Hybrid-electric vehicles are electrically-driven vehicles (see electric vehicle) which rely not only on batteries but also on an internal combustion engine driving a generator to provide the electricity.
There are several great advantages to this configuration:
- The vehicle is lighter and roomier than a purely electric vehicle, because it does not need to carry nearly as many batteries
- The internal-combustion engine in a hybrid-electric can be much smaller and lighter, getting far better gas mileage than in a conventional vehicle, because the engine runs at a relatively constant speed, and does not need to provide direct power for acceleration, which is the biggest reason for large engines
- Braking can be configured to recapture part of the kinetic energy of movement that is otherwise lost in a conventional vehicle
- The initial vehicle is costlier due to the extra hardware as for example large batteries and generators
- Due to the additional hardware the weight is increased
- Maintenance cost may increase as more hardware has to be maintained and repaired if necessary
- Some hybrid electric vehicles hold parts of the additional hardware in the trunk, resulting in a reduced storage capacity
Toyota has announced that it intends that all its vehicles will have a hybrid electric version by 2012.