A hybrid vehicle has the advantage of being able to switch to its electric motor to drive in heavy traffic, built-up areas or at slower speeds, thereby using no fuel at all to power its conventional engine. In fact, to demonstrate the benefits of hybrid fuel economy, Toyota dealers often invite interested customers to take a hybrid for a test drive and then see just how far they can travel using the electric mode only.
On average, at least 50% of the journey time for our hybrid test drives is spent purely in electric mode. This means during this time the conventional engine is not needed for power and therefore no fuel has to be used.
There’s no doubt that in modern driving conditions, we all get caught up in traffic or speed restricted areas, and in these situations a hybrid offers significant savings on fuel costs. It also offers reduced CO2 emissions and results in a smooth, stress-free drive. T-Charges (Toxicity Charges) are also now in effect in London, and may be on the way for other large cities, to penalise vehicles that do not meet emissions requirements. In this case, the hybrids’ greatly reduced emissions will incur no charges like ordinary petrol or diesel cars will.
Of course, as you increase speed or change to motorway driving in your hybrid vehicle, the conventional engine will kick in to give you added power and then start to use fuel as an ordinary car. In comparing hybrid vs. petrol, a Toyota hybrid offers better fuel economy and C02 emissions. In hybrid vs. diesel, the Toyota hybrid creates lower harmful NOx and PM emissions.
Remember, though, unlike like a purely electric plug-in vehicle, or a conventional car, your hybrid is using the engine to recharge its electric batteries and keep them topped up for use. It also uses an advanced regenerative braking system to charge its batteries too, so even when decelerating or braking on a steep hill, for example, the driver is reclaiming electricity – thereby adding to the fuel efficiency of the hybrid.