Hybrid and Electric Vehicles

Beaufort, SC

With rising gas prices and excessive pollution concerns, auto manufacturers have begun introducing vehicles that address these consumer and environmental issues. The two most well known alternatives to traditional automobiles are the hybrid car and the electric car. Both of these innovations are relatively new in the marketplace, but signify an important shift in thinking among large auto companies and consumers alike.

Hybrid vehicles are everywhere these days. There are currently many hybrid models on the market and most of the larger auto manufacturers have future plans to produce their own versions. Hybrid vehicles combine the power of a gasoline engine with the pedal power of a driver. In fact, any vehicle that combines two or more sources of power to achieve propulsion is considered a hybrid, although the most prevalent type of hybrid on the market right now is gasoline-electric. By leveraging electric and gasoline power, these hybrid vehicles optimize gas mileage while minimizing the amount of pollution produced.

Typically, maintaining a hybrid vehicle costs less than a conventional vehicle, because there's less wear and tear on the engine and braking system. Hybrid cars such as the Prius typically sell for just under USD $20,000 but recently sport utility versions have been introduced that come with a higher price tag.

Electric cars represent another exciting innovation in the auto industry. An electric engine powers this kind of vehicle rather than a gasoline engine, making it nearly silent to operate. The controller in an electric vehicle obtains its power from a set of rechargeable batteries. This set of batteries provides electricity to an electric motor. The motor turns a transmission, and the transmission turns the wheels.

The range for an electric vehicle is limited to about 50 miles and then its batteries need to be recharged; but at an average cost of around two cents per mile, the savings is significant, especially for the convenience of around town driving. These vehicles are gaining popularity in suburban areas where drivers tend to drive around 30-40 miles on average per day, making the electric vehicle a great alternative to traditional gasoline powered vehicles, and saving possibly thousands of dollars a year in gasoline costs. High-end electric vehicles are being manufactured and sold to consumers at a cost of over $100,000 but more reasonably priced models, such as the GM GEM E825, are being marketed at just under $6,000.

Both of these vehicle designs have proven to be viable alternatives among consumers and the trend is catching on. These automobile innovations are making vehicles more environmentally friendly through energy efficiency and reduced fuel consumption.

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