Yet they drive like (and are fueled the same way as) conventional vehicles.

In this day and age, the more you can do to protect the environment (and save a few bucks!) the better! Which may be why the latest and greatest gadget in the automotive industry is the all-new Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV). But before you think you've just got to have one, check this out:

Pros of Owning a Hybrid Vehicle
Cons of Owning a Hybrid Vehicle
History of Hybrid Cars
How Hybrid Vehicles Work
4x4 Hybrids Off Road & Towing Capabilities
The Future of Hybrids

Pros and Cons of Owning Hybrid Cars, Trucks and SUVs Can you drive an SUV or pickup truck guilt-free? You can if it's a Hybrid!

The idea with Hybrid vehicles is to get the most fuel economy out of a smaller engine. By combining top-notch fuel efficiencies and ultra-low tailpipe emissions, the end result is some of the cleanest and "greenest" vehicles we've ever seen. As a whole, Hybrids deliver big-engine performance with small-engine fuel economy.

Yet they drive like (and are fueled the same way as) conventional vehicles.

In this day and age, the more you can do to protect the environment (and save a few bucks!) the better! Which may be why the latest and greatest gadget in the automotive industry is the all-new Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV).

But before you think you've just got to have one, check this out:

Pros of Owning a Hybrid Vehicle
Cons of Owning a Hybrid Vehicle
History of Hybrid Cars
How Hybrid Vehicles Work
4x4 Hybrids Off Road & Towing Capabilities
The Future of Hybrids

  • There are purchase incentives for Hybrid vehicle owners (varies by state).
  • There's a federal tax deduction for Hybrid buyers. (In 2004, hybrid vehicle buyers received a $1,500 federal tax break.)
  • Drivers don't need to change their habits at all. You don't have to learn anything or do anything different to drive a Hybrid.
  • You won't have a guilty conscience for polluting the environment - Hybrids emit up to 97% less toxic emissions and half as much greenhouse-causing carbon dioxide as the average car.
  • Their novelty is fun - hybrids are the latest and greatest "gadgets" to have in the automotive world.
  • Mileage is noticeably higher, anywhere from 8-10% or 2-3 mpg.
  • Hybrids are just as safe as their non-hybrid counterparts. The fact that they run on electricity as well as gas has no bearing on their safety.
  • The performance of Hybrids is improving more and more with each passing year, so their efficiency and improvements look bright for the future.
  • You could experience faster commute times due to the ability to drive Hybrids in HOV lanes in some states.
  • The Hybrid's battery pack never needs to be charged from an external source - it gets recharged during regenerative braking and by the gasoline engine when necessary.
  • Most Hybrids have special warranty provisions that cover costly add-ons like the battery pack and electric motor.
  • Due to a smaller engine, and lightweight materials used in manufacturing Hybrids, they tend to weigh less than their non-Hybrid counterparts
  • Hybrids can run on alternative fuels, decreasing our dependency on fossil fuels, and increasing the fuel options.
  • They're politically correct in any circle.
Top Reasons Hybrid Cars, Trucks & SUVs Are Good
  • There are purchase incentives for Hybrid vehicle owners (varies by state).
  • There's a federal tax deduction for Hybrid buyers. (In 2004, hybrid vehicle buyers received a $1,500 federal tax break.)
  • Drivers don't need to change their habits at all. You don't have to learn anything or do anything different to drive a Hybrid.
  • You won't have a guilty conscience for polluting the environment - Hybrids emit up to 97% less toxic emissions and half as much greenhouse-causing carbon dioxide as the average car.
  • Their novelty is fun - hybrids are the latest and greatest "gadgets" to have in the automotive world.
  • Mileage is noticeably higher, anywhere from 8-10% or 2-3 mpg.
  • Hybrids are just as safe as their non-hybrid counterparts. The fact that they run on electricity as well as gas has no bearing on their safety.
  • The performance of Hybrids is improving more and more with each passing year, so their efficiency and improvements look bright for the future.
  • You could experience faster commute times due to the ability to drive Hybrids in HOV lanes in some states.
  • The Hybrid's battery pack never needs to be charged from an external source - it gets recharged during regenerative braking and by the gasoline engine when necessary.
  • Most Hybrids have special warranty provisions that cover costly add-ons like the battery pack and electric motor.
  • Due to a smaller engine, and lightweight materials used in manufacturing Hybrids, they tend to weigh less than their non-Hybrid counterparts
  • Hybrids can run on alternative fuels, decreasing our dependency on fossil fuels, and increasing the fuel options.
  • They're politically correct in any circle.
  • There are added registration fees in some states.
  • They cost more - anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 more the non-Hybrid version of the same vehicle.
  • Hybrids have a more complex powertrain, which means more chances for failure and fewer fixes that your typical mechanic could do.
  • Parts may cost a bit more and not be as readily available as typical car parts.
  • Special high-mileage tires are smaller, but they cost more to replace.
  • The acceleration capability of some (not all) Hybrids is less than that of comparable vehicles.
  • High-performance electric motors are not yet available in Hybrid vehicles, whose emphasis is on economy not speed. (However, they're getting better each year.)
Top Reasons Hybrid Cars, Trucks & SUVs Aren't More Popular
  • There are added registration fees in some states.
  • They cost more - anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 more the non-Hybrid version of the same vehicle.
  • Hybrids have a more complex powertrain, which means more chances for failure and fewer fixes that your typical mechanic could do.
  • Parts may cost a bit more and not be as readily available as typical car parts.
  • Special high-mileage tires are smaller, but they cost more to replace.
  • The acceleration capability of some (not all) Hybrids is less than that of comparable vehicles.
  • High-performance electric motors are not yet available in Hybrid vehicles, whose emphasis is on economy not speed. (However, they're getting better each year.)

