It's no accident that hybrid-electric vehicles (HEVs) are the most fuel-efficient vehicles in some classes for the 2009 model year. Hybrids combine the best features of the internal combustion engine with an electric motor and can significantly improve fuel economy without sacrificing performance or driving range. HEVs may also be configured to provide increased performance or provide electrical power to auxiliary loads such as power tools.
HEVs are primarily propelled by an internal combustion engine, just like conventional vehicles. However, they also convert energy normally wasted during coasting and braking into electricity which is stored in a battery until needed by the electric motor. The electric motor assists the engine when accelerating or hill climbing and at low speeds where internal combustion engines are least efficient. Unlike all-electric vehicles, HEVs now being offered do not need to be plugged into an external source of electricity to be recharged; conventional gasoline and regenerative braking provide all the energy the vehicle needs.
Interested in going green with the purchase of a hybrid-electric vehicle? The federal government is currently offering tax incentives for HEVs. Some states also offer incentives. Go to fueleconomy.gov for a list.
This content originally appeared in a different form at fueleconomy.gov.