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Frequently Asked Questions















What is a hybrid electric vehicle?

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) combine an internal combustion engine along with a battery and electric motor. This combination results in improved fuel economy and lower emission compared to conventional gasoline powered vehicles.


How does a hybrid electric vehicle work?

Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) combine an internal combustion engine along with a battery and electric motor. The electric motor assists the gas engine during starting up, idling and accelerating up to 15 mpg, then the electric motor is shut off and the gas engine engaged at a higher speed. This combination decreases the use of gasoline and emission, therefore result in better gas mileage than most conventional vehicles.


Are Hybrids Slow and Underpowered?

No. Current hybrids performs as well as their non-hybrid counterparts. Most hybrid vehicles can achieved greater than 100 mph maximum speed, which is more than sufficient for most people.


Is hybrid vehicle more expense than non-hybrid?

Hybrid vehicles are generally a few thousand dollars more than their non-hybrid counterparts, however you will save a lot of money in gas, not to mention helping the environment at the same time.


Do hybrids need to be plugged in to recharge the battery?

No. The high voltage battery for the electric motor will be recharged during normal use. Recharging occurs during braking and coasting the forward energy are converted into electricity and recharge the battery.


Can you drive a hybrid in very cold weather?

In general all battery decrease efficiency at a lower temperature, but most hybrid cars used thermal management systems to overcome this issue and can be recover quickly when the car is turned on. Once the hybrid battery pack reaches normal operating temperature, there should not be any performance issue.


Can you drive a hybrid in very hot weather?

While driving in any hot climate may be harder on any vehicles, most hybrid vehicles does not appears to be affected by the heat as worse as any other conventional vehicles. Many hybrids have been driven in southern part of the U. S like Florida, Texas or Arizona without any problem. The high voltage battery pack on hybrid cars have thermal management systems built in to protect it from heat, and will be shut off when it gets too hot.


How Long Will Hybrid Car Batteries Last?

The high voltage battery used in the HEV is expensive to replace, but luckily they are designed to last for the lifetime of the vehicle. Most manufacturers warranty covers the batteries for between eight and ten years, so one can expect the real failure rate will be much longer beyond that.  In fact, according to Toyota, they have not replaced a single battery pack for their Prius since it went on the market back in 2000.


What is E85?

E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Ethanol is a derivative from corn and is touted as a way to reduce dependency on foreign oil while also helping to reduce greenhouse emissions. Most cars can run on a 10% ethanol blend (E10), but use of E85 is only recommended in vehicles especially designated as flexible fuel vehicles (FFV).


What are some of the common acronyms used on hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles?

  • HEV (Hybrid Electric Vehicles) - Used combination of conventional gasoline engine and high voltage electric battery. Currently the most widely used hybrid vehicles.

  • TLEV (Transitional Low Emission Vehicles) - This is the least stringent emissions standard in California. TLEVs are phased out as of 2004.

  • LEV (Low Emission Vehicles) - All new cars sold in California starting in 2004 will have at least a LEV or better emissions rating.

  • ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicles) - ULEVs are 50% cleaner than the average new model year car.

  • SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) - SULEVs are 90% cleaner than the average new model year car.

  • PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) - PZEVs meet SULEV tailpipe emission standards, have zero evaporative emissions and a 15 year / 150,000 mile warranty. No evaporative emissions means that they have fewer emissions while being driven than a typical gasoline car has while just sitting.

  • AT PZEV (Advanced Technology PZEVs) - AT PZEVs meet the PZEV requirements and have additional "ZEV-like" characteristics. A dedicated compressed natural gas vehicle, or a hybrid vehicle with engine emissions that meet the PZEV standards would be an AT PZEV.

  • ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicles) - ZEVs have zero tailpipe emissions are 98% cleaner than the average new model year vehicle. These include battery electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

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