    The first hybrid electric model in the U.S. market was the Honda Insight (61 mpg city, 70 mpg highway) in 1999.

    The Toyota Prius (52 mpg city, 45 mpg highway) debuted the following year, and the Honda Civic Hybrid (46 mpg city, 51 mpg highway) went on sale in 2002.

    The first full-size pickup hybrids, the Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram hit the streets in 2004, as did the first SUV hybrid, the Ford Escape.

    The First Hybrid Cars, Trucks & SUVs The first hybrid electric model in the U.S. market was the Honda Insight (61 mpg city, 70 mpg highway) in 1999.

    The Toyota Prius (52 mpg city, 45 mpg highway) debuted the following year, and the Honda Civic Hybrid (46 mpg city, 51 mpg highway) went on sale in 2002.

    The first full-size pickup hybrids, the Chevy Silverado and Dodge Ram hit the streets in 2004, as did the first SUV hybrid, the Ford Escape.

    Hybrids have both gasoline and electric motors, as well as a battery. The conventional combustion engine (gasoline or diesel) is smaller than that used in conventional cars, because it only needs to accommodate the average load, rather than the peak load. Here's how it works:
    • THE HYBRID'S ELECTRIC MOTOR
      The electric motor handles normal stop-and-go travel and initial highway acceleration. The electric motor also assists the gas or diesel engine to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. For example, it is the electric motor that drives energy-wasting accessories like the power steering pump and air conditioner.

      THE HYBRID'S GASOLINE MOTOR
      The gasoline- or diesel-powered internal combustion engine kicks in whenever the vehicle gets to higher speeds. Hybrids have a sophisticated computer control system that decides when to switch from one power source to the other. The gas or diesel engine also can generate power for the electric motor. At highway speeds, the gasoline engine recharges the electric motor's battery.

      THE HYBRID'S BATTERY
      The Hybrid's battery feeds power to the electric motor. The battery itself is recharged during the times that the vehicle is coasting and braking. (Therefore, Hybrids never need to be plugged into an outside charging device.) During coasting and braking, the electric motor switches to "generate" instead of "consume" electricity. Whenever the brake is released, the engine restarts instantaneously. This process of switching power between the two types of engines saves gas and avoids pollution.

      Just like the battery under the hood of your current vehicle, a Hybrid vehicle's electric battery pack may eventually wear out and need to be replaced. However, auto manufacturers are stating that the Hybrid's battery is designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle - somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles. It is simply too early to tell.

      Gasoline or Diesel Engines Plus Battery and Electric Motor Hybrids have both gasoline and electric motors, as well as a battery. The conventional combustion engine (gasoline or diesel) is smaller than that used in conventional cars, because it only needs to accommodate the average load, rather than the peak load. Here's how it works:
      • THE HYBRID'S ELECTRIC MOTOR
        The electric motor handles normal stop-and-go travel and initial highway acceleration. The electric motor also assists the gas or diesel engine to reduce fuel consumption and emissions. For example, it is the electric motor that drives energy-wasting accessories like the power steering pump and air conditioner.

        THE HYBRID'S GASOLINE MOTOR
        The gasoline- or diesel-powered internal combustion engine kicks in whenever the vehicle gets to higher speeds. Hybrids have a sophisticated computer control system that decides when to switch from one power source to the other. The gas or diesel engine also can generate power for the electric motor. At highway speeds, the gasoline engine recharges the electric motor's battery.

        THE HYBRID'S BATTERY
        The Hybrid's battery feeds power to the electric motor. The battery itself is recharged during the times that the vehicle is coasting and braking. (Therefore, Hybrids never need to be plugged into an outside charging device.) During coasting and braking, the electric motor switches to "generate" instead of "consume" electricity. Whenever the brake is released, the engine restarts instantaneously. This process of switching power between the two types of engines saves gas and avoids pollution.

        Just like the battery under the hood of your current vehicle, a Hybrid vehicle's electric battery pack may eventually wear out and need to be replaced. However, auto manufacturers are stating that the Hybrid's battery is designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle - somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 miles. It is simply too early to tell.