The most valuable possession next to our house is what we drive. If we cannot conserve energy by taking public transportation, the next best option, it seems, is choosing the most environmentally advantageous vehicle. Below are some facts about the Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) to help you make an informed decision:
- HEVs have two engines employed simultaneously: a standard gas and an electric motor powered by a battery. This results in better mileage and lower emissions. In addition, less gasoline is required. We’re all too familiar about the unstable oil prices these days. By become less dependent on this natural resource you can save money!
- HEVs produce less air pollutants, for which your skin and lungs will thank you in the long run. Who can possibly say no to cleaner air to breathe? Also a much needed break at chipping away the ozone layer is long overdo.
- Solar energy may soon join electricity in powering hybrids. Although now solar power is only strong enough to be used in the air conditioning unit of these cars, there’s no doubt that in the near future it will be a key player in propelling the vehicle itself. The song “We’ll follow the Sun” by the Beatles takes on a whole new meaning.
- HEVs use a regenerative braking technology, which means that the speed is reduced while converting its kinetic energy (energy while in motion) into another form of energy, which can be utilized for recharging the battery for example, instead of wastefully being released as heat.
- Understandably HEV’s aren’t perfected yet and while it might be bothersome not to be able to accelerate as quickly as a regular car, keep in mind that technology is improving at a high speed, raising the level of HEV’s performance.
- For those worried about the cost of owning a hybrid be aware that (a) the government allows a tax write off for owners of hybrids, (b) there are warranties providing free replacement of expensive parts, and (c) the depreciation rate of a hybrid is much lower than that of the regular gasoline-powered car due to growing demand and popularity.
Looks like hybrids are the way of the future. Remember, the greater the need, the faster the improvements and advancements made to HEVs. As concerned environmentalists, what’s not to like? Energy is conserved, solar power is utilized, and eco-friendliness is observed.
*** By Diana Kaganovsky ***