The standard’s story
Photographer : Lance McCord
Standard emission cars (like the car you or most people you know drive) run on a large, petrol fuel internal combustion engine. While this engine is powerful, it emits harmful toxins like carbon dioxide into the air. The carbon dioxide then traps heat in the atmosphere. The emissions from millions of cars worldwide have led to the increase in global warming in recent decades. An electrifying alternative
To reduce global warming and pollution, as well as to combat high petrol prices, some people have turned to electric cars. Electric cars produce no gaseous emissions. Instead, they work on a battery-powered engine. However, the batteries must be recharged every 80–160 km, which can be very inconvenient. What is a hybrid car? A compromise!
The hybrid car, perhaps the most popular alternative auto, runs on a combination of one small battery-powered engine, and one small petrol-fuelled engine. How does it work?
When you’re driving on the freeway in a hybrid car, the petrol engine is working. When you’re stuck in a traffic jam or at a stop light, the petrol engine shuts off, and the battery engine takes over. This way, your car isn’t spewing nasty emissions while you’re stopped. Every time you brake, the heat from the car helps the batteries recharge.
Both the petrol and the battery engines in a hybrid work at accelerating and decelerating on steep hills. This is how the hybrid maintains the power and efficiency of a standard, but keeps cities cleaner (and your wallet fatter) at the same time. More designing wonders
The hybrid is as petrol-efficient on its exterior as it is under its hood. Hybrids are sleeker and lighter to reduce wind drag. They are more aerodynamic so they can drive faster without as much wind resistance, which decreases the amount of petrol the car uses. Where can you get one?
There are currently only two models of hybrid cars available in Australia: the Honda Civic Hybrid
and the Toyota Prius
. A 4-door Civic Hybrid is priced from $29,990. A 5-door hatch Prius starts at $36,500. The batteries are designed to last 8–10 years, but could be less in hotter environments like Australia. Could there be even MORE incentives?
Not for now, at least. Some countries offer tax breaks or rebates for hybrid car owners in order to spark interest and encourage sales. However, Warren Truss, the Federal Minister for Transport and Regional Services, has stated the government currently has no plans to offer such incentives. How do I know this?
Australia, House of Representatives, ‘Low-emission hybrid-engine vehicles’ in Questions in Writing
, from http://parlinfoweb.aph.gov.au/
Australian Consumer’s Association, Hybrid Cars
Bankrate.com, Tax breaks for gas savers
Carpoint Australia, The Hidden Price of Hybrid Cars
Clean Air Initiative, Global—Alternative fuels and energy sources
Department of Transport and Regional Services, http://www.dotars.gov.au/
Eartheasy, Hybrid Cars
How Stuff Works, How Hybrid Cars Work
Wikipedia Free Encyclopedia, Hybrid Cars