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What is a hybrid?

A hybrid car is a car which has more than one means of propulsion, which at the moment means a combination of a normal petrol or diesel engine, with an electric motor. The primary advantage of having a hybrid car is that is use’s a lot less fuel than a normal non-hybrid car, and also emits less C02. This is a key advantage for company car buyers and users as this limits the cost of company car tax, and can even avoid congestion charges in some cases! 

How do they work?

Hybrid cars are powered by either a normal petrol or diesel engine, and also an electric motor – There are two main types of hybrid vehicle but they all drive like a normal automatic car – Coventional hybrid’s which are arguably the better known version due to the success of the Toyota Prius work by allowing both the power sources to drive the car independently, or they can work together. At low speeds the car is driven only by the electric engine, and in the case of the prius the car can be driven 1.25 miles on battery power alone! – When maximum acceleration is needed, both power sources work together to drive the vehicle. 
The BMW Active Hybrid 5 and Mercedes Benz C300h / E300h use similar systems, as well as other manufacturers like Audi, Citroen, Land Rover, Lexus, Peugeot, Porsche and Volkswagen 

Plug – in Hybrids 

Can be plugged into an electric output to recharge their batteries, and can also be charged on the move. In a nutshell, they are a half-way house between a normal car and a full electric car. Plug in hybrids have a larger battery than conventional hybrids and can therefore be driven purely through the electric motor for longer distances and at higher speeds. BMW produce a Plug-In Hybrid the BMW 330e which combines an 88bhp electric motor with a 178bhp petrol engine. 

The 330e is capable of driving 30 miles on a full charge using just the electric engine, and reach speeds of 75mph! Combining the two in its most efficient drive mode can achieve up to 140mpg. 

How do I charge my Plug In Hybrid? 

Plug in hybrids can be charged from home through the standard supplied charging lead and normal plug socket. In the case of the BMW 330e the battery can be charged fully in 3 hours in this way. Manufacturers can supply a charging point to be fitted at home which reduces charging times. 

Can I charge In the Rain? 

Yes all connections are fully sealed and tested with safety standard, however care should be taken to ensure no open connections or that the mains power supply is exposed to the rain. 

What happens if I run out of Battery?

In the convention hybrid, the battery can’t run out as the conventional engine charges it when in use. The same can happen in some Plug In hybrids, however there are over 9000 charging points in the UK, including over 1500 rapid charging points which can charge to 80% in 30 minutes!

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