A hybrid car, simply meaning a car that uses two or more forms of power, is an excellent way to improve upon fuel economy and stay on top of the latest in automotive technology. With more and more evidence of global warming and its dire long-term effects on the planet imminent, people are looking for ways to minimize their impact on the environment.
Some people say they are intimidated by this relatively new technology, choosing to stick with the tried and true conventional gas-powered engine vehicles. But this high-tech sector of the automotive world doesn’t have to be a confusing one as it’s easy to learn the simple terms that are most commonly associated with the industry.
Terms commonly used include:
- Full hybrid: This term is used to indicate a hybrid car that is able to start out at low speeds without the need for gasoline. When the car reaches speeds around 20 to 30 miles per hour, gasoline is then needed for power.
- Mild hybrid: The mild hybrid is a car that is able to start out from standing still only if the combustion engine is engaged, using the electric part of the motor mainly for assisting the gas engine when more power is needed.
The mild hybrid system can be further broken down into three sub-categories:
- Stop/start system: This feature shuts off the car’s engine when it would otherwise be idling and wasting energy, and then restarts it instantly when needed.
- Integrated starter alternator with damping hybrid (ISAD): This system also provides stop/start capabilities and enables the electric motor to power the vehicle when necessary.
- Integrated motor assist hybrid (IMA): Similar to the ISAD system, an integrated motor assist has a bigger electric motor and uses more electricity to power the vehicle.
- Parallel hybrid: The term parallel hybrid simply means that the fuel tank supplies the engine with gasoline at the same time sets of batteries are supplying power to the electric motor. With a parallel hybrid, two forms of power are at work simultaneously to make the car move; the electric motor and the gas engine.
- Series hybrid: A series hybrid indicates that the car’s gas-powered engine turns a generator that either charges the batteries, or sends power to the electric motor, which in turn is the force behind the transmission. In a series hybrid, the gasoline engine is never responsible for solely powering the vehicle.
- Plug-in hybrid: As soon as people were starting to understand that a hybrid car did NOT have to be plugged into an outlet to be charged, the plug-in hybrid made its debut. With the plug-in, owners have the option of plugging in their cars to recharge them, although this is not a requirement. This way, drivers reap the benefits of having an all-electric car without the inconvenience of limited range, a problem common with vehicles that only use electricity.
- Internal combustion engine vehicle (ICEV): This refers to a car that has the conventional gas-powered engine.
- Internal combustion engine (ICE): Used in hybrid electrical vehicles, the ICE shares the responsibility of supplying the car with power with an electric motor and is another name for ICEV.
- Emission standards: This indicates the amount of emissions a vehicle is allowed to emit and still be considered acceptable for the environment. Emission standards vary in different parts of the world as well as in state to state in the US.
- Low emission vehicle (LEV): Indicates that a vehicle has a LEV rating of emitting less than 3.4 grams per mile of carbon monoxide.
- Super ultra low emission vehicle (SULEV): This term also indicates that a car has been certified as having extremely low amounts of vehicle emissions.
- Advanced technology partial zero emission vehicle (AT-PZEV): This indicates that a hybrid vehicle is certified as having nearly no emissions whatsoever as well as no evaporative emissions.
Some other common terms or acronyms that aren’t necessarily specific to the hybrid industry, but are commonly used include:
- ABS: Indicates that the vehicle has an anti-lock braking system.
- DRL: Daytime running lamps/lights.
- MSRP: The MSRP indicates the manufacturer’s suggested retail price.